WESTBROOK, Minnesota (STPNS) --     Marshall  — Former Westbrook Walnut Grove grad Jennifer Olsem Louwagie has turned her love for physical fitness into a budding pro body building career.

    Louwagie, a farm girl from Westbrook, was raised helping her father Gene lifting hay bales which helped her build muscle in her arms. In high school she was a middle and long distance runner in track. She said, “my coach Joan Bultman (Zieske) encouraged me to work hard and not complain about the hard work it takes to be successful!”

    Her first introduction to weight lifting came after track work outs, she finished lifting weights. She continued with her training while she attended Southwest Minnesota State College where she studied Physical and Health Education for teaching. After graduation she got her certificate as a Personal Trainer and worked for Marshall Avera hospital Wellness Center. She said, “I was teaching aerobics and training and I loved my job.” She then took a job teaching physical education at the K-8 school in Marshall for eight years.

    In 2000 Olsem married her husband, Bill Louwagie, the couple have three children. After eight years of teaching she and her husband decided it was important for her to stay home with their children.

    That is when she became more interested in bodybuilding and a super healthy lifestyle. She also was planning a ten year anniversary trip to the 2010 Olympia in Las Vegas. After that trip she was motivated  to finally take the leap and do a figure show. In June of 2011 she did well self training and placed 3rd in the open class and 2nd in the Masters class. She said, “I knew I could do better.”

    While attending the 2011 Olympia she and her husband met her now trainer Eric DiLauro. DiLauro has trained the great four time Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler and many other celebrity, amateur, and pro competitors.

    In October of 2011 Louwagie with some help from Dilauro, she  placed 1st in her class, 1st in Master’s Figure, and overall master’s at her second show.

    Jennifer and her husband decided to contact DiLauro to train to bring out her best! After working out with DiLauro for a while they decided that she should look into competing in a new category called Physique. This division  is a cross between women’s body building, but with less muscle and figure with more lean muscle.

    In March of 2011 she competed in her first Physique event on the amateur stage at the NPC Gopher State Classic in  Eden  Prairie. She won 1st in masters, and 1st overall Physique. In May she competed in the Jr. USA’s placing second, but only first place was awarded a pro card. Then in the Team Universe in New Jersey she placed second, and the top three were  given their pro cards. She said, Yes — My goal was to earn my pro card! My trainer told my husband that he would have me Pro in three shows — we did it!”

    When asked why she trains, she said, “ I love beautiful muscles! I enjoy looking and feeling strong! Weight training is fun! When I train it is like I go play at the gym!”

    She lists her goals as: To place top 3  in a Pro Physique show in 2013. Get invited to compete in the Arnold. Compete at the Olympia. Get sponsored by a supplement company. Be a healthy role model for my kids — getting them to eat healthy. Continue to motivate an inspire, and leave an impact in the fitness world.

    Louwagie said, “I live two different worlds, at the shows it’s glitz and Glamour but at home I’m a mom. I stay in shape year around.”

    She does her workouts early in the morning at 4:30 or 5:30. She does cardio and weights  6 days a week. She spends a lot of time at the gym, “I couldn’t do this without the support of my husband and kids,” she said.

    Her next event will be a guest posing at a show in Eden Prairie,  April 6 to get ready for her next pro show.

    She also does  fitness workshops and training for some people locally. She said, “it’s a rush working with people.”

    Last week she was at a show in Ohio the Arnold Classic Sports Festival. “It was really neat hanging out with Jay Cutler and other big names in the business,” she said.

    When she is not doing exercise and shows, Jennifer enjoys baking, “I love to bake — I like to create healthy versions of bars, and cookies using protein powder. I also like baking with my kids, to encourage them to eat healthy foods,” she said.

    She said, “My track coach was right when she said, “work hard and not complain about the hard work it takes to be successful!”  

    She had some advice for anyone getting started as a serious competitor in the sport. Be prepared to live the lifestyle. You will not have much time for much other  than sleep. Planning an preparing meals and workouts constantly.  It is easier if you have it a part of your daily routine already. Have support. Family and true friends that will help you stick with your goals!

    Louwagie is the  daughter of Gene and  Carol Olsem of Westbrook and is a 1994 WWG graduate.