MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C. -- An aviation ordnance Marine placed 18th out of 88 competitors in the Figure Category of the Monica Brandt's 2002 Body Rock Challenge in Fairfax, Va., July 13.
Contestants from as far away as Hungary participated in the competition side-by-side one of Fightertown's own, Cpl. Kelly Nauyokus--that's pronounced Ny-o-kus.
While posing on stage in front of thousands of people, the 21-year-old was introduced by Shawn Ray, eight-time Mr. Olympian.
"We were all standing up there on stage and the music was playing loud. I didn't think that anyone could even hear Shawn Ray but when he said, 'she's from Beaufort, South Carolina, and a U.S. Marine,' the whole crowd went nuts. I practically got a standing ovation."
The self-proclaimed perfectionist trains five days a week and owes much of her success to the Marine Corps along with the few and the proud that are a part of it.
"The gym is free, and there are all the guys who will push you and you can learn from," Nauyokus said. "A lot of them know what they are doing, especially some of the physical trainers I've worked with."
Known as the black sheep in her family, this Tampa, Fla., native joined in 1999 because she wanted to do something different with her life, according to Nauyokus. Joining the Marine Corps was a spur of the moment decision for her.
She realized her normal lunch of a biggie-sized fries wasn't going to get her anywhere but fat, but it was not until joining the Corps that Nauyokus really took control of her training.
"I'm an independent person. I really compete against myself," Nauyokus said. "Team sports are good, but everyone has different capabilities. I like knowing I am bettering myself everyday."
Her intense training regime has paid off. Since her most recent win, she is now a national-level competitor in the National Physique Committee. She has also been invited to participate in Galaxy -- a competition of figure definition and an obstacle course challenge -- which is scheduled to take place in November in Orlando, Fla.
"Everyone asks me for fitness advice, and it doesn't bother me," she said. "I wish more people would get involved. It has made me a happier person all around and a better a Marine."
She continues to push herself by entering local and national contests. Her next endeavor is in the 2002 NPC Lowcountry Classic scheduled at Parris Island's theater, Aug. 24.
This year the competition will include the Women's Figure Class, a new event, Nauyokus plans on taking the first-place trophy.
"Hopefully it inspires people," Nauyokus said. "If you dream it, you can achieve it."
Nauyokus is a direct representative of the Beaufort Marine Corps community and takes her title very seriously.
"When I was backstage at my last competition, I was amazed at how many people were coming up to me and thanking me for my service," she said. "The women kept asking me what life was like (in the Corps). They kept saying they were proud of me for my service."
She admits she wasn't always as defined as she is now, in body, mind and spirit. But through her commitment to training and by being a Marine, she is an all-around better person.
"Hopefully I'll be able to help train people to compete and eventually better their lives," Nauyokus said. "If you know you have the power to change one area of your life, it can help you to change every aspect of your life."