Name: Ann Wendel, PT, ATC, CMTPT
Location: Alexandria, VA
What does being a Girl Gone Strong mean to you?
Being a Girl Gone Strong means that I demonstrate strength of character in all that I do. It means that I strive to be strong physically and emotionally through all of life’s ups and downs.
Why are you so passionate about sharing information with the Girls Gone Strong audience?
There is so much misinformation and lack of information for women that it is important to offer evidence based recommendations to as many women as possible.
It is my hope that I can help women to better understand their bodies and empower them to be strong advocates for themselves when they approach their healthcare providers.
GGS has built an amazing community of women, and I’m thrilled to be able to reach the community with my writing.
What excites you most about being a part of Girls Gone Strong?
I am most excited about being part of an amazing group of women who are committed to educating and supporting other women. We are all passionate about what we do.
What’s your athletic background?
I was a competitive swimmer growing up. I was recruited to and swam for a D1 school (University of Delaware) my freshman year. I trained two to four hours a day during that time, so I understand the demands of sports. Once I was formally accepted into the Athletic Training Program at U of D, I found it necessary to stop swimming in order to do my required hours treating other athletes.
I continued weight training and training for triathlons throughout college and graduate school. Since then, I have competed in triathlons, 10K and 5K road races, and long distance road cycling events. In the past two decades I have also taken up rock climbing, Yoga and Pilates.
What are you currently doing for your own training?
In the past year I’ve been doing a mix of Olympic lifting and kettlebell training. Tony Gentilcore is writing my training programs lately, and I'm kicking all the ass!
What does a sample workout look like for you?
I start with foam rolling and mobility work, then some dynamic warm ups and Turkish Get Ups. Then I go through a series of strength moves (deadlifts, presses, squats), followed by a conditioning segment. I like to be done in about an hour total.
What’s your favorite exercise or movement?
The Turkish Get-Up. It is such a full body and brain exercise. It works strength, mobility, and stability. My goal is a 24kg Get-Up.
Top 5 songs on your training playlist:
Very eclectic list!
Top 3 things you must have with you at the gym/in your gym bag:
Do you prefer to train alone or with a training partner? Why?
I always train alone. It’s just a function of me having a tight schedule and not being able to coordinate easily with others. I train once in a while with a friend who is an SFG II, and I love doing that, but our schedules don’t match very often.
Most hilarious pick-up line you’ve heard at the gym:
“You’re really strong for a girl.” I think that’s hilarious. I’m strong. Period. No qualifier necessary.
Most embarrassing gym moment:
I can’t even just pick one. I laugh at myself all the time. When I fall flat on my back missing a hold when bouldering, when I miss a Snatch attempt and fall on my butt and drop the bar… it helps to have a sense of humor.
A grass-fed filet, baked sweet potato, and a nice glass of red wine.
Favorite way to treat yourself:
Sleeping. I love sleep.
“Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.” Warren Buffet
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I read it once a year.
What inspires and motivates you?
What does a typical day look like for you? (From waking up to bedtime)
I don’t really have a typical day, because every day is a bit different (that’s the way I like it!)
Some days I wake at 5 am, start treating patients at 7 am and work until 3 pm. Other days I start at 11 am and see patients until 7 pm.
I fit in my writing, business planning, meetings, research reviews, and everything else throughout the day or before or after seeing patients. Three days a week I make time for a training session. When I get home it’s usually a combination of running my teenagers to activities, talking with friends and family, reading, and doing things around the house. I try to be in bed by 9:30 or 10 pm.
What’s the coolest “side effect” you’ve noticed from your training?
All of the friends and contacts I have made! I am a big believer in social media, and I have connected with some amazing people from all over the world (through Twitter especially). I try to meet people in real life whenever I travel, and luckily many people come through the D.C. area for work. As someone who has one foot in the physical therapy world and the other in the strength and conditioning world, I get to develop friendships with all sorts of folks who impact my training and patient care.
Next training goal:
That 24kg Turkish Get-Up.
What’s your biggest accomplishment in the fitness industry thus far?
I would have to say the speaking opportunities I have had in the past few years. I was thrilled to present at the first Women’s Fitness Summit in 2014 and then again in 2015. I have also given multiple presentations at the American Physical Therapy Association’s Combined Sections Meeting and other events.
The opportunity to present in front of my peers on topics that I am passionate about is a great honor.
What’s your biggest accomplishment outside the fitness industry thus far?
Definitely my kids. They are really amazing, and it’s so cool to see them becoming young adults. My kids are my biggest supporters, and they cheer for my every success and hug me after any type of failure. I love to watch them excel at their activities and I’m proud of their character. The biggest compliment anyone gives me is that my kids are polite and kind. I couldn’t ask for more!
Three words that best describe you:
Great question! I recently did an exercise (suggested by Dorie Clark, a speaker and author) where I asked people who knew me to tell me what 3 words they would use to describe me. It was such a great exercise, and I loved hearing people’s answers. It helped me to see that my true personality was coming out in my work and in social media. My three favorite words were: passionate, innovative, and genuine.
How has training changed your life?
In so many ways, physical and emotional. I have an autoimmune illness called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. In about 2005 I became so ill, had no energy, and was in constant pain. I actually thought I might have to stop working and go on disability for a while.
Once I was properly diagnosed, I began to get healthy again through a combination of medication and diet and lifestyle changes. I began training with bodyweight exercises, and gradually progressed to light weights – the first kettlebell I bought was 7 lb. and I remember it being a challenge for swings! I kept at it, very gradually, and over the past 5 years have increased to 16K swings. The key was gradual progression and adequate rest. I’m so much stronger now!
What do you want to say to other women who might be nervous to start working out?
Start with very light weights and progress slowly. Get a coach or trainer to learn how to properly lift weights to avoid injury. Get your nutrition and lifestyle issues under control (sleep, stress management, support system, etc.). Set small, achievable goals and celebrate your successes.
Don’t make it about what you look like; make it about how you feel and how functional your strength is!
What would you like to be remembered for in regards to your impact on the health and wellness industry?
I would like to be remembered as someone who helped women live an amazing life (whatever that means to each woman will be different). I want to educate and empower women to take ownership of their health and to impact their families and communities in positive ways. If I can do that, I will have succeeded!
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