Ironically, when friends complimented Carlene Steenekamp about how good she looked after the birth of her last child in 2007, their words had an opposite effect. “I got so tired of hearing, ‘Oh, you look great to have had three kids.’ I know friends meant well, but that was a backhanded compliment,” says Steenekamp, 32, a personal trainer from West Knoxville. “I wasn’t ready to accept that I would never feel good about my body again.”
Steenekamp had always worked hard at staying fit, but after that, her efforts went into overdrive. “People in the gym started asking me what kind of competition I was getting ready for. At first I laughed it off, but after a while I began to think maybe I could compete,” says Steenekamp.
After much discussion and research, Steenekamp began training in February, 2008 for her first competition in May. Training included a six-mile run each morning and 1.5 hours of cardio and weight training every afternoon. Her regimen also included eating a strict low-carb, high protein diet every few hours.
The hard work paid off and Steenekamp qualified for nationals in her very first event. She went on to win first place in three other competitions that year, including the Tennessee State Figure Championships.
Meanwhile, Steenekamp was being asked more questions, this time by other mothers who saw how quickly she got back into shape.
“I had a lot of women asking me, ‘How did you do it?’ It became very overwhelming and time-consuming trying to help so many people,” Steenekamp recalls. “My husband and I were talking about it one night and he said, ‘You could make a living doing this.'”
From that discussion, the idea for Mommy’s Body was born. Steenekamp started the business in June, 2008, to help women achieve their fitness goals.
“Some clients are training to compete as figure competitors. Others are young women, grandmothers, women who want to get back in shape after a baby, or women still struggling to get back in shape after a baby they had 20 years ago,” explains Steenekamp.
Photo from Mommy’s Body