It was not more than a few months ago that I had the opportunity to first meet and work
with fitness talent Carla Warner who has been making significant advancements into her passions in the fitness industry. Check out the interview below in which she details her journey and how a deal she made with her son got her up on stage and what helped her appear in two commercial photo shoots.
James Patrick: To begin, what inspired you to compete?
Carla Warner: My Children. It stared with a conversation with my 18-year-old last year. He was asking me why he couldn’t just take the GED and get out of high school faster to start the schooling he wanted. He said, “mom I understand how hard it was for you to start the journey in your life so young because I know you had me when you were my age and I know you struggled as a single mother trying to raise 3 children, but in your path you gave up on your dreams and goals.”
I proceeded to tell him I didn’t give up on them I just had to take another path that wasn’t about me; it was about being a mother. I tried to explain that in life there are chapters that we start and we must finish. I have always taught my children there is a balance in life and finishing what you have started keeps that balance going smoothly. If we gave up on things happening in our life because they are hard or to just take the easier route, we would just go in circles and never really get anywhere.
He said he understood the importance of his diploma and wanted to make a deal with me. I was thinking oh no; what deal could he be cooking up to get out of school?! So I listened as he finished saying, that he has watched me give up all that truly made me happy to try to teach us the balance of life young so we don’t live a hard life and he went on too say how passionate I used to be about fitness when he was a young boy and he feels I gave up on my dreams, and if I would compete that he would finish high school. I was shocked!
He went on to say he notices how I follow Pro Athletes online and he sees me looking at their pictures and he’s always wondered why I’ve never tried to compete. This is the one thing I truly love about my son. He is so observant of others and how they feel, he has a good heart.
I told him I felt I was too old now. He said, “come to the computer mom” and he started to pull up pictures of Athletes who were my age, and some who were older, then he said “plus you look younger than them”. Which made me laugh! So to make a long story short, my son’s deal was – if I trained and competed and got on stage, he would finish high school and get his diploma. How could I say no to that?
JP: So what happened next?
CW: I signed up with AZ Pro Physiques November 1st and started training for my first bikini competition on March 23rd 2013. The smile on my son’s face, when I had finally stepped on stage and finished something I had always wanted to do, was such a gift! He kept telling me how proud he was of me. That same smile was on his face again, the day he graduated high school May 29th. At that moment I felt he understood what accomplishment felt like. There is a saying I love, “While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.” My son tough me you are never to0 old to chase your dreams! So here I am at 37 years old and on my way to my second competition on July 19th!
JP: From there you chose to begin to develop a portfolio – can you tell me what got you interested in doing that?
CW: I started to notice, all the Pro Athletes I follow online had professional photos done. After viewing the photos from my first photo shoot, I realized how much work I had really accomplished. Then Lindsay McGaffey, an Athlete I follow who is also a mother, contacted me. She inspired me to continue with my fitness journey, when I thought I was finished. Modeling gave me more confidence, but I didn’t think it could take me anywhere at my age. Kim Miller, from Fit Mom Diet, also inspired me towards fitness modeling and building a portfolio. She taught me, that even at my age, fitness modeling could open more opportunities for a future career. Then I came across the podcast, THE PRO EXPOSURE with Kim Miller, Jason Black and, James Patrick chatting about what makes a successful talent portfolio. I learned what type of photos I needed in my portfolio and how to represent myself in a portfolio. I’m still working on my portfolio as I want it to represent my personality.
JP: Shortly after your first photo shoot you were invited to participate in a commercial campaign. Can you share a little about that experience?
CW: First, I would like to thank Kim Miller for introducing me to experiencing that campaign. I enjoyed everything about it. Starting from meeting others who are as passionate about health and fitness as I am, along with meeting different types of models from all ages. It opened up more opportunities for me to see the different types of modeling jobs out there, besides just fitness modeling. It was nice to see how different the photography was in the commercial campaign. To also see all the work that goes into the advertisements we see in our everyday life. Now I will look at traveling ads differently and restaurant ads in a different light. Knowing how much work goes into them to look just right.
JP: You also recently shot an advertising campaign for a product company. How do you feel these opportunities came about?
CW: Well personally I feel everything has fallen into place for me because I’m doing what I love. The people who I surround myself with, who have the same positive outlook on life also have a big part. My goal is to represent myself in a way that shows others how passionate I am about health and fitness. I feel I showed that when I did the commercial campaign. Kim Miller saw that and felt I’d be a good fit to represent Fitmark Bags, which made me feel so honored and blessed. Blessed is truly the only word that comes to mind with every opportunity that has been happening in my life this year. From fitness, to my good health, competing, to having a relationship, being a mother and step mom.
JP: You’ve mentioned balance. Outside of fitness you’re both a mom and a step mom. How do you balance all that you do?
CW: Balance is the key word in the Warner household, with a total of six children! Once again I have to talk about fitness! I’m a big believer on meditation. I do a lot of Yoga and Hot Yoga which I feel helps me balance my mind and body even my son Aaron is big on Yoga since I introduced him to it. He says it helps him balance his thoughts and life. Lets start by first introducing to you all six of them! My son Aaron is 18 years old and on his way to college to be botanist and out of all my children he has a passion for fitness also. He takes weight training at school and regular yoga classes weekly. My daughter Cami is 16-years-old and just starting to drive this year. She also loves yoga, but she prefers only hot yoga. She wants to be a schoolteacher. My youngest Gavin is 8 years old, full of energy, and loves sports. I have to stay fit to keep up with him the most! My stepdaughter Mikayla is off to Grand Canyon University to be a nurse, in high school Mikayla was a cheerleader for two years and Gymnast for seven years. I’ve never seen anyone flip like that girl can. My stepson Gavin, yes we have two Gavins, is 15-years-old and is in track this freshman year and wants to stay in track all through high school. He’s also in band and working towards getting his driving permit this year. My youngest stepdaughter Olivia is 13-years-old. She just gave a speech this year at her school saying why they should start a soccer program and now they have soccer at her school she also is an animal lover. She volunteers at animal shelters because she wants to be a veterinarian. That’s a total of 5 teenagers in one house and four driving! That being said, I’ve always been asked how I balance it all, but all I can say is I keep going I never really stop. That’s the joke in my house. My oldest son says I’m like a shark, because if a shark stops they die! I think its because I’m a little OCD and ADD that’s why everything runs smoothly. I truly can’t separate fitness and being a mother because fitness is what helps me keep up with them all. As you can tell all the children are pretty active too. I believe that keeps balance their lives also. The children do go back and fourth on some weekends so that helps with time together as a couple. On top of all that I have to make time for my relationship, my husband Chris works as long as 16-hours-a-day so there are times we don’t get to see each other. So he and I plan a get away for just the two of us once a month. Just this weekend we planned an 8-mile hike to Strawberry, Arizona to go see the waterfalls and take a dip, but little did we plan for the 8-mile hike back. We made it through and laughed the whole way saying “if we can handle all of our children, then we can handle this 16 mile hike!” Truthfully Chris and I just have a natural personality to not let the small things get to us, if we did our relationship and family would not survive. I just try to remember all that I am thankful for, and each day is a new day. With new challenges we take them as they come.
JP: Now that you have a few photo shoots under your belt, as well as two commercial projects in your resume – what are you setting your goals and sights on now?
CW: I would love to be on a cover of a fitness magazine to inspire women out there who are wives and mothers like myself, that health and fitness needs to be a big part of our lives. It can make you feel good inside and out, a confidence that everyone should have. As mothers our children learn from us, so we must instill in them the same life style to take with them. If you are healthy you are wealthy. They say a person’s true wealth is the good he or she does in the world. I would love to help people with fitness goals in their lives. My son is encouraging me to go back to school, to become a yoga instructor or a personal trainer, because he thinks I will be that much happier if I’m helping others feel good about their health. For now my goal is to keep competing and try for my Pro Card in Bikini Junior Masters, and if not in Junior Masters than In Masters Level. And most of all to show my children anything is possible if you put your mind to it!