Hi Joelle! Please tell us about yourself.

I am a stay at home mom to three wonderful young gentlemen; Patrick 23, Connor almost 20 and Sean almost 16.  I have been married for 25 years to Jim and we have two dogs.  I am currently attending the UAA nursing program and will graduate in December of 2016. 

2014 Burpee Challenge at Figarelle's Fitness by Chris Cupp PhotographyAs a family we LOVE spending time together.  We cross country ski, snow machine, go to our cabins, fish, hike, bike, and kayak. 

I enjoy reading (when not for class). I’m learning to knit, I love to cook and tinker in the kitchen and really enjoy gardening.  I am also very active in my church and with the boy scouts and believe helping others is one of the greatest gifts we can give.


How long have you worked with FF, and what prompted you to seek us out?

This March will mark 4 years I have been working out with FF.  I met Steph while taking classes at UAA and she had mentioned she was a fitness instructor and I began the process of stalking her on Facebook for a few months just to see what it was all about.  

I went to Hawaii about a year later and I saw a fat, OLD lady in my reflection in a window while there.  It really bothered me to see me so old acting and looking so I decided to FINALLY call and set up an appointment. So on my birthday of that year I took the plunge and started personal training with her and attending boot camps.

Can you tell us about your first few Boot Camp workouts? 

The first boot camp, I was excited and the adrenaline pushed me through and I made it. I was proud of myself.  The second boot camp was horrible, it had different exercises and I struggled.  I struggled so much I just barely made it (in my opinion) and was so stressed out I just left right after the session and cried the whole way home in the car.  

Telling myself what a failure I was and how should a fat, old lady be expected to do those things.  I returned to my personal training session the next week and confided in Steph.  I found out she didn’t expect me to know how to do those things and told me I would be able to do more as I went along, just trust her and the process and she would help me get through.  Well she did!!!  I found I LOVED weight lifting and began to do that with a vengeance and I also found out how good it was for my bones.  Haven’t looked back since.  I didn’t (and still don’t) care for the white board workouts.  I find I don’t push myself as hard at my own pace, but the stations and the variety are the BEST.

What goals have you achieved since starting with FF?

For whatever reason goal setting has been my kryptonite and I have had a hard time actually spelling them out.  I know that has been a poor excuse the whole time.  Goals are important and I have achieved more confidence than I could have ever imagined working with FF.  IMG_9089I have watched exercise become important to my kids, I have seen nutrition become mostly a success for me and every day I find out I can go just a bit harder and succeed a bit more in life thanks to the help FF has given me.  

How has your mindset about exercise and nutrition changed since working with us?

In my mind exercise was sort of a punishment and nutrition was this dark, mysterious world that ALWAYS ended up in frustration and starvation for me.  Now I have found exercise to be therapeutic and even healing.  If you get off track you will have to work forward again, but the hill to climb to get back in shape is easier.  

I have always struggled with eating.  When I got pregnant with my first son, I TOTALLY embraced the eating for two and the weight never went away.  My choices in food were not poor, but my portions were way out of whack.  The nutritional counseling FF gives was a huge eye opening experience for me and they have been there every step of the way to offer help and support.  

What are a few of your favorite things about FF workouts?

My favorite thing is the true feeling of caring you get from all of the coaches.  I have met some truly wonderful people on this journey and I can’t imagine my life without them.  I do love the variety of the workouts and the energy I always find after each session.  It is THE best place to be and I am so very blessed to have found them.  

How about a few of your favorite exercises?

My very favorite thing is sparring.  Nothing gets the stress gone faster than hitting something.  I do truly love weight lifting and really enjoy being able to see the definition of the muscles and knowing each time I lift my body is getting stronger and healthier.  I love being able to do my daily life with strength and with confidence.

What is your best advice to someone who is struggling to get in shape? What should they be doing in order to be successful in achieving their goals?

My best advice is to put yourself as a priority and start somewhere.  You have been given the gift of movement, now go.  Find your fit someplace with someone.  You don’t have to be alone on the journey, in fact it’s better if you aren’t.  

ff_bc_nov2 (055 of 123)It is a journey, not an end game, there will be losses and gains, but don’t stop.  Don’t lose just to get the pounds gone, lose to get the health, move to get and keep the health.  Every step you take in that direction is better than sitting on the couch.  Start small or go big, there is no one size fits all, but just do SOMETHING.  Write it down!!!  It is amazing to see what you once thought was important or scary.  

You have mentioned many times how exercise is a helpful stress reliever for you. How do you typically feel once a workout is accomplished? 

Some days I feel exhausted before a workout, but afterward, I feel less tired and so glad I came.  Other days when the stress is bad and I just don’t want to go exercise, that is the EXACT time to go exercise.  It just makes you focus on the movements, the breathing and the music and everything else fades away.  That is the “reset” your mind needs, and craves.  

So, don’t stuff a brownie in your face. Go for a walk, if nothing else.  I have had some big ups and some HUGE downs and through it all and exercise has been the BEST medicine. Through it all, the FF coaching staff has been there giving me encouragement and the help I need to become a better, fitter me!!!

What goals do you have planned for 2016? (They don’t all have to be fitness related).

  • Graduate and then pass the NCLEX.
  • Start raising chickens
  • Bike ride on all the trails in Anchorage
  • Start a Bible study class in my church
  • I am NOT a runner, so run one mile without walking