We’ve had the privilege of working with Steve at Boot Camp over the last two years, and in that time we’ve witnessed his awesome transformation. Steve can be kind of shy, but he’s one of the first to reach out to a new person and offer them assistance and an encouraging word. He’s always there to help with something at Boot Camp, whether it’s to move a piece of heavy equipment or put something away- he’s extremely dependable. We chose Steve as our Figarelle’s Fitness family member of the month because he’s consistent with his training, he’s never late to a class, he’s helpful to us and to others, and he’s constantly striving to improve himself at each session. Steve was kind enough to share some insight with us about his experience training with Figarelle’s Fitness, what keeps him motivated, and what some of his next goals are. Thanks for being an important part of our group, Steve!
You started working with Figarelle’s Fitness over two years ago. What initially motivated you to seek out a group to workout with?
I had been running and lifting on my own since after my larger days in college and was growing tired of it. There also started to be some diminishing returns with my efforts and it was starting to be demotivating. When my girlfriend (now my lovely wife) Brittany suggest I go to a Boot Camp with her, I was excited to try it as I was always a little reluctant/scared to try group classes. I like it immediately, even though I do not think I could walk up stairs very well for about a week after my first session.
What are some of the biggest changes you’ve made since starting with FF, both mentally and physically?
I have some knee issues from damage I did while playing basketball in college. My initial Boot camps started with me being extremely hesitant to do some ranges of motions or place certain stresses on my knees and I would like to think I have become somewhat less hesitant, although I know there are still some thoughts in my head regarding my knees. Another mental struggle I have been getting over is comparing what I am doing against others during white boards and other things. This has been a struggle for awhile, but I think I am becoming gradually better at not doing this.
What do you enjoy the most about Boot Camp?
My favorite part of Boot Camp is definitely the variety of exercise that is seen day to day, week to week. There are always the staple exercises that we all love, but they are mixed in with other new and ever changing exercises. Boot Camp is never “easy.” The difficulty is based on me and how hard, fast, or heavy I want to go. I would argue with myself that over time, the thing I most enjoy about Boot Camp would be the folks in the class and of course Lela, Steph and Charlene.
What’s your favorite muscle group(s) to work, and what are a few of your favorite exercises to do at boot camp and on your own time at the gym?
S-H-O-U-L-D-E-R-S. While I do enjoy working all my muscles, I really enjoy having an extreme session at the gym to work my shoulders out. There are several reasons for this: 1. EGO ALERT! I think I look pretty jacked when I am having a hardcore shoulder session at the gym. 2. It is one of the things I think I have improved on most so I feel good about the positive gains I have seen.
Boot Camp: TIRE FLIP and BATTLING ROPE! I love the Tire Flip and the Battling Rope, mainly because they out of the norm for exercises I have a chance to do on my own and also they are generally very challenging. If I go as hard as I am able, making a full 60 seconds on either is still very hard for me to do.
At the gym: Pull-up Burpees or anything where I get to use a dumbbell that’s in the triple digits!
You’re known for being one of the most supportive people at Boot Camp, especially to new people. What motivates you to be so helpful to others, even if it means sacrificing a few minutes of your own workout?
Not really any motivation needed, although it does feel nice to assist other people or make them feel encouraged. I can probably give credit to my upbringing and my closest group of friends. They say you are an average of your 5 closest friends and even though I have always been a very nice gentleman, I think my closest 5 friends have put my encouragement and positivity into hyper drive. Not sure if they will read this, but I will shout out anyways. Brittany, Kyle, Amanda, Chris and Audrey; thanks for being such positive influences on me. I would amiss if I would not credit the overall positivity in general of most of the people I see 2-3 times a week at Boot Camp.
You’ve been with us long enough to have experienced a lot of the different workouts we have done. What are some of your favorites?
I personally really enjoy the small group station boot camps. It is really nice to be with the same 5-10 people over the class doing a variety of things while challenging and motivating each other at the same time. Other than that, the outdoor work outs at the Track on Lake Otis and the “Count your Reps” competition sessions have always stuck out in my mind as my memorable work outs. Plyometric heavy workouts are also my favorites.
We’ve noticed a great improvement in your pull-ups over the last several months. How often do you practice them?
Prior to changing my routine up to lift with a friend, I was performing some sort of pull-up or pull-up variation in every work out. Currently, some of my gym days are a little more structured, so I would say that 3-4 times a week (including Boot Camp) I place some focus on strengthening my pull-ups.
You’ll occasionally wear a weighted vest to Boot Camp, how much weight do you typically put in there and how has the added resistance helped you progress?
It is 23-lbs currently, but it goes up to 50-lbs. The added weight really helps me on my non-vest days. Performing 20 reps of anything with a bunch of extra weight does make regular body weight exercises seem a lot easier the next time around. I think it has added a lot of conditioning to my chest and shoulders as well as mental strength when I do not wearing the vest.
You consistently have great form during a workout on everything you do. Why is it so important to you to maintain good form while you’re working out?
Short answer… I got better results when I improved my form.
Long Answer… From a young age in athletics, I was always trying to be like someone better than me. I would study their movements and routines to try and better myself. It worked out pretty well for me in sports, so it seemed natural to do this in other facets of life. When I started lifting on my own, it made sense to me to watch videos and copy someone’s form that was obviously better at it than me. With Boot Camp, it made sense to listen to Lela and Steph about what to do. At the start of boot camp I was just focusing on not hurting myself and adjusting to the type of workout it entailed. Once I was in sufficient Boot Camp shape and could go hard during sessions, I quickly realized that with better form you get an improved workout and significantly improved results. I might have been getting a great cardio work out before I corrected my form, but I definitely could tell a change in my muscle and overall strength improvement after I put more focus into form.
FOCUS on the positives of being active and working out. I think it is just in mind that I need to do something active. Taking one unplanned day off can quickly turn into multiple days. I really force myself to think about how I feel during a workout after 2 days off. It quickly makes me want to get off my keister and do something active. I also try to keep in mind how great I feel as a result of working out on my current schedule. On the rare occasion that this does not work, I kind of trick myself by taking a pre-workout supplement and this will force me to go to the gym. It is motivation in a powder. I am not sure if anyone has ever taken something like Neurocore or 1.M.R. and then did not do anything, but if you do it once, you will never do it again!
What advice would you give a first-timer at Boot Camp?
Do not judge yourself against anyone else in the class, work as hard as you can, and it only gets easier until you decide to make it harder on yourself. I think the fact that most people do not do these types of exercises and work outs prior to Boot Camp makes it very intimidating. Comparing yourself to someone who has been doing it for a while can be demotivating when looked at the wrong way, so do not do it. It is important to work as hard as you can and know your limits for starting. Nothing will make you walk away from the awesomeness like hurting yourself in one of your first classes. It will get easier and easier each class. When you are comfortable, push yourself harder and harder and the class is never “easy.” It is as hard as you want to make it.
What are some goals you have planned for the future?
My goals… Hhmmmm. I have not really set goals in a while, so let’s do this. 1. 10 Flawless Pull-Ups without stopping 2. Bench my body weight for 10 reps 3. Lose my stomach, which will require me most likely to stop drinking so many delicious libations, but I think I could sacrifice for a while. 4. Increase my frequency of Leg Days (Ugh, I am not happy about this one as I just typed it).