When Towson alumna Janet West was in college, she balanced a hectic work schedule like most college students.
Unlike most college students, her work life involved driving back and forth from D.C. to Towson to practice as an NFL Redskins cheerleader. She was also the co-founder of the Towson pom squad.
“It’s something that I think you learn in college to be really good at time management,” West said.
Today West’s schedule hasn’t become any lighter. A mother of three and personal fitness trainer at her facility, Core Elements by Janet Lynn West, in Ellicott City, Md., West also competes as a member of the International Federation of Body Building and Fitness.
West said that her college-self never would have imagined competing as member of the IFBB. Instead, she spent her time in college focusing on accounting and becoming a future partner of a CPA firm.
“I think I started the accounting thing because it was something that was stable, mature [and] it happened to be something that came to me naturally and I thought it had a very secure feel,” West said. “I think really the thing is when I was taking human resource classes, I always did my papers on fitness and demonstrations and training were always in the area of fitness. So it was just a natural love of mine, I finally just took that step after having two different careers and getting to that step where I felt mature enough where I could actually follow my passion.”
West follows a strict diet and healthy lifestyle regime. She said she typically has seven to eight workout sessions per day. In the weeks before a competition, she’ll add on extra workout times by starting and ending her day with 30 minutes of cardio.
West said she also trains clients and incorporates one hour of strength training per day.
“I feel like my business sense is still being utilized in what I do every day,” West said. “I’m basically running a small company so I do feel like those are transferable skills. However, I don’t feel like I’m going back to being an accountant.”
The fitness bug, she said, is something she caught and will never be able to let go. College especially is an important time to pick up lifelong healthy eating and fitness skills.
“It seems like there’s always a buffet [in college], you always have a meal plan, you always have access,” West said. “I think that’s a very difficult challenge. You have to look at your protein intake, ‘What healthy protein can I take in with every meal?’”