UW Fitness Day: Meet the Coaches III

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As we’ve gotten to know some of the 40 UW Fitness Day coaches over the past two weeks, we’ve heard stories of inspiration, motivation, challenges, and triumphs. Whether they come from UW Athletics, UW Recreation, or our fitness discount partners, each coach brings to bear his or her own unique perspective and personal journey. It at once proves how the simple act of moving more—whatever form it may take—is one we all share in common, but which also helps us bring out the best, most unique parts of our character.

This week, as in Week 1 and Week 2, we hear from all types of athletes whose mindsets are powered by a range of motivating factors—from personal development and parental tradition to simply loving how it feels to perspire. It again proves fitness is something anyone can pursue and is worth celebrating at all levels. It’s why we invite you to join us for UW Fitness Day on May 24 for a 45-minute, 20-station circuit training workout that’s accessible to all. Register here and also receive a t-shirt and wicking headband the day-of. If you’re in need of that extra mite of motivation, read on and you’ll be sure to find the connection you crave.

Julie Schroeder – UW Recreational Sports Programs

What factors keep you motivated?

I’m motivated to stay healthy and active for the duration of my life.  I want to be able to play with my kids and keep up with my parents who both work out every day. When I work out in the morning, I feel so much better for the rest of the day, so I always get up and get some cardio in (at the IMA) before I start my work day. I feel so much better and stronger when I work out than when I don’t. I know that if I want to have a productive day and feel awake, I need to do something that gets me sweating in the morning!

How has fitness changed your life and/or mindset? 

I’ve always been active since I was a child—doing gymnastics, playing soccer, basketball, softball, volleyball, competing in track and finally playing soccer in college, so I really don’t know anything different. Through sports, I have created lifelong friendships and being active just makes me feel better, so I do it. My parents are also really motivating. We ate healthy growing up and we would go to the gym as a family to stay healthy.

Katherine Bueche – UW Recreation Yoga Instructor

What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned when it comes to fitness?

That moderation is necessary, and that modification is always okay. It’s important to push yourself in order to see results and challenge yourself as well, but it’s also really crucial to know when to pull back. I’ve had too many phases in life where I thought running and pushing myself for hours in a day was the only way to be fit and healthy, but learning restraint is so important.

How has fitness changed your life and/or mindset?

Without my passion for health and fitness, I don’t know where I’d be. It has helped me treat my anxiety to the point where I lead an almost anxiety-free existence most days, and gives me the energy and motivation to reach my goals. I’m a lot more forgiving and significantly kinder to myself and my body, and that kindness emits on to others as well. If you’re curious about getting into fitness, just do it! The rest will follow into place.

Sally Frankenberg – UW Recreation Yoga Instructor

What do you see as your greatest or most memorable fitness moment or achievement?

Hiking Mt. Rainier with my husband over 20 years ago stands out as a great moment, as well as hiking part of the Incan Trail for five days last year with my husband and our two teens. Being healthy enough to explore such awe-inspiring landscapes with family was spectacular. Perhaps an even greater “achievement” for me is being able to get that same sort of feeling from the epic beauty and camaraderie right here in Seattle on walks with my friends. If you find people that encourage and support you it makes it even easier.

How has fitness changed your life and/or mindset?

Over the years, being active has become something that is as basic as regularly brushing my teeth or bathing. For me, it feels like basic hygiene. It’s my yoga practice that’s changed my life and mindset. Somewhere along the way my interest shifted from “getting a hard workout” as an end goal to moving with a sense of awareness, curiosity and kindness, compassion, which allows me to still develop strength, but also find more ease, balance, and joy. This approach for me is infinitely more nuanced, interesting, fun, and full of beauty.

Alicia Kain – UW Recreation Fitness Instructor

What gets you motivated after a long day at work?

After a long day of work, I can motivate myself by telling myself that “If I train today, I will get stronger,” or, “I will improve my cardio” and the idea of improving my strength or endurance paired with knowing that training will make me feel accomplished for the day is enough to get me going. I stay motivated knowing that what I am doing is good for my health. I can’t stand the idea of getting older and losing my physical capabilities. I especially can’t stand the idea of needing help performing everyday tasks. I want to be active until the end, and I know having a healthy active body now will help me age gracefully.

What’s something surprising about fitness or training many might not realize?

Oftentimes people who are new to the gym are intimidated by it; particularly in the weight room. A common misconception is that gym regulars will notice you and look down upon you. That is incredibly false. What may be the most surprising part of all of that is that the people in the weight room with all the confidence tend to be the biggest form-offenders (so, take all pointers with a grain of salt). It’s hard to feign confidence, but if you are new to the gym, just do a little bit of research on moves beforehand. If you feel out of place, just remember that you are performing the moves correctly and it will help you feel like you belong.

Hannah Dingle and Jenny Wyeth – Pure Barre

What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned when it comes to fitness?

The greatest lesson I’ve learned in fitness is mental toughness. It’s really easy to give up when something is physically difficult, but when you push through and continue to work past the challenge with strength and determination, it’s incredibly rewarding. Focus and commitment is everything.

What’s something surprising about fitness or training many might not realize?

You have to train the other people in your life to support your fitness! That’s why it can be great to sign-up for a challenge at a studio or gym; it helps build the habit of prioritizing your healthy routine, not just for you, but your friends and family too. On this note, even though you do it for yourself, your hard work does in fact inspire everyone around you.

Teresa Koeppel – UW Recreation

What gets you motivated? What keeps you motivated? Especially after a long day’s work.

To be honest, I’m not always motivated to hit the gym. I’ve found that for me, it just doesn’t work to try to drum up the motivation to be active, especially after a long day at the office. So instead, I put gym time on my calendar and order myself to get there. Fortunately, my husband, Chris, also loves to take all of my classes. I become motivated, however, once we’re in the gym or at the park or on the trail among other active people. For me, this is the secret in fitness and in anything else: spend time with people who inspire you to be the person you aspire to become.

What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned when it comes to fitness?

Fitness has taught me to trust the process and the process has taught me so many things! It’s helped me face down my fears: I used to be freaked out by the idea of speaking in front of a room full of people, but after doing it with a headset while demonstrating perfect push-up form and dripping with sweat, it’s no longer a big deal. The process has also taught me to be patient: Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are bodies or careers or relationships.

There’s so much that can be learned from lacing up our sneakers and hitting the gym day after day, even when we don’t feel like it. It’s not about how hard we push in our workouts or about tracking progress or about competing; it’s about accepting that there’s a process and trusting it to teach us the lessons we need to learn. I think getting to work in fitness has made me a better person.

Anna Larson – UW Recreation

What do you see as your greatest or most memorable fitness moment or achievement?

I feel most proud that I was able to complete my 200-hour power vinyasa yoga teacher training in the fall of my junior year as an undergraduate. This entailed going to yoga every day for eight weeks, while keeping up with school and my job, as well as nine hours of teacher training every week.

What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned when it comes to fitness?

For me the best lesson, is learning to love my body and myself, throughout the ups and downs of my fitness journey. For me, fitness is about being happy and healthy, rather than putting so much emphasis on what my body looks like. Once whatever workout regimen becomes a habit, your body and mind will begin to crave that time in the day set aside just to sweat and feel strong and healthy, it becomes less of a chore over time.

Marvin Mecwan – UW Recreation Yoga Instructor

What do you see as your greatest or most memorable fitness moment or achievement?

Crossing the finish line of my first marathon was one of my most memorable fitness moments. I was filled with every emotion under the sun, and for a moment I felt unstoppable.

What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned when it comes to fitness?

Listen to your body. Push yourself when you need to, but know when to take a bow. Everyone’s body is different and unique. Find what works for you, and commit. Working out—may it be yoga, running, or lifting weights—is my form of meditation; it keeps me centered and grounded, which is so important in the fast-paced world we live in. I feel energized after every workout and it keeps me focused during my day.

Rachel Felix – Orange Theory Fitness

What do you see as your greatest or most memorable fitness moment or achievement?

My fitness routine involves HIIT (high-intensity interval) training, weight lifting, and yoga. I’ve always been a sprinter, I have never been a distance runner. I decided to go outside of my comfort zone and sign up for a half marathon. Four months later, I flew down to Disneyland to run their annual half. I finished it and beat my goal time! It felt great to test my body in a way I never have thought I could before! I celebrated with a churro.

How has fitness changed your life or mindset?

Fitness is a lifestyle. Your lifestyle draws people and activities into your life. I have surrounded myself with other health conscious individuals so I am able to live an active healthy lifestyle! I believe in a balanced lifestyle. Trust me, I still love pizza and wine! I try to practice the 80/20 rule (80 healthy/20 live it up!)

Andrew Gardner – UW Men’s Track and Field Athlete

What gets you motivated? What keeps you motivated?

The feeling of being rewarded after races from all of the hard work I’ve put in makes me keep doing it. I accomplish goals so it gives me motivation to better myself each race. But people need to know running isn’t everything. You need to do other things you enjoy in life or else you will get burnt out on a sport. I am the type of person that loves doing activities with friends. I think friends who share similar interests as you can be crucial. It’s nice to have teammates who are my friends who I run with, yet are people I can also do other things with as well.

What’s the greatest lesson you’ve learned when it comes to fitness?

That training doesn’t come easy. I run on average 90 miles per week, and also do weights, yoga, and other things to augment my training, its not just a=b; running=fit. It’s about putting everything together. It will always be worth it. Something surprising about training many might not realize is that it is really not that hard to do. It only takes 21 days for something to become a habit. After 21 days, it will become part of your schedule and just be something you do everyday; not a “hard task” you have to push yourself to do.

Check back next Monday to meet our final group of UW Fitness Day coaches. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, we look forward to seeing you on the field at Husky Stadium May 24! Special thanks to event sponsors, UW MedicineUW AthleticsUW Recreation, AT&T, Bondi Band and KIND Bars!