NBC's Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge Season 1 Contestant, Navy Nuclear Engineer turned Fitness Entrepreneur, Author, Published Fitness Model, Athlete & Host.
Stephanie's philosophy is that, "Life is an adventure!" Stephanie has done and been just about everything from a flat broke farm girl raised in rural Missouri… to a beach lifeguard/bartender/college student in Florida… to a nuclear engineer serving in the US Navy… to a cubicle-dwelling “knowledge worker”… she launched her online fitness business, www.skfitlife.com, in 2012... quit her 9-5... and ran her internet business from the beaches of sunny Costa Rica.
Stephanie is now back in the United States where she calls Charleston, South Carolina home with her fellow fitness enthusiast boyfriend, Stephen, and their two dogs, Cozmo and Koal.
Her resume summary is impressive, but don't let that fool you. Stephanie is still that sweet, down-to-earth midwestern farm girl she started out as in 1979.
Life is a grand adventure for sure…
Life is an adventure!
US Navy Nuclear Engineer turned Fitness Entrepreneur
An adventurous entrepreneur, Stephanie spent the first 11 years of her career serving as a US Navy Nuclear Engineer on the USS Abraham Lincoln, and then working as a defense contractor before taking the leap into business.
Stephanie’s physical accomplishments pale in comparison to her insatiable appetite for knowledge. Courses required for the USN Nuclear Power Program included atomic and nuclear physics, advanced mathematics, electrical power theory and generating equipment, nuclear reactor technology, thermodynamics and fluid flow, chemistry, materials science and metallurgy, health physics, reactor principles, and reactor ethics.
U.S. Navy Nuke School
“They come with IQs off the charts and ASVAB scores that number higher than their life expectancy, but that’s what a 22-year-old needs to succeed when they're asked to run a nuclear power plant on a U.S. Navy warship.”
(A quick Google search revealed this article during my research: http://usmilitary.about.com/od/navy/l/blnukeschool.htm)
As a contractor, Stephanie worked as a Software Systems Engineer on various shore installation projects around the world before her final assignment working with the USAF Expeditionary Center.
In 2012, Stephanie used her her ability to study complex theories, then apply them in an operational environment to coaching physical endeavors such as engineering athletic performance and physique transformations. This combined with her own personal challenges of trying to live a fit life lead her to create a lifestyle coaching program, “SKFitLife” (www.SKFitlife.com). After spending nearly 5 years as a busy, chained-to-computer-cubicle-working professional who commuted 2.5+ hours each day, Stephanie knew what her clients needed and then delivered. Just 4 months after launching her own business, she resigned from her defense contracting position to pursue her passion full-time.
She is renowned for her High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) “Rock-It” programs affectionately nick-named after her military “rocket-scientist” background. Stephanie prides herself on making a difference in people’s lives whether it’s a competitive athlete reaching for elite levels, or a busy parent or professional short on time and in need of a quick and effective routine. She has helped hundreds of clients and thousands of fans reach their goals through sharing these quick, ultra-effective routines.
The Stop Chasing Skinny Podcast was founded in September 2014 as a means to break down the seemingly complex and confusing health and wellness information floating around. In this weekly podcast, Stephanie brings on guests who will not only enlighten you but also entertain you.
Stephanie's most recent business ventures include www.TheAthElite.com, a coaching and lifestyle company dedicated to performance. Stephanie was also cast as a Season 1 contestant on NBC's Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge set to air spring 2016.
Regardless the topic, Stephanie uses a systems approach to everything she does.
For business resources, Stephanie has put together all of her favorites right here: https://www.skfitlife.com/businessresources
University of Florida, Master of Science, Entrepreneurship
Stephanie is currently pursuing her Master of Science degree at the University of Florida's Warrington College of Business.
Stephanie is a regular contributor to Oblique Magazine and has been featured in PhillyFIT Magazine, Fit & Firm Magazine, Natural Muscle Magazine, as well as several guest blog post. Stephanie is the primary author for SKFitLife and TheAthElite.
Do you want to learn how to LOOK as fit as you FEEL? Have you thought to yourself, "yeah, I DO want to reach my fitness goals in a more concise way!"
Stephanie's mission is to break down the seemingly complex and confusing health and wellness information we are bombarded with each day.
Listen each week to learn how to bring it all together. We know you have more important things to do with your time than slog away on the treadmill or elliptical "chasing skinny".
Getting started in Obstacle Course Racing (OCR)
with TheAthElite's Steve & Steph, NBC's Spartan Race TV Series Season 1 Contestants
Did you just learn what the acronym "OCR" even means?
You are in the right spot!
OCR Radio was created for those just getting started in OCR to those who have some races under their belt and working to improve their standings in their age group; and for those thinking about giving an elite heat a try.
Obstacle Course Race Radio
Stop Chasing Skinny Podcast
Stephanie’s athletic nature lends itself to her constantly pushing her limits. In 2014, Stephanie began competing in Obstacle Course Races, also known as OCR.
Watch for Stephanie this spring as a Season 1 contestant on NBC's Spartan Ultimate Team Challenge.
Since finding OCR mid-2014, Stephanie has competed in a total of 16 Spartan races including the Spartan Breckenridge Beast where she placed 4th in her age group.
While Stephanie enjoys competition, she also enjoys the pure joy this sport brings to her. OCR is like being a kid again... running through the woods, getting in the mud, and racing down creek beds.
In 2007, she shifted her athletic focus from endurance-based sports to the sport of fitness and physique competitions. She went on to compete at an international level with the WBFF where she placed Top 5 in many of her competitions. Stephanie took her physique competitions to the next level when she began coaching competitive fitness athletes in 2011.
Fitness and figure competitions are often referred to as “the sport of dieting” since nutrition plays the most significant role in a competitor’s physique. This intense and deep understanding of nutrition from 5+ years of competitive fitness combined with 20+ years of endurance and performance-focused sports are one of the skills that sets Stephanie apart.
Stephanie was first introduced to formal sports was as a high school sophomore where she opted to run cross country so she could get out of marching band practice.
Competing in every individual sport possible, Stephanie spent her high school years running, swimming, throwing shot put and discus, and running some more. She also played water polo where she was one of only two females on the team. You might say it was just like when she grew up being the only girl and keeping up with the boys.
OBSTACLE COURSE RACING HISTORY
Stephanie spent her college years into her first years in the US Navy competing in triathlons, duathlons, open water swimming, and running races. She was a self-diagnosed "Cardio Queen" where she was always trying to out train her bad diet.
This attempt to "chase skinny" wasn't all bad. These years of cardio training resulted in some pretty impressive placings including qualifying for the 2003 Duathlon World Championships held in Affoltern, Switzerland.
Stephanie also built a strong endurance foundation and mental toughness that carries her through newest sport of Obstacle Course Racing.
2011 WBFF World Championships Fitness Model, Top 5; Bikini Model, Top 10
2011 Fitness America Pageant, New England, Bikini & Figure, 4th
2010 WBFF World Championships Figure, 3rd
2010 Fitness Universe Pageant, Miami, Bikini & Figure, Top 10
2008 Fitness America Pageant, New York, Bikini & Figure, Top 10
2008 Fitness Universe Pageant, Miami, Bikini & Figure, Top 10
2008 Fitness America Pageant, Atlantic, Bikini, 3rd Place
PHYSIQUE COMPETITION HISTORY
HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETICS
Published Fitness Model
This story may surprise you...
This letting go is true in life and true in health. I may have been pushed towards fitness as a means to find relief from my emotional pain, and entrepreneurship by my job-related depression, but I also wanted to share my story and help others along their life journey. Being healthy and leading a “fit life” is more than just having a pretty body. It encompasses all aspects of our lives. When we try too hard, we miss the mark. It's more than just eating the foods that are low in calories or doing the workouts that blast the most fat. It requires a balance in all that we do, and after years of struggling to find that balance, I am finally free! Now I want to help others free themselves from their imaginary prison walls too. Fitness is my passion and sharing my knowledge and enthusiasm is what brings me the most joy.
After years of struggling with food, chasing skinny, suffering through the totally wrong career fit, getting my heart and trust smashed into a million tiny pieces, and soul searching, I can honestly say it's been my darkest times and my most painful moments that have truly shaped my life. Contrast brings clarity and those gut-wrenching times pushed me into the directions I was meant to go. They also taught me that my resilience is reliable and that sometimes letting go is the only path to freedom. Happiness is on the other side of letting go. If I ever doubt that, all I have to do is take one look at my best friend and partner in this wild ride called life, Stephen.
Do you ever feel like you’ve had to fight tooth and nail for everything that you’ve got? I have, too. But I’m actually glad I’ve had to work my butt off to get to where I am today because it makes my life that much more meaningful. Looking back on my journey thus far, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve learned to embrace the journey because the journey is where all the magic happens!
“Don’t judge a book by its cover”…. and so it goes for me too. I’ve had people who actually admitted to me (after they got know me better) that they thought I was intimidating because my life looked so well put together. But, what they didn’t know was what I went through to get to where I am today.
I grew up in a log house outside of a small town in Missouri where we lived on very little money. My family has known the destructive effects of addiction, especially alcoholism, and I spent a couple years working with the non-profit organization, Back on My Feet, to better understand addiction, recovery, and resilience.
My parents got divorced when I was 11 and we moved to the suburbs of Kansas City. In the years following high school, I worked as many as three jobs at one time to put myself through college, found my way out of an abusive relationship, served in the US Navy as a nuclear engineer, and I gained as much as 50 pounds after a competition because I did not have a healthy relationship with myself and with food.
In 2013 I faced a betrayal like nothing I had faced before. It may have brought me to my knees, but I eventually got back up, picked up all the pieces, and put myself back together. Not without a ton of support from my friends and family which I will be forever grateful for. No matter what life has thrown at me, I've managed to push through it all, and I have learned so much about myself, and I learned how the human spirit can go far beyond its perceived limits when failure is not an option.
Since launching myself into the world of entrepreneurship in 2012, I have been on what feels like a Star Wars space craft ride through the Wild West. A wonderful and exciting ride for me, but this ride isn't for the weak. Entrepreneurship can chew you up and spit you out if you don't have grit, determination, and just enough crazy to believe your idea is going to work. If I could sum it up in one phrase, I would tell my younger self, "this is going to hurt like hell."
In both my personal and professional life, I've had tremendous support from some of the most amazing souls, but my mom has always been my biggest fan, and her support and encouragement means so much to me. We have weathered some pretty bad storms together. From singing “Our house is a very very very fine house…” by Crosby, Stills, & Nash as we climbed the dirt road leading to our little log house to seeing me all glammed up on the stage, to helping me get out of bed on those days when life was so dark and I couldn't do it myself, and then back to kicking ass and taking names on that NBC Spartan Race Season 1 course, my mom has been my biggest cheerleader.
Stephanie Keenan's Personal & Business Life Blog