GGS Spotlight: Amanda Perry


amandaperry1-450x338Name: Amanda Perry
Age: 35
Location: I currently live in Dunstable, MA and own a gym, Skill of Strength, with my husband in Chelmsford, MA.

What does being a Girl Gone Strong mean to you?
Being a Girl Gone Strong means being confident in what you do. It means owning your choices and setting a great example for others. I strive to do this through blogging, training Skill of Strength members and connecting with other strong women in the fitness industry.

How long have you been training?
I played soccer in high school, but quit after two knee surgeries. After PT, I became a cardio addict and ran and/or went to the gym almost every day for ten years. Eventually, I started strength training and training with kettlebells and fell in love. I still run on rare occasions, but I'd much rather get my heart rate up doing snatches or sled pushes these days.

amandaperry2-450x338How did you get introduced to strength training?
I tested out all of the ab and leg machines at the gym when I was in high school and college, but it wasn't until I met my husband that I was introduced me to strength training as I know it today. While we were dating, I was fortunate enough to be able to train at the gym where he worked. I learned from some amazing coaches and took some great strength and conditioning classes. It was around this time my husband also taught me how to train with kettlebells.

What does a sample workout look like for you?
My workouts always change depending on the time of year, my current goals and my work schedule. I had my second son just over a year ago and I'm truly enjoying the journey of getting stronger again. After I had my first son, I was really concerned with losing weight and this time around, I stressed less (partially on-purpose and partially due to lack of time since we moved and had a baby in the same month!). Instead, I focused on walking a ton and added in strength training exercises as they felt good. Having a baby is hard work for your body, and I know I'm still recovering from childbirth. I constantly adjust my workouts based on the quality of sleep I've gotten, and I'm still avoiding certain exercises that don't feel quite right.

Currently, I’m strength training three days each week and get in as many walks as I can! Some days I'm starting to lift a bit heavier again and other days I'll do more of a circuit-style workout like this one:

  • 4 x12 Dumbell Chest Press
  • 4 x 12 R/L Reverse Lunge
  • Descending Pullups (Do the first set of as many quality, full reps you can get. Remove one from each set as your workout goes on. For example, if you get 5 the first set, do 4 then 3 then 2.)

Cycle through the above three exercises four times and then finish with 10 minutes of kettlebell snatches. I like to do :15 on and :15 off, switching hands each time.

amandaperry3-450x338Favorite Lift:
Pull-ups. My favorite program is Pavel’s fighter pull-up program. It works!

Most memorable PR:
14 strict pull-ups…almost 15 which was my goal. I will get it.

Top 5 songs on your training playlist: You’d laugh if you saw my playlist. I listen to everything from pop music, country, rap, alternative, and Christian tunes. Currently I’m digging:

  1. Sam Hunt Station on Pandora (Every. Single. Song.)
  2. Today's Hits on Pandora (I never know the song names!)
  3. Awake and Alive by Skillet
  4. Sound of Madness by Shinedown
  5. …and anything by Breaking Benjamin

Top 3 things you must have with you at the gym/in your gym bag:

  • Dry shampoo – love when I can skip a wash or two.
  • A towel – nothing better than a shower post-workout.
  • Overnight oats – the best post-workout meal ever.

Do you prefer to train alone or with a training partner? Why?
I usually prefer lifting alone since I usually follow a training program. For conditioning I either like to put on my headphones and zone out or do it with a buddy! Even better, I love taking my workouts to the track with my husband! It's rare now that we have two kids, but it's still a favorite!

Most embarrassing gym moment:
A few summers ago I decided to train even though my body was telling me not to. I went to lift a barbell off the rack to bring it to the ground for deadlifts and I completely dislocated my shoulder in front of a whole bunch of members at Skill of Strength. I was in so much pain, I basically went into shock. I ran into my office and cried for a solid 30 minutes before slipping out the back door. Not my proudest day!

Favorite meal:
It starts with a glass of red wine. Next comes a salad with tons of fresh veggies and last, but certainly not least, pizza.

Favorite way to treat yourself:
Get a massage!

Favorite quote:
“Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.” – Voltaire

I used to be so addicted to routine that I would freak out when I had a busy week ahead. I would stress about when I would train and how I could possibly eat right between travel, social events, etc.

Instead of going with the flow, enjoying life and making the best choices possible, I usually gave up and went off the deep end. I’ve since learned that striving for 80 percent is a heck of a lot more sustainable and enjoyable! One meal—and even one week—doesn’t make or break your results. I still love routines in general, and don't see that ever disappearing, but fortunately having kids has chilled me out on that front a bit!

Favorite book:
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. This book really inspired me to want to simplify my life and choose happiness!

What inspires and motivates you?
Training and walking both motivate me. There’s nothing better than the feeling after a great session or a long walk with a friend. I’m also inspired by spending time with other women who prioritize health and fitness. Attending the first Women’s Fitness Summit was life-changing for me. I met some great women, became closer with a few others, learned some great tips and left feeling inspired to just be better.

What does a typical day look like for you? (From waking up to bedtime)
My days are all really different, depending on my work hours. I’m a full-time mom and business owner so there is always plenty to be done! Here's an example of a working day when both of my kids are in daycare.

I’m up around 6:00am with my kiddos. We get ready for the day and I drive them to school (a few days a week).

I train either at home or at the gym usually around 8:30am and like to fit in a walk right after.

I eat breakfast around 10:00am and work (paperwork, nutrition clients, blogging, etc.) until our staff meeting.

Back to the computer for a bit of work before teaching evening classes at the gym.

Somedays, I'll stay later at the gym and other days I'll run errands or get home to see the kiddos. There’s a lot of computer work involved with running a gym! Most people are surprised to hear I’m on the computer most of my days!

My schedule is a great mix because this just one day a week. Other days, I'm a full-time mom and I get to play with my kids and do housework, cook, etc. all day! Either way, we eat around 5:30pm, kids are usually in bed around 7:00pm and my husband and I shoot to get in bed between every night. Sleep rocks!

What’s the coolest “side effect” you’ve noticed from lifting heavy?
Self-confidence. When I lift heavy or complete a great workout I feel ready to take on the world.

amandaperry4-450x338Next training goal:
I am assisting at an upcoming StrongFirst SFG Level 1 coming up at our gym in August. I'm practicing my kettlebell skills more this days!

Three words that best describe you:
Dedicated. Caring. Friendly.

How has lifting weights changed your life?
Lifting weights has not only made me physically stronger, but also more mentally tough. I am slowly learning not to sweat the small stuff and I prioritize my own health and happiness more than I ever did before. I'm learning that I can't make everyone happy, but I sure can make myself happy.

What do you want to say to other women who might be nervous to start lifting heavy?
There are great coaches out there just dying to help other women find out how lifting weights can improve your life! If you are nervous, it’s important to find a coach or a gym where the trainers know what they are doing. It’s worth investing a few bucks to learn how to strength train safely and effectively before going at it on your own.

Learn more about Amanda, check out her Facebook page here!

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