Few teenagers would dare to take on the challenge that Payson High School senior Amanda Korth did.
That challenged included weight training three to four hours a day, participation in exhaustive cardiovascular training, a disciplined daily routine, giving up fast food, and developing a self confidence that would allow her to perform in public.
Her dedication to the new lifestyle earned the 17-year-old two first-place finishes at the 2004 National Physique Committee Western Regional Championships Nov. 6 at Herberger Theater in Phoenix.
Korth now qualifies for a NPC competition in Las Vegas next summer. Also on her agenda is another regional event March 19, 2005 at Herberger.
Korth's adventure into physical fitness began last summer after she began working part-time at Club USA. At the club, owner and manager Heather Slater is a certified personal trainer, sports model and national physique competitor.
Korth was encouraged to become involved in physique training after hearing tales of Slater's successes and dedication to the sport.
"Heather was a big-time mentor," Korth said.
For Slater, molding Korth was a labor of love.
"She was so driven and wanted to do so well. I am so proud of her," she said. "What she accomplished at such a young age is unbelievable. She beat out women who have been training for 10 years."
Once Korth began her training, she wanted to devote all her energies to it. So, the teen stepped away from the high school spirit line that had been a huge part of her life since she was a freshman.
"We really missed her, but we knew it was something she really wanted to do," cheer sponsor Becky Hagler said." We all are cheering for her now."
In the early weeks of Korth's training she developed a workout routine and training schedule with advice from Slater.
Korth's daily routine at Club USA centered on weight training and cardiovascular workouts on the treadmill and the elliptical trainer.
"It wears on your body and is time-consuming," Korth said. "But it's something you have to do."
But, working out was only part of her challenge.
"I had to eat really clean," she said. "I ate a lot of chicken, fish, vegetables and whole wheat grains."
Her goal was to eat small, nutritious meals several times a day and prepare all the food herself.
Slater marveled at Korth's dedication to change her eating habits.
"She's so goal-oriented, she was able to stick to it," she said.
As the fall months wore on, Korth's commitment began to pay dividends in lost weight and a chiseled physique.
"I wanted to develop overall symmetry, be toned and muscular but also feminine," she said.
Korth doesn't like to talk about the amount of weight she lost saying "too many teenage girls worry about weight loss."
Her accomplishments, she said, were not due to a traditional diet but rather because she restructured what she ate to include more nutritious foods.
During the months of training, Slater continued to coach her.
"She'd modify my training when it needed to be," Korth said.
As the date for Korth's first ever competition approached, she and Slater thought it best to enter two divisions -- Teenage and Class C open.
Class C is for competitors 5-foot-4-inches to 5-foot-6-inches in height. Korth is 5-foot-6.
In the open division, Korth was pitted against seasoned competitors who were veterans of the sport.
"That made me a little nervous. This was my first time and I didn't know what to expect," the teen said.
As she took the Herberger stage, Korth admits the pangs of uneasiness began to tug at her.
To overcome her qualms, she pretended she was simply cheerleading at a PHS pep rally or football game as she had done so many times in the past.
"That made everything much easier," she said.
In front of a panel of seven judges, Korth was asked to pose doing quarter turns throughout a complete circle. As she worked through her routine, the teen says it was difficult to gauge how the judges would evaluate her.
"You just hope for the best," she said.
Slater, however, was confident her charge would do well.
"She looked fantastic ... just amazing," Slater said.
When the results were in later that evening, Korth learned she had taken gold medals in both divisions.
"That's when I knew that everything I'd done was worth it," she said.
Korth's two surprising victories has Slater predicting the teen could turn the wins into a career.
"She can go pro. She can take this as far as she wants to," she said. "Amanda can accomplish anything she puts her mind to."