What does being a Girl Gone Strong mean to you?
It means being unapologetically, unabashedly who I am. It means picking up the hard rocks in my life to take a long hard look at myself and love what I see. For me, there has been a direct correlation in gaining the strength to be my authentic self and getting physically stronger in the weight room.
How long have you been strength training, and how did you get started?
I’ve always played sports, but I began to understand training the first time I watched Rocky. That was my introduction to the concept of preparation. So I headed down to the basement and started using the Sears weights that my dad bought for my brother.
I got serious about strength training 10 years ago when I was coaching college softball and wanted my team to get in the weight room. I couldn’t ask them to do what I wasn’t doing myself.
Around that time, one of my co-workers introduced me to the New Rules of Lifting for Women, by Lou Schuler, Cassandra Forsythe and Alwyn Cosgrove, which was a game-changer for me. My co-worker, who happened to be Dr. Lisa Lewis, also encouraged me to check out her boyfriend’s blog, and that’s when I started following Tony Gentilcore.
I’ve been hooked on weights ever since.
What does your typical workout look like?
Foam rolling and soft tissue work, followed by a dynamic warm-up. I’m currently re-visiting Eric Cressey’s High Performance Handbook, so I strength train twice a week, and add in runs where time allows.
The deadlift. For me, that lift is the most empowering and helped me feel confident in the weight room. I also love teaching the deadlift and watching my female clients continually surprise themselves with their own strength.
Most memorable PR:
I hit a 280-pound conventional deadlift PR three days before undergoing shoulder surgery in January of this year. It wasn’t pretty, but it felt good to move the weight, especially when I was going to spend the next five weeks in a sling and the next six months recovering.
Top 5 songs on your training playlist:
I Wanna Be Sedated, The Ramones
Strong Enough, Cher
Land of Confusion, Disturbed
Be My Lover, La Bouche
God’s Gonna Cut You Down, Johnny Cash
Top 3 things you must have at the gym or in your gym bag:
Baseball for soft tissue work
Jaybird Bluetooth headphones
Orbit bubblemint gum
Do you prefer to train alone or with others? Why?
I love training alone. I love putting my headphones on, getting my groove on with Cher and getting down to business. I’m an introvert, so I need time in my own head to recharge.
Sometimes I go for a run without any music because the gym is such a stimulating environment, with the lights and the music and the noise that I need to have some workouts in total quiet to be sure that I’m in a place where I can be as present as possible to my clients, my wife, my family and friends.
Most embarrassing gym moment:
It’s actually the time I was mopping our gym floor and dancing to Gloria Estefan’s Conga with the mop and unbeknownst to me, a landscaper was standing there waiting to ask me a question. When I asked how long he’d been there he smiled and said “long enough.”
Most memorable compliment you’ve received lately:
Honestly, anytime someone reaches out to work with me it’s a compliment.
Reaching out to a coach to say you want to work out or make some changes in your life takes a lot of courage and is an incredibly vulnerable place to own — anytime someone shares that vulnerability with me, it’s a compliment.
I also had a client come in to workout dressed in her Christmas tablecloth, because she knew I’d laugh. It was a compliment that she shared her silliness with me.
Most recent compliment you gave someone else:
Just the other day one of our clients who is brand new to the gym — never worked out in her life — pulled 75 pounds on the sled. It’s always so fun to see someone surprise herself with her own strength, and for me to say aloud “You don’t know yet just how strong you are. But you will.”
It might sound cliché because I live in Maine but lobster. Lobster by itself, in a BLT, in mac and cheese. In a bowl of butter. Lobster.
Favorite way to treat yourself:
A massage. Followed by a ginormous iced mocha latte from Starbucks with whipped cream. Or just whipped cream. Because, you know… whipped cream.
It’s never too late to become what you might have been.
— George Elliot.
Favorite book: Tattoos on the Heart: the Power of Boundless Compassion by Father Gregory Boyle
What inspires and motivates you?
My wife, who works in public health, specifically with the Adolescent Health and Suicide Prevention Program for the state of Maine — it’s difficult work but she somehow manages not to bring it home with her.
Also my late 86-year old mother-in-law Lynn. We lost her very suddenly in December, but she was the epitome of a Girl Gone Strong. She strength trained her entire life and I often used her as an example to clients of how strength training can help you maintain muscle tone, bone density and independence as you age.
The line that often motivates me is “there but for fortune go you or go I.” I am fortunate that so many things have gone well for me. I have my health, an awesome relationship that I’ve been in for over 11 years, family and friends that I love, and now, a job that both nourishes and challenges me. When you have that kind of support and when your basic needs are taken care of, you have the space to do more.
It’s by fortune that I have so many needs met — I have space to do more and it’s my daily goal to honor that fortune by helping others.
What do you do?
I now have the privilege to call myself a coach at Spurling Fitness in Kennebunk, Maine. I have the pleasure of working with strong women every day. We have an entire host of Girls Gone Strong who come to our facility and I get to coach them, work with them, and dance and have fun with them every day. When I’m not at Spurling I’m working on Kim Lloyd Fitness — writing blog posts, filming videos, and working with distance clients.
What else do you do?
I play my guitar. I hug my nine-year old basset hound Rooney. I listen to old school vinyl records. I run. I’m an amateur photographer and have had the pleasure of photographing a number of fitness professionals, including Tony Gentilcore and Lisa Lewis. This time of year I watch my hometown Pittsburgh Steelers every weekend. In the summer, I’m hopelessly devoted to my Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team, usually listening on my commute home from work. I play softball and golf. And I write — both for fun and for work.
Describe a typical day in your life:
I get up and let Rooney out and give him breakfast. Then I meditate. Then I sit down and write. Sometimes it’s for a blog post, sometimes it’s personal, but I start every day with some writing. If it’s a work day, I drive an hour to the facility — I usually work 10 or 12 hour days and try to mix my workouts in during the off-hours. If it’s a weekend, I read, write, and my wife and I often pick a new restaurant to try out, and there is no shortage of those in Portland, Maine.
Your next training goal:
300-pound deadlift and a marathon — 2018 is my year of the marathon.
For what are you most grateful?
My wife of 11 years and the fact that, after having worked 29 jobs since college, I found a career. The search for career fulfillment has taken me longer than many of my friends and colleagues and for the longest time I thought I’d never have the satisfaction in a career. But I’m grateful that I honored my restlessness and persistence and have finally landed where I believe I’m meant to be. And I’m beyond grateful to have a wife who has supported my restless ways.
Of what life accomplishment do you feel most proud?
After years of feeling shameful about my professional journey, working as a salad bar attendant at Ruby Tuesdays and folding t-shirts at a retail store while I was in my 30s and had a master’s degree, I’m pretty darn proud that I persisted until I found my place in this world.
Which three words best describe you?
Silly (dress like Wonder Woman at the gym kind of silly); authentic (what you see is what you get); and compassionate.
What’s a risk you’ve taken recently, and how did it turn out?
Two years ago, I ditched a full-time job at a prestigious college in Maine to do an unpaid internship at Cressey Sports Performance. That wasn’t easy to do as a married woman in my late 30s. I had to borrow from retirement and spend the summer away from my wife.
I slept on an air mattress and spent the first few weeks feeling like I was back in college again. I’d majored in English not Exercise Science, was older than every coach and most of the clients at Cressey, and often drove home on Fridays wondering what the hell I was doing and if I’d been careless to throw a full-time job away.
By the end of the summer though, I’d found my confidence and rhythm as a coach. I know that if I hadn’t made that jump two years ago, I wouldn’t be coaching full-time today. I’d still be dancing around the edges.
How has lifting weights changed your life?
It’s how I carry myself: I look at photos of me from high school and see the slumped shoulders and the constant disappearing act I was doing. I’ve changed and grown in many ways since then, but I carry myself with pride and confidence, and I let my true self out.
What’s the coolest “side effect” you’ve experienced from strength training?
A few months after I started lifting weights, I came upon an older man who had hit a crack in the sidewalk and spilled out of his motorized wheel chair. His wife was trying desperately to get the chair rolled over and I came up offering to help. She took one look at me and said “oh honey, this chair is very heavy.” I deadlifted it back onto its wheels and I’m not gonna lie: I surprised myself with the strength. I am confident. So much more confident that I’ve ever been in my life.
What do you want to say to other women who might be nervous or hesitant about strength training?
Don’t wait. It’s OK to be scared, it’s OK to feel intimidated and while it’s an incredibly vulnerable place to ask for help, find someone — a friend or a coach — who can meet you in that vulnerability and be with you while you get started. But please, don’t wait another day. Take the step: walk through the door of your local gym, find a program through Girls Gone Strong, find a friend who will support you.
You really are stronger than you know, in so many ways. Your strength is already there; you demonstrate it every day. Your strength is there. Cultivate it. Nurture it. Let it come through you.
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