What does being a Girl Gone Strong mean to you? Being a Girl Gone Strong means that I take ownership of my life and results — both the good and the bad. I acknowledge that my actions influence my outcomes. If I don’t like the outcomes that I am getting from the gym or from life, it is up to me to take different actions. It also means that I accept that outcomes aren’t guaranteed — even when I do my part. I get to balance determination and patience. The determination is to do my part and the patience is to allow God to do His part. The patience part isn’t my strong suit, but I am working on it.
How long have you been strength training, and how did you get started? I have been strength training regularly for the last 14 years. However, I started playing around with weights about 26 years ago — back when Step and Sculpt classes were popular.
What does your typical workout look like?
Most times I am training to be able to keep up with my kids and feel good in my clothes so I don’t usually follow a strict training program. My aim is to get the most work done in the shortest amount of time. I stick to basic primary movements and get creative with my exercise stacking and rest periods to challenge myself. My workouts always includes some mix of squats, deadlifts, push-ups, pull-ups, and combination movements like squat and press or lunge and upright row. However, I do enjoy training shoulders and glutes for aesthetic purposes. So, sometimes I add extra isolation moves for those areas.
Deadlift! There is something so empowering about lifting heavy weight off of the floor. Plus, the skill carries over beautifully into real life. Moving furniture solo really is no big deal and I like that.
My second favorite is the Turkish Get-Up. I don’t practice it in the gym often anymore. However, when I became a mom, I really appreciated all of the TGU practice I had done.
There is something magical about being able to get off the floor with a 30-pound toddler who is fast asleep on top of you without requiring any help.
And, getting her into bed without waking her up makes me feel like a superhero.
Most memorable PR: I have two. Doing three unassisted pull-ups and doing deadlifts for reps with 215 pounds. These happened around the same time. This was during a brief stint when I decided to train for strength rather than for conditioning or aesthetics. It was pretty exciting to see how strong I could get in such a short amount of time. However, I didn’t keep training that way for long. At the time, I was more interested in training for obstacle races and keeping my workouts short.
Top 5 songs on your training playlist:
What is that? Seriously, I have to admit that I don’t even have one anymore. Most days, I slip into the gym early in the morning as quietly as possible so that I don’t wake up anyone in my family. Most times, I just enjoy the silence before my family wakes up. Other times, I listen to a sermon from church or turn on Pandora radio. The station varies depending on my mood. Sometimes it is Instrumental Hip Hop or 90s Hip Hop. Other times, it is Neo-Soul. If my daughter wakes up and joins me, it is the Toddler Music station. Super weird selections but I just go with whatever mood I am in that day.
Top 3 things you must have at the gym or in your gym bag: My sports bra is the only requirement. No sports bra, no workout.
Do you prefer to train alone or with others? Why? I like a mix of both, but I train alone most times. I am extremely outgoing and give a lot of my energy when I engage with others. My workout time is my time alone to replenish that energy. Plus, my workout time varies wildly depending on my family schedule, work schedule, and my daughter’s sleeping patterns. I prefer not to add coordinating times to that mix.
I like to train with others from time to time though mostly to push myself. Every time I work out with someone else who is serious about training, it pushes me to level up even more. It isn’t about outdoing the other person but partner training helps me to see where I am holding back or staying in my comfort zone. I like that.
Most embarrassing gym moment: Well this has happened more than once. But, I would have to say I find it pretty embarrassing when I am really struggling on the last leg of a tough dropset. I promise no one ever walks by on the big bad heavy sets but the parade begins as soon as I am struggling with the lightest weight. It is kind of comical. The weird looks are hilarious.
Most memorable compliment you’ve received lately: The other day, my husband sent me a text to tell me that I was really doing a good job with life in general. It was right after I had screwed something up. So, it was the perfect little reminder that I don’t have to execute perfectly every single time. Doing my best and caring still trumps everything else.
Most recent compliment you gave someone else: I told my friend that she was better than she realizes at what she does for a living and that she can totally charge more. Funny part is that I am her client too.
Favorite meal: Any seafood meal that involves well seasoned crab or shrimp works for me.
Favorite way to treat yourself:
Hands down… A VACATION! I love to travel.
Favorite quote: “To whom much is given, much is required.”
What inspires and motivates you?
My ancestors and my family inspire me. When I remember all of the obstacles that those who came before me have navigated, it makes my day to day problems seem miniscule. I look at their sacrifices and triumph and know that I can handle what’s on my plate. Looking forward to the legacy that I want to leave for my family gets me going on the good days and keeps me going on the bad ones.
What do you do?
I am a Food & Fitness Strategist. Sounds fancy but that means that I help women who are on a weight loss journey figure out how to move and eat in a way that gives them results without making the process a second job. I do that through my Coaching Club and one on one coaching.
What else do you do? Whenever I get a chance, I travel. Even if I just go across town to a hotel where someone else is responsible for making the beds. Outside of that, I enjoy trying adventurous activities. So far, I have tried speed boating, riding an ATV, stand-up paddleboarding, and indoor surfing. Skydiving is still on the list. I haven’t found that one thing that I do over and over again. Although, stand-up paddleboarding is the one that I have done most often.
Describe a typical day in your life: Most days, I get up around 4:30 a.m. That is my time for reading the Bible, drinking coffee, and working out. After my workout, I shower and get dressed and wake up my family. The morning is spent making breakfast and lunch and preparing to do morning drop off. After everyone is dropped off, I work. Depending on the day, work includes training clients in person, doing coaching calls with my online clients, writing articles or workouts, and interacting on social media.
I am usually able to squeeze in a leisure walk while I check in with clients online. I’m sure I look strange pacing up and down the street while staring at my phone but that works for me. Work lasts until around 2 p.m. At that point, I hop in the car to go get the kids. Pick up is followed by homework, after school activities, dinner prep, and family time. After the kids are all showered and in bed, I get to hang out with my husband. I am usually asleep by 10 p.m.
Your next training goal:
I just signed up to do an Urban Dash. I haven’t done obstacle races for at least three years — definitely before I was pregnant with my daughter. So, I have included more running drills in my training and brought pull-ups back into the rotation.
For what are you most grateful? I am most grateful for choices.As I get older, I take that for granted a lot less.
Whenever I am struggling with a tough decision, I remind myself that I am extremely fortunate to have a choice. I am grateful that in many situations, I get to decide.
Of what life accomplishment do you feel most proud?
I would say my first experience with natural childbirth felt like a major accomplishment. Pushing out humans without medicine was hard. It was one of the longest and most intense workouts I have ever endured. I went into it fully realizing that there were no guarantees but determined to do my part to make it happen.
So the backstory is that outside of the gym, I do not tolerate pain well. Actually, I just avoid it. For example, my doctor still uses pediatric needles on me whenever I get blood work because the bigger ones hurt. So, you can imagine the doubt that my husband had when I announced that I wanted to have a natural childbirth.
While we were going through our Bradley Method classes, he kept reminding me that I didn’t have to do this if I changed my mind. For some reason, I felt that this was the path for me. I couldn’t really explain it. I just knew it. The experience was a physical representation to me of what is possible when make a commitment and get the right training to do something you feel called to do.
I often draw on that experience when I face hard things or I am tempted to give up on something that I know I am called to do.
Which three words best describe you? Optimistic, Resilient, and Tenacious
What’s the coolest “side effect” you’ve experienced from strength training?
I get a kick out of being able to do things that people assume that I can’t. So whether it is carrying all of my groceries and my toddler into the house in one trip, lifting my toddler and her stroller onto the rental car bus at the airport, or beating my son’s friend and his mom in a foot race after school, I just like feeling capable beyond expectation. That smile on my son’s face after we won was a nice little bonus too. To me, physical capability is a silent message to take me seriously — even beyond physical stuff.
How has lifting weights changed your life?
I have always been tenacious, but I have always been a big rule follower. I tended to expect things to always turn out right if I took the right steps.
I think lifting weights has made me more comfortable with unpredictable progress.
Lifting weights has taught me that you can do everything right and things still may not turn out the way you expect. The process has taught me to accept that things getting ugly before they work is OK and sometimes a necessary and valuable part of the process.
What do you want to say to other women who might be nervous or hesitant about strength training? Try it. You may like it. If you don’t like it, you can always stop. There really is nothing to lose!
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