1. Hi Sydney! Please tell us about yourself.
This year will be my 9th year in Alaska after transplanting from the mountains in Prescott, AZ. I live with a ginger bearded man, my other best friend, Tucker, who is a dachshund, and two other dogs who I love dearly. I also enjoy raising chickens not only for eggs but also for meat and ducks that are pets.
I love to play volleyball, cook and drive. I seriously contemplated going to school to be a professional driver at one point. Jake and I love cider and travelling and plan to have our own Cidery at one point in our lives. Even one of our international trips was planned with cider in mind.
2. How long have you been working with us, and what initially motivated you to seek us out?
I believe I have been working with FF for a little over 3 years. My first experience with FF happened when I was playing Rugby with the Arctic Foxes and our coach had asked Steph to host a boot camp to better our agility. That was one of the toughest workouts of my life.
Yes, I was “fit”, playing rugby, hiking and volleyball but after that workout I realized there was a completely different level I had never bothered pursuing. I had to leave the practice early for a game and when I got to my car all I wanted to do was throw up. That to me was a sign I was not in the best physical shape I could be in. Shortly after, I emailed Steph and went in for PT and have been returning since.
3. What have you accomplished, both physically and mentally, since starting with us?
I have accomplished quite a bit. My stamina is greater, my strength is more than ever and I am breaking the molds of what I grew up thinking was the way to live. I never thought I would lift as much as I can now or even hold a 3 min plank with a 35lb plate on my back! My hitting during a volleyball game is much harder and faster than before I started with FF and my vertical jump is even better than in high school and college.
My mental state has evolved in massive amounts. I don’t care as much what other’s think of me which was a huge hindrance in my life. Working out with an amazing group has allowed me to clear my body and mind and make the correct choices for myself and not for others. It took a long time for me to realize that I need to come first and lifting weights does that for me. Strength training is a completely different feeling for me that promotes confidence and gives me control of myself. It’s almost as if I go into a meditative state when I do my dead lifts now.
4. What kind of improvements have you made to your nutrition since working with us?
I had been following the blood type diet before I started with FF and still hold to a lot of that structure today BUT that didn’t really matter since I was also eating whatever else in the sugar department at the time. After my first workout with Stephanie she asked what I ate and it all seemed to be going well until I mentioned my fruit snack habit.
I went home after my workout, grabbed my Costco sized box and dumped them into the trash. Fast food is no longer a go-to, soda has no place in my house and fruit snacks are a delicacy. I love to cook at home and these days I take the opportunity to make amazing meals that are healthy.
A well set up kitchen is key to being successful with nutrition in my opinion. While a night out won’t kill me, I have realized that I can always cook that same meal at home and often times better. I now have a great base setup for my eating habits but that doesn’t mean I always stick to them. I am not a calorie tracker and will only do it if I want to lose body fat or am in need of resetting. When I find myself going off the path I need to be on, I reset and start tracking all my meals, weighing every piece of food and even my wine if I have some.
5. I know you regularly attend both boot camp and small group. What are a few of your favorite things about each of those programs?
I love my Wednesday small group. The group of people I work with are amazing and Lela always has the best workouts planned for us. Small group is an amazing opportunity for me to get my weights in, increase them and focus more on the strength training while enjoying the positive energy of others. Boot camp is also great especially as a staple workout.
You never know what you will have for the day whether it is stations, a hurricane or whiteboard but each time I know it is something that is going to challenge my cardio while incorporating smaller amounts of weights in. My overall favorite part of FF is that it easily fits into my lifestyle and that is what keeps me exercising and healthy. I would not be as successful in my journey if I had to plan the workouts for myself. FF makes me accountable; they have expectations of me and are always there to guide me. What I need to do is be present, willing, dedicated and ask for direction.
6. How about a few of your favorite exercises? Why do you enjoy them so much?
My number one favorite is of course the dead lift. I’ve always liked it and the feeling it gave my entire body. My grip was great before but now there is no way Jake can pry anything from my hands and I attribute that to the deadlifts. A new exercise Lela introduced me to is the barbell hip thrusts.
This is one is tons of fun and allows me to focus on my form and strengthening my hips and glutes which ultimately helps me with my other hobbies such as volleyball. T-bar row is also another favorite. It is not something you see often and really works my shoulders in ways I cannot get with other exercises. Along with my shoulders I also feel it working my grip which is important to me.
7. You and your husband Jake work out together at boot camp. How do you both support one another? Any tips for other couples who want to get fit together?
Working out with Jake just makes sense to me. We support each other in all aspects of life and physical health is MAJOR. We are strong believers that fitness propels you to success and of course, we want to be successful. Boot camp is perfect for us because we are there together but yet doing our own workout.
Being at the same boot camp also opens the opportunity for us to do an at home workout and know what each other is talking about. I use him as a gauge on some exercises and in a way it turns into a great competition between us to see who can run the faster lap, climb the rope the fastest or finish the ladder first. Sometimes I win!
Jake is always on board with my meal plans which makes it super easy for us. I don’t have to cook separate meals or force him to cook his own special meal and he will accommodate what I want or need when he makes breakfast without any fuss. He is absolutely amazing in supporting me and is always proud of my PR’s and accomplishments. Doing boot camps together also guarantees a higher rate of showing up for the workout. There will be days where Jake doesn’t want to work out but since I am also signed up, he doesn’t have an excuse to miss when I attend and vice versa.
8. I know you’re currently renovating your house and you’re super busy. How do you make time to juggle all that you’re doing and still prioritize your health and fitness? Any tips for those who may be time crunched and not know how to fit it all in?
Schedule! Schedule! Schedule!
I currently work 40 hours a week, I am taking 18 credit hours this semester, remodeled one house, tearing apart a new house to fully remodel it, living in a travel trailer while remodeling, playing volleyball competitively and doing yoga at least twice a week as well as boot camp and small group. I wouldn’t be able to do this without the structure of my schedule and routine.
I was one of those people who would say “I don’t have the time for that” until I realized I just didn’t want to make the time for that. Now that I have my schedule set it’s amazing how much I am doing and STILL have some time left over to relax and watch a show or surf the web.
A few things that have helped me maximize time are meal prep, cutting out the energy suckers and overall deciding what I want out of life and what I need to do to get there. I would be lying if I didn’t say I also have an amazing support network of family and friends.
Sunday’s are rest day for us and that is when I take the time to do a deep clean, grocery shop and then prep my freezer crockpot meals for the week. With those freezer meals, I am able to dump them in and come home to dinner without having to worry and then have lunch for the next day. Also, I’ve learned to be fluid and understand that not everything is going to happen as planned. There is always a way.
9. What do you do to relax and recover in between workouts? Any tips for stress relief?
I try to stay as mobile as I can after a workout. With Small group on Wednesday, I use the standing workstation I have been provided to keep the hip flexors long otherwise I end up very sore. I also listen to my body and if I am not on par for the next work out, I modify or scale back.
Recently I have taken up yoga and that is fantastic not only for stress but physically as well. Deep stretch mixed with my chiropractic adjustments make the perfect fix for my hip when it starts to ache. I also meditate daily whether it be for 5 mins or an hour and I am a fan of Epsom salt baths.
10. What are some goals you have for the future (fitness and non-fitness related)?
I have a goal to soak in my new tub before December 1st. Have you ever tried taking a bath in a travel trailer? I will finish my degree this semester and then be on to another degree after that which I hope to have completed in 1.5 years. Fitness wise, I want to be up to at least 190 LBS for my deadlift by this time next year and hike Cain’s Head in Seward this next summer.
Every time a race comes up Lela always asks me in her special way “So, Sydney…are you doing Lost Lake this year?” and this next year I might just actually do a race or two but I have not fully committed to which one I will do. After we are finished with remodeling this house I will restructure my nutrition and work towards 18% body fat.