2009 Healthy Woman Award Winner - Blondina Polazzo
Some of us are fortunate to discover our passion early in life and have the drive to pursue it. Blondina Polazzo is clearly one of those people. She also is the picture of fitness, good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle today. But she didn't get there without hard work, determination and personal setbacks of her own.
At age 14, her parents joined a fitness gym and Blondina was introduced to the importance of fitness and the benefits of group exercise. She realized then that she wanted to motivate people to move, feel better about themselves and stay healthy. At age 18, she applied for a fitness instructor job. With no experience, she was turned down. So she enlisted in the Air Force Reserves and was given the role of Physical Conditioning Monitor during Boot Camp, helping motivate the fitness levels and wellness of her fellow reservists.
After returning home from training, she secured a job at a local gym teaching group exercise and dedicated herself to getting certified in anything and everything...aerobics, kickboxing, nutrition, personal training, yoga and more.
At age 24 she became pregnant with her first baby. When there were worries about the baby's health and the pregnancy, she was advised to stop exercising. She became depressed and gained over 85 pounds during the pregnancy. It took 10 months after her daughter was born - and lots of hard work, self-discipline, kickboxing, running and healthy eating-but she got back to her pre-pregnancy weight and fitness level.
Blondina now has her own personal training company, teaches a variety of fitness classes-which reportedly fill up fast and include quite a following. She also volunteers her time as a health and wellness speaker in the community, speaking at churches, schools and companies about nutrition, exercise, heart disease and diabetes. Blondina motivates others by example - what she learned from her parents and her own life experiences, she now teaches to others in the community.
For these reasons and more, we are thrilled to honor Blondina Polazzo as the 2009 St. Luke's Healthy Woman Award winner.
"My passion is to use what I was gifted with to give back," said Blondina, on winning the award. "I absolutely love what I do. I love helping change peoples' lives."
"When I got the award, I felt like I won the Academy Award in my field," said Blondina, explaining that there aren't awards for people who love fitness and work in her field. "If you find something you absolutely love to do, stick with it," she added. She has spent 16 years doing just that.
Blondina admits that sometimes it's challenging to follow her own advice. She juggles a busy schedule teaching classes, giving personal training sessions, being a wife and a mother of two, and trying to keep the house clean! But exercise and healthy eating usually prevail.
"Exercise really helps me with my mental health," said Blondina. "Whenever I feel tired or overwhelmed, I exercise and feel better."
The St. Luke's Healthy Woman Award is given annually to recognize and celebrate inspiring, spirited women who take action to improve their health and the health of their community.