5 Inspiring Fit Women to Follow
Meet five inspirational women who've got the fit factor.
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If you’re familiar with Oxygen, you know that five inspiring women are selected to be featured in the print magazine’s Future of Fitness column. Think you have what it takes? Send us your story.
NASM certified trainer
32 • 135 lbs • 5′8″
Layoff Payoff. In 2012, Gina Rose was unexpectedly laid off. She allayed her depression by literally putting one foot in front of the other and going for short runs around her apartment complex. Though she had never been a runner and had never stepped into a gym, she loved the way exercising made her feel. In 2013, Rose started selling gym memberships at a private club, and by 2015, she had completed her first fitness certification.
Podcasting. Because she loved to exercise her body and her mind simultaneously, Rose fell in love with podcasts, and she was inspired to create her own called Why Wellness With Gina Rose, a show that answers the buzzworthy question, What’s your why? through stories told by health and fitness pros. “I had no professional training or experience in hosting or producing a podcast,” Rose says. “But it didn’t matter, as long as listeners could hear messages they could relate to and learn from.”
Rising Star. Rose devotes much of her free time to volunteering. She works with the Living Classrooms Girls’ Empowerment Mission in Baltimore, providing fitness activities for underprivileged high-school girls — anything from teaching functional exercises like squats and push-ups to self-confidence and team-building activities. In 2020, Rose was recognized by the Baltimore Business Journal and was named a Living Classrooms Rising Star recipient, an honor that highlights philanthropists in the community.
43 • 128 lbs • 5′7″
People Pleaser. Nikia Hovey has always been active, and at various times ran track and played volleyball and basketball. She was also a cheerleader in high school and at the University of Virginia. After college, she began coaching high-school and competitive cheerleading — a passion that continues today. But in 2016, she struggled to keep up with various life and career changes — notably, a promotion to principal of a sixth- to 12th-grade charter school. She became anxious, overwhelmed and stressed. She slept horribly, lost weight and even suffered from mild chest pains. But she masked it with a pair of stilettos and a smile.
Bikini Dreams. Hovey’s husband knew his wife was interested in getting back to the gym, and to make sure she actually went, he hired an IFBB Bikini pro athlete to train her. During their sessions, the pro shared the ins and outs of bikini competitions with Hovey, who finally felt like she had found something she wanted to do for herself. She joined a team of physique competitors, dialed in her fitness and nutrition, and competed for the first time in 2018.
Woman on Fire. To date, Hovey has competed in six events, placing top five in five of them. “Being able to do this one thing solely for me has been so motivating,” she says. Her ultimate goal is to win her pro card — and she’s not letting anything get in her way. “I feel like I am always running around like a chicken with its head cut off,” says the schoolteacher, coach, wife and mother of two. But in reality, she has finally mastered the art of balance.
30 • 124 lbs • 5′9″
Charlotte, North Carolina
Athletic Roots. When asked her favorite physical feature, Lindsay Walter answers: “My bald head.” Walter lost her hair at age 2 due to alopecia areata and spent the majority of her childhood masking her hair loss with a wig. After years of teasing, she turned to sports for empowerment and quickly became a well-rounded athlete.
Slam Dunk. In high school, Walter broke countless records playing basketball and went on to play Division II at the University of Minnesota Duluth. But every year, Walter watched the famous Grandma’s Marathon and admired the strength and stamina of the participants. Her senior year, Walter decided to take part. Something clicked during those 26.2 miles along Lake Superior, and Walter knew she wanted to pursue marathon running.
Runnin’ Runnin’. Walter has completed more than 40 marathons and four ultra-marathons, but one race in particular holds significant importance: the 2016 Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon in San Diego. It was Walter’s first bald marathon. “It was a hot, 20-mile run, so I took my wig off midrace and hung it up,” she says. “I haven’t looked back.”
Current Affairs. Currently, Walter is training for a 100-mile ultramarathon. On a weekly basis, she does two back-to-back long runs, three 8- to 10-mile runs, one day of cross-training and takes a couple days of rest. She also always finds a way to incorporate stretching and yoga into her weekly split. “Running has taught me empowerment and has helped me to see how beautiful and strong I am,” Walter says. Follow her journey on social media (IG @lindsayhannah3) and get inspired yourself.
Creator of Box Mania
58 • 140 lbs • 5′7″
Pausing to Reflect. Katrina Shaw began teaching group fitness classes right out of high school. She was always trying new training styles and methods and remained in tiptop shape. But when she entered her late 40s, she began to notice a difference in her body. “I was no longer happy with the results,” she says. After some reflection, Shaw realized she had been in the best shape of her life when she was teaching martial arts.
Kickin’ Class and Taking Names. Shaw began martial arts training three days a week and almost immediately saw the results she desired. She decided to return to teaching the classes herself — and they were packed. “There wasn’t enough room for everyone,” she recalls. “Families, men, women, college athletes … they all loved it.” As positive feedback amounted, Shaw decided to format the workout protocol, named it Box Mania and had it accredited by the Athletics and Fitness Association of America. She began traveling and offering master classes to fitness professionals near and far looking to get certified.
Career Moves. Shaw now has three unique Box Mania fitness formats and has opened a boxing gym in Wetumpka, Alabama. She remains busy training clients online and in person and uses her home gym for her personal workouts. Her physique goals are to remain fit and strong — and to do a cheerleading toe-touch jump at age 60. “I set the goal when I was 25, and I’m still on track at 58!” she says.
Personal trainer, real estate agent
31 • 107 lbs • 5′1″
Long Beach, California
Shadowing Dad. As a child, Stacy Correa aspired to be a model and an actress — she even went to acting school and signed with a modeling agency. But she was extremely petite for her age, so her dad signed her up for the gym. “It was a way to focus on building the body I wanted to feel better about myself,” she says. Correa recalls training frequently with her father and “doing whatever he did.”
Banking on Fitness. Soon, Correa entered the corporate world of banking. During lunch breaks, she’d head over to nearby parks to do yoga, and after work, she’d go to the gym to lift weights. “My co-workers would always tell me I was in the wrong field,” she says. “I was always talking about fitness and encouraging others to get into it.”
Falling Out. In her early 20s, Correa struggled to find her ground. She got into an unhealthy relationship, had difficulty making ends meet, lost a lot of weight and fell into a dark depression. Fortunately, she had the clarity to go back to the thing that gave her structure and self-respect: the gym. “Fitness saved my life,” she says. “I always found my way back to the gym.”
Goals and Achievements. Correa became a certified personal trainer and nutrition specialist, and opened her own online business, StayCFit. She made her dream of competing a reality in 2018 when she did her first NPC bikini show. Since then, she has hit the stage four times and is a two-time national qualifier. In 2021, she hopes to earn her pro card and grow her fitness community.