The Wonder Woman of Dentistry: How turning 30 helped a Florida dentist return to bikini bodybuilding and depart from pizza #ie40under40

Bikini Model Transformation

It all started from a simple decision to embrace potential and face fear

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2017 Incisal Edge honoree Dr. Natalie Pennington graces the Natural Muscle magazine circa August, 2013

On the eve of turning 30, Dr. Natalie Pennington decided to face her fears and return to a journey she began at age 16.

“The journey that took me to the world of fitness and as a winner in Professional Bikini Competitions actually began at the age of 16. At this young age, I was inspired to begin living a healthy life starting at my first job working the front desk at a local gym.  Here, several members were professional competitors.  I loved the way these women looked: healthy, strong, and fit. Competing since that point had been a long-standing desire of mine that was continuously thwarted by fear of baring myself on stage,” said the Delray Beach, Florida dentist.

“There was something about inviting judgment and scrutiny that exacerbated my insecurities, however, I made a vow to embrace potential and face my fears by the time I turned 30. Taking that leap of faith turned out to be the most rewarding experience, because sculpting my body truly cultivated my mind.”

How did sculpting her body cultivate her mind?

Part of the team at Designer Family Dental, she has focused on cultivating that mind for decades. Since graduating from the University of Pacific School of Dentistry in San Francisco, Dr. Natalie Pennington has provided high quality comprehensive care for the entire family. Prior to that she earned high honors while gaining an undergraduate degree in Business Administration in Seattle at the University of Washington.

All of these pursuits take discipline, and Dr. Pennington’s got that in mass quantities.

“Don’t get me wrong, there were several days when I stared at chocolate, cheesecake, and pizza like they were glasses of water in the desert. But when I felt the weakest, I reminded myself of how far I had come, how much I had grown, and in those moments of weakness chose to progress instead of regress. Becoming an (International Fitness and Body Building) IFBB Professional so far has been the pivotal moment of my life in this sport.”

How it all began

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Incisal Edge 40 Under 40 honoree Dr. Natalie Pennington: “My first cover was for Status Fitness Magazine, a fitness, bodybuilding, and MMA magazine based in the U.S. and Canada, where I shared the cover with ex MMA fighter, Tito Ortiz.”

Dr. Pennington, who has been featured in national fitness magazines since 2010 (she earned her first cover spot then,for Status Fitness Magazine, which she shared with ex MMA fighter, Tito Ortiz!) shares a few personal highlights in her IFBB career with thedailyfloss.com:

  • Traveling to New Zealand for the first-ever IFBB competition and placing 2nd,
  • Reaching the “epitome of bodybuilding” and stepping onto the Olympia Stage three years in a row, and
  • Winning the Europa Dallas, which she describes as “completely surreal”. “It took days to comprehend that I had actually won the entire show; an amazing moment.”

In addition to those accomplishments, the 2017 Incisal Edge 40 Under 40 honoree explains unexpected benefits of her pursuit:

    “Winning past shows and being on stage also brings a responsibility to be a role model to others who are aspiring to be in the fitness industry or who merely would like to live a healthier life. It is through your journey, others are inspired to be the best possible version of themselves as well.”

All that and a little Philanthropy on the side

To be the best possible version of herself, Dr. Pennington dedicates time for personal philanthropy. She regularly volunteers with the Feeding Delray Foundation in its mission to provide help to the homeless population with warm meals, clothing, blankets, and toiletries.

“Doing so helps to bring life into perspective and helps to bring people together for a common good. It is beautiful to see how appreciative people are. …So far we have fed the homeless over several holidays and on Super Bowl Sunday.”

Dr. Natalie Penington, you’re such a beast! How can I be like you?!

Words of Wisdom

She graciously shares a few personal practices — including her typical work day schedule (see below) to help others on their journey to personal fitness.

“The key is to remain consistent. To start something new, we all start somewhere and doing something is better than not doing anything at all.”

Three keys to remember:

  1. Start small, set realistic goals, find an accountability partner or group with a common fitness goal, and don’t get discouraged if results don’t come as quickly as you would like.
  2. Remember that you are only as strong as you allow yourself to be, so never give up.
  3. Dedication and consistency will eventually lead to success.

“Every goal in life requires time, dedication, consistency, and perseverance to achieve. I usually start the mornings with my cardio to get my day started. I find that also training in the mornings with weights gives me energy for the day. I will sometimes train later on in the day but I typically like to train in the mornings. Each day has different cardio and specific weight training exercises to help build a beautiful, curvy bikini physique,” says Dr. Pennington.

Want to see a schedule that never quits?

A typical work day schedule for Dr. Natalie Pennington:

  • 4:00 am – Wake up
  • 4:15 am – Meditate
  • 5:15-7:00 am –  Cardio and training
  • 7:00 – 7:45 am – Get ready and head to the office
  • 8:00 am – 5:00 p.m. – Office
  • 6:00-9:00 pm –  Read dental articles, spend time with family and friends, and relax.
  • 9:30 pm – Bedtime

The Philosophy of Champs

Not for the faint of heart, perhaps, but this one-woman-motivation-machine makes it all seem possible with her inspirational philosophy.

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Dr. Natalie Pennington recently visited NYC for two-day high fashion photo shoot as an Incisal Edge 40 Under 40 honoree.

“I am continuously motivated to take on a multi-faceted personality of a fitness model, professional bikini competitor, fitness expert, dentist, and IFBB bikini pro by always striving to push myself to be the best version of myself in all areas of my life.”

What’s up next?

“I do plan to step onstage again after starting a family, and will continue to stay motivated and inspire all working women and mothers into leading healthy lifestyles.”

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