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Stephanie Toomey’s life hasn’t been easy, but nothing worthwhile is. Get inspired by her love of fitness and no-nonsense attitude toward becoming the best woman and mother she can be.
Some people get through life relatively unscathed. Yes, they may have to deal with short bouts of loss, heartbreak, or pain, but those are normal life circumstances. Stephanie Toomey is not one of those people. She’s been through tragedy, and she’s overcome every obstacle. She leads a fit life because she’s driven to lead her best life.
Although Stephanie has dealt with more in her 29 years than most people would in four lifetimes, she hasn’t given up or backed down. Instead, she’s become a survivor. She’s become a woman who will stop at nothing to live fit, train to the limit, and create a great life for herself and her son. Stephanie is an inspiration; this is her full fitness story.
As an elite high school softball player, Stephanie had the opportunity to play at a Division-I college. However, during her senior year of high school, Stephanie’s mother was admitted to in-patient therapy for cancer, and Stephanie put her dreams of college ball on hold.
She enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and remained on active duty for eight and a half years. During her time in the USMC, Stephanie was deployed three times, played on the All-Marine and All-Armed Forces softball teams, and began a weight training routine that sparked her journey into fitness.
“I wanted to challenge my body with weightlifting,” Toomey says. “So, before I was deployed, I bought Arnold’s Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding. I had all my c-bags, my pack, and my rifles slung ready to manifest on the airplane. In my hand, I had Arnold’s book.”
To learn how to isolate muscles and do the actual lifts, Stephanie read and learned. “I had no clue how to train, and we had limited equipment. I got a barbell, two [45-pound] plates, and two 25-pound plates. I had to be creative. I did reverse hyperextensions off a Humvee, and I did a lot of pull-ups. I came back from [my first tour] pretty strong.”
When she was 21 years old, Stephanie learned that her mother was admitted to a hospice. “I went to see her, and she sat me down, and she told me that she was going to die. Three months later, she died in my arms.” One year later, Stephanie found out she was pregnant. “I felt my life was over. I didn’t tell anybody. I continued to do all my duties as a Marine.”
Five months later, her son’s biological father showed up and told her he wanted to be a family. He moved in, but Stephanie paid all the bills. “One night he came in the middle of the night, choked me, poured hot coffee over my head, and said, ‘I don’t ever want you to ask me what I’ve been doing or where I’ve been. I’ll come here when I want.'” From that day, Stephanie says she was “living in hell.”
She spent her pregnancy afraid and detached from impending motherhood. When her water broke in her third trimester, she called her son’s father. He said, “I’m not a doctor. Go to the hospital.” So, she drove herself to the hospital. “I really didn’t have anybody to tell; I gave birth alone,” Stephanie says.
“I promised my son that, no matter what, I’d do whatever I could to give him an opportunity,” she says. “I wanted him to be able to do whatever he wanted in his life. It took me having my son and seeing him to realize that I’m not just responsible for my own health or reputation. It was all about him.”
Motivation and Inspiration ///
“When I was in the Marine Corps, I sat in a class taught by a crusty sergeant who told us that motivation is the worst word. He said, ‘[Motivation] is like a shot. You take it, and you run around happy, and then it’s worn off. After it’s gone, you’re worse than you were before, or you have a really bad hangover.’ I thought he was just running his mouth, but then he came back with: ‘Instead, look for something that inspires you.'”
Stephanie became someone who inspires. She hopes people won’t see her stage-ready photos and assume they can’t do it. “Everyone has a story,” she says. “Life’s hard. If I can be an inspirational voice or tool, then I want to use that. I don’t want it to go unnoticed.”