Muscle Can Be Reflective

Baby Eloise Hunt 1 month old

“Life is only a reflection of what we allow ourselves to see and be.”

It’s been a little over six months since the first MCBMI interview was published and I often go back and look over the different interviews that I’ve done and blogs I have written. The more I read these interviews and blogs, the more I realize how amazing the women are that have been a part of this journey. Even in this short time lapse, many of them are propelling forward and accomplishing great things. I wanted to take this week to catch the readers up on some of the accomplishments and changes that have taken place in a few of the MCBMI women’s lives, as well as reflect on the six months of interviews, because I do believe that in reflecting, you gather wisdom and wisdom creates different choices which inevitably fosters growth.

Michele Abbruzzese

‘Muscle Is Survival,’ was one of the first MCBMI interviews done with Michelle Wincze-Abbruzzese. The title fit Michelle’s interview to a tee because she worked as a pharmaceutical sales rep, make-up artist, and professional cheerleader. Not only was she juggling three very time consuming careers, she also was battling breast cancer. Initially diagnosed in March of 2005, after undergoing a lumpectomy and sentinel node biopsy, Michelle decided, with a team of physicians including an oncologist, a naturopath, a homeopathic physician, and a biochemist, to forgo chemo and radiation, and to take the holistic path. Using nutritional supplements, exercise, and organic foods, she was able to go into remission. Several years later, in 2010, her life became more stressful, she decided to open a dance studio, and also received a promotion at work. The time she had dedicated to keeping her body healthy became sparse, and she reverted back to her old lifestyle of high pressure and eating on the go. Needless to say, the tumor returned, but this time to her breastbone, an area that is inoperable. Michelle again decided to take the holistic approach without chemo and radiation.

Today, Michelle is still battling cancer, but the tumor is growing so slowly that the doctors are not too concerned. Michelle is sticking to her holistic lifestyle and stays active through dance. She does everything from Pole fitness to belly dancing. One of the most amazing things about Michelle is, she recently competed in her first pole fitness competition, the Northeast Pole Art Championships, at the beginning of this month and placed third. This placing qualifies her to compete at Nationals in 2015. Here is a quote from Michelle on her win, “Competed with people much younger than me, even with a damn cancer tumor in my chest and still managed to pull it off! Bronze metal means that I am going to Nationals in 2015! Shit just got real!”

l-r, Silver medalist Ashley Fox, Gold medalist Irmingard Mayer, Bronze medalist Michelle Wincze-Abbruzzese

I am so proud to have Michelle among the many great women of MCBMI, she truly epitomizes what a survivor really is. We congratulate you Michelle and look forward to hearing about Nationals in 2015!

Katie with husband Kyle- nine months pregnant

On June 29, 2014, Katie Bopp-Hunt was featured on MCBMI, ‘Muscle Can Be Resilient’ was the title of her interview. Katie, a personal trainer and former fitness model, is someone I have known for a few years, and in all the time I’ve known her, whether things are good or bad, her resilient spirit keeps her smiling and upbeat. I wanted her to be a part of the MCBMI blog for that very reason and I caught her at the perfect time; she was five and a half months pregnant when she did her interview.

Katie and Eloise taking a walk

Coming from a competitive gymnastics background, Katie start out being active at an early age. She rode horses, dabbled in wrestling and started weight training in the 8th grade. All of her life, she had trained at an intense level, so when she became pregnant, the hardest part for her was backing off. She had to find a way to continue training but not as intensely, and she did. Katie worked out through her entire pregnancy and I am happy to announce that on September 2, 2014, she gave birth to a little girl and named her Eloise. Three weeks after giving birth, and clearance from her doctor, Katie was back in the gym doing light workouts with that ever present smile on her face.

She loves being a mom and is blessed to have a great help in her husband Kyle, who often does daddy-daughter time, while Katie hits the gym. This woman is truly resilient in every way and that resilience is one of the many special qualities that makes her a true MCBMI woman.

Here is a video that was taken of Katie at seven months doing chin ups!

Tycie photo shoot

Tycie Coppett is an IFBB Pro Women’s Physique competitor. Her interview ‘Muscle Is Discipline,’ published August 17, 2014, defines her, not because she is a pro physique competitor, but because she does so much more. She is a full time college administrator, a part time college professor, and a third year doctoral student and still finds time to get to the gym to train at a pro athlete level.

I had the pleasure of meeting Tycie and competing on the same stage as her at Nationals in 2011. I always remembered her as a gracious, humble, and unassuming woman. I can honestly say when they called her number and name as winner, I think she was the only one that was surprised. When I decided to do the MCBMI blog, I knew I wanted her to be a part of it, and at the time, I had no idea her plate was so full. Her ability to tackle everything that she is involved in and still stay in top professional shape, takes away all excuses for anyone else. During her interview, she stated,”We all choose to sacrifice many things in order to be a top competitor. There is simply no other way and I have no regrets.” The statement is powerful because, in order to be discipline in anything, you have to be willing to make sacrifices.

Top five at the Olympia, l-r, Sabrina Taylor, Silver medalist Dana Linn Bailey, Gold medalist Juliana Malacarne, Bronze medalist Tycie Coppett, Karina Nascimento

Tycie competed in the Olympia in September and took third place. This qualifies her to be on the Olympia stage again in 2015. We here at MCBMI will be following her career and can’t wait to see her take the stage for the Olympia 2015 Women’s Physique competition. Well done Tycie Coppett.

‘Muscle Is How You See Yourself’ was the title for Claire Davies’ interview. Claire, unlike many of the previous MCBMI women, started on her athletic journey late in life, yet what she has accomplished in her years of being active is incredible.

Claire, a self professed scholar, grew up in a small town in South Wales that didn’t offer a lot in terms of activities. Around the age of eight or nine, the town got a pool, where Claire taught herself to swim, but ultimately Claire spent most of her spare time reading books. When she got to high school, she immersed herself in math and sciences and became involved with a computer class. Gym was so far off the radar at this point that at 14, she actually figured out a way to cut class. Her plan worked so well she didn’t take gym for the rest of her high school career.


As an adult exercise didn’t become a factor until she got a glimpse of her reflection as she was walking down the street. Her mother had just been diagnosed with breast cancer, and Claire decided after reading a magazine article on breast cancer, at the doctor’s office, that there wasn’t anything she could do to change her genetics, and prevent her from getting cancer, but she could work on being healthier. She began setting goals for herself and those goals have taken her from running the reservoir in Central Park, to running the NY Marathon. She weight- trains and boxes and has become a kettlebell competitor. Her kettlebell scores have qualified her to be on the USA kettle bell team and she is going to compete at the World Championships in Germany this month, representing Team USA.


Claire practicing her kettlebell snatches with her coach Juan Pellot

Reading Claire’s interview, you realize it’s never too late to start. As a child and young adult, she never would have considered herself to be an athlete. Muscle is how you see yourself because, now when asked if she is an athlete, she says, “I now realize that I am an athlete at heart, it is my natural state and not being active was pulling me down…”

Please look for an update to find out how Claire and her teammates did at the World Championships. Good luck in Germany Claire!

I encourage you to go back and read these women’s and the other women’s interviews from the past six months. MCBMI is off to a great start and we have a lot of great interviews lined up, so, we thank you for your support and ask you to please follow us and keep reading.

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