Set standards, not limits.

At 42 I’m competing with individuals half my age and I’m winning. Set standards, not limits.

I evolve every day. I embrace change and welcome new challenges. I try to live each day to my fullest potential, while keeping life simple. The only thing that never really changes for me, is the love that I have for my family and friends. I am currently working on expanding  as a personal trainer and online coach. I am developing  a corporate wellness program and I am very committed to my clients. I have two clients scheduled to compete as Fitness Models next Spring, and that will be a wonderful addition to my portfolio.

My mother was health conscious and she encouraged my brother and I to stay active and eat well.  At an early age, I had good, healthy habits instilled in me. I was a track athlete in High school, and I excelled at sprinting and long jump. I started working out in a gym when I was eighteen years old. A year later, I decided to make health and fitness a career.  I have now been in the Fitness industry for over 20 yrs and I love what I do. As a Personal Trainer, Pro UFE Figure Athlete and Fitness model, my main goal is to inspire, motivate and educate. I love that I help others become healthy and feel better about themselves. Fitness is all I have ever known, and I believe that it keeps me young,  mentally and physically. If you feel good; if you are healthy; you feel timeless. This may sound a little over the top but it’s true. I am 42 and I honestly forget how old I am until someone actually asks my age. Fitness brings energy, strength, better moods and greater self-esteem, this alone makes you feel younger and vibrant.

Carmen on stage, doing what she loves. Follow your passion.

For the longest time staying fit was important not only to feel better but to look better. As a woman it’s empowering to be healthy, fit and strong. Since the recent passing of my father, this is now where I channel my energy. I just did a fitness competition after taking a four-year break and I came back to win 1st place in the figure category and 4th place as Fitness Model. I am now a Pro UFE figure Athlete and owe this to putting all my energy into something positive and giving it my all. I choose to focus on something good for myself which has helped me through the hard times. My dad passed away before he had grandchildren, before he could walk his daughter down the aisle. He didn’t take care of himself. I want to have children and grandchildren. I want to enjoy them. I never want to miss out on what motivates me.

My family and friends are an amazing support system. During competition prep,  they have my back. At family events, they make me something that I can eat. They encourage me and never question why I go through it all. They tell me all the time how proud they are of me, even though they may not understand fully why I go so hard.  It warms my heart. Even though I appear to have things under control, I still struggle with eating. I enjoy eating food. Also when I first started out I had a fear of stepping on stage to compete. I practiced endlessly. I learned as much as I could from others. I am now so comfortable on stage, that I could stay on there forever.  Fitness is growth, it’s never easy. Taking 1st place in open and masters figure has taken me 5 competitions to accomplish.  Another great accomplishment for me is placing 4th in open Fitness model. At 42 I’m competing with people half my age, and winning. That’s not too shabby!

My workout routine varies, but I lift (weight train) 3- 4 days a week depending on the phase of training I am in. I do Energy systems training (tabatas) right after each weight training workout. On my days off, I will do HIIT for 20 – 30 mins. That could be sprints, stepmill, rower etc. My supplements are L-carnitine, magnesium, fish oil, coconut oil, green tea extract and when I’m competing I take a post workout supplement. What I consume daily also varies with my program, be it maintaining or competing. When I am maintaining, I have a carb meal in morning, usually do quinoa flakes or steel-cut oats with eggs. Lunch will be lean protein or fish, asparagus or green beans and berries. Dinner is mostly fish with mixed greens. Snacks are protein and veggies with cashews or almonds or coconut milk and some berries or grapefruit.

Now that I have attained the Pro Figure and Elite Fitness Model titles, I aspire to participate in  the Pro and Elite North American Championships being held on November 10th. Wish me luck!! I would love to take home the Pro Fitness Model title. I would also like to compete in the Tri-fit challenge that’s held in Tampa, Florida. This is more of an athletic challenge (obstacle course and fitness skills) plus physique and beauty! Definitely a challenge that I will enjoy training for!

Are you still procrastinating? You have to start somewhere. I remember the very first fitness class that I joined, I thought I was going to pass out. I couldn`t even get through 15 mins. It was awful. A year later I was teaching classes as the company’s top instructor and in great shape! Why not start today? We all start at the bottom. Just remember that every workout you do, every healthy meal you eat and every positive thought you have, can get you to where I am! Once you get going and you see results you will become self-motivated. You will wonder why you ever doubted yourself. Find inspiration in others, take advice and aim for consistency and results will be inevitable! Never try to look or be like someone else, just aim to be a better you. We are all different and require different things to get us to our ultimate fitness goals. Stay positive, be consistent and most of all never give up!

Live to inspire, and be inspired to live.

Website: Blog:

Twitter: @carmenfitness & @wordsonfitness

Instagram: @carmenfitness


  1. Adrian Griffith (@adriang1960) says:

    Awesome. Great story. Very motivating. “Set standards, not limits” … #BOOM

  2. […] Nothing Can Stop Me – Carmen Shawn McDonald ( […]

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