Kyle has been working with Figarelle’s Fitness over the last 10 months, and in that time he has gained strength, built muscle, and improved his stamina. Kyle regularly attends FF Boot Camp classes as well as our men’s small group personal training class, otherwise known as ‘Man Camp.’ Here is shares a little bit of his fitness journey with us.
Hi Kyle! Please tell us about yourself.
I was born here in Anchorage, and have spent most of my life here. Starting around age 10 I lived in Sacramento, CA and El Paso, TX for 4 years and have been back home ever since. I work as a Programmer / Analyst for PangoMedia, a local business analysis and software development company.
I live in East Anchorage with my girlfriend Blythe and our dogs Zeus and Lola. I enjoy cross country skiing, rifle/pistol shooting, PC gaming, working on personal software programming projects, and playing board games with friends and family. Wow, that got nerdy fast!
What initially motivated you to contact FF, and what were some of your goals when you first started with us?
Throughout my life I’ve always been in shape to some degree, either from hobbies/sports or work. When I was a teenager I climbed a lot at the Alaska Rock Gym (3-5 days per week) and had a really good amount of core and upper body strength from doing that. In my late teens and early 20s I worked at Best Buy (both stores over the course of almost 7 years) where I was on my feet all day, constantly walking around the store. For the last few years I worked there, I was heavily involved in the inventory and warehousing part of the store. Handling TVs and refrigerators all day is a great way to stay fit!
I left Best Buy in 2011 to focus on finishing school, and started my current job in April 2012. Goodbye refrigerators and TVs, hello desk chair and writing code all day!
About 8 months before I started with FF in October 2014, Blythe and I started cross-country skiing, which soon led me to biathlon, which is cross-country skate ski racing with .22 rifle target shooting between laps. In the fall, I started running to try to build up my leg strength and endurance for the upcoming ski season. 2 and a half years of the desk job (and probably being in my late 20’s, and probably eating like crap) had taken a bit of a toll on me! I couldn’t run as fast or far as I could even just 2 or 3 years prior, and I noticed that I could feel parts of me jiggling while I ran. I didn’t like it at all and knew I needed to make a change.
I knew about Figarelle’s Fitness through some mutual friends and mutual dogs (Zeus is Link’s brother), and decided that I wanted to jump head-first into doing Boot Camp and eating better. I didn’t really know how to do any exercises other than push-ups and sit-ups, and really didn’t want to just go get a gym membership and either never go, or exercise with poor form and hurt myself.
My goals were to eliminate the jiggly bits (done!) and ski faster and for longer. I’ve got the for longer part down, but I really need to put some time into working on my ski technique to get my speed up. But hey, now I can ski badly for longer! =)
You regularly attend both Boot Camp and Man Camp. What are a few of your favorite things about both programs?
I get really hot when I work out, so I’d have to say my favorite things are any Boot Camp station situated near an open door, and the fan at Man Camp =)
On a more serious note, I like the extremes in pacing that both programs offer. As most everyone knows, Boot Camp sessions can be very fast-paced, doing a wide variety of exercises for a short amount of time per station. At Man Camp, it’s a bit more of a slow pace (5 minutes per station) that really gives me time to focus on form and technique, as well as making progress with heavier weights. I’ll usually write the weight I previously did for each Man Camp station in the margins of my logbook and either try to match or slightly increase that.
How about your favorite muscles groups to work? Exercises to perform?
I really like working my legs – I’d say my favorite exercises on leg day are the trap bar deadlift, leg curls, and leg extensions, which we mostly do at Man Camp. For Boot Camp, I love doing the agility ladder during warm-up or as part of a hurricane, it’s very fun!
How has your diet changed since working with us? Do you meal prep? (any nutrition tips?)
Since I started at FF, I’ve almost completely eliminated fast food and energy drinks, and really reduced random snacking throughout the day. Blythe and I have been cooking at home a lot more this year, and have found some great crock pot chicken recipes that can cook all day while we’re at work.
Any time I am snacking on something I’ll be sure to portion out a limited amount into a bowl or tupperware instead of eating an unknown (but definitely too large) quantity straight from the box/bag.I’ve also cut out beer and other drinking unless I’m over at a friends place, out to eat, or at some kind of event. For a while I’d enjoy a beer (usually King Street Hefeweizen with some lemon) with dinner a few nights a week at home, but now I enjoy my extra fridge space, and the beer you do have when hanging out with friends is a little bit better.
I’m trying to cut coffee out as well, and was completely caffeine-free for a few months before falling off the wagon this summer. Just an 8oz mocha at 7AM would cause me to be a bit jittery on the biathlon range at 7PM at night. I’ve found that as I’ve gotten back into shape (and trying to get enough sleep every night) I really don’t need coffee or energy drinks to function.
What are some of the most significant improvements you have made to your physique since starting with us? (i.e. building muscle, losing body fat, gaining strength, etc).
The jiggling I noticed when running is now almost completely gone. I’ve definitely gained strength: when I started lifting at FF, I was doing 70lb trap bar deadlift, 15lb leg curl, and 25lb preacher curl. Now, I can do 120lb trap bar deadlift, 45lb leg curl, and 60lb preacher curl.
How have these improvements transferred over into other areas of your life (biathlon, etc)?
I really hope that my much stronger and longer-lasting legs will help me this upcoming ski and biathlon race season, but at this point I really hope we get any amount of skiable snow before races are supposed to start in December so I can work on my ski technique! I have participated in a few summer biathlon events this year, and have definitely been able to run farther and faster than before.
I’m also much more aware of my posture whenever I’m sitting down at a computer, which is generally 8 hours per day for work, plus any time I spend at home working on personal projects or gaming. It’s very easy to round your shoulders in and slouch, and I try to sit up a bit more straight and move a little closer to my desk so I can rest my arms a bit more naturally.
What advice do you have for someone who is new to Boot Camp, and just starting out on their fitness journey? Any tips or helpful advice for navigating the process?
1. Invest in good gym shoes, and if you need them, insoles that properly support your arch. I went through 4 combinations of shoe and insole (thanks, REI return policy!) before I found one that was comfortable.
2. Take it a bit easy your first few workouts. If you were like I was and not very active, you’re going to be very close to puking near the end of the workout and very sore for a few days afterward.
3. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, not just during the workout.
How has your mindset changed since starting with us? (i.e. focus, determination, discipline).
One of the things you hear from time to time at a Boot Camp session is “if you’re tired and think you can’t do _____, at least do _____”. At least be doing something – making some forward progress. If you think you can’t do a push-up, at least hold the upper push-up position, but don’t sit around while everyone else is pushing and sweating. If you think you can’t run, at least jog or walk fast, but don’t stop.
In the summer biathlon (running) races I did before joining FF, I remember getting winded after long up-hills and completely coming to a stop to catch my breath and rest. This summer, if I felt myself getting tired during a running race, I’d slow down a little so that I was at least still moving.
What new goals do you have on the horizon, and why are they important to you?
My next big goal is to purchase a single-family home with Blythe, which will happen next Fall if we stick to our plans for the next year. Getting a house is very important to us so that our dogs have their own big backyard to run around in, and that we have a place where we can have friends and family over, and eventually start a family in.