Natchez native discovers motivation in inspiration
Published 12:02 am Sunday, October 12, 2014
The thought of inspiring others to get healthy was the ultimate motivational factor for Crystal Robinson to participate in a nationwide fitness and health competition.
And the Natchez native did just that not only by winning the competition and a $10,000 reward, but also by motivating her friends, family and coworkers to begin exercising and eating healthy.
“The whole $10,000 is great, obviously, but for me it was more about getting myself healthy and then showing other people how easy and beneficial it really is,” Robinson said. “I had so many people come up to me after all this and say, ‘I saw the transformation you made and it’s inspiring me to live a healthier life.’
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“And for me, that’s what it’s all about.”
Robinson, who now lives in Slidell, La., was born and raised in Natchez and always viewed herself as an active person.
She played varsity basketball all four years at Natchez High School and even ran track during her middle school years.
But it was during her time in high school that Robinson said she began taking an interest in weight lifting, mainly because the lack of female representation on the school’s team.
“I honestly just wanted to see if I could do it, and I felt like I would be strong if I could lift all those weights,” Robinson said. “After I found out I could, my objective sort of became just to beat all the guys in lifting weights.”
Robinson eventually did just that and worked her way to becoming the first female power lifter to compete in the MHSAA in the State of Mississippi in 2003 for NHS.
After graduation, Robinson switched her focus to academics and left sports and weight lifting on the side.
“For me, academics was always No. 1 and athletics was just sort of the other part,” Robinson said. “I always sort of viewed myself as the scholar athlete, who was good at some sports but always the ones that put academics first.”
Robinson got a job offer at Stennis Space Center while she was still in college and moved to Slidell to start her life there with her husband.
Several years and a two-year-old daughter later, Robinson said she began feeling the impact of a lack of a healthy lifestyle.
“Honestly, I just realized I was totally out of shape,” Robinson said, laughing. “It just got so hard with my daughter and work and everything to find the time.”
But those excuses soon vanished after Robinson attended a convention in Atlantic City for 5Linx, a company that offers people the opportunity to sell and promote wellness products and services.
“One of the company’s leaders came out and started telling her story about how she had four kids and still managed to find the time to get in shape,” Robinson said. “I realized we were pretty much in the same spot, so at that point I said, “If she’s just had all these kids and can do it, there’s no excuse for me.’”
Robinson signed up for the Hi5 Challenge through 5Linx, which encourages people to pair their products with a strict workout regimen and healthy eating habits for 55 days.
Robinson took a “before photo” to kick start her challenge and began hitting the gym, just like her days at NHS.
“It was tough at first, but the more I did it the more I felt like I was back in high school and felt good,” she said. “I started enjoying every minute of it.”
A drive for Robinson to keep pushing the extra mile in the gym was listening to motivational speakers during her workouts.
“If you think about it, that’s how athletes make it because they always have a coach there to push them and push them,” Robinson said. “I basically put those headphones in my ear and have my coach there inspiring me to keep going.”
At the end of the 55-day program, Robinson had lost 10 pounds, but had also built and toned significant muscle mass, which she said was her goal all along.
Just days after submitting her “after photo” to end the program, Robinson got a call saying she was in the top five in the competition and received an invitation to attend a convention in Las Vegas where the winner would be announced.
Robinson traveled to Las Vegas Sept. 26 with no butterflies in her stomach.
“Honestly, I wasn’t thinking about any of that because I knew I had done what I set out to do,” Robinson said. “I started the goal with a challenge, and I met that challenge.”
And even though she didn’t go into the competition looking to win the top prize, Robinson was announced as the first place winner of the competition and various prizes including $10,000 cash, a professional photo shoot, a free trip to Cancun and free wellness products.
More than 15,000 people entered the challenge and nearly 6,000 completed the challenge.
Robinson said she was thrilled to win the top prize at the competition, but was more excited to have impacted those around to her to live a healthy lifestyle.
“My mom, my dad, my sisters, my husband — everyone has started exercising and eating right and saying it’s because of what I did,” Robinson said. “That was definitely the best part of all of this.”