Denise has been working with Figarelle’s Fitness since February 2014. Since starting with us, she’s lost 40 LB, 12.8% body fat, and 6 inches from her waist. At 55 years old, she is the strongest she’s ever been in her life. To say that she is an inspiration is an understatement.

Denise not only pushes herself in every workout, she encourages those around her to challenge themselves, too. You know that if you’re training with Denise, you’re probably going to hit a PR that day. 

We absolutely adore this amazing woman, and we’re so grateful we get to work with her every week! She was generous enough to share some of her valuable wisdom with us in a recent interview. 

Hi Denise, what initially inspired you to begin training with us?

I still have the email I sent to Steph on February 4, 2014 with my goals about wanting to become a healthier person by changing my life through diet and exercise and committing to adding exercise back into my life.

That was a scary email to send but I had the support of my sister-in-law who suggested that I try FF out. After joining, I discovered all the other support I had from you guys and my fellow boot campers.

What have been some of your favorite FF memories over the years? 

There are so many favorite memories! I guess one favorite was the high energy of boot camps. The intensity was addicting – so much so that I would go to 6am boot camps despite the fact I was never a morning person. 

Name one of the scariest things on your Bucket List. Why is it so important to you?

I don’t know that I have a “scary” thing on my bucket list right now. I have a lot of trips I’d like to go on so something scary about all of that is I am getting ready to retire this year and I hope I don’t have to put any of those items on hold for financial reasons.

I want to go on a ski trip with my sister-in-law and brother-in-law, a wine trip with my step-sister, a bike trip anywhere out-of-state, visit the Mighty Five National Parks, a yoga retreat, Balloon Festival in NM, Acadia National Park, explore the East Coast, drive PCH from OR to CA with my hubby.

The list goes on so I hope that my retirement will be sufficient to check them all off my list….and add some more! These things are important to me because I want to have things on my list that will keep me active and engaged. I hope to do these things with family and friends, which is important because I’m thankful to have such wonderful relationships in my life!

What keeps you feeling inspired to lead an active lifestyle? 

Being able to stay active is what inspires me to maintain my active lifestyle. It’s always so wonderful to hang out with friends who like to go on active adventures, hiking, Via Ferratas, biking – just anything and everything active.

It is such a great feeling to be able to participate in the fun and active things in life no matter how old I get. I see myself as one of those old ladies who people will look at and say “Wow! Look at her!”

What tips do you have for someone who wants to get fit but may not know where to begin?

It’s never as scary as you think. Don’t let your self-doubt or fears stop you from doing what is good for you.

There have definitely been times where I’ve tried to talk myself out of trying something that I felt was beyond my limits – only to find out that I am completely capable.

For example, hiking long distances, hiking straight up a mountain, lifting heavy, competing in a triathlon. So, my biggest tip would be not to let self-doubt limit you.

You have gotten really good at mastering bodyweight maintenance after your initial fat loss phase, which can be very challenging for many people. Why do you think you have been so successful with this? 

Fat loss has been work! It surely didn’t happen as quickly as I would have preferred but I stuck with it and am happy with my progress.

I think understanding macros (although it took time to get it figured out) has really helped me with my progress and maintenance. It’s been super helpful to look at other FF members’ My Fitness Pal food diaries and then create a plan for myself that I can consistently follow.

I haven’t had to completely cut out things that I really enjoy, but instead have learned to manage my nutrition. Of course, it really helped to keep my nutrition on track once I realized how good it felt to carry less weight and how much more I could do. 

What makes you feel most empowered?

What makes me feel most empowered is feeling better physically and mentally. I feel empowered when I can take on challenging physical activities and accomplish them better than I ever expected. I feel empowered when I devote time to myself by eating right, getting rest, and pampering my body and soul!

What nutrition strategies have worked the best for you? 

CONSISTENCY! I’ve found what has worked best for me is to set my meal plans for the week and stick to them. This might be easy for me because I like routine in my life and the less I have to think about it the better.

I definitely have days in which I don’t stick to my plan, but I don’t beat myself up for it. It’s not worth it. Enjoy it for what it is then get back at it. It’s also been really helpful to have my FF friends I can rely on for accountability and support!

I know strength training is really important to you. What about it do you enjoy the most? 

I really never thought I’d be much into strength training but now that I’m creeping up in age I appreciate the importance of having strong muscles and bones. I enjoy increasing weights, focusing on form, and slowing down the exercise for maximum benefit. It’s just freakin’ awesome to feel and look strong!

What are you most excited about in 2020?

The thing I’m most excited about for 2020 is moving to the next phase of my life – retirement! I’m so ready to get rid of work stress and start doing fun, active things full-time!!