Hi Bonnie! Please tell us about yourself

Fun facts about me:

  • I am a Play Therapist. Fred Rogers once said “Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children, play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood.”

  • I am NOT an Alaskan. My entire family is from rural Pittsburgh. My grandmother keeps her Christmas tree up year-round to decorate it by sports season with Steelers, Penguins and Pirates gear. I am the second of four siblings and the only relative who doesn’t live within 45 minutes of home. Hardest part about living here is missing them, including my 12 year-old niece, Brookelyn, and Charlie’s other cousins, Colby (7), Lincoln (4), Riker (3), and Benjamin (6 months). I’m so excited to be heading home for Thanksgiving to meet baby Ben and show off auntie’s new muscles by tossing the kids around. ☺
  • I love musical instruments and my family loves to buy them for me as presents. Birthday 2015 Loren surprised me with a drum kit. My mom bought me a ukulele last year. I am Jill of all, master of none, but boy do I have fun! I took piano as a kid, trombone in high school, voice in college. I am currently on hiatus from singing alto in the Anchorage Concert Chorus. I spent my teen years entertaining patrons of local bars and festivals as a drummer in a rock cover band. My Dad was my roadie because I couldn’t get into bars without him.
  • In 2015, I decided to get a qEEG brain wave test after reading the book Delivered from Distraction and having an “ah-ha!” moment. Turns out my suspicion was correct: not only do I have ADHD, but it’s rare for an adult my age to have “the theta-beta brain wave activity of a 10-year-old boy with ADHD” to quote my doc. I have since learned so much about myself, why my brain gets stuck, why I crave dopamine and can’t seem to finish anything, why I get so hyperfocused sometimes that I don’t sleep at night. The struggle to be “normal” can be exhausting. For me, exercise is not optional. It is mandatory to keep me sane.
  • Spenard became home in 2012 as the result of an impulsive decision I made at 2 am after a bottle of Zinfandel. I created an account on greataupair.com, resigned from my soul-sucking job with Pennsylvania’s OCS, and signed on as Mary Poppins for an adorable family who traveled a lot for ADF&G. I wish all of my red wine decision-making turned out that well!
  • On June 2, 2012, I was set-up on a date with my photojournalist husband, Loren Holmes, by a mutual friend, Anne Hillman, who works for APRN. They met during Iditarod coverage 2012. I initially responded “He’s not my type” to which she replied “and how well has your unemployed-drifting-artsy-musician-type worked out for you?” Touché, Anne.
  • Charles “Charlie” Holmes was born on Pi Day, March 2017. March 14th is also Steph Figarelle’s birthday. I was 12 days past due. (Steph took this photo.)

How long have you been working with us and what initially inspired you to seek us out?

It was June of 2016 and I was pregnant and in poor shape. I shared my anxiety during a group check-in at work. My colleague, JMac, stopped me after the meeting and invited me to FF boot camp. 

I initially thought I couldn’t hang, but then I saw an article about Olympic skier Kikkan Randall working out in her third trimester and thought, “Oh yes, this is possible.”

This photo was taken Valentine’s Day 2017. Genevieve (far right) and I were 38 weeks pregnant at boot camp.

What are some things you are most proud of accomplishing so far in 2018?

1) Bouncing back from PostPartum Depression was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I’d read about PPD and thought “man, that will never happen to me” and then it did. It took me almost 10 months to start living again; I was on autopilot: breastfeed, work, pump, breastfeed, toss and turn, maybe sleep, repeat cycle. I called Charlene Figarelle in a moment of tears while pumping at work. She was so supportive! We set up “baby step” goals that helped me make a successful return.

2) My husband and I remodeled our basement (with the help of our contractor friend, Dan). I now have a workout space at home (thanks to buying gently used items from FF boot camp). We are continuing to make progress in de-cluttering our life.

3) I reduced my body-fat by 5% by cutting out sugar for a couple of months. I still have a lot of work to do, but that was a big victory for me. AND I can do a REAL push-up now (more than one, in fact!) whereas before I had to modify to my knees or just hold plank.

Who or what inspires you?

Fred Rogers inspires me to be the best human being I possibly can, to be kind to my neighbors, to love all parts of myself, to be present and give generously. 

Charlene Figarelle inspires me by living our FF values every day. She leads by example, sets the bar for what being a healthy Mom and Grandma can be. I am particularly inspired by her transparency about the difficult journey to overcome her fear of water; I delight in every update I get about her swim lessons. 

Kikkan Randall’s post-partum journey to Olympic Gold was so inspiring, and now she is surviving breast cancer like a champion – So. Much. Positivity. I can’t say enough about how much she does for our community.

Nikki and Savier have really inspired me these last few months. It’s not easy juggling parenthood and self-care, and they’ve shown us that remarkable transformation is possible when you commit to your goals and get creative about how you get things done. It’s time to stop making excuses and step up.

What are a few of your favorite exercises?

My first training experience was with a certified Russian kettlebell instructor and ever since I’ve been in love with KB swings, farm carries, KB squat to press, etc. I know that this next comment is gonna get some eyeball rolls from the 6 am crew: I LOVE METCONS! Nothing gets my gears going better than a little sweat-inducing metabolic conditioning. Med ball slams are cathartic. Even the worst bits are over in 60 seconds, which makes it so much more approachable.

How about a few of your favorite muscle groups to train?

Lela’s really good at creating personalized workouts for me that target my hard-to-train areas. The Bulgarian Split-Squat and the single-leg glute bridge off the bench always get me feeling the burn in my glutes. 

Charlene’s a master at challenging me with exercises that tone my upper body – the Is Ys Ts, skull crushers, and the DB overhead press…OW that feels so good. 

Steph throws in that core work at the end of class that helps improve my posture at work (side planks, T push-ups, dead bugs, snow angel crunches). 

The hardest and most important muscle group for me postpartum has been the transverse abdominis muscle, the deepest layer of abs. I did an 8-week Pilates PT course where I learned how to isolate and tone via Kegel exercises.

Optimal health, what does it mean to you?

Something you said, Steph, back at boot camp has resonated with me since day one: “Fitness is not about having the perfect body. It’s about being able to wipe your own ass when you’re 90.” 

Optimal health is about aging gracefully. Optimal health is treating my body with kindness because it’s a miracle I’ve gotten this far and I owe it that much. 

Optimal health is mobility, flexibility, strength in both mind and body. Optimal health is staying connected to others, fostering healthy relationships with oneself and one’s community.

What advice would you give someone who wants to get fit but may not know where to begin?

Get rid of all-or-nothing thinking. Start small. Be reasonable and realistic. Focus on process goals, not outcomes (ex: I will attend small group 3X this week or I will replace ice cream with fresh fruit 6/7 days this week). 

Throw your scale away and instead measure your energy, your thoughts, what you see in the mirror, how your clothes fit, what you can or cannot do with your body, and what you accomplish every day. 

Be willing to compromise or sacrifice your comforts in exchange for increased productivity. Be mindful of excuses such as “I just don’t have the time” because even 15 minutes a day can make a difference and most of us spend more time than that on social media. 

Set an intention for your day before it starts. You don’t need any equipment because there is so much you can do with bodyweight alone. Proper form is critical and needs to be the focus during a workout at the gym. Ignore what everyone else is doing because it’s not about them. And if fat loss is your goal, don’t expect much change unless you eat well – fitness is 80% nutrition.

What is your ideal way to relax and unwind?

Mid-day, I make it a point to get outside for at least 30 minutes during my lunch hour or I will never see the sun during the winter months. Every night includes 30 minutes of rocking and reading to Charlie at around 7:30 pm; it transitions us both to bed. 

My job involves sedentary paperwork, so I recently started to unwind after work by rolling my glutes with a lacrosse ball and rolling my feet with a spiky massage ball while watching 45 minutes of tv (I have to be strict about that or I’ll binge-watch all night; it throws my entire week off). 

My lower back pain is GONE since I started using the lacrosse ball. My partner is an amazing guy who not only does most of the cooking but he also gives a good shoulder rub. Family snuggles are the best. When I’m alone (which is basically never) I get to rock out on the drums. 

I won’t lie, sometimes I take a personal day just to get some “me” time for that.

What new goals do you have in store for 2019?

  1. I recently purchased the book Why We Overeat and How to Stop by Elizabeth Babcock, LCSW. I joined her Facebook support group where I can post questions and join discussion threads. I want 2019 to be my “year one” of kicking my emotional eating habit once and for all. Food is not a coping skill. I plan to replace it with journaling, meditation or more exercise.
  1. I want to purchase a treadmill and a pull-up bar for Christmas so that I can drop at least 2-3% more fat and do at least 1 pull-up by the time the snow melts.
  1. In order to achieve #2, I have to do better at meal-planning and keeping a food journal. I recently downgraded to a flip phone so using My Fitness Pal just got more challenging but I’ve gotten some tips from Heidi about planning ahead for the week and can write stuff down and enter it at home on my laptop. Looking forward to the Nutrition Seminar next weekend!
  1. All of these goals will be more achievable once I master The 5 am Miracle by Jeff Sanders. It provides step-by-step instructions on how to increase productivity in the hours before the rest of the family is awake.