I grew up in eastern Pennsylvania, just outside of Philadelphia. I come from an athletic and active Italian/Eastern European family. None of us ever really had to “workout” or go to the gym to stay in shape. We were all blessed with a fast metabolism and stayed skinny just through our activities, despite all the pasta and pirogues. I grew up playing softball and hockey, and playing at a recreational level as an adult, coupled with a few spin classes here and there, seemed to be enough to keep me in relatively good shape.
I’ve always been focused on my career and when I moved to Orange County in 2012 for a promotion into management, that focus only deepened. I wanted to be the best manager I could be and was determined to be successful. I literally threw myself into my work, spending all my time working, eating out almost every night, sleeping a total of five hours a night (on good nights) and drinking too much wine and coffee to compensate for the stress and long days. It didn’t take long for me to gain weight and begin having some serious health issues. I knew it was time to make a change and get back in shape. I joined the gym and scheduled the complimentary health assessment with a trainer. That’s when I met Joyce and my life changed forever!
For Michael it is a lifestyle, of living and giving.
Michael Bland, professional body builder for many years, and
physique champion, continues to push his body to its peak physical condition. He and his wife, Joyce,also an awarded competitor, help others meet their personal objectives through safe, consistent diet and all-natural supplements, cutting edge treatments, exercise and sheer perseverance.
I am a mother of two wonderful children, a wife to an incredible man, and a Human Resources Professional for more than 20 years. I have an MBA from Chapman University and a PHR from Society for Human Resource Management. I have been very blessed to live in Southern California all my life and have taken advantage of all it has to offer; from many beach sports to mountain sports; from skydiving to scuba diving; I have always been an active person. As I have aged, my activities and interests have changed but one activity remains – weight lifting. I have been lifting weights since middle school. Over the years I would create my own work out routine or follow them from magazines, hire personal trainers, and then go back to working out solo. I looked good and felt good but for as much as I worked out – I should have felt and looked GREAT! It wasn’t until I met Joyce and Mike Bland (BIG Group Fitness) did I know what looking and feeling GREAT was like. Joyce and Mike were able to envision what “GREAT” would look like on me. They had a clear vision of a healthy and beautifully sculpted body; one I could never see. They were convinced that I could take this now 48 year old body and make it look and feel younger than it has in years. They were right! Through their hands on guidance, physical and nutritional expertise, and the incredible motivation of the TEAM environment, I was able to chisel away all my fears while sculpting my body and do the unthinkable – compete in one of the largest Figure Competitions in the United States wearing a bikini in front of hundreds of spectators and feeling and looking GREAT! If it wasn’t for BIG Group Fitness I would have remained a Jack of All Trades but now I can say I am a Master of One - ME! Why settle for good – when you deserve GREAT! Go BIG!!
48 years young
Big Group Fitness blog is coming soon, meanwhile enjoy these beautiful Team extreme.body-building before and afters
After six months of working out with Joyce and following a clean eating plan, my clothes were fitting better, I had more energy at work and I was noticeably stronger and faster on the hockey rink. Joyce knew how to push me during each workout, allowing me to dig deep and rediscover my inner athlete. During one of our workouts, Joyce asked me about my long term fitness goals. That’s when I decided to train for the fitness contest, stepping up my training and diet. The BIG Group geniuses, Joyce and Mike, have helped me realize that I could be and do so much more than I ever dreamed possible. Over a year from when I met Joyce, training and eating clean are now as much a part of my life as breathing…..and I LOVE it!
Training with the BIG Group has been about so much more than working out to look good. While I will admit that looking good is a definite bonus, for me, it’s been about setting and exceeding goals, pushing myself beyond self-imposed limits, being stronger and feeling healthier than I have ever been while continuing to make myself and my health a priority. I’ve realized that I’m a better manager, co-worker, and friend now that I have allowed myself to make me a priority.
As I continue to train, two pieces of advice stay with me. From my Dad…..”Work hard and good things will happen.” And from a dear friend….”It’s not about training to win, it’s about training to be the best you can be”…..I never want to look back and think that there was something more I could have done to accomplish my goals, physical, emotional and mental. I will never go back to the overweight and unhealthy version of myself. I will only continue to get better and stronger and I’m so blessed to have the BIG Group to support, advise, and challenge me along the way, they are my trainers, my family and my friends and I cannot thank them enough for all they’ve done for me.
• Grew up in Coopersburg, PA
• Live in San Clemente, CA
• Graduated from The Pennsylvania State University with a BS in Marketing and International Business and a Spanish minor
• Works as a District Sales Manager for a large pharmaceutical company
• Love taking my dog for long walks
• Play ball hockey as much as possible and trying out for the USA Women’s team
Currently taking applications for boyfriends ;)
’Life is a journey, not a destination. Enjoy the journey, not only for what you make of it, but more importantly, for what it makes of YOU.’
I grew up in Colorado north of Boulder and even though I lived in one of the healthiest states in the country, I didn’t start out my fitness journey like most. I wasn’t active in sports as a kid, other than a year of cheerleading in junior high. My family was big on watching bodybuilding and knew all of the big names of the time: Bev Francis, Bob Paris, Cory Everson, Rachel McLish – I always wondered what it would be like to be ‘like’ them, and even though it had always been a dream of mine to compete, I didn’t think it was possible for someone like me. I figured you had to devote your entire life to get in that kind of shape and I had to work to live.
Fast forward 10 years to my early 20’s and I developed a love for Boxing. I found a hole in the wall boxing gym in Boulder when I was going to the University of Colorado and when I met the trainer, who was exactly what you would expect (and hope for) from a boxing trainer; from the sweats under his shorts, to the New Jersey accent, I knew he was the guy to teach me how to box. And boy did he teach me! I learned a lot
Dr approved meal plans
during the short time that I trained with him, like I have a mean left hook, and how boxing truly is the ‘sweet science’. Being a broke college student, my training didn’t last long with him, but I learned the foundation of boxing that I have carried with me to this day. Once I started working, I joined a Tae Kwon Do gym that taught Body Pump and Tao Bo and loved both of those classes. I was always thin, but it was the first time in my life that I actually felt what it I thought it was like to feel and be athletic. I continued working out at that gym until I moved to San Diego in April 2002.
Shortly after moving to San Diego, I joined Bally’s and one day while I was driving to the gym, I noticed a boxing gym and I stopped in. This was the first time that I was introduced to Muay Thai and I was hooked (no pun intended J). I began training with a World Champion Muay Thai Master, Kru Mark or Master Mark and loved every minute of it. At that point in my life, I was in the best shape of my life and I felt amazing! I trained for over 2 years with the Master Mark and I loved the feeling of being fit and healthy and STRONG! There is something so satisfying and cathartic about hitting or kicking a 150lb heavy bag or going 4 rounds in the ring with the trainer that makes a girl feel powerful.
I had stopped working out consistently for a few years when I moved to Hawaii and then back to California. I did discover Kettlebells in this time and enjoyed it, but I get bored very easily, especially when I don’t see results. It wasn’t until I was introduced to Joyce and Mike that I finally realized my dreams of competing and truly getting in to the best shape of my life. The journey that I have been on both mentally and physically has been the most exciting, scary, torturous, and exhilarating journey of my life. I have pushed myself and been pushed farther that I ever thought possible. It is truly a life altering experience and one that I wouldn’t trade for anything. There are mornings that I don’t want to get up and go to the gym, but I know that the team is there and I get out of bed. Since I don’t have family in California, my teammates have become my family, especially Joyce and Mike. I feel so fortunate to have them as my coaches and friends and am so grateful to have them in my life. For anyone that has ever wanted to compete or train like you are going to compete, get a trainer that knows what they are doing and that has your best interest at heart. They will take your mind and body to places you never thought possible. Trust the process and be good to yourself.
My first show was December 14, 2013, however, this was not a destination, this was another milestone in my journey…
and my journey continues….
Complete health and