Hey Hilary! Please tell us about yourself.

Hey everyone! For those of you that don’t know me I’m Hilary and I am pretty much a lifelong Alaskan. I moved here when I was 6, but was originally born in Michigan. 

I have moved away from Alaska a few times in my life, but keep finding my way back. I tried out living in Oregon, Utah, and Colorado, but it didn’t stick. 

I came back to AK full-time in 2012 after reuniting with an old boyfriend, Michael. We got married 4 years after that (last summer) and are expecting our first child any day now!

I am a teacher with the Anchorage School District and I work with preschool students ages 2 years 10 months through 5 years who have special needs. It’s the most challenging and rewarding job I have had yet, although I hear that being a parent may rival it.

I have pretty standard Alaskan hobbies – basically anything outside. I love to camp, hike, fish, backcountry snowboard, and mountain bike.

I have done more mountain biking than hiking in the past few years because my husband is really passionate about flying down mountains as fast as humanly possible on two wheels – it’s hard to get him for a hiking partner because hiking is just “too slow”. 

So I gave in and we have been on some pretty epic mountain bike trips over the past few years around South Central Alaska and in New Mexico. My husband and I just purchased an awesome VW Vanagon camping van so we are psyched about using it to explore and enjoy more of Alaska once the baby comes!

I also love to travel and have been on some amazing trips around the world, although returning to Alaska and getting an adult job has really cramped my style over the last few years. 

I am a total beach-bum and have had the opportunity to visit and scuba dive in places like Thailand, Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, and Mexico. I LOVE scuba diving, it’s one of the most relaxing and amazing things I have ever done! Everyone should give it a try if you can!

How long have you been working with FF and what classes do you typically attend during the week?

I started coming to FF in November of 2014. I remember being really intimidated the first time I can, especially since I was pretty much lost on my way there and felt like I was walking in to a secret club in a warehouse! But I started coming regularly and felt very welcomed and encouraged by everyone right away. 

I have been coming to Charlene’s morning classes consistently over the last 3-ish years, as well as Saturday mornings and then whatever evening classes during the week that I might be able to fit in. 

What are a few of your favorite exercises that we do during a workout?

I like using the TRX and most dumbbell exercises. I like the TRX because it’s so versatile and you can change the intensity of your exercise just by taking a step forward or backward. 

Dumbbells are also one of my favorites because it can be such an easy measurement of growing strength. It’s exciting and encouraging when you challenge yourself (or are challenged by Steph/Lela/Charlene…) to pick up a heavier set of weights and can do the exercise. 

What kind of an impact has fitness had on your life over the years?

I have always been an athlete and grew up playing soccer competitively in Alaska and in college. After college I continued to use soccer as my primary mode of working out and then gradually got in to running and swimming as a way to cross train. I didn’t really start lifting weights until a few years before coming to FF, but once I started I knew I wanted to stick with it. 

As a soccer player, I had always been all leg strength and felt like my arms were kind of worthless. In 2010 I took a summer job working up in Denali Park as a river rafting guide and knew I needed to start beefing up my arm strength before the job started. I began going to a weight lifting class to prepare and just loved the way it felt to be soooo sore and tired after the classes. 

Most people would probably disagree that not being able to lift your arms or having to lower yourself down on to your chair or the toilet while holding on to something is a good feeling, but my bet is that most of you FF people are in the same boat as me 🙂  

It was a very real reflection of how hard I was pushing myself, how much farther I had to go, and it reminded me of my competitive sports days and that feeling of exertion that I had been missing. 

In 2014 I tore my ACL and meniscus playing soccer and felt like I had lost a huge part of myself and my active routines. I tried going back to soccer after I recovered but decided that I didn’t want to risk injuring myself again and losing my ability to do all the other things I love. 

Six months after my knee surgery is when I started coming to FF in search of another routine to replace soccer and I absolutely feel like I found a great replacement that still challenges me, keeps me on my toes, and has led to meeting some pretty great people and making new friends!

Exercise, in whatever form it might take in my day – bootcamp, running, swimming, biking – has become such a part of my everyday life that if I don’t fit it in I feel weird and kind of guilty. 

I love starting my day with a good sweat session to power me through the rest of the day! I think that setting up these routines and really engraining exercise as part of your lifestyle is one of the most important things that you can do for yourself to set yourself up for long-term success and health. 

Who or what inspires you, and why?

There are a lot of people in my life who inspire me to challenge myself and pursue the things that I want. One of these people is my husband, Michael. He has always been a person that sets really ambitious goals for himself, and usually achieves them.

Things haven’t always been easy for him but he has figured out his way in the world on his own and continues to impress me with the opportunities he makes for himself and now for our growing family. His most recent endeavor is a 100-mile backcountry mountain bike race at the beginning of August, wish him luck!

My mom is another constant inspiration in my life, and it’s reflected in how much I see myself turning in to her as I get older (ahh scary)!

She has inspired me to follow the career path that I have taken, and has also helped me over the years to develop the healthy lifestyle that I have. She has always encouraged my sisters and I to be active and she leads by example – in her sixties she is still an energizer bunny, running 1/2 marathons, biking 30 miles at a time, and pumping weights.

What is your favorite “cheat” food or meal?

Oh man, I could make a list a mile long here… I’m a total cliche and would say pizza and ice cream. I would love to call it a cheat, but does it count as cheating if you eat it all the time?!

The second half of my pregnancy has been a non-stop ice cream party for me, especially since summer hit. I have been frequenting Wild Scoops A LOT, so much that they recognize me when I come in. If you haven’t been there yet, you need to go, it’s amazing. I also started making my own ice cream at home. There is no denying there’s a pregnant lady living here! 

You’re almost 9 months pregnant and you’re still kicking ass at Boot Camp. What keeps you going on the toughest days?

Well, anyone that knows me well knows that I am “slightly” competitive. And by slightly, I mean really, really competitive. Usually it’s with myself, but it’s also with all of you guys that I work out with every time at bootcamp, whether you are in on the competition or not.

When I found out I was pregnant, I was obviously happy and also freaking terrified, but I immediately started thinking about what it meant for me as far as working out and all of the routines I had been lining up over the past years. I was about in the best shape of my life about 9 months ago, so it was really hard for me to accept that I was going to start seeing some of my hard work slip away – I think that has been the hardest part of being pregnant for me.

I told myself that as long as I felt good, and as long as my midwives gave me the go ahead, that I would just continue to do what I’ve been doing! So, I just pushed on, and mentally refused to talk myself out of my normal routines, even though I was more tired than usual and some workouts just felt like the most unenjoyable thing I had ever done. 

Also, shout out to Genevieve and Bonnie – during the early days of being pregnant, before I looked pregnant or anyone else knew, I was always checking out you bad-asses rocking your bellies at the morning workouts, scouting out my near future! Thanks to you both for showing me that it was all going to be okay and that I was going to be able to keep making bootcamp work even in the final stretches of making a baby!

What advice would you give to women who want to continue working out through their pregnancy? 

Do what feels good for you. Everyone’s experience is different and everyone will feel up to different levels of activity. Listen to your body, but also listen to your trainers and your doctors, especially if you are like me and have a hard time relaxing and taking it easy.

I have definitely needed Charlene to put me in check a few times and cut me off from doing some exercises! Staying fit and active through being pregnant is super important for you and your baby, but so is taking it easy and preparing mentally and physically for the tough days ahead. 

How has your nutrition evolved over the years, and especially now in your 9th month of pregnancy?

I’ve never been a total health nut or a total slob, but I definitely enjoy my burgers and fries as much as the next person. Participating in a few of the FF Transformation Challenges over the last 2 years and using Myfitnesspal to track calories and macros has been really eye opening and helpful in regards to nutrition and getting a better idea of what exactly I was putting in to my body, especially in regards to “healthy” foods. I don’t usually track calories or macros outside of the Transformation Challenges, but I have found that I don’t necessarily need to now that I know more about what I am eating. 

For the most part, I eat what I want (in moderation…sometimes….) and I make sure that I follow my exercise routines and somehow my pants continue to fit.

Pregnancy definitely has thrown a curve ball in my nutrition habits, but I am trying to cut myself some slack, especially at the end here. I have continued to eat pretty healthy about 90% of the time, but I do have an ice cream obsession that cannot be stopped at this point. 

I haven’t had any weird cravings or anything like that, but generally just feel less inclined to exercise my willpower over things that I love that I normally say “no” to. I feel that as long as I am continuing to be physically active that having a daily ice cream experience has been well earned. 

What goals are you focused on for the remainder of 2017, and why are these so important to you?

I’ve thought a lot about what the rest of this year may look like once the baby gets here! I am trying to stick with pretty loose/general goals because I just have NO idea what the next few months are going to look like! In my mind I see myself getting back to my personal routines a lot sooner than what I think may be realistic. 

Overall, I just want to make sure that I make time to be physically active as soon as I can after having the baby, even if that just means going for lots of walks. I have heard from a lot of moms returning to more intense exercise after having a baby that it really feels like starting at the beginning. 

Although this sounds kind of demoralizing and super hard, I am trying to stay positive and look at it as a challenge instead. The nice thing will be seeing lots of progress, both visual and in the way I feel during exercising! I also want to use it as an opportunity to retrain my body to do some things better, especially push-ups and pull-ups. 

My goals of getting back in to shape and remaining physically active postpartum are important to me for a few reasons – the first is simply so that I feel good and feel like myself again. But another thing that is really important to me is passing on my passion for leading an active and healthy lifestyle to my child. 

I want her to be raised in a family where exercise, no matter what form it takes, is a lifestyle and not a chore. I want to expose her to many active opportunities so that she can eventually figure out what she is passionate about and make it part of her everyday routine and habit.