Kelsey Cragg of Courtenay has her sights set on appearing in fitness magazines.

Kelsey Cragg working hard to make dreams come true

Determined Courtenay woman aspires to appear on cover of fitness magazines

Be happy in the skin you’re in.

That is the firm belief of Kelsey Cragg, who has definitely taken those words to heart.

The 24-year-old Courtenay woman has embarked on a career as a fitness model that she hopes – rather she knows – will one day include appearing in magazines. Cragg has already made a name for herself on the World Beauty Fitness & Fashion (WBFF) scene, winning first place in the Fitness Diva category this past July at the River Rock Casino in Richmond.

The birth of her focus on fitness began three years ago with the birth of her son.

“I got pregnant and gained 80 pounds,” the 5′,9″, 145-pound (off-season weight) Cragg recalls. “I had always had trouble with weight and eating disorders and knew I needed to do it the healthy way now that I had a beautiful baby boy.”

She started hitting the gym when her son was four months, and has been there Monday to Friday ever since. “I fell in love with lifting weights. The gym became my happy place.”

Cragg said people started noticing the changes. “Competing was brought up so I did some research. I started following a few fitness related women through social media, where I first heard of the WBFF.

“I have always had the ‘go big or go home’ mentality and was instantly intrigued. I typed WBFF into Google and was linked to a YouTube video. Watching the video gave me this feeling of electricity in my veins. I knew I had to do it.”

In 2013 she entered her first competition, which was also with the WBFF. “Come stage day I was so ready to get up there and show the world my masterpiece. Being on stage was absolutely exhilarating. It made me feel like I’d found my calling – lights, camera, loud music, all eyes on me showing off what I’ve worked my butt off for.

“I entered in the Diva Bikini category not really knowing much about it at the time. Once I was backstage and saw all of the beautiful women and asked around as to what category they were competing in I found that I definitely should have been in Diva Fitness.”

She spent the next year “training like a beast” and put on some solid muscle, which paid off this summer when she won the Fitness Diva category and earned her pro certificate, enabling her to compete internationally and only in pro shows.

Cragg is already looking forward to the 2015 Worlds, which will be held in Las Vegas next August.

That will be a whole new ball game. I’ll be sharing the stage with women I aspire to be like, who have graced countless pages and covers of magazines, who inspire people worldwide, women I idolize,” Cragg said.

“It still seems surreal. I’ve never had a personal trainer or nutritionist. I’m self made, but I’ve gotten lots of training tips from friends (and social media) etc. It’s in my plans to join a team with the most reputable trainer in the WBFF in the new year – taking it to a whole new level and see what my body is capable of when trained by the best.”

Cragg will also be working with Monster Energy in 2015 after winning won of the four spots in their talent search in May. “I am looking forward to doing events with them,” she said.

“This is only the mere beginning. I couldn’t possibly be more proud of myself and where I am today,” says Cragg, who works a full time job five days a week, cooks and cleans around the house, looks after her son and still goes to the gym five days a week – “no excuses.”

“I take pride in being a positive role model for my son and everyone around me. I use the words ‘I can’ and ‘I will’ every day and refuse to settle in any aspect of my life. I will become a fitness model and be in magazines.

“I have huge dreams and goals and have zero doubt that I will achieve every one of them. I want to inspire others to live a healthier lifestyle. I truly believe that everyone deserves to be happy in the skin they’re in.

“Being someone who has dealt with anorexia and bulimia for years, I want to show women out there that they are worth far more than that. I want to be a role model to women who have dealt with that and/or deal with self-image and want to learn how to live a healthy and fit lifestyle.”