Name: Keri Mantie
Location: Canton, MA (just south of Boston)
What does being a Girl Gone Strong mean to you?
It means being strong both physically and mentally. For a very long time, I placed a lot of my self-worth on how low my body fat could get, how many hours a week I could workout, and how clean I could eat.
If I did those things I was “good.” If not, I was a failure. During that time, I was anything BUT strong. Being a Girl Gone Strong to me, means to continue working on not only my strength and conditioning, but more importantly my mindset, and hopefully inspire others to do the same.
How long have you been training?
I have always been pretty athletic and played basketball growing up and in college, but I didn’t start strength training on my own until my senior year of college.
How did you get introduced to strength training?
We had to do a bit of strength and conditioning as part of our pre-season and in-season conditioning, so I guess I was introduced to it my freshman year.
I also majored in Exercise Physiology in undergrad and took a couple classes learning the basics in programming etc. As my internship my senior year, I was able to work with Glenn Harris at Boston University’s Strength and Conditioning facility, and that was when I really fell in love with it!
What does a sample workout look like for you?
Since becoming a mom to twin boys back in 2010, I’ve started doing the majority of my workouts at home with a few sets of dumbbells, kettlebells, a TRX and a chin-up bar.
I usually set my timer so I don’t have to think too much, and I just do some version of squats, push-ups, deadlifts, rows/pulls, swings, and core. Nothing fancy, but it does the job.
Top 5 songs on your training playlist:
Ugh…this will depress so many people, but I don’t even have a playlist. I can’t even tell you the last time I downloaded a song. I actually really enjoy the quiet. My little guys are in pre-school 3 days a week and when I get home and have a little bit of time by myself, I don’t even put the TV on.
Top 3 things you must have with you at the gym/in your gym bag:
I workout at home most of the time, but when I do go to the gym, I always have extra BCAA’s for post workout, a clean sports bra (because chances are pretty good that I wouldn’t get another chance to change and I’m always freezing with a wet bra) and a headband.
Most memorable PR:
It’s not so much a PR, but I’m most proud of training for and passing my SFG 1 this past summer. It was a goal I had for quite a while and it was such a huge accomplishment for me.
Do you prefer to train alone or with a training partner? Why?
I love working out with a partner, or in a small group. I find that it keeps me accountable and really motivates me to push a little bit harder on days when I’m just not feeling it, but unfortunately it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to do that consistently.
I have to say though, that I never thought I would enjoy working out at home, alone, as much a I do, so I guess a little bit of both would be ideal.
Most hilarious pick-up line you’ve heard at the gym:
Honestly, it was probably something fresh from my husband. 😉
Most embarrassing gym moment:
I remember getting a 2-week guest pass to a gym in my friend’s town when I was home on Christmas break one year. I was doing sprints on the treadmill and went to take a sip of my water and it went down the wrong tube.
You know the times when you start to cough and the water starts coming out of your nose and make the weirdest sounds? The treadmill was going a million miles an hour and I’m standing there with my hands up (totally didn’t help me stop coughing), choking, dripping water out of my nose – for what felt like an eternity….
Favorite meal: Salsa Chicken in slow cooker.
In a slow cooker: 6 frozen or thawed chicken breasts, a jar of salsa and a packet of 40% low sodium taco seasoning. Cook 3-6 hours depending on the chicken. Shred the chicken and top it with a little cheese, Bolthouse Farms Ranch salad dressing and tortilla chips.
Favorite way to treat yourself:
Facials and massages.
“In between goals is a thing called life, that has to be lived and enjoyed.” — Sid Caesar
This quote really resonates with me because for so long I really do feel like I gave up a lot to reach certain goals. It is a reminder that there definitely needs to be a balance between the two.
Better than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives by Gretchen Rubin. I got so much from this book, both personally as well as professionally. I absolutely loved it!
What inspires and motivates you?
This past summer my mom was placed in a nursing home. Anytime I feel uninspired or unmotivated, I think about her and the fact that she would give just about anything to be able to do something as simple as going for a walk and it always puts things into perspective for me.
I also want to set a good example for my boys. I want to stay healthy and fit for a very long time. I want to be able to run, rollerblade and play basketball with them, and I know that taking care of my mind and body is something that right now, I have complete control over.
I think motivation is something we create for ourselves, something again, we have complete control over. I’ve stopped waiting for it to just "show up” and I’ve been a lot more proactive about continually creating my own motivation to help me reach my goals.
What do you do?
I am a personal trainer and online nutrition and fitness coach — The LEAN Life with Keri Mantie
What else do you do?
If I’m not working, I’m usually spending time with my boys and husband. We play lots of board games, go hiking, play basketball, ride bikes - all that sort of stuff. I love walking, reading and trying new restaurants as well!
What does a typical day look like for you?
5am: Wake up, check emails, get dressed, make coffee, leave for work.
5:30 – 9:30ish: Train clients.
9:30: On M/W/F when my little guys are in school until 1pm, I try to cram in as much as possible after I’m done with my morning clients. I’ll workout, walk my dog, run errands, and do a little work before I pick them up.
1:00 – 5ish: Pick up boys from school. Hang out at home for about an hour, then we either go to the park, zoo, farm or just ride bikes and hang out in the backyard.
5 – 6: Get dinner ready.
6 – 7:30: Eat, tubby time, story time.
7:30: I shower and get everything ready for the morning so I can just roll out of bed and get dressed, answer any last minute coaching questions, finish up any emails or blogs and then read for a bit or watch a little TV with my husband.
What’s the coolest “side effect” you’ve noticed from lifting heavy?
When my boys were babies, it was being able to carry around two car seats and get them in and out of the car fairly effortlessly even as they got bigger. Now that they’re five and weight over 45 pounds each, it’s pretty cool to still be able to lift them on to the top bunk or carry them from the car to the house when they are dead asleep without needing help or feeling like I’m going to hurt myself. Surprisingly they both still love getting in the double stroller and taking walks with me. It’s probably the only time they actually sit down, and there’s no doubt that lifting heavy translates over into being able to push them around for over three miles — even though I’m starting to take little breaks!
Next training goal:
Last August I completed my SFG 1 certification, and it was such a fantastic experience that I’m already looking forward to level 2 in October of 2016!
Three words that best describe you:
Honest (a nice word for blunt), passionate, hard worker.
What's the most recent compliment you've received?
A woman in my online coaching group emailed me and said, “You’ll never know how much you have changed my relationship with food.” That was pretty awesome!
What's the most recent compliment you've given?
It was to my husband on Christmas. He is seriously the best gift giver. He always puts so much thought into the littlest things and just makes me feel like the luckiest girl in the world. I know, super cheesy, but so true.
How has lifting weights changed your life?
Simply put, lifting weights has gotten me to exactly where I am today. Had I not taken an interest in strength training, I wouldn’t be in this field doing what I love to do on a daily basis.
So I can honestly say that lifting weights hasn’t so much “changed” my life, as it has “shaped” my life into what it is today, and I’m very grateful.
Tell us about a time when you faced fear or doubt, how it turned out, and what you learned from it.
Without a doubt starting my own business was the scariest thing I’ve ever done. I left a job where I'd been for 11 years to do my own thing. To this day I still have fear and doubts, but it’s been the absolute best thing I’ve ever done. Scary as all hell, but worth it!
What do you want to say to other women who might be nervous to start strength training?
I think it’s totally normal to feel a little nervous or intimidated when starting anything new, but isn’t that a really good sign that you should try it? Strength training can give you so much in return.
Every day you train, you are able to set a goal, and feel a great sense of accomplishment when you crush it. Even if the goal is just getting a workout in (which is a typical goal for me ha!). It can build not only your physical strength, but your mental strength as well.
And, if you are looking to reshape your body, it’s a no-brainer. Worse case scenario is that you hate it, and you go right back to what you were doing before your tried it... but I doubt that will happen!
If you're inspired by Keri, read on to learn more about—and join!—our community of strong, supportive women...
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