What Steve Austin, 7 strangers, and the Skull Ranch Challenge Taught Me.


“Yea, well I’m pretty sure that challenge might not be my style.”

“Well Steve Austin is the host and you could win $10,000.”

“I’m in.”

That’s pretty much how I decided to take on the challenge that changed not only my life, but my entire outlook on taking chances.

1 month, 10 pounds heavier, and endless amounts of miles trained, I was on a flight to LA, having no idea what the hell to expect.

I was going to the Broken Skull Ranch, along with 7 other women (physical specimens, yoked out, with serial killer tendencies, I was expecting) and whatever was going to happen in the next 5 days I knew only one thing: They were going to try and kick my ass.

I trained hard; not really knowing what to train for, I trained for everything!

Sumo wrestling, combat, hill climbs, sand bag hauls; if it sounded miserable, I trained for it. I even got a friend to practice water combat in the pool, which pretty much ended up me trying to gracefully drown in the local rec center pool, while 70 year old women walked by wondering if they should get this girl help or stop a grown man from repeatedly trying to drown her.

I even learnt to swim in 20 days for this thing! And by swim, I mean I’m not Michael Phelps now but I no longer require arm floaties in the deep end.

I got off that plane at LAX, expecting war and 10 grand. A month later, I realized I learnt something so much more valuable.

What Steve Austin, 7 women, and a Desert Taught Me:

You’re a badass, but so is everyone else. No one was allowed to talk to one another unless on camera. So you have me, the most extroverted person on the planet, and close to 6 hours of downtime with 7 strangers that pretty much wanted to kill each other; perfect.

When the cameras finally started rolling, Steve asked us what we did. A marine, cross fitter, professional MMA fighter, and an arena football player later; I realized that being that “boxing red-head chick” wasn’t as” hard” as I thought. But screw it, I thought, I’m a boss lady and I’m not backing down from anyone.

I realized something at that moment, very quickly, in our own bubbles and world, we can get an ego; there’s a huge world out there and I wasn’t the only “tough chick” out there. I couldn’t help but feel something; not intimidation, pride, or ego, I felt honored.

Honored to be even considered to be able to roll with these badass chicks and that’s what’s great about truly being a badass; talent, ability, status doesn’t intimidate you or make you envious; it humbles you.

Broken Skull Ranch

Talk the talk, walk the walk. When you go on national TV, in front of Steve Austin, you can’t cling to a Facebook profile or an Instagram filter; you’re exposed, uncontrollably. You say your tough, a badass? Here’s a trench, get in and do something. No pressure or anything……

What I loved about this experience, is even though I didn’t win, I went out 100% myself: fighting until the end.

The silver lining was that in my obstacle that sent me home, going for the takedown was actually a horrible strategy. Avoiding contact is what advanced most girls to the next round.

On the plane ride home I thought to myself: going for the kill makes you feel tough, but it sure as hell didn’t get you 10 grand. Maybe taking a step back, looking at a situation with patience vs. strength is really what will actually advance you in life’s situations. Lesson learned.

I won’t lie though, 99% of the time, I’ll still go for it.

Reality Television is just plain weird. I was locked in a hotel room for 5 days, with only cable, and unlimited Cliff bars. 1,000 push-ups and 4 boxes of cliff bars later; I’m the only chick that goes on a fitness reality show and comes back 10 pounds heavier.

You have conversations on “your character” and the “story line” and the whole time production just kept saying, “Can you repeat that less sarcastically?”

Basically, reality TV does this: exposes who you are and that can be real or fake, but you can’t hide from it. A lot of the other competitors were nervous how they would be portrayed on air. Me? Well I felt a little different.

I chose a long time ago to lay it all out there; the good, bad, and extremely messy, and I’m thankful for it.

No one else can write your story, if it comes out of your mouth first, and I think that applies to all aspects in life, not just reality TV. Be yourself; unapologetically, and there’s never fear of being exposed for who you are.

skull ranch challenge

You can take the girl outta Kansas, but you can’t take ALL of Kansas out of the girl. “So you’re the country chick, turned trainer that has red hair.” Well they left out, incredibly witty, but that’s pretty much what character I was told to be. Cool; I can’t really pretend to be anything else anyways.

What’s funny though, once I was “cast” as myself, I became extremely aware of my redneck tendencies and how incredibly inappropriate I might be to others. I wish I could say, being aware made me different, but it doesn’t.

I love where I came from. I respect who it made me, and nothing, not even Hollywood, would change that.

While some of the girls were applying fake eyelashes, I was walking Steve through how to correctly field dress a deer.

Hey, I’m a Kansas girl, and so damn proud of it!

It is still possible to go on a reality fitness show and gain 6 pounds; it’s called craft service. I got a lot of messages regarding my weight on the show. Some noticed that I was heavier than my “contest pics” and to be exact, I was 21 pounds heavier and pretty happy about it. What was so cool about training for this show, is that I got to be an athlete again.

Having a 6-pack or a low body fat percentage wasn’t going to get me 10 grand; being strong, conditioned, and tough was.

So here’s my point: the perfect body or look doesn’t mean everything. Train for you, your body, and what your goals are. If that means putting on 20 pounds; screw ‘em; do you!

On a side note though, there’s a thing called craft service on TV sets and it’s the devil, camouflaged as pastries, pizza, and cheesecake. I worked hard at the table for those 20 pounds, and enjoyed every bite!

Women are the most dangerous, surprising, amazing creatures on the planet. After 3 days of ultimately trying to kill one another, in awkward silence, all the competitors were released to go home. The serial killerBroken skull ranch 2 looks gone, bodies fatigued, and a whirl wind of events over, there were a couple things on my mind and everyone else’s: eating and talking!

Within 1 hour, the 7 strangers that had been talking smack, wrestling for blood with one another 3 hours before, were sprawled out across my hotel bed having a straight up slumber party?

This is why women are boss ladies. We can be trying to kill you one moment and the next brushing your hair; chicks right?

That night made the entire experience for me. I heard stories of triumph, hard ships, and amazing fitness stories from the lives these girls lived. There was no competition anymore; just badass moms, athletes, people; telling their story and it was inspiring!

I couldn’t wait to get home and apply this new passion to my training and clients. The lesson here is that as women, we are amazing creatures, and when we join together in support and motivation, there’s really nothing else on earth like it.

Steve Austin, now and forever, is the coolest dude alive. The dude showed up in a ’92 bronco and cargo shorts.

He’s Steve……Freaking…… Austin!

After getting to spend time chatting with Mr. Austin, I found he’s just a regular guy that is extremely talented and successful. He’s successful because he stayed true to himself and is cool enough that after everything he’s accomplished in his career, he still took the time to talk to a random, red head boxing chick from Kansas.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever make it big, not sure if it really matters, but one thing I learnt from the man, Stone Cold himself, is that being kind, humble, and yourself is the definition of success, at every point of your career.

So I keep getting asked if I’d do it again; put myself out there on national TV, go through grueling training, and spend 8 hour days in the dessert doing trench warfare?

My answer: Hell yea.

The universe gives back what you put into it and at times, there is no way to make sense why you get put where you do. But you have to trust yourself and what you stand for.

Don’t let anyone tell you who “your character” is; define it yourself, and if that ends you up in the dessert, with Steve Austin, and 7 chicks wanting to rip your head off, well I guess you get to see how bad ass you really are.

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Work.Hard Lift.Heavy Live.Blessed



  1. maggiechoosefit · August 7, 2014

    Hi!!! I just signed u for the show, and I’m waiting for the to tell me if I made it (already passed the first two steps) i love what u wrote here! I’m super nervous, but pumped, is ,there any advice when it comes to the trainning that you could give me? Or the strategies that u think worked best ?? It would mean the world to me! Thank u!!

  2. protein protein · October 6, 2014

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