Hi Carly! Please introduce yourself.

I am 34 years old was and was born and raised in Alaska. I have a twin sister, Jeni, and an older brother, Wes. We have a big family in Alaska so I got to grow up with cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents around all the time. We all continue to get together with our growing families. 

I am a Licensed Master Social Worker currently working in the Anchorage School District through an on-line program called iSchool. I got my Undergraduate from Eastern Washington, and my Masters at UAA. 

I have worked with children and youth for over 10 years as an Advocator, Counselor, and Clinician in many different settings. I love jobs that allow me to support youth as they overcome the obstacles of life. I enjoy helping Youth see how they contribute to their situations and motivate them to move in a positive direction regardless of what hand life has dealt them. 

How long have you been working with FF, and what initially motivated you to seek us out?

I have been working out with Figarelle Fitness since 2011. My sister-in-law started working out with you and she thought that with my competitive spirit I would love the workouts. Was she right!!

Finding you guys really came at a good time in my life. I was a year or so past my last back surgery and I hadn’t really found my niche when it came to working out. I had had three back surgeries in three years, with my last one being a fusion in my lower back.

I still had pain and was looking for something to “fix” it. I went down to Seattle and talked to a doctor. He told me, “this is the new you, your back will never go back to where it was and you need to realize that. You need to listen to your body.”

After crying for two hours in his office I knew I needed to pick myself up and move forward. I stopped playing soccer, which was my love. I grew up playing soccer, I was the top 30 in the whole West Coast in high school, I played Division II and Division I soccer and was a starter. My life was soccer, to say the least.

I was an athlete and that was how I defined myself. How was I supposed to stop playing the game I loved and still be happy with myself?  So, I started running a little and doing some other workouts, but it didn’t give me the feeling I was looking for. 

After my first boot camp with Figarelle’s Fitness I was hooked!! I was sweating like I hadn’t in a long time. It gave me the opportunity to be competitive with myself and push, I was doing exercises that I would never do on my own.

It took me a couple of months to build up enough strength in my core that I could do most things the way I wanted to do them, but that was okay I was improving, becoming stronger and was loosing some of that nerve pain that I thought would never go away. 

Today I still love working out with Figarelle’s Fitness. I look forward to them every week. It is something I schedule during my week and I never cancel, unless I’m sick. Even on the days that I am tired and don’t feel like going, I leave there feeling accomplished, strong, and full of energy.

I still have back pain every day that moves from my back down the left side of my leg to my foot. I wake up every morning limping a little bit, some days more then others. But I deal with it because I remember how bad it was before my surgeries when I couldn’t even walk and I was pretty much pulling my leg behind me.

Constant pain makes your brain go to the “dark side,” I have been there before, but I am strong enough now I don’t let it get me down. I just feel blessed I can do what I can do. I can run, I can workout, and do pretty much everything I want. Life is too short to dwell on the things I can’t do, I feel like I am pretty lucky and blessed in so many ways; I choose to concentrate on those things!

What are a few of your favorite exercises that we do at Boot Camp? How about a few of your favorite muscle groups to work?

I am very competitive, so of course I like any exercise I can be competitive with myself. I love white board workouts with just your body weight because it allows you to go your own pace and push yourself to the max. I like when there are exercises that work your muscles, but also are a good cardiovascular workout. Hurricanes and  ladders… anything where we move across the floor are workouts I always like. 

Growing up as a soccer player, I always had strong legs, so anything where we use our legs I love.  Boot camp makes me use my upper body that are not so strong too, so I also really appreciate that!

You’re currently pregnant with your second baby. What tips do you have for moms who want to continue working out while pregnant?

Working out when you are pregnant is different, but I think it is so important. In your first trimester when you are at an exhaustion level you have never felt before and just thinking of food makes you want to vomit, working out is the last thing you want to do. But it helps so much when you do! It gives you energy you didn’t think you would ever find and it makes you hungry, which is really important.

Be kind to yourself. Your body is changing in so many different ways and you are making a baby, which is amazing!! Do what you can to workout, but if something doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. You won’t be able to do everything you could before with the same amount of weight or as fast and that is okay.

Just like movement is important when you aren’t pregnant, it is just as important when you are pregnant…it just may look a little different. So get out there and move your body, your body will thank you afterwards. 

You have inspired quite a few of your friends and family members to join you at Boot Camp over the years. What’s it like to workout with them? Do you guys keep each other motivated?

I love working out with my friends and family. No matter what shape they are in, I know they will love boot camp and they always do.

I want the people I love to be happy and healthy for as long as they can, so we can continue on this journey of life together! I also think that working out with people that you are close with, gives you motivation to show up and workout hard. Then there is always that level of competition that I love and think a little bit of competition is healthy, right?!

You’re a pretty avid runner. What do you enjoy most about running? 

I love running!! I grew up with a big family in Anchorage who are all are good athletes with a healthy dose of a competitive spirit in them. I ran my first race when I was 6 and we always ran as a family. My entire family would run in the Heart Run and The Women’s Run every year. 

Once I started high school I ran to keep in shape for soccer. I didn’t have the love for running then, but knew I needed to do it to stay in shape and I also happened to be good at it. I was in the top 10 runners in the State in High School, but that only lasted for a couple of years because again my love was soccer. I ran all through college and after I started to love it more and more. I didn’t play soccer any more, so running was how I pushed myself. 

Now running for me is like a counseling session. I don’t run super fast any more, but I can run and I find happiness in that. Whatever was bugging me before I started to run is always gone and I finish my runs with a clear head. And clearly I am really smart when I run because I solve all my problems that ever existed, or maybe things that felt like big problems, no longer do. Either way running allows me to get out and push myself or just get out and enjoy the beautiful scenery around me.  

Every summer you leave Anchorage to run a camp for kids. Can you tell us more about this, and why it’s so important to you?

I have always enjoyed working with “tough” kids who have been through a lot in their life. After college I was working at a Residential Treatment Center and I came up with the idea of having a Youth Camp in Alaska. I think the outdoors is such a great place to really reflect on life and take a deeper look into yourself. Also, there are so many kids that live in Alaska that never get outside into the woods and get to experience all the things that Alaska has to offer and I find that so sad. 

When I met my husband we actually talked about this on our first date. I told him about my dream of starting a Youth Camp and although he didn’t have the exact dream, he knew he wanted to help people in some capacity.

Once we got married, we put our strengths together and started to come up with some ideas of what our Youth Camp would look like. It also helped that his parents own Rainy Pass Lodge, which is the oldest hunting lodge in Alaska. It is about 125 air miles southwest of Anchorage in a small bush plane.

We came up with an outline, talked to his parents about it, and they said they would support our efforts to start a Youth Camp at the Lodge. We started a non-profit to make it possible for anyone to come to our Camp. Because it is super remote, the costs are very high, but we wanted to make this opportunity available to everyone. 

We have partnered with several schools and programs in the Anchorage School District to help us identify kids that would benefit from our Camp. We also work with a couple of Charter Schools in the States. Our camp is called Camp Iron Sights and it is a Camp for At Risk young men ages 14-19 years old that focuses on personalized self-growth while providing a true Alaskan Wilderness Experience.

They get to experience all the Alaskan activities of canoeing, hiking, riding horses, partnered with different activities that help push them to look deeper into themselves to work through any bumps that may be hindering their growth as they move into adulthood.

A lot of the youth we work with have pretty sad stories, so we become an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on and someone who supports and believes in them. We also started a program with our Board Members where we stay connected with the Youth and offer support as they leave the Camp and enter into adulthood.

What are you most looking forward to doing after you have baby number two? 

I am super excited to have a girl! Even though working in a high school has me nervous about raising a girl in her high school years, but I have time to get ready for that.

I am really excited about growing our family, nothing is more precious then seeing siblings interact and love on each other. 

What new goals do you have in store for the rest of 2017?

My first goal is to continue to stay active until the end of this pregnancy. Then my main goal is to find my new balance in life as I juggle two kids under two years old.

After my first pregnancy I trained for a half marathon and ran it 5 months after my son was born. This time, I would like to run a relay marathon through wine country with my friends and family.

Having something, and someone, to push you to get out the door and get moving while functioning on broken sleep really helps you stay motivated and helps to get back in shape. I would like to turn this race into another one of my accompishments.