By Veronica Mackey
Taunya Taylor ain’t no joke. The 5’7”, 150 lb. Inglewood bodybuilder and skydiver “threw down” recently as a contestant on the competitive series, “Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Challenge,” literally dragging her opponent through the mud.
“I love to get my butt kicked,” she laughed.
The show, which continues with an all-new episode on Sunday, August 24th at 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET/PT, is the brain-child of wrestling icon Steve Austin. The 10-episode series pits elite athletes against everyday men and women in the ultimate test of strength, stamina and wit. Each episode features eight contestants in head-to-head battles, until the last man or woman standing earns the right to take on the toughest obstacle course in America created by Austin himself, the “Skullbuster,” for a chance to win $10,000.
So what made Taunya want to go for such a daunting challenge?
“I’ve always been adventuresome. Getting out of my comfort zone has always been a part of me, and I don’t know who doesn’t want to be on TV,” Taunya said. A friend who works for a casting company told her about the show.
Now, 41,Taunya said she is in the best shape of her life. She teaches “Insanity” workouts, Turbo Kicks, Pilates, spinning, and yoga. Making fitness big in her life is as much for Taunya’s benefit as for her students.
“Working for Children’s Services was very stressful,” she said. “It was my health and wellness that kept me there for 15 years. Being active has been my go-to thing for maintaining youthfulness and sanity.”
Taunya learned early in life that working out is not optional. “When I was 18, my cholesterol was 240. That was my first wake-up call. I looked fit, but my insides were all jacked up.”
Even health conditions are sometimes not enough to get people “off the couch,” Taunya said. Her advice is to get real with yourself about fitness, don’t listen to your feelings and find something you like to do.
“Some people don’t like to move. Let’s just be real. Don't fool yourself into thinking you’re going to like it. It (working out) starts off as this fairy tale ideal. You start doing it, and you don’t like it. If you do it anyway, then your emotions catch up with the behavior, and you enjoy what you're doing. You don’t tell the doctor ‘I don’t feel like taking my medication. You take it anyway.”
A good “trick” is just to bypass the brain. “To get off the couch, just start moving. Stand up and move. Stand up and sit down 20 times.”
An Inglewood resident for almost 10 years, Taunya is a wife and mother of two. If she wins the $10,000, she plans on taking the family on a long overdue vacation.
Catch a clip of Taunya in action on CMT.com.