Reaching goals: Y trainer is pro figure athlete

regina lewis waynesboro ymcaRegina Lewis didn’t set out on her fitness journey aiming to be a world champion athlete. In fact, you have to ask the question: when is it that you decide that maybe you’re at a place in your fitness that you think being a pro figure athlete is in the cards?

“Things started to get more serious. I liked what I was seeing,” said Lewis, who entered a fitness competition in 2008, “and knew immediately that that was what I wanted to do.”

Lewis, a personal trainer at the Waynesboro YMCA, is at the top of the fitness world, taking first place in the Pro Figure Tall division at the 2015 World Natural Bodybuilding Federation World Championships. Now in training for the 2017 WNBF World Championships, Lewis got her start toward the goal innocently.

Her husband, Shaun, encouraged her to start a workout regimen, and took to it immediately. As she had her three children, she continued to progress, finding that she “loved the discipline, the structure.”

She signed up for her first amateur meet in 2008, and set herself toward the goal at that stage to earn her pro card, which she did in 2013.

“The important thing to me was, I wanted to do it on my own. I had no coaches, I had no trainers, I had no diet coach. This was all me, so it was a tremendous learning experience. I just keep getting a little better every year. It didn’t happen overnight,” Lewis said.

Along the way, Lewis has earned certifications as an AFAA personal trainer, a USA Weightlifting coach and a sports nutrition specialist who can devise meal plans to help people reach their individual nutrition, fitness and competition goals.

Her approach to training clients is built around the individual.

“Each person is completely different. It just depends on that person, what their goals are, what their capabilities are, physically, mentally, emotionally. Each person that I train, I teach differently, because not one person is the same as the next,” Lewis said. “It’s a learning and teaching experience for me as well. And I tell my clients that from my own experience, it’s not going to happen overnight. It’s something you have to commit to and have to want. And staying consistent will get you to that goal.”

Lewis’ own experience as a self-taught worldchampion pro athlete definitely gets the attention of clients.

“I didn’t play sports in high school. It wasn’t until I discovered this as an adult that I found the need to have something with the structure and the discipline that this requires,” Lewis said. “Just like my personal training clients, I have goals that I want to reach. This gives me goals. It keeps me going. And not only does it motivate me, but I can use it to help motivate others. And I think with the people that I work with, they look at my story, and they say, Wow, she did it on her own, so maybe I can, too.”

Waynesboro YMCA executive director Jeff Fife is “thrilled” to have Lewis on the personal training team at the Y.

“We’ve known Regina and her family for quite some time,” Fife said. “They grew up down the street. Her kids are active in the Y and in our programming. Her husband was active in the Y, as was Regina. So every now and then, I’d throw out a little, Hey, Regina, why not come down here and help people meet their fitness goals under the Y umbrella? It just so happened that the timing worked out here recently where we were able to bring her under the Y umbrella, and we’re thrilled to have her time, talent and energy here. It’s great to have her home.”

Story by Chris Graham