GGS Spotlight: Roxy Richardson


roxyrichardson1-450x298Name:   Roxy Richardson
Age: 38
Location: Los Angeles, CA

What does being a Girl Gone Strong mean to you?
To me being strong is a mindset more than a certain weight I can lift or the number of reps I can do. It’s about deciding to be responsible for my own inner strength and not relying on, or blaming, anyone else for what I can or cannot achieve. Being strong is taking on challenges and not making up excuses. It’s about trying to get better everyday and never getting complacent about where I am. It’s also about sharing my strength with others and not being selfish or elitist with my knowledge. There are many ways to be strong inside and out. Being a girl gone strong to me is about listening to my true passions and pursuing them head on!

How long have you been training?
I started training Muay Thai in 2002. I was twenty-four years old. Before that I had not excelled at athletics. I had my first fight six months after I started training. That’s something I don’t recommend to my students today, but I did it then. I started competing regularly, and I trained obsessively almost daily. I made Muay Thai training my number one priority.


Check our Roxy's Muay Thai Highlight Reel


Although I have been a certified personal fitness trainer since 2005, it wasn’t until 2008 that I was introduced to barbell and kettlebells through a strength coach that was helping me prepare for a fight. I instantly loved the feeling of the more explosive lifts like swings, cleans, and jerks. I only trained strength twice a week for my sport until I retired in 2011. Then I decided I needed other physical challenges. I had really taken to kettlebells, so I signed up to attend the RKC certification. My love affair with kettlebells grew and grew, and today I am a Level II SFG and can’t say enough great things about my organization.

How did you get introduced to strength training?
When I started competing I only knew what I had read in my ACE manual regarding weight training (which was not much), so I took it upon myself to hire strength coaches to help me. Although I usually had a height advantage I felt soft, weak, and too thin for my weight class. I am not exaggerating when I say that as a young Muay Thai fighter I could not bench 30 pounds or do one unassisted pull up when I started strength training. I got very excited when my coaches would set goals for me and I’d see the progress. The first time I squatted my body weight or I cleaned 95 pounds I was ecstatic!

roxyrichardson2-450x298What does a sample workout look like for you?

  1. Lacrosse ball work where I need it, plus goblet hip prying, and kettlebell halos for warm up
  2. Turkish gets ups, windmills or other skill work
  3. Usually lots of pressing! At minimum a 5 x 5 with the 16kg bells, sometimes heavy bell work, sometimes clean and press ladders, I'm alway trying to improve my pressing weight.
  4. Kettlebell or barbell front squats 5x 5 or 3 x 8 or some lower body supplemental lifts like split squats, SLDL's or rack lunges. I don't heavy back squat or DL with barbells anymore since I have some funky lower back issues.
  5. Chin-ups, if I’m in the mood and/or have time
  6. A kettlebell complex for 10 to 15 minutes involving swings, cleans, snatches, push presses, jerks, and possibly more squats or lunges. If short on time, just five minutes of swings and plank super sets.
  7. Ab exercise finisher (like the ab wheel), or barbell glute bridges.

Favorite Lift:
Kettlebell Press

Most memorable PR:
Level II SFG cert pressing 1/3 body weight with one hand, 22kg.

Top 5 songs on your training playlist:

  1. All My Life by Foo Fighters
  2. Hideaway by Keiza
  3. The Hills by The Weeknd
  4. Free by Broods
  5. Almost anything by The Chemical Brothers

Top 3 things you must have with you at the gym/in your gym bag:
I own my gym, so I don’t need a bag, but I’ve gotta have:

  • water bottle
  • chalk
  • my iPod shuffle

roxyrichardson3-450x298Do you prefer to train alone or with a training partner? Why?
It depends on my mood. I like having people around, but they don’t need to be doing the same thing as me. Many of the trainers at my gym train at the same time, all doing their own thing. When I need to be in my zone, that’s when my earphones go in so no one distracts me. As a gym owner, there are often questions for me when I’m around, so the earphones are my sign for “Please don’t bother me right now.” I miss the days where I just showed up for my hour and had a one-on-one session with my coach. Coaching yourself is harder, so sometimes if I need motivation, I’ll just take a group class at my gym, led by another coach.

Best compliment you’ve received lately:
My manicurist told me that I have nice nail beds!

Most recent compliment you gave someone else:
I told one of the girls at the SFG Instructors Cert I assisted recently that her positivity, skill and teaching ability really helped her partner thrive and I got to see her huge smile when she was handed her Level 1 certification.

Most embarrassing gym moment:
All my embarrassing moments were from my early fight days. These days I don’t care when I make a mistake or have bad day. Always once during a training camp, usually at about two weeks out from fight night, I’d get super emotional and have a breakdown, usually while sparring hard. I’d start to cry while sparring. Then, when the round was over, I’d run out of the ring dramatically. My coach would tell me, “Roxy, there’s no crying in Muay Thai.” I used to think that was his original line, until years later I finally watched A League of Their Own while stuck in a hotel room and realized half the lines he used to coach me where from that movie.

Favorite meal:
Filet medium, with broccoli (I actually love veggies) and crispy garlic fries!

roxyrichardson4-450x298Favorite way to treat yourself:
Spa Day! Massage, Facial, Blow Out – the works!

Favorite book:
In High School It was The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I’m currently in search of a new favorite. I read a lot of memoirs these days.

What inspires and motivates you?
I’m inspired by anyone who loves what they do and works hard. I’m particularly inspired by people who make an effort to live a life that is both, productive and balanced. The work/life balance is a constant struggle in this modern world.

roxyrichardson5-450x298What do you do?
I own a gym, Function 5 Fitness. I’m the head Muay Thai Coach, and I manage and oversee my team of trainers and staff, plus all daily operations. I retired from personal training last year, and now I just teach one or two group classes a day and work with the fight team.

What else do you do?
I write (blogging and memoir). My blogs are up on LiftFightLove.Com; my memoirs are not yet ready for publication. I enjoy reading or journaling while I sunbathe. I like to explore new restaurants. I’m always on a taste quest for delicious craft cocktails and gourmet ice cream.

What does a typical day look like for you from waking up to bedtime?

  • 8:30am — Make coffee, feed cats, try very hard not to check my phone, and instead read a poem or something more thoughtful.
  • 8:45am-11am — I work from home most of the day, so I start working right away, starting with the Priority List Action Item that I have set from the night before; anything from writing meeting agendas to returning emails or other admin tasks. Breakfast happens somwhere in this time frame. I’m always on-call for my team in case they need me.
  • 11am-2pm (or 4pm depending on the day) — I break at some point to read and sunbathe on the roof. I live in LA, so I can do this year round. Then I’ll either keep working on my priority list or I write (blogging or memoir).
  • 2-4pm — Walk to my gym and train. I check on my team and complete a couple of office tasks at the gym. Lunch happens somewhere before or after that. I just listen to my body when it comes to lunch.
  • 6 or 7pm - 930pm — Teach classes, tend to any office details at the gym, help close up the gym.
  • 9:30pm-1030pm — Walk home, prepare dinner, eat, set priority list for the next day.
  • 1030-12am or so — Watch a movie or a couple of TV shows with my boyfriend.
  • 12am -12:30am — GO to sleep. I always try to get 7 ½ to 8 ½ hours of sleep. If I’m feeling drained I’ll aim for 9.

What’s the coolest “side effect” you’ve noticed from lifting heavy?
I get to eat more food.

Next training goal:
I’m going to press the 24 kg bell.

roxyrichardson6-450x298What are you most grateful for in your life?
Being able to do what I love for work.

What life accomplishment are you most proud of thus far?
Becoming a professional fighter. Just saying that sounds insane. I never though that was something I wanted, or could, do. I made it happen!

Three words that best describe you:
Ambitious, hard-working, and open.

roxyrichardson7-450x298Tell us about a time when you overcame fear or self-doubt, and how it turned out.
At first I didn’t think I could ever get a level II SFG cert the pressing weight test seemed so far off, and my arms are ridiculously lanky; but the more I trained it seemed like something I could attain. The level II was such an amazing experience I’m so happy I did it.

How has lifting weights changed your life?
It has made me more confident and taught me the value of rest and recovery. Before weightlifting, I was obsessed with going harder and faster all the time in my training. My strength coaches used to have to physically restrain me to make me rest. One just gave up and gave me a jump rope so I had something to do during the 3-minute rest he enforced during strength sets. I have now learned to respect rest and recovery as part of the growing process and it has made me take that concept into my life and my work.

roxyrichardson8-450x298What do you want to say to other women who might be nervous to start strength training?
Lifting heavy will help sculpt your body in ways other exercise can’t. Lifting heavy doesn’t mean you have to give up cardio, if you like it. I still train Muay Thai and run sprints because I like it. There are many ways to incorporate lifting heavy into your individual program to get the results you want. You don’t have to become a power lifter if that doesn’t appeal to you. Lifting heavy is relative. Don’t think you have to lift what another strong girl lifts. Lifting heavy is a choice you make to push your own limits. There are no set rules about where you decide to go. Never compare yourself to others, only compare your individual progress.

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