about me

Bethany Nelson, at the age of 28 decided to become a Fitness and Figure competitor  because of her love for hip-hop dance and performing. She loves to create her own choreography with her signature flirty, strong and powerful style. After discovering she had a severe gluten allergy a year ago, Bethany quickly adapted to a new healthy lifestyle of eating clean and feeling fit for the first time in her life. In just the 15 months she has lost more than 20 pounds and cut her body fat in half!

Last May, Bethany entered her first competition and stunned the crowd with her fast-paced, energizing Fitness routine. With a proud 2nd place in Fitness she achieved even more with becoming the Mr. and Mrs. Natural MN Figure Beginner Overall Champion. After her first time competing she took a leap to the next level by strutting her stuff at Fitness America in November 2011. In Vegas, Bethany placed a strong 6th place in the Open Figure Short class. But where she truly won over the audience was by tearing up the stage with a heart-pumping sassy Beyonce themed Fitness routine. Her goal was to make her mark in the Open Fitness class, AND she did! This first time Fitness America contender was announced as a TOP 10 Finalist and finished with an impressive 8th place out of 35 competitors.

Bethany has acquired the stage name “Peanut” for her compact, strong and petite frame at only 5 foot 1 inch. In order to raise extra funds for her fitness career Bethany started designing and selling her own clothing line called “Team Peanut” to friends and fans. Bethany truly shined this year was with her placements at Fitness Universe in Miami, Florida. She had performed her sassy “pin-up” fitness routine and was able to inch herself closer to the TOP 5 with 7th place in the Open Fitness class. It was a last minute decision for Bethany to also compete in the Open Figure short class. She not only became the Figure Universe Short Champion she also won one of the very first PRO cards to be handed out by the Figure Universe Pageant. It was an absolute dream come true to become a Figure Universe PRO!



Bethany is also an entrepreneur and runs an online businesses of her own painted creations. In her free time, she stays busy with fitness modeling, teaching Hip Hop and Chair Dancing classes. Some day she would love to spend most of her time choreographing for fitness competitors. “It’s a dream to be able to do what I love with this brand new “dancer’s body”. It’s an honor to be an inspiration to others along the way. This journey will NEVER get old!”

Figure Universe PRO 2012
Figure Universe Short Champion 2012
Fitness Universe 7th place 2012
Mr and Mrs MN X-treme Fit Champion & Figure 6th place 2012
Fitness America Great North Fitness 2nd place & Figure 2nd place 2012
Fitness America Las Vegas Fitness 8th place & Figure 6th place 2011
Mr and Mrs MN X-treme Fit 2nd place 2011
Mr and Mrs MN Beginner Figure Champion 2011

"A lot of people see me now and assume that I have always been in this shape, but it's only been about a year now! I have actually always struggled to stay in shape throughout my 20's.
By age 26 I had a major onset of chronic pains and migraines that lasted a couple of years
and I put on about 20 lbs. Last fall, I discovered that gluten was the culprit to my
chronic issues and quickly I felt better and shed the pounds going gluten free.
Now I'm in the best shape of my life and heading into my 30's!!"

Before photo was taken July 2010/After photo was taken November 2011

Bethany Joanne Nelson (PEANUT)
Age: 29
Height: 5’1”
Starting weight: 152
Current weight: 112
Time frame that it took you to get from starting weight to current weight: over the timeline of 8 years
Hometown: Eden Prairie, MN
Occupation: custom glassware painter
Children: 0

How I got myself motivated right at the beginning:
Wanting to not be in digestive and chronic pain anymore was the initial motivator. After feeling better AND improving my physique I just want to keep going.

Who motivates me the most: One of my best friends, Katie who leads all types of group fitness classes continues to push me past my limits. Her energy and loving attitude is contagious.

How do I get myself going on the days you I don’t feel like working out?
I am a “social butterfly” so going to the gym is my chance to sweat and laugh with friends. Instead of bringing a buddy to the gym, I make new ones when I’m there!

Once I'm in the gym, how do I push through to that last set?
After I start feeling the burn and the sweat I get pumped up and know that I’m making changes happen. I push through my last set thinking about how close I am to the finish line. Once I cross it, I get to REST!

What was the biggest motivational obstacle/challenge you faced along the way? How did you overcome it? Still having gluten reactions from having celiac. Recovering can take my body several days and it’s hard not to feel set back. I practice a lot of natural ways to detoxify my body with antioxidants, massage therapy or even relaxing with a pedicure. It gets me reset.

What excuses for not working out and eating clean did you make before, and what is your solution to them now? Seeing AND feeling how quick my body will respond to over-eating and in-activity is enough to keep my drive at full throttle. I am mindful of this when I want to snack or not go into the gym.

What are your Top 3 Tricks for getting or staying motivated:
1.  Always wanting to set new challenges and goals for myself
2.  Having fun with improving different areas of my physique, like I’m a sculptor!
3.  Seeing where the Top women of Fitness are today and being inspired by them

What three songs motivate you the most? (artist and title)
Run The World – Beyonce, Turn Up The Music – Chris Brown, We Found Love - Rihanna

How did you make working out and clean eating into a habit? Your tips? I created a lot of friendships at the gym so I look forward to going in each day. I choose not to hook up to music while I lift because I want to be approachable and friendly.

Have you used any popular training or diet programs (other than clean eating and exercise) or diet pills during your transformation? No, I have not used any popular programs. The training technique that has transformed my physique and continue to use is the simple method of “carb-cycling”.

Have you had any surgeries related to your transformation? No

Why do you work out and eat clean? Working out and eating clean has given me a life that I could have never dreamt of. I can’t go back now!

What three things do you always take the gym? Lip gloss, my iPhone, orbit gum

Do you have a good luck/motivational object? I had a custom dog tag necklace made for my very first competition with the words “Anyone Can Give Up” and the show date on them.

When was your “aha” moment, when you realized that you’ve done it/reached your fitness goals? Hearing the crowd cheer while I performed my first fitness routine and then becoming the Beginner Figure Champion at my very first competition. I will never forget the amazing feeling!

What was the best compliment you’ve received about your transformation? From who?
Sitting alone in Vegas the day before the Fitness America show a judge and his wife were compelled to come over to let me know that they both agreed that I was in very impressive shape. They made sure to sit in the front row while I performed my fitness routine like my #1 fans. It was the best confidence booster!

What kind of criticism did you face? From who? And how did you deal?  have had friends, family and even strangers tease me about how strict I can be at times with my clean eating or when I choose to not have an alcoholic beverage. If I’m attending a party or meeting friends at a restaurant I usually have to gear up and mentally decide what I will be having so their comments won’t sway me.

What was your proudest moment during your transformation? I become more and more proud each day when I  learn that I’ve inspired someone new or when I can help others get excited about reaching their fitness potential.

What is one tiny change that someone can make TODAY that is going to get them started? You can never go wrong with simply eating more protein throughout your day.

How have you rewarded yourself for your transformation? Being able to travel to great locations like Las Vegas and Miami for competitions are a treat in themselves for all of the hard work. I love being able to enjoy a bit of vacation once the judging is over!

How do you get back on track after you slip up with your training program or diet? In order to get back on track I have to get rid of any tempting treats that might be around. If it’s not an option then I won’t even think about it!

How my mood affects my motivation? If I’m stressed I make sure to push myself even harder to go workout. When I hit the gym I like to check out from the rest of my life and be distracted in a good way!

What motivates me: Being an artist, I’m a very visual person so an article or video about a role model like Erin Stern will always inspire me!

A Day's Meal Plan 
Meal 1: Lean turkey sausage, GF Oats with berries and peanut butter
Meal 2: Egg White Omelet with peppers, tomatoes, basil and avocado
Meal 3: Turkey Burger with veggies and GF chocolate cookie
Meal 4: Almond String Cheese, Nuts and Grapefruit
Meal 5: Ground Turkey/Peppers in a lettuce wrap with sweet potato on the side
Meal 6: Baked Salmon and asparagus

Favorite cheat food: I try to stay strict on my “clean diet” for 5 days of the week so I can have 2 “high-carb” days. On my high days I love making GF oatmeal pancakes with peanut butter or a GF brownie!! I love peanut butter and chocolate!

Fatty food I miss the least: Beefy, Greasy Burgers

Favorite clean meal: Lean Ground Turkey with Salsa, Peppers, Avocado and Sweet Potatoes

Favorite clean snacks: Berries and Grapefruit

Workout Schedule
Monday: Teach Cardio Hip-Hop Group Fitness Class (60 min), Weight Train Shoulders (30 min)
Tuesday: Warrior Sculpt Yoga Class (60 min), Weight Train: Back/Bis (30 min)
Wednesday: Choreograph Fitness Routine (30 min), Weight Train: Abs (30 min)
Thursday: Cardio Group Fitness Class (60 min), Weight Train: Legs/Glutes (30 min)
Friday: REST
Saturday: Bootcamp Group Fitness Class (60 min), Weight Train: Chest/Tris (30 min)
Sunday: Choreograph Fitness Routine (30 min), Weight Train: Abs (30 min)

Favorite weight-training exercise: Shoulder “Arnold” Press

Favorite athletic/recreational activity: Dance and Hip-Hop

Future goals:  I would love to keep competing in Figure and Fitness, encourage others to live a healthier and happier lifestyle, choreograph for fitness clients, inspire young girls to be strong and fit, AND I’ve always wanted to dance in a music video!

BethanyJN's Fitness Routine at Fitness America 2012

BethanyJN's Fitness Routine at Fitness America 2011

Interview Round (TOP 10 FINALIST) - FITNESS AMERICA 2011