Jenn Bardarson Photography
Local Tammy Mack, a self-proclaimed fitness junkie, is on a quest to earn the Ms. Health & Fitness title.
Ms. Health & Fitness is the world’s largest online fitness competition according to their website, based in the USA and accessible to most countries around the world.
Mack worked her way into the fourth place spot of her group in online voting as of this past week, part of a journey that she hopes will end in August with a win.
A friend tagged Mack in a Facebook ad for the competition before she sent in her name with photos and a description of her fit lifestyle.
“I’ve had a lot of fun, interacting with people on Facebook and seeing the support I get from people who I know, people who I haven’t talked to or seen for years, or people who I don’t even know has been remarkable,” she said.
“Seeing how people collectively support someone through a big goal like this has been so heartwarming and shocking.”
Fitness has been part of Mack’s life from the get-go; she danced, played ringette, ran cross-country, and did kickboxing as she grew up.
“I got into training after high school, once I moved to the city and my brother is actually who got me into it because he was an avid fitness gym-goer,” she said.
Mack loved weight-lifting, and over the years this has remained a constant part of her fitness regimen.
“Through my most difficult chapters in life, living with anxiety and suffering from depression, being a new mom and step-mom, fitness has helped me build confidence, stay energized, set goals, and form genuine connections with like-minded people,” she stated on her Ms. Health & Fitness profile.
Mack trains four to five times per week and runs anywhere from two to four times per week.
Her schedule increased at the beginning of this year but she has worked at this same pace in the past, always maintaining a weekly regimen.
“The healthiest way to live for me is to do what makes me happy, to exercise, to eat healthy, to spend time with people, to laugh as much as you can, kind of lead with love,” she said.
Mack often works out with friends or in her home gym and said one of the biggest things that keeps her going is surrounding herself with people who are living the same lifestyle.
With an active family who hike, bike, and dirt bike, it makes being active easier for Mack.
“I would suggest people to start out by surrounding themselves with other people who are living the same life and make it fun. Be in the energy you want to be, that you want to create for yourself,” she said.
Mack suggested that the best way to start living an active lifestyle is by taking small steps, asking for support, and focusing on changing one thing at a time.
“The whole idea for me is to show that when you put your mind to something you can achieve anything. To own your worth, and know you’re worth it, and that you can do anything you put your mind to,” she said.
Living the healthiest lifestyle possible and continuing to work harder are Mack’s biggest goals in her fitness journey. When it comes to nutrition, Mack believes everything is best in moderation and basing intake on whole foods.
“You can’t put water in your vehicle because it will die, if you continue to pump your body with things it’s not naturally designed to digest then it will start to break down and stop working. So everything in moderation, but having said that, you want to make sure you are eating what you are biologically designed to digest,” she said.
The winner of the competition takes home $20,000 and will be featured in a two-page spread of the muscle and fitness hers magazine.
Throughout the competition, money is also raised for Homes for Wounded Warriors, a charitable organization that builds and remodels handicap accessible homes for United States military veterans.
“You can raise money for the foundation through purchasing votes. A portion of the votes goes to the wounded warriors foundation,” Mack said.
The competition is currently in the group stage, which will continue until one winner is chosen from each of the 120 different groups of women. Mack will be safe in fourth place until the final week of group rounds, starting on July 24. Group rounds come to an end on July 31 at which point she will have to be in first place of her group to continue to the semi-finals.
The winner of each group will go on to the semi-final round and the final round, which closes on Aug. 21. Women who place second in the group stage do have one shot at advancing to the semi-final round through a wildcard round. To vote for Tammy Mack head to mshealthandfitness.com and search Tammy Mack in the top bar.
People get one free vote per day for her on the website, or more through donations.