Name: Jessie Mundell
Location: Calgary, Canada
What does being a Girl Gone Strong mean to you?
So much more than a feeling of muscular strength for me, now. Although, that’s a part I love, too. Over the last couple of years, I’ve really started to listen more carefully to my body in terms of how it feels physically, how I feel emotionally, recognizing the thoughts I’m thinking.
It’s feeling a greater sense of trust in my body and an appreciation for it.
Why are you so passionate about sharing information with the Girls Gone Strong audience?
I truly want to help as many women as possible. I want to support them in their pregnancies. I want to guide them through a safe and effective return to exercise after baby. Most specifically, I want our ladies to feel confident in their bodies and like they have the tools to care for themselves.
What excites you most about being a part of Girls Gone Strong?
The sisterhood of these women. These are women that I look up to in life and in my professional career. They’ve inspired me in so many ways, and I’m honoured to be included.
I just can’t even imagine the impact our individual and collective voice will have in changing the face of women’s fitness and health – that, I’m excited for!
What’s your athletic background?
Primarily, I was a competitive gymnast for years and years. I feel like I’ll always identify with that in some way…maybe because my “old” gymnast body won’t let me forget it 😉
Gymnastics was what really got me interested in being strong. Physical and mental strength was celebrated and that was really impactful as a young girl. I also danced, and played various sports in school such as soccer, track and field, and cheerleading.
What are you currently doing for your own training?
Over the last year postpartum, I've been doing two 30 to 35-minute strength training workouts per week and walking at least 30 minutes per day. And, now chasing a toddler around all day! If I'm working out while my daughter is awake, which is 80 percent of the time, often a workout doesn't happen in one go. She needs food, needs to nurse, needs a diaper change, is fussy, etc. I need to come back to the workout later that day when she's in bed, or when my husband gets home. And, that's completely fine to do it in chunks...or over a couple of days, ha!
What does a sample workout look like for you?
Always a full-body strength training workout. I start by warming up for five to 10 minutes with bodyweight exercises, moving through a variety of positions: glute bridges, squats, lunges, etc.
Then, I move into two or three supersets of two or three strength training exercises. Usually I do between three and four sets per exercise, with 8 to 15 reps.
My workouts look like "normal" strength training workouts at around one year postpartum now, with deadlifts, pull-ups, chest presses, squats, etc. But I'm still somewhat cautious in how heavy I load them as I'm still breastfeeding.
What’s your favorite exercise or movement?
Deadlifts and chin-ups.
Top 5 songs on your training playlist:
People always find this surprising, but I actually LOVE to workout in silence most of the time. I’m often the only one in the gym when I workout and I typically shut the music off and just lift in quiet. When I do listen to music, it’s a mix of reggae, rock, folk, country, Top 40s – anything!
Top 3 things you must have with you at the gym/in your gym bag:
Hair elastic. Headband. Comfy tights.
Do you prefer to train alone or with a training partner? Why?
Alone! I like to be in my space when I workout most of the time. I’m an introvert through and through, and for me, exercise time is my time and I like to just go in and move and not really think about what anyone else is doing. And, also, because I have a hard time getting out of “coach” mode, which my husband will definitely vouch for.
Most hilarious pick-up line you’ve heard at the gym:
I haven’t worked out at a commercial gym in so long...but my clients tell me they always get interesting comments and looks during and after their hip thrusts.
Most embarrassing gym moment:
I always used to feel so embarrassed when I started going to the local YMCA at 15/16 years old and I would have no idea how to adjust the machines, let alone even try to adjust the pins in a squat rack – no way! You know that feeling of everyone’s eyes on you when you’re fumbling to move the seat on the bike and it won’t budge? Ugh – ha! (If this every happens to you, go grab the staff or ask someone around you. Seriously, they’ll want to help!)
“How good can you take it?” Heard this recently via Liz DiAlto and I’m loving it. It’s such a simple way to re-frame our worry and anxiety over “bad” things potentially happening to us. Instead, let’s put our mental energy into imagining how good things will be.
How much incredible goodness can you handle? Are you ready for all the good stuff that is coming your way?
It often becomes the book I’m currently reading. I love “Creativity” by Osho. I’m enjoying Brene Brown’s work right now. And, I just finished the “Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, which was a great, quick read.
A shake packed with veggies and fruit with a side of bacon, or steak, veggies, and red wine. Heaven.
Favorite way to treat yourself:
Brow wax, haircut, massage. Any or all 🙂
What inspires and motivates you?
Thinking about the life I want to create for myself and my family. I’m also strongly motivated by stories I hear every single day of women who are overwhelmed by exercise and food and don’t know how to start pulling themselves out of that. A major motivator for me is also stories of women returning to exercise postpartum and getting right back into running, heavy strength training, or intense group exercise classes, and suffering from it. I want to help these women rescue their bodies before they experience long-term issues.
What does a typical day look like for you?
A few days a week I'm up early (around 5 a.m.) to sneak an hour or so of work in before my daughter wakes up. Otherwise, she's my alarm clock and is usually awake between 6 and 6:30 a.m.
When she's awake, I'm in full "Mom" mode. We play, walk, go to the park, do errands, eat! I typically try to do my workout when she's awake. She'll bounce along in the Jolly Jumper, or roam around trying to steal all my equipment.
Her nap time and after her bedtime are my work time. I have no specific set work times—she's the boss! When I'm working, I'm checking in with and coaching my pregnant and mama clients, filming exercise videos, and writing articles.
Bedtime is typically between 10:30 and 11 p.m.—sometimes later, if nap time didn't go so smoothy that day!
What’s the coolest “side effect” you’ve noticed from your training?
Being so much more relaxed about exercise and training. Just taking my meals and workouts as they come. One of my mantras is “it’s just food”. This has really helped me break a binge/deprive cycle and allowed me to not put so much pressure on what a meal should be. In terms of workouts, I’ve learned that I don’t actually need to spend that much time exercising to maintain my physique, which is really my main goal.
Next training goal:
I don’t often set specific number based training goals anymore. My general training goals have been the same for the last year: three workouts per week, no back pain, maintain my physique. I don’t have hard and set goals right now and not sure if I will anytime in the near future. Right now I’m just having fun playing in the gym and lifting heavier pain-free.
What’s your biggest accomplishment in the fitness industry so far?
If I can help a woman get into her body and really notice what she’s experiencing – to take back their body, really. So many women after pregnancy feel disconnected from their bodies and I want to lead them back in.
Helping women regain connection to and trust in their bodies. That’s really what it’s all about for me.
What’s your biggest accomplishment outside the fitness industry so far?
My marriage. Our relationship teaches me the biggest, best, and, sometimes, the most challenging lessons. For me, that is a beautiful thing.
Three words that best describe you:
Determined. Joyful. Ease.
How has training changed your life?
Similarly to what I said above, it’s made me far more relaxed in my relationship with movement and food. It’s really helped me re-define my relationship with my body. Strength training has been a vehicle to nurture my self-confidence unlike anything else I’ve experienced.
What do you want to say to other women who might be nervous to start working out?
Start slow. There’s no rush. Take your time to learn the basics extremely well. Do the stuff you like, don’t do the stuff you hate.
What would you like to be remembered for in regards to your impact on the health and wellness industry?
My empathy. I want people to know that I care about them, that I truly want to improve their quality of being.
If these sound familiar to you, you are not alone.
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