Army wife makes What is Beautiful top 10

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By Becca Owsley

With a goal to run a 5K, Lexie Umsted joined the Under Armor What is Beautiful competition and made it into the top 10.

Umsted, 20, whose husband, Alex, is stationed at Fort Knox, stumbled onto the competition website because of a friend’s participation.

At first, she didn’t know it was a competition. She thought it was just a website to offer encouragement to women and document fitness progress.

There were a variety of fitness challenges on the site for contestants to do that changed every few weeks.

She could barely run a mile when she first started. She hated running in high school. Her first 5K (3.1 miles) challenge was a Color Run in Louisville. She completed that goal and began to build more miles so she could run a half marathon (13.1 miles), which she did in November. She is now training for a full marathon (26.2 miles).

Before her husband deployed in 2010, she weighed 190 pounds. The weight gain began after the birth of her daughter, who is now 2. She weighed 137 before her daughter’s birth and 150 after. She gained a lot of weight before her husband deployed because he ate every meal like it was his last and she ate along with him, she said. By the time he deployed she weighed 190 pounds.

She knew it was time to step up and get healthy for herself and her husband and to keep up with a daughter who would soon be a toddler.

By the time Alex came home on leave she weighed 160 pounds, and on his recent return from deployment she was down to 130 pounds.

It was a shock for him when he got home because she did not let him know how much she was losing, she said.

Through the competition she learned a lot about herself and befriended others involved with the Under Armor website.

For Umsted, the important thing in fitness is to try.

“Don’t say, ‘I can’t do anything’ because through this competition I’ve learned to not say ‘I can’t,’ because I’m doing things I never thought possible,” she said.

Getting fit can be hard at first but you have to push yourself past your limits, she said. Running was a struggle for her at first. She had to push herself out the door, but once she took that first step it got easier.

When starting a fitness routine, Umsted advises going at your own pace.

“It’s a your race, your pace kind of thing,” she said.

She gets together with other women at 6:45 p.m. Monday and Thursday each week at Gammon Fitness Center. She encourages others to take advantage of free fitness centers on post because, in civilian life, fitness centers can be expensive.

That expense is something Umsted will have to get used to later this year when Alex gets out of the Army and they return to their home state of Georgia.

When she started she also found a lot of her workouts online at www.pinterest.com. They were small workouts she could change up regularly to alter her routine.

Instead of checking a scale, Umsted took photos of herself every couple weeks to visually document her weight loss.

“The scales don’t tell the truth,” she said.

It’s better to set a fitness goal rather than a weight loss goal, checking inches rather than pounds, she said.

“If you get healthy and you eat right, your body’s going to thank you for it and you’re going to see changes,” she said.

Eating healthy also became a part of Umsted’s fitness routine.

“I believe in cutting back portion sizes and not really cutting things from your diet,” she said.

It’s about moderation, smaller portions and replacing some things, such as butter, with something healthier, she said.

When you change up your diet, it confuses your body and helps keep you fit, she said. The same principle applies to workouts, said Umsted, who doesn’t use the same workout twice.

Fitness also helped her through her husband’s deployment. She’s used it to distract herself and if she gets frustrated, a workout or run is a good outlet.

Umsted also plans to get a personal trainer certificate.

She recommends others find something similar to the Under Armor competition to help motivate them in fitness.

By being in the top 10 for this round, Umsted gets to train with elite athletes at Camp Sweat in Clearwater, Fla., at the end of this month. Under Armor not only provides gear to the top 10 but also provides travel expenses to the camp and spa.

Winners of the previous round also did some modeling but Umsted’s not sure she’ll get to do that.

Becca Owsley can be reached

at (270) 505-1741 or bowsley@


Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.