Stacy Wig traveled to Texas during the weekend before Thanksgiving, and she wasn't taking a sightseeing tour in the Lone State - she was the sight to see.
The coach from Haydens International Gymnastics Academy earned a prestigious title by winning her division at the 2002 Bodyonics Pinnacle National Fitness Committee National Fitness Championships.
Wig won the short-division NFC Fitness crown at the Dallas Convention Center, although at this time last year she couldn't do a single push-up.
There were extenuating circumstances - during a training session, Wig suffered a broken neck on Sept. 20, 2001.
After taking up the fitness sport in 1999, the former competitive gymnast and college cheerleader had made tremendous strides, taking the Eastern Seaboard and Coastal Figure championships in 2001.
A promising career almost tumbled down when Wig landed on her head while practicing a full-twisting layout.
"I went from being extremely strong to not being able to lift five lbs. with my right arm," she said. "I really struggled, because fitness is everything when you're trying to get your pro card. It's everything you do, morning, noon and night - there's nothing else."
Wig had to wear a neck brace for four months, and rehabbed for six months. Her comeback also was hampered when she underwent surgery to remove a cyst from her left foot.
During the downtime, Wig rekindled old friendships and renewed family ties. Also, she had time to write a cookbook, titled "Recipes for a Fit You."
Through hard work and determination, the 32-year-old Augusta regained her strength and stamina, and prepared for a comeback.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Her regular workout regimen includes weight training and cardiovascular exercise six days a week.
"Four months ago I got back to where I was, as far as tumbling and strength," she said. "Then I surpassed that."
Then she surpassed her own expectations by claiming the NFC Fitness Championships last month.
"I definitely thought I was prepared for a top-five placing, so it was a surprise to win it all."
The NFC Fitness competition featured three rounds - one-piece and two-piece bathing suit rounds, and a two-minute fitness routine which showcases power moves, dance and flexibility.
"What won the competition for me was I got all perfect scores on my routine," she says.
In addition to becoming a national champion, the victory also means Wig earned a professional card. She can now compete for cash, and also is eligible for endorsement contracts.
In order to succeed in the professional arena, Wig will have to cut back on her work schedule at Haydens. One of her goals is to qualify for next fall's Olympia competition, which is the premiere event in the sport.
And just qualifying isn't quite enough for someone as competitive as Wig.
"I would go for winning it," she says.
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