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Simply Fit, by Cindy Haskin-Popp, will help you make physical activity a part of everyday life. The health benefits of regular exercise and overall daily physical activity will be discussed. Fun, practical and easy-to-follow tips on an exercise program will be shared, as will the most current research. Fitness tips for families and seniors, on fitness centers and on buying proper and affordable equipment will be regularly given. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Lashinda Demus, "The Star of Her Family," Shines Bright to the World as the Reigning World Champion in the Women's 400M Hurdles

Lashinda Demus is the world title holder in the Women's 400M Hurdles. (Photo Courtesy of Pure Perception Public Relations) 

It's in the rhythm of her breath, the pumping of her blood and the fluidity of her movement. It's in the fire found in her spirit that powers it all. It's the feel -- the ultimate mind, body and soul connection that propels Lashinda Demus past her opponents and brings the crowd to its feet with a roar as she crosses the finish line first.

On September 1, 2011, Demus clinched the gold in the Women's 400M Hurdles with a time of 52.47s during the World Championships in Daegu, Korea. Not only did she become the world title holder in the event, but she set a new American record, breaking Kim Batten's time of 52.61s set in 1995. Lashinda's performance was the third fastest ever, missing the world record by .02s (2/100s).

Her win does not come as a surprise to her family, however, they saw that she had talent at a young age. "They always say I'm the star of the family," Lashinda told me during a phone interview. And for good reason, Lashinda has been claiming titles for the past decade, setting the national high school record in the girls 300 hurdles in 2001. After high school she continued to dominate on the track, helping South Carolina win its only NCAA track and field championship.

In 2005 and 2006, Demus was ranked #1 with aspirations to take the 2008 Olympics by storm; however, in the second half of 2006, life put Lashinda in the outside lane of the track when she became pregnant. As reality set in, so did depression. "I felt like I couldn't be pretty anymore," stated Demus. "I thought that becoming a mother meant that you couldn't wear make-up or dress up anymore," she elaborated. "I did not want to talk to anyone....I just wanted to stay in bed," Demus explained. She noted that, at the time, she did not recognize that she was depressed. "Looking back I realized that I was. It wasn't until I saw the [ultrasound] pictures that it turned into happiness, " she reflected.

Demus finds strength through her family. (Photo Courtesy of Pure Perception Public Relations)

In June 2007, Demus gave birth to twin boys. Her athletic will and desire had her back to training just four weeks later, but her body was not ready. After failing to qualify for the 2008 Olympics by .14s, Demus realized that she needed to change her approach to training. "I moved back home [to California] for help from my family...I made my mom [a former NCAA champion herself] my coach and made my husband my agent," remarked Demus.

When Demus struggled to get her post-pregnancy body accustomed to training again, her mother's words of wisdom kept her going. "My mom knew everything to feel and told me what to expect. She told me that there will always be a breaking point--a time when everything comes together. [She said] it will be hard until you get to that one point," noted Demus. "As an athlete, you train hard. I just kept telling myself one day it will not hurt as much," she stated. "You have to keep pushing forward because if you are not moving forward then you are either going backwards or not moving at all."

Magic is found in the ultimate mind, body and soul connection. (Photo Courtesy of Pure Perception Public Relations)

Demus' perseverance carried her back to #1 in 2009 when she defeated the defending 2008 Olympic Champion by over 1.5s. In 2010, she earned the title of Diamond League Champion. This year, Demus crossed off two goals from her bucket list of five--setting an American record and clinching the gold at the World Championships. Next in line is to claim an Olympic gold (London 2012), set a world record and to go down in history as the best ever in her event.

Demus has already started to make a name for herself in history books. Her ability to reclaim her number one status after motherhood is an inspiration to women everywhere. She has proven that you can strike a balance between motherhood and a demanding career through hard work and a lot of support. Her advice to other mothers is: "Don't cut from life. Always pursue your dreams while having kids, because having kids is a part of your dreams. Don't ever take away your worth after pregnancy."

To see Demus claim the 2011 World Champion title in the Women's 400M Hurdles, watch the video (Courtesy of Universal Sports) below. To learn more about Lashinda Demus visit her website at If you would like to keep up to date on her progress toward achieving the gold at the 2012 Olympics in London, "like" her on Facebook at Lashinda Demus' Road to Gold: London 2012.

Phone Interview September 14, 2011; Lashinda Demus

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