Shelly Dahm-Mattes shares "When you are diagnosed with cancer, your entire life changes. That's what happened to me fifteen years ago. It's not something you can ever prepare for, but it's something that I knew could be beaten if I had the will to fight. My doctor told me that beyond surgery and treatment, a positive attitude was crucial to my recovery.

One thing that I noticed immediately was that I couldn't force myself to have a good attitude. I had many rough moments during this period of my life. Whenever I worked out, however, my outlook would noticeably improve.I always knew exercise and fitness were keys to a healthy lifestyle, but I didn't fully realize to what degree. If you research common conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, etc., the number one recommendation for improving your health is to exercise.

Fitness is no longer something I try to make time for; it's a priority. My goal is to live a long, healthy life and to set a positive example for my two daughters. The Fitness America competitions make the process an exciting challenge and keep me inspired to do my best."