GGS Spotlight: Neghar Fonooni


neghar-animalprint-bra-gray-wall-350x375Name:   Neghar Fonooni
Age: 34
Location: Venice, CA

What does being a Girl Gone Strong mean to you?
As a recovering dieter, I’ve spent years obsessing about fitness and nutrition. I used to measure and portion every single meal and spend hours a day in the gym—never feeling like I was good enough, strong enough, or lean enough.

Today, after much healing, I have a more balanced, graceful, and whole approach towards my body. I’ve found ways to make fitness and nutrition work for me, rather than against me, and I find so much joy and freedom in this.

To me, being a girl gone strong means being able to overcome your obsessive, perfectionist tendencies, and learn to stand in your power—regardless of a number on the scale. It means being grateful for movement, listening to your body, and honoring it’s needs

Above all, being a girl gone strong means being a part of an empowered sisterhood—a community where women lift each other up and believe that one woman’s success is all of our success.

neghar-tire-flip-350x375Why are you so passionate about sharing information with the Girls Gone Strong audience?
I’m passionate about empowering women through strength—both internally and externally. I love sharing my story with other women and helping them find the courage to show up, just as they are.

Often the strength that we find in the gym translates to strength everywhere else in our lives, and helps us face challenges and obstacles with a renewed sense of freedom and power. If I can help even just one woman realize how radiant, powerful, and capable she is, then my life has meaning.

That’s the motivation behind all of my creations—to encourage women to embark on a fitness journey that adds value to their life and never makes them feel less-than.

What excites you most about being a part of Girls Gone Strong?
Having been one of the original founders of the GGS movement, I’m excited to bring my energy, perspective, and experience to the table. There are so many extraordinary women here with different backgrounds and personalities—all united in one purpose.

Being a part of something like that, something so much bigger than myself, is really empowering.

What’s your athletic background?
I played softball for several years as a teenager and young adult, and later went on to join the United States Air Force, where physical fitness was certainly a huge part of my daily life.

I’ve always been active, whether it was snowboarding, running, playing softball, lifting weights, dancing, or doing yoga

What are you currently doing for your own training?
Most of the time I go to a local gym in Venice that follows a Crossfit protocol, so the training varies. The rest of the time I do yoga and high intensity intervals. Outside of the programmed Crossfit workouts I spend extra time on glute training, pull-ups, and any other skill I’m currently working on improving.

neghar-pullups-at-deuce-350x350What does a sample workout look like for you?
Ever since I started doing crossift, I love not knowing what my workouts are going to look like. After years of coaching and writing programs, it’s been so nice to just kick back and let someone else write the workouts for me!

If I workout on my own, I will usually do something like:
Warm up with 1000 meters on the rower, then…
Pull-ups x 3-5 reps x 10 sets
In between each sets of pull-ups: Pistols, single leg deadlifts, band walks, and/or glute/ham raises.

What’s your favorite exercise or movement?
Pull-ups are my absolute fave. I also enjoy strict pressing and TGU’s.

Top 5 songs on your training playlist:

  1. Forgot About Dre by Dr Dre
  2. Til I Collapse by Eminem
  3. High Enough by Hippie Sabotage
  4. Suite-Pee by System of a Down
  5. Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen

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

  • Kleen Kanteen—the only kind of water bottle I’ve used for 10 years
  • Wireless Power Beats by Dre—I can’t be bothered with wires! Wireless allows me to move freely. Plus as an introvert, I never workout alone without headphones.
  • Alba Botanica 3-in-1 towlettes—I don’t always have time to wash my face post workout and these allow me to care for my skin immediately.

Do you prefer to train alone or with a training partner? Why?
I prefer to train in a group but often go pretty solo within the group itself. I love the group energy, but I also like being solely focused on my training.

Most hilarious pick-up line you’ve heard at the gym:
Thankfully, I don’t think I’ve ever been hit on at the gym. People seem to respect that it’s not what I’m there for, but for the most part I’ve always trained in gyms where it was known that I had a partner.

Most embarrassing gym moment:
Just before my knee surgery in 2008 I was training a client while sitting on a stability ball. My knee was in a lot of pain, so it was difficult to stand for hours at a time. I stood up to help adjust her during an exercise, and when I went to sit back down, the stability ball had rolled away—and I fell flat on my ass. It was pretty hilarious.

neghar-big-ass-salad-350x375Favorite meal:
Pork chop and Brussels sprouts. I could also eat an omelet for literally any meal of the day, and I love, love, love a big ass salad.

Favorite way to treat yourself:
A glass bottle of wine (rosè all day!), dark chocolate covered caramels, or Jackson’s Honest Chips (sweet potato are my favorite!)

Favorite quote:
“The World breaks everyone, and afterward, many are strong at the broken places.” —Ernest Hemingway

Favorite book:
There is absolutely no possible way I could pick just one! I am an avid reader and am usually reading four books at once, depending on my mood throughout the day.

Fiction Favorites

  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • The Name of The Wind  by Patrick Rothfuss
  • All of the Harry Potter Books by J.K. Rowling

Non Fiction Favorites

  • The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
  • The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown
  • The Truth by Neil Strauss

What or who inspires and motivates you?
My son. I want him to grow up seeing how strong, capable, and independent a woman can be. I also want him to learn empathy and compassion, so everything I do is an effort to set a good example for him.

neg-home-dog-computer-450x340What does a typical day look like for you?

0530-0600 — Wake up/drink coffee and have personal energizing time (reading, journaling, meditation—it varies)

0730-0900 — Gym

0915-1000 — Walk my dogs, get ready for work

1000-1500 — Work! This varies daily but is usually writing and filming, or working on projects in some capacity. I set out with one major thing to accomplish each day and just tackle that task.

1630 — Pick up my son from school, have some family time (either skateboard with him, walk the dogs, help him with homework etc)

1900 — Family dinner

2030/2100 — Put my son to bed, watch a show with my husband

2130/2200 — In bed! I usually read for about 15 minutes before passing out.

What’s the coolest “side effect” you’ve noticed from your training?
Everything in life just feels easier when I’m physically strong. I have no trouble carrying, moving, and hoisting things. I also have a lot of stamina, so I never run out of breath or feel fatigued doing normal day-to-day activities.

Next training goal:
I would love to stick a handstand consistently and master handstand pushups. I’d also love to get a muscle-up.

What’s your biggest accomplishment in the fitness industry thus far?
I would say writing Lean & Lovely was a huge accomplishment for me. It took me the better part of a year, and it was so incredible to be able to share all my fitness and nutrition insights with the world in one, concise book.

neghar-son-350x375What’s your biggest accomplishment outside the fitness industry thus far?
Obviously my son, who I am so proud to have created. He is so funny, curious, compassionate, and kind.

As far as personal accomplishments outside of motherhood, I was awarded an Army Achievement Medal while in the Air Force (I was stationed at an Army base at the time, studying Arabic), and I graduated at the top of my military Arabic class with Highest Honors.

Plus, in the last year I’ve learned to keep several plants alive—I am pretty damn proud of that!

Three words that best describe you:
Silly, centered, adventurous.

neg-sand-yoga-clothes-350x313How has training changed your life?
Training has helped me feel as though I have control over my choices and my actions. I can’t control my environment, other people, or what happens to me—but I can control whether I go to the gym, how hard I work, and whether or not I listen to my body.

What do you want to say to other women who might be nervous to start working out?
Start small and just do what you’re comfortable with. There’s a lot of fitspo out there of the “go hard or go home” variety and I think that’s really detrimental and counter productive. Ease into working out by doing something that you enjoy, something fun and doable. Then little by little, allow yourself to try new things and challenge yourself more and more.

If something challenges you and brings you joy, keep doing it. If it doesn’t, move on!

What would you like to be remembered for in regards to your impact on the health and wellness industry?
I want to be remembered for empowering women to own and appreciate their unique bodies, despite what the mainstream media wants us to believe. So much of the fitness industry is revolved around preying on women’s insecurities, and I’d like to be remembered as being a part of the movement to demolish that.

Get in the best shape of your life—for good.

With Girls Gone Strong Coaching, you’ll get the support, accountability, and expert coaching to eat and exercise in a sustainable way — without restrictive diets or spending your life in the gym.

Whether your health and fitness goals are to…

  • Get stronger
  • Gain muscle
  • Lose body fat
  • Improve your pull-ups
  • Have a safe and healthy pregnancy
  • Return to exercise safely postpartum
  • Heal your relationship with food
  • Increase your confidence

... or anything else, we’ll help you achieve them. You can experience life-changing results while eating and exercising in a way that actually fits into your life — instead of controlling it.

Throughout our 12-month program, you’ll get a simple, step-by-step plan for developing nutrition, fitness, and mindset habits that will lead the way in reaching your goal.

Your coach is available 5 days a week to answer questions and help you navigate situations — like eating while you’re on vacation, exercise substitutions so you don’t aggravate your knee pain, or planning a workout with limited equipment options — so you always have support when you need it. And together, you'll find the best path toward long-term results in a way that works for you.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Improve your nutrition without giving up the foods you love
  • Exercise safely and effectively so you’re getting maximum results from your workouts without burning yourself out
  • Increase your confidence, love the way your body looks, feels, and performs — and enjoy your life more than you ever thought possible

And you’ll become the happiest, fittest, strongest version of yourself, one step at a time.

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About the author:  GGS

GGS is an organization dedicated to empowering women. We do this by creating world-leading resources, and educational materials that help women, and health & fitness professionals who work with women, take their skills and knowledge to the next level.

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