Meet Danielle G., a stuntwoman and mama-bear who wasn’t always the strong superwoman she is today. In college, Danielle weighed well over 200 lbs., wore size 18 pants, and felt uncomfortable in her own skin. Wanting to make a change, she started training at a local gym but a move to a new area brought with it limited access to the gym she was attending. As a result, her training started to slack, there was a decrease in motivation and subsequently, she began regaining the weight she had lost. A friend and mentor of Danielle introduced her to LA Fitness and encouraged her to continue with her training. Danielle credits the wide range of LA Fitness gym locations for making it possible for her to continue training again. With training once again underway, Danielle set a goal for herself to compete in her first ever NPC (National Physique Committee) Figure Competition. When the big day finally arrived, she recalls being in the best shape of her life.
“With the open environment, friendly gym goers (some of which I call friends now), I continued to see improvements in myself and was planning on competing again, but then I was given the blessings of being a mom (well, stunt mom).”
Even once pregnant, that didn’t stop Danielle from continuing her training at LA Fitness. She combines weightlifting and cardio and pulls ideas from the LA Fitness Living Healthy blog on nutrition to help her better balance her diet at the same time. Many of Danielle’s friends at her home gym are impressed with her continued dedication. She plans to stay a healthy mom and to continue her training to become a better and stronger stuntwoman. She is a firm believer that if there is a will there is a way. While she is now a mom, she believes that it is possible to find a balance between family and yourself. Danielle hopes to one day get back on stage for her second NPC figure competition.
“Don’t let excuses get in the way of what you want. Whether single or a mom, make sure to take time to take care of your health because if there is no you then the family will suffer.”
Typical Gym Routine –
My typical gym routine is basically working to separate muscle groups (i.e., legs and arms, biceps and back, etc.) for about an hour, followed with 30-45 min of cardio, and some days strict cardio only. Always mixing it up to keep the body aware.
In the very beginning (college days), I would eat whatever was in front of me. Originally obtaining my degree in medicine meant a lot of stress dealing with early to late night classes, lab time and exams. So, I did a lot of emotional/stress eating, such as eating fried foods, high carbs, sugars, you name it. When I was prepping for my competition and my career as a stuntwoman, I was on a stricter diet. I was on a high protein low carb diet eating about 1,675 calories per day and drinking a gallon of water per day as well. I focused primarily on making sure I was meeting my macro count per day. Eventually, I was seeing about 0.5-1 lb. of weight loss per week. Occasionally there were times I plateaued, but with encouragement, the weight continued to drop. I had to keep reminding myself it took me time to get to being overweight, so it’s going to take time to get it off.
Changing Lifestyle –
In all honesty, I wasn’t happy with who I was with the amount of weight I was carrying. I didn’t feel attractive at all. And in complete honesty, it took one guy, when I was in college, who was the first to tell me he loved me. That made me think: how could he love me when I didn’t love myself?! Talk about a wakeup call. I gave myself a hard look at myself, being over 200lbs and asthmatic where the outside world literally was my enemy. I knew I had to make a change. So that initially started me on my journey to redevelop myself into the person I wanted to be. I focused on finding a balance between school and going to the gym with diet, and slowly started to see the changes that I didn’t think could happen for me.
I don’t care if you are an average person or the fittest person in the world – there are always setbacks. And it’s really just finding that push/dedication to overcome it and not make bland excuses. For me, it wasn’t just being overweight; being asthmatic also was a huge setback for me. How did I overcome it? I just listened more to my body and the orders of my doctor. I figured by doing that, it would mean a faster way for me to get back into the gym and continue training.
Active Lifestyle & Career –
Fitness plays a huge role for me as a stuntwoman. You must not be just mentally strong, but physically strong and flexible as well. If I was going into my career being overweight as I was, that would have made it difficult, if not impossible. The physical aspects of the job are so demanding that being overweight will not just tire you out faster, but it would also be so much harder on the joints, increasing chances of injury. So, striving to be not skinny but fit is imperative. Fitness is also important especially for stuntwomen in the fact that the clothes and pads we have to wear on set are sometimes minimal compared to our male counterparts. So the added weight, in addition to pads and clothes when you are doubling for the actress can be a big thing.