We notice both of you here a lot. Outside of proximity, is there any reason why you’ve chosen FHC to train?
MEG: We love the feeling of community at the gym. I especially love the fact that people bring their kids and dogs to the gym as they work out, and that FHC is not just open to that but welcomes families, including companion animals. We also appreciate the diversity of the trainers (gender, racial), the variety of classes, and philosophies of health and fitness, as well as the range of ages and personalities so evident on the gym floor and in classes.
TL : From the beginning, we have liked the relaxed and friendly vibe at FHC. It is not a “grunt and groan” kind of place, but a welcoming space that has all kinds of people coming in, from your serious athletes to your middle-aged college professors. It is also nice that the team of trainers are not only really good at what they do, but clearly get along with each other and create a sense of community among them and us mere mortals. The diversity of the trainers and staff (including folks who are from various Indigenous, racial and ethnic groups, and includes women and men) is an important part of what make FHC special.
How does your exercise or training help you with your careers?
MEG: About one year after I had my son, I took on the directorship of an interdisciplinary program at the University of Washington. I had not anticipated the amount of administrative work this entailed, on top of my teaching, research, taking care of my son, and keeping things under control at home. Managing stress became (and continues to be) a high priority, and I quickly realized that working out helped me greatly. But it was not until I started taking Rebecca’s kickboxing classes, and then training with her, that I was really able to start breathing again. Working out, and especially taking cardio and strength classes with Kris Walters and Rebecca, helps me stay focused and better able to juggle work, home, and life.
TL: There is no question that I think better with exercise. Not only does it clear the cobwebs, but it also helps give me a place to work some stress out and also just feel better. I don’t go to the gym as much as ME does (she is hard to keep up with!), but regular work outs usually mean that I am happier and more productive.
Tony-you train with Manny a lot. Hearing you two work and have fun is one of my favorite things about working here. Why do you choose to train with him as opposed to some other method?
What can I say about Manny Dunham? He is an amazing teacher (says the middle-aged college professor)!
I have always been interested in boxing and followed it as a fan, but never had the chance to actually learn the finer, technical parts of the sport. Working with Manny has been fantastic. The guy is obviously incredibly talented, but he is also very smart and funny. Manny pushes me hard physically, way harder than I could push myself, but he has also helped me see just how much boxers need to use their brains. There is much about boxing that is counter-intuitive and thus takes some re-wiring upstairs in the head. Getting a combination right entails not only the order of the punches, but also an awareness of your body, a sweaty understanding of physics, and also an ability to laugh (as Manny will be making jokes during most of the session, especially when you are doing ab work, because that is when laughing hurts the most. The man is devious).
Working with Manny is fantastic. It has been the best part of working out at FHC.
MariaElena, You’re one of our most consistent students in class. You also take a variety of classes. What’s your philosophy about variety.
Until taking Rebecca’s kickboxing class almost 2 years ago, I much preferred working out on my own. But taking that class, I noticed that I pushed myself harder; I learned new things, and I felt accountable to the instructor and my fellow students. That motivated me, and with Rebecca’s encouragement, I began to branch out and try out different classes. Given the wonderful range of classes available at FHC, I now try to attend a variety of classes each week, combining cardio, strength, core, and stretching/lengthening. Attending such a mix of classes, and working with different instructors, has helped me think more holistically about my fitness, as well as allowing me the opportunity to learn new exercises in a challenging but supportive environment. I am also able to apply this to my own workouts, incorporating new techniques that help me push myself continuously.
Outside of FHC, where do you spend your free time?
MEG: There is such little free time! But we try to take family vacations whenever possible (San Diego is our son’s favorite destination), and spend time with friends. I love cooking and eating, so we try to have friends over regularly to share food, drink, and laughter. We also love going out to the many amazing restaurants this city has to offer, and taking Toñito to various museums, Seattle Children’s Theater and the Seattle Symphony. Now that the weather is getting nicer, we will spend many afternoons and weekends with our son in parks or out in our backyard.
TL: What is this “free time” you talk about? Actually, our little man has given us back the weekend, since he calls the shots when he is not in school. So on Saturday and Sunday, we are at some of the amazing museums in town (Burke, Mo Pop, Pacific Science Center, SAM and especially the Olympic Sculpture Park. Our son has also just gotten old enough to enjoy the movie theater, so we have seen every children’s movie that has come out in the last year. Power Rangers, I have to admit, was kind of awesome.
Is it important that you instill in your son your own dedication to fitness, or do you lead by example.
MEG: We try to live an active life, so we do make it a point to go out for walks or play in the park with our son as much as we can. We also find it important for him to see us taking the time to go to the gym or go for a run. For him, exercising is simply part of what we do each day, and something we clearly enjoy. This last part is important; whatever he does, we want him to have fun. One of his favorite things is to pick me up from a class at the gym, and to punch the heavy bag with Tony as they wait for me to finish.
TL: One of the advice parents get is that play is a kid’s job right now. For most kids, and Toñito for sure, play means running, jumping and pouncing. We definitely try to encourage him to do that a lot and especially be outside, but the truth is that we are just letting our kid be a kid. Chasing him around actually keeps us in shape!