Michelle Farnsworth

Years ago, fitness professional Cindy Whitmarsh says she was the perfect example that "one can workout every day -- and very intensely -- but with improper nutrition never see results." Born and raised in North Dakota, Whitmarsh created "Ultrafit Nutrition Systems" to help others incorporate nutrition and fitness in order to get results.

Q: Tell us how you got involved in the fitness industry.

A: My degree is in Corporate and Community Fitness and Nutrition. I made the move to San Diego in 1994, at which point I unhappily weighed 160 pounds. On my frame, it was disastrous. I might have been a personal trainer and fitness instructor with a lot of energy and outgoing personality, but I didn't have the body to match. The shape I was in made it increasingly difficult to get clients, as my body wasn't one to be admired or envied. In fact, this brings me to the day that changed my life. It was the day that I decided I needed to make a radical change.

I had managed to build up a pretty solid client base. I was extremely busy, but I was still depressed about the way I represented myself. On this specific day, I overheard a new member requesting information on personal training at the front desk. I was tempted to approach her and introduce myself, until I heard her say," I want to meet with a trainer, but not that fat girl trainer you have." It was like the air had been knocked right out of me. At that moment, I came out of the deep abyss of denial and realized that I wasn't the only one who noticed my weight issue.

That was the first turning point. I went home and devoted myself to designing a plan that would turn things around, and I knew it would require a total lifestyle change. It required going cold turkey on sugar, diet soda, caffeine and alcohol, which until this point, I thought would be absolutely impossible. What I ultimately developed was my Ultrafit Program. I devoted myself to the Ultrafit Program for five months, and I lost the 40 pounds safely and effectively.

Q: How did you break through to achieve recognition in such a competitive environment?

A: I always knew I would do something in the fitness industry. (I) grew up participating in sports, personal training and teaching fitness classes in college and my degree in fitness/nutrition was the beginning. When I moved to California by myself I was determined to make it on my own. I didn't want any help from anyone -- to prove to my family and myself that small town girl from North Dakota could make it in this crazy fitness industry.

I feel like the reason I have become successful in fitness is because of my work ethic, energy, positive attitude and never burning bridges. You get the first impression and your reputation is your everlasting impression.

The other thing I did was become involved in as many fitness and nutrition avenues possible. I was a personal trainer, fitness instructor, spin instructor, nutrition consultant, health club manager and City of Hope volunteer for many years. Getting your name and reputation out there in a positive light is the best way to become successful.

After paying my dues in the industry for years, I started my own consulting business called "Ultrafit Nutrition Systems" and ran it successfully for over ten years. Then, I began staring in fitness videos, infomercials, fitness shows and commercials on the Style network, Exercise TV Star and (became) author of two fitness books and cookbooks.

Q: Your website shows a broad range of health fitness programs that you offer to clients. What do you think is the most important for someone looking to begin a fitness routine?

A: It can get confusing to try and decide what the first step is. I believe you have to first decide what your goals are. I also believe you need to do both fitness and nutrition together to become successful in your fitness goals.

Diet is 70 percent of how your body looks and feels, and fitness is 30 percent, but you need both to be successful.

I offer a free diet plan on my website www.cindywhitmarshfitness.com called "Loose the last 10 pound challenge" that offers free menu plans, recipes, nutrition and fitness tips, workouts and more. It's a great place to start. Then I would recommend taking an essential oil every day. I have one called "UltraOmega Oil." This is a blend of Omega 3, 6, 9 fatty acids that helps to regulate your blood sugar and hormones so you won't crave sugar. It will help you lose weight, boost your immune system, help with any digestive issues and improve the appearance of your skin, nails and hair. Then everyone needs to drink more water.

Q: After 17 years in the health and fitness industry, what is your greatest achievement?

A: My greatest achievement in my life is my three children and my husband, Mark Sweeney. Jaden is 12, Kendall is 9 and new baby Gavin is 1. They are the most amazing little humans and by far my greatest achievement. We have been through tragedy and a great loss in our lives with my late husband, and the girls' daddy, Mike Whitmarsh, who passed years ago. We all know that life is too short and we need to live every day to the fullest.

Q: What piece of advice can you give to women who are battling the cycle of gaining weight, losing weight and starting again?

A: I have been there. I know how it feels to be over weight, depressed about how my body looked and embarrassed that I was not practicing what I preached. Forgive yourself for your faults and make a big change in your life for the better and never look back. I do think you need to do something completely different than what you have tried before. You deserve to be fit and healthy, and your family will only benefit from your new healthy lifestyle.

Michelle Farnsworth loves travel, writing, photography, daily devotions, gardening, making jewelry and finding old treasures. Her greatest accomplishment is her two sons, who bring life, love and laughter to her each day.