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At times life throws that left hook out of nowhere. Getting hit so hard the knees buckle, dropping face first to the canvas. You lay physically, mentally, emotionally exhausted. Then suddenly, you hear that little inner voice whisper – get up! One more round! Somehow, you find it within yourself to reach for the ropes and pull yourself up.
Jill Tellefen-Crean knows this all to well. Fitness enthusiast, NPC competitor, and two time cancer survivor, she has a will made of steel, and the attitude of a true champion. At 22, Jill was diagnosed with Non Hodgkins Lymphoma – a six inch tumor between her heart and lungs. Enduring 6 months of chemo and 6 weeks of radiation the cancer went into remission.
At 39, Jill was diagnosed with cancer yet again. This time no chemo and no radiation, just a determination to succeed and get on with her life. She recently competed in the NPC East Coast and placed 2nd in the Figure C Open, and 5th place in Masters Figure 35 Plus. Jill attributes her “will to win” attitude to the benefits she receives daily in the weight room and her fitness lifestyle.
How do you stay motivated?
Jill: By setting goals for myself. I do this by competing, against others and myself. It’s to strive to not only better myself physically, but emotionally. I think I enjoy the mental aspect more then the physical. I’m a “structure” freak so I find the diet and training almost calming. I feel out of sorts without a plan. I’m inspired when I can reach out to anyone and tell them how they are only limited by their own mind. They are capable of anything they set their mind to.
Who inspires you to keep moving forward against all obstacles?
Jill: NPC figure competitor and CrossFit athlete Allison Moyer, a true athlete in every sense of the word. IFBB Figure Pros Candice Keene and Mary Lado, and fitness icon Monica Brandt are also sources of inspiration.
When do you plan on competing next?
Jill: I will be competing next at The Golds Classic on Oct 26th. It’s an NPC show promoted by Mazen Ali! I love being a competitor in his shows. They are well run and all about the athlete. This time I am taking myself out of my comfort zone and switching from figure to bikini.
Any suggestions for others on staying positive?
Jill: Do what you enjoy, and what is best for you. Be happy with who you are, and know as bad as you may think you have it there is always someone out there worse off. Allow yourself the few moments of pity (I do this) then get back up and push forward. I call it “lickings wounds.”
What’s your motto to live by?
Never underestimate the strength and power of the human spirit, and the will to win. When times are tough “dig deep.” That is the true beauty of pushing ourselves in the weight room, in the ring or on the field. Not only building and sculpting muscles, but strengthening the will to win with that one more rep, one more round, one more time attitude. Life is about choices. Choose to win!
Overhead Rope Extensions: 4 sets, 10-12 reps
V-Bar Triceps Pushdowns: 4 sets, 10-12 reps
Seated Triceps Pushdowns: 4 sets, 10-12 reps
Hammer Curls: 4 sets, 10-12 reps
Barbell Curls: 4 sets, 10-12 reps
Preacher Curls: 3 sets, 10-12 reps
Cardio: 30 minutes on rotating stair
Wide Grip Pulldowns: 3 sets, 10-12 reps
Underhand Grip Seated Rows: 3 sets, 10-12 reps
High Rope Rows: 3 sets, 12-15 reps
Cable Pullovers: 3 sets, 12-15 reps
Close-Grip T-bar Rows: 4 sets, 8-10 reps
Roman Chair Leg Lifts: 3 sets, 15-20 reps
Rope Crunches: 3 sets, 15-20 reps
Arms Overhead Crunches: 3 sets, 15-20 reps
Cardio: Treadmill 30 minutes