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Member Spotlight: Rita

I see you regularly working hard in the gym and training with Manny, one of our trainers.  What are your fitness goals and what motivates you to work so hard?

I play flat track roller derby, a full-contact sport which requires both explosive strength and endurance, so my primary goals are: 1) to be able to move laterally and forward very quickly, sometimes from a complete standstill; 2) not to tire easily but, when I do start to lose energy, to fight through it and keep going; 3) to be able to recover quickly when I fall or get knocked down; 4) to be able to move blockers from the opposing team, (who are all considerably bigger than I am) out of my way if I can’t get around them. Besides the inspiration and encouragement Manny gives me, I am motivated to work harder than I ever thought I could because I do not have an athletic background: I never have played a sport in my life, while many of the other skaters have. I also am not very fast, nor do I have great form, so I feel like I need to do something that will at least enable me to be a competitive player, if not a better skater.

How has using a personal trainer impacted your routine?

Well, I never really had a routine before I started working with Manny. Now, not only do I have a weekly session with him, which I affectionately call “Thursday Hurts Day,” but he’s also given me a specific workout to do every day on my own. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) combines cardio with strength exercises; it’s extremely challenging and exhausting, but it’s the best routine to achieve the goals I mention above. I also am really lucky to be able to work with someone who is both a boxer and familiar with derby, because he teaches me how to move my feet quickly, do a feint/juke to confuse the opposing players about my intended direction, and never to stop trying even when I feel like I’m not going to succeed.

Tell us a little about your roller derby league.

The Puget Sound Outcast Derby league is a gender-inclusive, community-based, skater-run group of players of all ages–with a span of more than two decades between the youngest and oldest–and skill levels, from new skaters to seasoned ones. One of my favorite things about the league is that I’m not the only member who is dorky/nerdy and doing something completely out of my comfort zone. It took me a while to find a league where I felt I could fit in; as soon as I started skating with PSOD I felt like I finally found a derby home. We are a very supportive and fun group, and we need more skaters! If you think you may be interested, please feel free to talk to me in person or email pugetsoundoutcastderby@gmail.com

You are smaller than your average player.  How does that affect your abilities as a team member?

As I mentioned, I feel like I have to work really hard to be able to hold my own against a lot of the other players since they are bigger than I am. On the other hand, as a short woman from NYC, I’m naturally aggressive and conditioned to be in perpetual motion, so I don’t like it when people get in my space and slow me down. When I think about how I used to move my body to get around someone or make my way through a crowd–without being seen, since I’m about a foot below the average person’s eyesight–it reminds me that if I get lower so that I literally am blocked from view by the backs of the players who are blocking me (ha ha), then I have a better chance of sneaking around them.

What are some of the other things you do and interests you have?

I have been a devoted Pearl Jam fan for almost 30 years now, ever since I listened to their first album in the 90’s. They are the reason I moved to Seattle and why I skate under the name Deadly Vedder. Needless to say, whenever I have a chance to do anything band-related, it takes precedence over just about everything else! But the most important thing in my life that defines who I am as a person is improving the health and welfare of both wild and companion animals. Currently I am a volunteer research assistant on an American crow behavior study; I also volunteer at the Seattle Animal Shelter as a canine massage therapist.

What made you choose FHC as your fitness facility?

Multiple things: it’s a small business rather than a corporate franchise; the space is perfect–lots of natural light, water views, and no loud music; it’s never crowded; the location is ideal; it’s unusually affordable; and, of course, the owner and staff are always friendly and helpful.

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