Name: Amanda Graydon
Age: 37 (Born: March 7th, 1979)
Location: Currently – Ontario Canada
What does being a Girl Gone Strong mean to you?
For me: independence. I love being able to do things on my own, and know I don't need to ask for help. Not to say that I don't ask for help when needed, but I certainly thrive off the confidence that strength gives me. My strength fuels my "do it myself" personality! I also really like that our whole family enjoys our gym time. Our children are learning from such a young age that time spent in the gym goes well beyond lifting a few weights. I'm already hearing conversations between our young ones that have phrases like this, "I can reach that because I stretch out in my warm up" OR "if you bend your bum to the floor (squat) and I do it too, and we hold on tight with our muscles, we can lift it together"
As a parent, and female lifter, you just get that fuzzy feeling when you hear chatter like above, knowing you're helping to create a vibe around fitness for the future of these little ones!
How long have you been training?
I'd say I've trained all my life, but don't assume its all lifting! I started out as a wee figure skater age 6, and competed in singles till I was 22. It wasn't until I started coaching figure skating and met my husband that I steered away from skating and cardio as my forms of training to lifting. Lifting was addictive! I loved competing against myself and achieving milestones in the gym (you know - like more than 1 pull up! haha). Since then, I've competed in 5K races (usually pushing a stroller w one or two little ones in it), mini lifting competitions, and continually challenge myself w WODS or made up circuits.
What does a sample workout look like for you?
Right now I am in the gym about four or five times a week. I prefer to train without little ones around, and really try to use my gym time as my time. I've earned it! I play music I like or listen to a pod talk, choose my exercises based on how I'm feeling that day and what I've already done that week. I include two sprint sessions per week (rowing, track, or cycle), two weight days. If I get a bonus day—Day 5—it'll be a circuit. No matter what type of training it is for that day, total duration of my session is between 30 to 40 minutes. That's the perfect recipe for my body right now.
Pull-ups, curls, front squats and dead lifts. There's just something about a girl who can do any one of these lifts that is fascinating to me. I guess its in part, because I know what training goes into being able to accomplish these movements and once you have mastered these moves, what it means to your mind. That is the thrill of achievement.
Most memorable PR:
I’ve never focused on powerlifting or pure strength as I really enjoy weighted circuits. However, my most memorable PR was the day I deadlifted 205 pounds, weighing about 120 pounds.
Top 5 songs on your training playlist:
Well I feel like my pod isn't really mine right now, so you'll laugh when you read this list, and totally understand why I opt for a podcast!
Five Little Ducks – Raffi
Let It Go – Frozen
The Gummy Bear Song – GummiBar
Timber – Pitbull
That's What's Up – Lennon & Maisy
Top 3 things you must have with you at the gym/in your gym bag:
1. Interval timer
2. Hair elastic
3. *Feel-good outfit.
(*My outfit has to be something I picked that makes me feel good. It could be for the color, the fit, the fact that it’s new, or the fact that I got a bargain on it.
Do you prefer to train alone or with a training partner? Why?
Fitness is fun with friends! No matter what the mode of exercise. At this point in time, my training happens at all times of day, and random days each week. So I'm not a great partner for anyone right now. I don't miss workouts, but I certainly don't share any of my minutes in the gym with anyone right now, and I'm not a predictable (reliable, yes) training partner.
If I could pick, I'd train with a lady who shows commitment (comes to the gym on a regular basis), isn’t afraid to do a little work (which could even include sweating!), and seems eager to achieve. I’ll happily train with that gal!
I don’t necessarily want to teach/train someone, but if they train with me they’ll learn along the way. An applied approach.
Most hilarious pick-up line you’ve heard at the gym:
I just got back from a Disney Cruise with my family and when walking around the pool deck, picking up the kids for character pictures and hoisting luggage atop carts, notice people staring in my direction. Most times I'm too occupied managing my family to care what onlookers are thinking. But when people do approach me, their comments are typically, "What sport do you play, you must play something to be able to lift both those kids at the same time?" OR "Excuse me, I just have to ask, what do you do to get your arms to look like that?" OR "I'm assuming you're a gymnast, do you still compete?"
I love hearing those comments, they are an indirect feel-good compliment—well at least that's how I take their feedback. I love the look & feel of S-T-R-O-N-G!
Hmm…I’m not so much of a foodie. So I think the best question for me to answer is favorite snack. I absolutely love steamed artichoke sprinkled with sea salt. I also love homemade kale chips dressed with sea salt, balsamic vinegar & oil. And my favorite drink is white tea.
Favorite way to treat yourself:
I love sand under my feet, the sound of water in my ears, and the feeling of warm sun on my skin. And, no, it doesn’t have to be a seven-day, all-inclusive getaway. A day at the beach is enough.
“Lift like it’s your first set, love it like it’s your last.” (I think I just made that up!)
All of our children love to read, so I spend much of my reading time reading along with them. Some of our favourite reads right now are - Amelia Bedelia, Junie B, Dr Seuss, and a local author Phoebe Gilman - Jillian Jiggs to the Rescue.
What inspires and motivates you?
My motivation comes from my desire to be the absolute best version of myself. I work very hard because I want everything I do and everything I’m involved in to be extraordinary.
What does a typical day look like for you?
For the past several years I feel like my days and nights are much the same. In other words, it doesn't matter whether its the sun or moon lighting the way. With 3 young children (and my personal -somewhat unattainable - level of ambition) – my challenge always is sleep. Because of that, I like to lift rested and do ‘mindless’ exercise when I’m tired.
6:30-7 am: wake up – kitchen chaos (otherwise known as breakfast) – 5, 3, 1yr old and me – veggie egg scramble, spinach & basil pesto, water w lemon slice, vitamins & fish oil for all (nothing out of a box!)
8:30 to 9 am: school drop off – either run a double stroller, bike a trailer or drive if weather isn’t good.
9 to 11:30 am: Lead a craft/arts class for children and coach skating (ages 18mos-4yrs)
2 pm: lift (in home gym) or sprints (outside or treadmill/bike/rower)
3:30 pm: pick up the little ones
4 pm to 8 pm: childrens’ programs – they typically include gymnastics, skating, track workout (for them), music, art, drama
8 pm to 11 pm: Amanda time – work
My nights usually have 3-5 interruptions between 1 am – 5 am. So that daytime nap is critical!
What’s the coolest “side effect” you’ve noticed from lifting heavy?
Feeling like you're part of a 'club.' Its like the peeps who drive Jeeps on the road and give a friendly wave out their window to a complete stranger just because they cruise around in a Jeep. When you see a lifting chick, its like she's your 'bud.' No judgment, no competition, just pure admiration because she's figured out lifting is for her just like you did. There's nothing more empowering or connecting in this world than that—especially for women!
Next training goal:
Not sure my man would support this (especially now that we have three little ones in tow), but I'd love to do what Kacy Catanzaro did in her ANW athletic career! I feel like I was born with this athletic drive to compete, just not sure what sport and not sure if I may have missed my peak. But I do believe no matter what sport I choose over the next few decades, I'll attack them all with the same drive, spirit and competitive nature!
What someone may not guess about me:
My next mission, is to figure out how to make balloon creatures!
How has lifting weights changed your life?
I’ve done several figure shows, qualifying for the Canadian National Championships. And before lifting, I didn’t even know that existed! Also, with JB as my coach, I learned a sustainable way of exercising and eating that just weren’t present in the figure skating world of over-training and starvation diets.
Beyond all that, putting hours under the bar has certainly given me a new body, but also a new spirit, a new view of strength, and a new enjoyment of how I can use my body to move and be happy.
I've unlocked the recipe for my body and that feels amazing!
What do you want to say to other women who might be nervous to start lifting heavy?
You already lift right now! Your purse, your children (it’s inevitable), grocery bags, vacuum etc. So just take what you do now, and make it a little more formal, consistent, and fun! Join an inviting club, one where girls lift, get a little coaching, and you’re off!
I live in a small community w a strong running group. I see the same women running by my house year after year (even in -15 degree, snowy conditions!), and sometimes it looks like they have pain with their steps (hips, knees, back, boobs). I want to stop them and invite them into my home gym. Not out of judgement by any means, but because I think they are working super hard—in many cases much harder than I work in the gym—and they aren't getting the benefits they are supposed to from movement. And by benefits don't assume I mean just body composition. If you make that assumption, read this spotlight again.
Movement, exercise, working out, training whatever you want to call it is all about you! Its you being your best you. This means, a healthy you, a stress-free you, a confident you, a strong you, an independent you, and so much more.
Lift the bar, and join the strong group of women out there! Find your strong self!
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