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Janina is the middle child to a Norwegian father and a mother of Mexican/Yaqui-Indian descent. Her strong, exotic facial features come from the mixed heritage. Janina's natural athletic physique can be attributed to her father's Norwegian lineage, of natural strength & muscularity, and her mother's Native-American background of a fast metabolism and leanness. The two genes created a great beginning for a fitness lifestyle. Being blessed with such genetics was not an excuse for an avenue of laziness, however! The warrior within Janina drove her to succeed. She trained hard with weights for 17 consecutive years, to conquer many titles in the fitness realm, and several trophies in various competitive sports, as well.

Janina's innate, competitive instinct and passion for fitness began as a young girl. She was a gymnast since the age of 6. In junior high school, she was awarded a trophy for having been the most athletic in her class. She had run the most laps, done the most push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups in the entire 5th grade, amongst all the boys and girls. It was a presidential athletic award; one, of the many trophies, she would later receive.

Gymnastics and cross-country running teams were sports, she enthusiastically excelled in throughout her 4 high school years. Her grades were phenomenal, as well. She has always believed in being the best in all she does! She has an adept command of Chinese, Greek, Italian, French, German, Spanish and English the last four of which she is fluent in. She graduated in the top 10% of her high school class academically. She had achieved straight A's in French and German in her high school studies. At graduation, she was subsequently granted an award for superb talent in foreign languages from Bank of America. The ability to retain different dialects is why her father encouraged her to pursue a career in Linguistics. Janina went on to achieve a formal education, specializing in languages, since it was so easy and natural for her to absorb them with her photographic memory. After high school, the athletic competitive spirit did not die. Exercise and nutrition never ceased to interest her in the least bit, either. Being young and naive, she didn't realize how much her athleticism would become such a focal part of her life. What started out as a hobby, would later become her dream career.

At the age of 18, she lived in Paris, France, where she studied French and also exercised at a Parisian weightlifting gym and ran 3 miles everyday. The following year she lived in Heidelberg, Germany. The purpose was to be immersed in the foreign cultures, while simultaneously acquiring the languages. Of course she also belonged to a gym in Germany. While in Germany, her transportation mode was strictly a bicycle, which was great cardiovascular exercise.

When she arrived from Europe the second time, her father noticed how skinny and haggardly, Janina looked, at the young age of 19. She had become anorexic while being overseas. She became so obsessed with exercise, and her other secret passion: modeling and acting, that she began starving herself. She thought the only way to break into this career was to be rail-thin. Already being lean and petite, it didn't take much for her to look too thin. She was naturally 100lbs. at 5'4", but in her mind she looked better at 99lbs. This was a battle that she had for the following 3-4 years, until she realized it had nothing to do with food, or how much she weighed.

To overcome the disorder, she realized that more value had to be placed on how healthy she was and having super-positive self-esteem. Janina's love of being healthy and learning valuable lessons about balance, is what pulled her through the toughest mental ordeal, as a young teen-ager. She could not starve herself and gain muscle at the same time. She loves to eat, so she figured out she can eat, as long as she exercises consistently, not obsessively, but in a healthy fashion. She can eat pizza, ice-cream, french fries, and all the food we're told are bad for us, because they're fattening! Janina eats what she craves. She says "it's O.K., as long as I don't over do it". It's much better to be balanced and healthy in both body and mind, than to try to be perfect-(an unrealistic goal, unless your name is Jesus). In order to be competitive in sports and academics; you have to have energy, which is impossible if you're focusing on food, exercise and your weight. So, in order to achieve her goals, this eating disorder demon was laid to rest permanently, by a few months of counseling with an eating-disorder specialist, who helped her to advance to more fruitful events and challenges in life.

She went on to a community college where she competed on the track and gymnastics teams. Of course, grades were also an important factor and her GPA was 3.72 - 4.0 consistently. Janina transferred to a California State University, where in 1993 she was awarded a BA degree in Spanish, concentration in Linguistics, with a minor in French and German. Throughout her entire collage education, she exercised with weights and competed. She even won some titles along the way, including: Ms. Great Body America '84, Ms. West Coast '85, Ms. Fitness USA '90, and Ms. Expo '90, and Ms. Lowrider '96. She placed 5th in the regional Ms. Fitness America '93 and also in the California bodybuilding competition in '87. She's also been featured on John Abdo's former exercise show "In the Weight Room" in Chicago, Illinois, in '90, and on an Ab-Twister info-mercial in '99. She started training for fitness pageants in '90, due to the heavy steroid use among female bodybuilders, which was very distasteful to Janina. "It defeats the sole purpose and being healthy, and goes against my integrity", says Janina.

Janina's college and fitness years did not go without challenges, however. She faced an unplanned pregnancy in '91, her junior year in college. With the competitive nature so inherent to her, she took it on like everything she's ever done in life, and decided to be the best at it. She only gained 14 pounds during her pregnancy, despite her huge meals of waffles, eggs, butter, protein-shakes, steaks, etc. Her metabolism was on fire; due to so many years of being an athlete. Her doctor scolded her constantly, but she insisted she was eating plenty and healthy, but he refused to believe her. Her doctor had the misconception that women should gain 40-60 lbs. During pregnancy to be healthy. She still attended college religiously , and continued to train at the gym, until the night before she gave birth. She said "The baby will be my trophy, and the hospital bed will be my stage". She was blessed with a healthy 7.5 lb, 21" baby girl, that she named Briana. So, the idea of a huge weight gain during pregnancy was nullified. She only missed 2 days of college to give birth, and was right back with that vigor and zest that she approaches everything in life with.

After her baby was born, she continued with her full-time college studies, resumed exercising 2 weeks after the birth, and worked as well. In between classes, Janina would come home to Briana to breast-feed, since she knew this was best to keep the tiny newborn healthy. She continued to exercise even with a new little baby in her life to care for and a full-time college schedule. In addition, she was a single-mother and sole-provider; from the very 1st day the baby was born. It was rather challenging to juggle all that was on her plate. So, she opted for 2 grades of incomplete in a couple of her classes to complete the work due, during the semester break. She did finish the college work; to replace the grades of incomplete with B's in the 2 classes, and never once contemplated quitting. "Winners never quit!" She graduated from the California university in '93 with her BA degree in Spanish. "So, for those women that think you can't do it, you can do it!"

Janina's daughter did not impede her progress in any way. As a matter of fact, she was more of a motivating factor in Janina's life. Now, she had a little person depending on her success. She wanted to be even better at anything she'd ever done before.

You're only as healthy and fit, mentally, physically, and spiritually as you want to be. Just remember, "Always keep things in balance!" Think of your body as a temple and treat it as such and it will reward you always.

If you thrash your body with junk food all the time, cigarettes, alcohol, or drugs it will eventually break down and need some major overhaul, if not, you might acquire a debilitating illness, like diabetes, cancer, hypertension, etc. The body develops scars on it every time we mistreat it. Some of them can heal, if you change your lifestyle, and realize before it's too late that it's the only body the Lord will grant you.

Janina would like to be a health & Fitness inspiration to people all over the world, no matter what color, age, religion or background via her web site JaninasHealthAndFitnness.com.

"If I can help people to feel better, be more energetic, and live longer, healthier, happier, and more meaningful lives due to being healthier, I'll be ecstatic for the rest of my life!"

- Janina Gaxiola.
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