Sponsored Athletes

At Massage & Healthy Living, we work with a variety of athletes involved in: triathlons, marathons, cross-country, mountain-climbing, CrossFit, powerlifting, strongman and more! For these hard-working individuals who need regular massage, it can get expensive to come every month so, we came up with a way to get them the care they need to recover faster to keep them performing at a higher level. If you are an athlete (and local to us) who wants to align with our vision, who wants to represent our company to the hundreds of dedicated people striving to stay healthy, then fill out our application below. Please note: Only local athletes in the Triangle (Cary, Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Holly Springs, Apex, Morrisville will be considered). To be considered athletes should have a strong social media presence with at least 2 accounts listed below.

We are passionate about leading a happy balanced healthy life, and to work with us, you should too. If this sounds like you, we want to hear from you! Both men and women may apply. Good luck!

Thank you for your interest in becoming part of the MHL Athlete Family. We will be in contact with you within seven business days with a response to your application. Applications will be evaluated against the limited number of spots available.

In health,

Massage & Healthy Living



Liz Waddell

Liz Waddell DPT, MSCS (stage name: Liz Adora) is a physical therapist and competitive pole dancer.  She began competing at the amateur level in 2014 and was instantly hooked.  She progressed to the professional level in 2016 winning 2nd place in her first pro-level competition.  Her pole passion is driven by the desire to merge strength and creativity.  She has a BFA in dance from UNC Greensboro and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from UNC Chapel Hill.  Liz trains for pole competitions at Aradia Fitness Cary and has added CrossFit to her fitness routine at CrossFit Brave.  Liz strives to maintain optimal physical function and helps others maximize their athletic potential through her work as a physical therapist at Kinetic Institute Physical Therapy in Cary.
Pole Competitions
  • 2018 PSO TPC, Professional division, 2nd place
  • 2017 Pole Theatre USA, Art division
  • 2017 PSO TPC, Exotic Level 5, 2nd place
  • 2016 PSO Nationals, Professional division, 5th place
  • 2016 PSO SPC, Professional division, 2nd place
  • 2015 PSO SPC, Dramatic Level 4, 1st place
  • 2014 PSO SPC, Dramatic Level 3, 1st place
Liz can be found on Instagram at:  @Liz_Adora and on Facebook at “Liz Adora”.


Ryan Rodriguez

Ryan is a 21 year old athlete from Raleigh, North Carolina. He is a former wrestler and for the last 2 years has been coaching and competing in CrossFit.  His home gym is currently 12th State CrossFit and receives coaching under Cliff Kohut in order to prepare for future competitions.

Ryan plans to open his Fitness Facility early 2019 in Raleigh, NC.  As a CrossFit Coach, USA Sports and Performance Coach, and many other certifications Ryan has programmed and coached athletes such as youth national soccer players to 60 year old CEO’s.  Holding a athletic achievements such as former High School Wrestling State Qualifier and State Placer along with in 2017 and 2018, Ryan has competed in several high level competitions sharing the finals floor with CrossFit Games and Regional Athletes and never placing lower than top 4.

Ryan can be found on Instagram at:  @rodriguezryan


Shelby Neal

Shelby Neal is an 18 years old athlete from Wake Forest, North Carolina. She is a former gymnast and for the last 3 years has been competing in CrossFit and Olympic Weightlifting. Her home gyms is 12th State CrossFit and feels lucky to be taken under the wing of Whitney Gelin in order to prep for this upcoming season.

Olympic Weightlifting 58kg weight class
2016 Youth Nationals: 2nd place
2016 Youth Pan American Weightlifting Championship (Guatemala): 2nd place
2016 The American Open
2017 Youth Nationals: 2nd place

Shelby was had the great opportunity to visit the Olympic Training Center multiple times to train at their Youth Development Camp over the summers with Olympian Zygmunt Smalcerz.
Due to her placing in the 2016 CrossFit Liftoff, she was able to travel to Rogue HQ for an athlete camp with three-time Olympic Champion Pyrros Dimas.

CrossFit Competitions/Placing
2016 Reebok CrossFit Games (16-17 division): 8th overall
2017 Reebok CrossFit Games (16-17 division): 6th overall
2016 CrossFit Open: 9th in Teenage Division
2017 CrossFit Open: 6th in Teenage Division
2018 CrossFit Open: 10th in Mid-Atlantic Region, 141st Individual WorldWide
2018 Atlantic Regional Competitor: qualified at 17 years old and placed 12th overall (rookie year)
Granite Games 2017: 1st overall in Teenage Division (9/10/17)
War of the WODS: 1st overall Female RX Division (1/14/18)
Sua Sponte Games: 1st overall M/F RX Team Division (1/27/18)

My Lifts (born 2000 – first year as a junior lifter)

  • 78 kg Snatch
  • 104 kg Clean and Jerk
  • 182 kg Training Total

Shelby can be found on Instagram at @shelby__neal , Facebook: Shelby Neal, and LinkedIn

April Purvis

April grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina with her twin brother. She started powerlifting as an undergraduate at UNC Chapel Hill, where she is now finishing up her Masters in Accounting, in conjunction with earning a Masters of Fine Arts from Warren Wilson, where she studies and writes poetry.

April most recently placed 1st at drug tested USPA Nationals, where she broke three world records for her weight class! Callouses coat her hands from pushing the pencil to paper, and from barbell crosshatches. She qualified for Worlds and is contemplating a competition in the fall, or taking it international.

She can be found on Instagram @the30daysofapril

Heather Connor

Heather is 26 years old from Holden Beach, NC. She competes in the 47kg class with USA Powerlifting and currently holds the American records in the Squat, Deadlift and Total. In 2017 she won the IPF world championships where she competed in Minsk, Belarus. She currently has the Deadlift World Record in the 47kg class which is recorded at 387lbs, but then went to break it unofficially March 3, 2018 at the Arnold sports classic with a 4x body-weight deadlift of 402 lbs, making her the first female in the history of the IPF and USAPL to pull 4x the body-weight while also becoming the pound for pound strongest female in the IPF.
Current best lifts:
  • Squat 314 lb
  • Bench 159 lb
  • Deadlift 402 lb
“I am an online strength & conditioning coach with a degree in Sports and Exercise Science from UNCW and coach athletes all over the globe!”
Heather can be reached online on Instagram @stayfit_with_heather, Twitter @ hconnorbabyy, Snapchat @Connorbabyy

ikenstein strongman

Isaac Smith, aka “IKENSTEIN”

Born and raised in North Carolina, Isaac attended NC State University where he received a B.S. in Sport Management and a minor in Sports Science.

Currently a CSCS, his love for lifting weights and competing led him to Powerlifting in January 2016. After a year, Isaac found a newfound love in strongman and competed in his first show in May, 2017 where he won the novice <200lb class.

He would go on to compete in his first open <200lb show in July, where he would take 1st, as well and qualify for Strongman Corporation Nationals in Las Vegas.

Following Nationals in November, Isaac had the opportunity to compete in Official Strongman Game’s World’s Strongest Man competition in December, where he would place 16th in the world among the <90kg competitors. He would then go on to place 11th in the <231 division at the StrongMan World Championship.

Isaac can be found on Instagram: @ikenstein, Twitter: @ikenstein_, and Facebook: Isaac Smith


Rob Rykowski

Originally from Los Angeles, Rob lived in Boston for 10 years where he owned a gym and competed in CrossFit, then moved to North Carolina in 2017 for the great weather and friendly people.

Rob is the owner of NC Strength Gym a certified USA Powerlifting Regional Training Center in Cary, NC. As a powerlifting coach, state referee, and strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS), Rob programs and coaches athletes for high level competition and competes himself at the national level. In 2017 he competed in, USAPL Raw Nationals, USAPL MA Winter Classic, USAPL Newport Open, USAPL MA Winter Classic 2017. This year Rob is training to compete in the USAPL Battle On the Border in March.

When Rob isn’t lifting or coaching, he is probably on his mountain bike or climbing a rock wall, enjoying the outdoors.

Rob can be found on Instagram @ncstrengthgym or @rob_ncstrength and Facebook @ncstrengthgym.


Adli “Sunshine” Edwards

A professional Mixed Martial Arts fighter born in Ohio, Adli moved to North Carolina for the sunny southern climate. After beginning his martial arts journey at a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academy, Adli joined his high school wrestling team and ended up falling in love with the competitive culture. Eventually becoming an NCAA All American for Ashland University where he also acquired a postgraduate degree in Applied Exercise Science.

Adli made a seamless transition to Mixed Martial Arts, quickly becoming the #1 ranked amateur fighter in the state of Ohio, collecting title belts along the way. Soon after relocating to North Carolina, “Sunshine” dominated his professional debut and has been steadily climbing the regional professional rankings. Adli has ambitions of continuing to develop as a martial artist and testing his skills against the best in the world. “Sunshine” recently won a March bout in Hollywood, Florida by first round submission and looks to fight frequently the rest of 2018.

When Adli is not doing his own training, or running “daddy daycare” for his two little girls, he is at the gym training others. He runs a wrestling program at Forged Fitness in Cary where he shares the sport that gave him so much. As a CSCS, certified strength and conditioning coach, Adli helps people realize their athletic potential. He especially enjoys working with local combat athletes.

Facebook: @adlisunshineedwards
Instagram: @adliedwards

Suzy_USGrappling - photo by CAM photography

Suzy Palmisciano

Suzy is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athlete originally from the UK and now resides in Chapel Hill, NC.
With many years of Jiu Jitsu under her belt, she dedicated most of 2017 competing. Training out of Chapel Hill Gracie Jiu Jitsu, Suzy represents Team Royce Gracie along side an impressive number of other World Champions and medalists.

Most notably, in 2017 Suzy competed at the Masters World Championships in Las Vegas and came 3rd in her weight division at 118lbs. Suzy also competed in the IBJJF Atlanta Open and Pan Ams.

Suzy was recently promoted to purple belt in Jiu Jitsu and is looking forward to an exciting year competing at this new rank.

Suzy can be found on Instagram @Rangerupsooz and on Twitter @Jiujitsuze.