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JBLM fitness trainer an inspiration to her clients

Client goes from borderline anorexic to fitness champion

Published: 11:07AM November 29th, 2012
JBLM fitness trainer an inspiration to her clients

Scott Hansen/Northwest Guardian

Instructor Sharon Morejon, right, works with client Kaleen Micklewright at Jensen Family Health and Fitness Center.

There was a time when Sharon Morejon turned away from the opportunity to be a personal fitness trainer. The certified fitness instructor had a simple answer for those inquiring: “I don’t want that responsibility.”

Morejon was satisfied with her “fitness instructor” title, finding work at every Army post at which her husband was stationed.

But when the Morejons moved to Germany from 1998 to 2005, the Army spouse found herself in the trainer role for the first time in her career. Little did she know the impact she would have on her clients — especially on Kaleen Micklewright.

Training to be fit

Micklewright is a 25-year-old Army spouse and mother to 4-year-old twin girls. Her family PCS’d to Joint Base Lewis-McChord from Korea last year and her husband is currently deployed to Afghanistan with the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. The spouse used JBLM’s free fitness center classes, like Morejon’s cardio kickboxing class.

Without explanation the class was no longer offered and Micklewright wanted to know why. She didn’t know Morejon had had a kidney removed and was taking eight weeks off from teaching and training. Near the end of April Micklewright ran into Morejon at Wilson Sports and Fitness Center on Lewis North and learned about her surgery. Micklewright also learned that prior to her surgery, Morejon had competed in three body-building figure competitions and was preparing to train for her fourth.

“She said I was such an inspiration to others,” Morejon said. “She said she would really love to (compete).”

The sports and fitness centers on JBLM offer free group fitness training sessions and Morejon took the underweight Micklewright under her wing. They began to train together with weights and began a nutrition regimen.

“When I first came to her I thought I was fairly healthy,” Micklewright said.”

But Morejon believed Micklewright to be borderline anorexic, barely consuming 1,000 calories a day — not nearly enough to grow muscle. For 18 weeks Morejon and Micklewright trained together for the 2012 NPC Northern Classic in Lakewood Oct. 13. By show time Micklewright had put on about 10 pounds of lean muscle. “She’s amazing,” Micklewright said of Morejon. “We would work out and she just had a major surgery. If she could do it, then I had no excuse.”

The competition

Morejon told Micklewright figure competitions are difficult — physically demanding and hard to anticipate what the judges are looking for. She encouraged Micklewright to embrace the experience of her first show and to learn from it.

The once shy Micklewright posed on stage under the bright lights among other figure competitors. When she was selected the winner of the 5-foot-4 to 5-foot-6 category, Morejon cried with joy for the physical and emotional transformation of her client.

“I had done my job,” Morejon said. “I was so proud of her. To watch this young lady go from shy and timid, to being this beautiful young woman that just blossomed, was the most incredible feeling in the world. That was more fulfilling for me than actually (competing).”

Micklewright caught the competition bug and is already working toward a show in Vancouver, Wash. next spring. “It’s made me more confident,” Micklewright said. “I think I’m still kind of shy and intimidated talking to people, but I think I’ve come a long way.”

And just as Morejon likes to help others, Micklewright was inspired to follow after her mentor’s steps. She recently became a certified trainer.

“She wants to pay back this gift to others,” Morejon said.