There I was, a young girl who won all the jump rope contests in elementary school yet could never climb the rope all the way to the top in physical fitness tests. I was determined at a young age of 6 or 7 to gain more strength to conquer that rope! It all began with that challenge of learning how to create my body to perform at a different level. Fast forward about 15 years and I started my fitness career at the age of 20. I was active and played sports all throughout high school and continued my education in nutrition, kinesiology and exercise physiology and LOVED what the human body is capable of. I couldn’t get enough, I was fascinated by the mind and body connection, the anatomy and how powerful and intricate every organism truly is. We are masterpieces, each and every one of us, and I wanted the WORLD to know this and experience the beauty of a natural high through nutrition and exercise.
Jumping into my twenties I began my career as a Group Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer and met my 1st boss who encouraged me to compete in fitness shows due to my physique and love of fitness. This perked my interest yet in my 20’s I was still having too much fun to truly dedicate the time and commitment it required. As the years went by I was busier and busier with clients and was tired of training at all the different gyms, I wanted something of my own. I started my own home gym from my garage. I trained clients mornings and evenings while I also had another full-time job. Finally, I made the move, I left my full-time job and committed myself 100% to my personal training/fitness business. It became a very busy time for me and I started having less and less time for myself and I was also in a relationship that wasn’t going well and I gained a lot of weight for the 1st time in my life! I couldn’t stand the way I looked or felt and finally decided to dedicate myself to competing. I committed an entire year to training for Ms. Fitness USA and finally competed at the age of 30. I placed 3rd in my very 1st show and the rest is history, I continued to compete and won many National titles over the years, my name was now known in the fitness industry.
During this time I sold my home and started my outdoor boot camp business and it grew instantly. My clients continued to increase and was time for me to find a space for my gym. Not even a month after I stated that my best friend called me saying that she found a location that looked perfect for me. I went to look at the space and it was a done deal. It was a small 800 square foot place that I turned into a personalized training facility and I loved it! I grew out of that space in a year and started the hunt for a larger location. I went from 800 square feet to 5000 square feet! There was a lot of work to be done but I was ready for the challenge of my expansion. I will never forget the day that I worked all day at my small gym and headed over to my new gym to paint and do whatever was necessary of me to get it ready, it was a 20 hour day and when I got home I passed out cold on my couch in my clothes until the next afternoon. I woke up thinking, I have never worked so hard in my life yet I was so fulfilled and happy.
I have now been in my large gym for over 5 years and all the lessons, challenges and joy it has brought me has been priceless. I continued to compete and won my WBFF Pro card in 2012 and stopped competing, that chapter of my life was now closed. I was graciously asked to be on the cover of FitnessX Magazine, become a contributing writer for many fitness magazines, booked many photo shoots for magazines, received supplement endorsements, sponsorships and more.
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Life was good but yet I felt something was missing. It was time to do something greater, I felt incomplete and lacking in the spiritual side of myself. I was always so focused on the physical aspect of fitness, I knew there was something more. I was granted the most amazing trip to Indonesia with one of my clients which became the most transformational trip of my life thus far. I have always loved yoga but this trip yoga became alive to me in Bali. I have never felt peace the way I experienced it there, it was the most beautiful feeling to have a peaceful and graceful connection with my mind, body, and soul. I returned to the states in love with my practice of yoga and continued it in finding the balance of fitness in mind, body and soul for myself. I continued this journey and received my Yoga certification and began to teach it, I then wanted to give back, be of service and thus my humanitarian work began, I was given the gift to travel to Belize with Ambassador Shabazz (Malcolm X’s daughter) to serve the underprivileged children and women with fitness, health, nutrition, and yoga. We also served the women in prison in Belize and my heart was so full of joy to be of service! This changed my life. I have now taken my gym and transformed it into a Wellness Center, a place where people come to find Fitness from the Inside Out, fitness in mind, body, and soul.
I have expanded my brand and have created workshops, retreats, become a 3 time Best Selling Author, Certified Life Coach, online training programs, nutrition programs and more! I have created and Trademarked my own method called “Bootoga®” and continually expanding for Worldwide reach.
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A Northridge gym launched a program to help women going through rehab to get healthy and to help them stay on the path of sobriety.
The workout at Extreme Results Fitness mixes cardio with meditation to help hone skills beyond the gym.
Fitness pro Jeanette Ortega is putting "Freehab" residents through a program she trademarked called "Bootoga."
Gym owner Jeanette Ortega has taught exercise for years and realized some clients were missing a key component in fitness.
"It came from the need in knowing that there's so much more and clients were looking for more. They weren't losing weight or they were hitting plateaus that they couldn't exceed," said Ortega.
She felt they needed to learn how to be fit in mindset -- spirit and body, but that's often the last thing in mind when going after it at the gym.
That's why she wrote 'The Little Black Book of Fitness.'
Michelle heads to the yoga studio as part of her new resolution to prioritize her self-care.
Will a session of Bootoga—the combination of boot camp, yoga and meditation—prove to be just what she needs to feel like her old self again?