Look at me and you probably thinking ‘oh good grief, another blonde Californian fitness chick showing off her abs and believing she can relate to me and my issues’
That voice in your head might be saying “here we go, she’s going to preach about her green juice, a detox or bash me with ‘organic or die’ and post her daily positive mantras”
If you are coming to all these conclusions about me, I forgive you as I know that’s what I think when I see all these perfect social media posts with girls in their matchy matchy workout clothes and tupperware meal prep. Kids, half my age telling me how to stay in shape and what to eat, reading from their PT textbook and filming every minute of their day. I get it, this is the era of self-promotion but I just want to be there when that diet of theirs stops working, when 5 hours of sleep is no longer enough when fat appears for no reason (in new places) and their skin seems to have a gravitational force all of its own.
Right about 35 it all starts getting a little cra cra
I am actually English, born in a little industrial town on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors. A land far far away from the fitness capital of he world where I did indeed end up, Venice California. The Californian look took decades to perfect but my accent if a complete giveaway. I started as a sprinter and high jumper, competing for the county and doing pretty well. I always loved to run but hated the high jump as it meant a lot of standing around in the rain and landing on a mat in the middle of a giant puddle. The first turning point was when it was suggested that I train my legs with weights. True my knees where bigger than my thighs and if I wanted to be faster then I should probably put “some meat on my bones”
I was 14 alone on a leg press in the gym at the athletics stadium, I had found my happy place.
There is a whole story about why I stopped being a sprinter/jumper. It would probably make a good blog post as it involved entering me under different names to get a better “team score’ Looking back I cannot believe how serious a team win was to these coaches and it left me pretty disheartened and honestly, pretty confused. I left the stadium life but didn’t want to stop weight training so I found a gym owned by a guy my mum knew, this was my second turning point – aged 17
The gym was owned by Bill Boyd, a bodybuilding judge, he saw something in me and within 6 months I was onstage competing in a sport I didn’t even know existed. Female Bodybuilding. The sport was young, it was 1984 and my gym wasn’t even co-ed. Men trained on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays and ladies trained on Tuesdays and Thursday. Both men and women were allowed in on Saturday, but the ladies had to come in after 2pm. That’s how long I have been lifting weights!
I won my first show and was then allowed to workout on the men’s days after 7pm and on Saturday I was allowed to train in the mornings – this was a big deal
I won’t bore you with a list of my competitions. The major wins were British Junior Champion (under 21), World Champion (Siberia), European Champion (Czechoslovakia), British Overall Champion. In that order which was strange but I couldnt turn professional until I won the Overall British, which I did on my 4th attempt in 1991.
Meanwhile, I was doing a BA Hons degree in Business and Finance and once I had that and my pro card under my belt it hit the road. I moved to Australia (Surfers Paradise) for a year or so and then I was all too soon on the flight back to England. I had given up a very good job, company car, house, expense account and was going back to nada. Australia to England is an 18 hour time difference and cannot be done in one flight. My stopover was in Los Angeles . It was November, I was leaving summer in Australia and heading to winter in England. I didn’t get on the second leg of that flight.
NOT THE SMARTEST
Looking back, landing in LA with a little cash in my pocket and a backpack on my back is not the smartest thing I ever did and my first few hours in LA make for a whole other blog post. I headed to the Mecca of bodybuilding, Golds Gym, Venice and that became my home for the next 24 years.
As an amateur bodybuilder, I won just about every show I competed in, as a pro I didn’t win one 🙂 My goal had always been to compete on the Ms Olympia stage. Being professional was hard enough back then but so few pro’s ever made it to that infamous stage. I competed in the Olympia in 1995 and 1996 and then I was done and retire from the sport.
GOLDS GYM. VENICE, CA
Bodybuilding is a crazy, pretty extreme sport but it is the only sport that is judged on body composition. To be successful in the sport you had to become an expert on nutrition and physiology. It’s quite funny to me when a new diet hits the mainstream and its something that the bodybuilders had done literally 10 years before. We were doing low carb when everyone else was doing the food pyramid. HIgh fat, we had it down back when I was in Australia in the very early 90’s and now everyone is Keto and although not always the best for optimal muscle building, we knew about the ketogenic diet 25 years ago. Bodybuilders are a strange breed indeed but we studied and experienced every possible way to manipulate our bodies into the leanest and most muscular form. No other sport does that.
I started competing at 17 and left the stage at 30. 13 years of dieting. I definitely knew a thing or two about losing weight and putting on muscle. Nutrition had always fascinated me and I became known as the trainer in Golds that got people stage and screen ready. I worked with a lot of competitors. I trained Monica Brant for her Olympia win, I trained Chelsea Handle for her TV show and Shawn Wayans for his movie roles (take a buff 6’3″ guy and turn him into a “White Chick” – that was fun) If you would like to see more of my clients please go to www.JoanneLeeCornish.com or to the www.theshrinkshop.com
I have been designing meal plans for over 20 years but about 10 years ago I wrote a seminar series called “If Diets Worked We’d All Be Skinny” it was a 6 part series where I explained everything from childhood obesity to bloating, hormonal weight gain, alcohol, sleep, stress and of course nutrition. Well, seminar #1 I presented to about 6 of my friends who were kind enough to turn up to support me. By seminar #6 we were at capacity with people standing in the hallway taking notes. I was asked to repeat the whole series which I did but we had to move to a larger location.
Does that mean I’m so great? not really. What was obvious was that people were really interested in understanding what was going on with their bodies, behaviors and were looking for solutions they could implement with confidence. This was a game changer for me, I really find all this stuff totally fascinating but I hadn’t realized so many people felt the same way. The Shrink Shop was born and instead of just designing diets, I started teaching diets and the response has been incredible.
which led to 4 years of writing in my car …
JOANNE THE AUTHOR
“When Calories and Cardio Don’t Cut it”
If you are over 35 you know there is more to weight loss and body shape than cutting calories and adding hours of cardio to your already busy week. Available in book
stores and everywhere online this is my fascinating, fun guide to midlife weight loss and how to completely avoid it.
Find it on Amazon www.caloriesandcardio.com
If you’re in the UK www.joanneleecornishuk.com
Or buy it direct www.theshrinkshopbook.com
If there was one thing that held my weight loss clients back it was lack of sleep, or poor quality sleep. In 2016 I designed an all natural sleep product which is now “Amazons Choice” for people who have difficulty staying asleep and its been a great hit with those affected by hormonal changes. You can find our Sleep Formula www.theshrinkshopsleep.com
I combined 12 natural sleeping aids into this very successful product. No dependency, no hangover – just great sleep
My life just sounds peachy doesnt it? Well moving to the States was hard! There were some really fun but very tough years. In 50 years I’ve collected a few scars. I struggled with my weight after all those years of competing, that took a lot of figuring out but I am grateful as it taught me a great deal. I’ve had death, divorce, stress, and anxiety. I have been broke living alone, not sure what I was going to do. One thing I am incredibly grateful for is my health. Throughout all the twists and turns I have tried to keep that my priority and I really think that has helped me to battle through many storms. If I haven’t experienced what you are dealing with then I bet I have worked with a client that has. Getting older in the fitness industry is not the kindest but you cannot put a price on the true value of experience.
Today I am living a peachy life and that is thanks to my husband Kevin. We met and married within 4 months and anyone that knows him knows its the best decision I have ever made in my life. We live between Eagle Idaho and Malibu CA all our kids have 4 legs and life couldn’t be better.
So that’s my 51 years, in a nutshell, just a gal working her passion, taking a few risks and building a brand. I am more than just another California fitness chick flashing her abs looking for a bit of self-promotion. If weight loss or muscle is your goal I have lived it and studied it for over 3 decades and I’m not done yet.