Jeannie Paparone, IFBB Professional Bodybuilder and CEO President of Jeannie’s Fit 4 Life, understands the commitment and dedication necessary to overcome anorexia.
Bodybuilding, and the intense training that accompanies it taught Jeannie how to treat her body, and in turn she was rewarded greatly. Learn more about Jeannie’s story and her company by visiting her website.
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Let’s start at the beginning: what drove you into bodybuilding in the first place?
My bodybuilding career started when I suffered from anorexia nervosa. I was an all-state gymnast back in Chicago, after I graduated high school I needed something to keep me going.
Bodybuilding has saved my life. My first show was in 1994 and have been continuing ever since.
Tell us about your muffin shop, and the inspiration behind it.
My muffin shop started when I came across all these protein bars that had a lot of ingredients that were either high sodium of fats, and too many calories.
So I was fooling around in the kitchen and came up with a muffin that was all natural, no sugar alcohols, no fat, and no preservatives. My clients were my guinea pigs and then I perfected it.
I wanted to make something that tastes good, that will still give you your carbs and protein, and you can still have while dieting for a show or for a healthy lifestyle.
Also, I think I take after my mother because she made wedding cakes and I guess my creativity came from her.
How has your background in gymnastics helped you with a bodybuilding career?
My background in gymnastics has helped my bodybuilding immensely. I choreograph my own routines and my dance background has helped also with my routines.
By having a gymnastic background, my weight training is affected as well. Learning how to use the mind muscle connection and I stretch after every set that I do. It helps prevent injury and helps the muscle look a lot nicer.
Having experienced it yourself, what advice would you give to someone who is battling anorexia?
My advice would be you need to eat to live!! Once you know how to feed your body and learn that you need to eat to fuel the body it’s all a mind set!!
I still struggle with it sometimes. Once you know how to eat with the proper foods and don’t call it a “diet” you will be on the right track! When I started to body build I liked the muscles and don’t want to be what they call a “skinny fat chick”.
And numbers on the scale is just a number, and as I say to my clients is “throw away the scale” it’s what you look like in the mirror and how your clothes fit. If you don’t like what you look like in the mirror you better work a little.
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What are your future aspirations, both short term and long term?
My short term aspirations is focusing on my personal training business and my career and getting other people ready for competitions. My long term, I haven’t decided yet.
I have just finished the Arnold and thinking about doing the Chicago show “The Wings of Strength” in July.
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