By: Liz Lang
Sometimes, you just gotta' have your cheat meal. And we bet you'll never guess that Rise Bar's next High Riser, Lauren Baker, loves to chow down on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, sushi, or Thai food (or all of the above on one plate) after bikini competitions! No way, right? Lauren was raised in Upland, CA by her single mother and biggest supporter even to this day. These days Lauren's a middle school dance teacher during the weekdays, and a Crossfit and bikini competitor when not in the classroom. Since she's a dance teacher, she even gets to plan her WOD (Workout Of the Day) into her class routines for her kids! Lauren began dancing at three years old and has danced on and off her whole life, but got into fitness about five years ago.
Putting on weight had disabled her body's ability to dance how she had been trained growing up. When Lauren finally had enough, she decided to hire a trainer with a friend, and for the following six months went through her lifestyle transformation. She says, "It was never my intention to compete in a bikini competition, but as I neared my goal weight my trainer encouraged me to try it out. I gave it a shot because I had worked so hard, felt good about myself and I wanted to do something to look back on with pride for all my hard work. After the natural high from that accomplishment, I fell in love with everything fitness related." She hasn't had a trainer in over two years, but from her past training experience she had gained the knowledge base to achieve a healthy lifestyle, which comes as second nature now.
A friend had just mentioned Crossfit to Lauren, it immediately sparked interest, and she's been Crossfitting for about a year now. Lauren loves the competition aspect because, "Crossfit pushes me not only physically, but mentally as well, and I get to see results every day," she told Rise Bar. One of the things she loves most about competing bikini, and now Crossfit, is the opportunity to prove to herself that she is strong, fit, disciplined, goal oriented and healthy. Lauren told us, "One of the VERY BEST perks is meeting so many like-minded people. I love to talk and meet new people so being in such a huge fitness community where I can crossover and speak to each element of fitness."
Not many can say they placed the first time they went to compete bikini, but Lauren can! It came unexpected to say the least, and it was definitely a proud moment for her. While Crossfitting she's most proud of not one particular moment, but the fact that her personality shows while she's competing. "I usually have people tell me that I am always smiling and look like I'm having a good time. Sometimes people joke that I'm not working out hard enough, because I'm always smiling during the WOD. But, I like that people know I'm having fun."
Though both bikini and Crossfit competing seem to go hand in hand, Lauren calls them "two very different animals. When training for a bikini competition, you eat and train to look a certain way. But for Crossfit, you eat and train to perform a certain way. Self control and discipline, and dedication to your goals are a necessity. You have to LOVE what you do or else it won't be fun. At times it can be a love/hate relationship, but definitely well worth the investment!"
Lauren's not all fun and games though, this year she is aspiring to compete in Crossfit at a Division 2 Level; she says, "If I ever master muscle ups consistently, maybe Division 1." Lauren found transitioning to Crossfit from bikini challenging because it meant eating a "Paleo diet." The Rise family was glad to hear that she was ecstatic to have discovered Rise Bars since they contain so few, healthy ingredients. "The flavors are a delicious bonus! They make me feel like I'm eating cheat food without cheating and minus the guilt."