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Meet Kristin Varner – an incredible illustrator and a loyal FHC fitness enthusiast

 

We were so impressed by Kristin’s work, we wanted to share it with you. Check out the Q&A below to learn a bit more.

 

Q: Tell me about your published work.

A: I’ve been working as a freelance illustrator for about 18 years. My first published work out of college was mainly editorial illustrations for magazines, newspapers, and brochures. Over the course of my career, I’ve created art for television commercials, educational books, toys apparel and other products. However, the last few years I have been fortunate enough to focus on my true passion which is children’s book work. I have one picture book published titled, PINK CUPCAKE MAGIC, written by Katherine Tegen and published by Henry Holt and Co. I am currently working on another picture book (writing and illustrating) as well as a graphic novel that I hope to be sending out to publishers soon.

Q: What got you started in this field and what are your goals?

A: I’ve been drawing since childhood and by high school, I began to take it more seriously. I attended art school at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and graduated with a BFA in Illustration. I was never exactly sure what area of Illustration I wanted to specialize in, but the whimsical nature of my work lent itself to the children’s market. I have always loved and collected children’s books, so naturally, to create them has been a lifelong dream of mine.

Q: Have you hit any obstacles, and if so, how did you get through them?

A: How to survive financially has been the hardest obstacle I’ve faced living the life of a freelance illustrator. Concentration in the children’s book industry has been particularly tough due to the market being so over-saturated with the many talented illustrators out there. It’s been a rough go at times and I’ve had to take less desirable jobs to make ends meet, but keeping goals in sight and never giving up when I’ve been tempted to throw in the towel have kept me going. Also relying on my people skills has helped me tremendously, as I’ve been fortunate to forge many good relationships with clients that have continued over the years.

Q: Tell us some more about yourself and your family.

A: I grew up in the Rocky Mountains of Salt Lake City, Utah and still find my happy place, skiing or snowboarding in the mountains here in the Pacific Northwest. I lived for several years in Brooklyn, New York, where I met my husband. We moved to Berlin, Germany where our daughter, Francis was born. We were pulled back to the States by the mighty Amazon giant, and have been here in Seattle for the past five years, and happy to call Fremont our home. I love traveling, enjoying time with friends and family, riding bikes, and I’m also a bit of a history nerd.   

Q: How has FHC been part of your life and for how long?

A: Several years ago, I was a member at one of the large, club gyms in town which I had joined for the child care option. However, my daughter, Francis,  who was nearly 2 years old at the time, absolutely loathed this gym and would cry incessantly until one of the employees would come fetch me. I was rarely able to get a full workout in. My husband discovered and joined FHC first, and after meeting Lillian he thought that Francis would be much happier with a smaller setting and Lillian looking after her. I decided to give it a shot and quit the other gym. Francis was comfortable with Lillian right away.  That was nearly 4 years ago, and I’ve been coming to FHC ever since and Francis still does too. In fact, I have to be secretive about going when it’s just myself on days when Francis is at school. She loves the gym and always wants to go see Lillian.

Q: How do you stay motivated to keep fit and maintain a healthy lifestyle?

A: I try to stay in tune with what is going on with my body, and I’ve always been the type of person that gets very cranky if I’ve been working too much or haven’t been to the gym or gone on a run for a few days. Keeping it all in balance makes sense when it comes to diet, exercise and everything else. I cook more often than not so I can monitor more closely what our family is eating  (even though dining out in Seattle is such a treat). I like getting hooked on routines and the noontime classes at the gym have been a game changer for me. I really look forward to those days and the anticipation of not knowing what the instructor will be throwing at us. I also look forward to gym sessions on my own where I finally have time to put on my headphones and listen to podcasts that I like to follow.  I even find that some of my best inspiration for work comes when I’m out on a run or sweating it out.

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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!

1 for the team

 

 

 

You’re also welcome to attend the 1 for the Team event in West Seattle at the Chipotle. Follow the link for directions.

To go along with our theme of teamwork in the new year, we are helping to raise money for coach Richard’s baseball team, the Baden 12u Black and Red. Coach Davis coaches this fantastic group of 12 year-olds. We are helping by having 3 of our star trainers hold “court” here on the 28th of January. Pay what you can allows you to get a great workout, meet new people and help however you feel comfortable.

Choose times 11am-12pm or 12pm-1pm January 28th 2017

Manuel Dunham, Kris Walters and Rebecca Jackson will be teaching circuits for the event.

For more information or to find alternate ways to contribute, please contact Coach Davis at [email protected]

 

 

 

 

 

Kids Corner

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We are excited to offer childcare at Fremont Health Club members and guests.

The purpose of our Kids Corner is to provide a safe and fun space for children while you focus on your workout!

Basic use:

  • Parents must remain in the club for the duration and the children will be released only to the adult who dropped them off for up to 1.5 hours per visit.
  • Ages Infants to Kindergarten.
  • Fee is $5.00 per visit. Half off for second child.
  • Punch cards are available for $50 for 11 visits.
  • Ratio of 1:5 is never exceeded
  • By Appointment with a recommend 24 hour notice.
  • Weekdays: 9:30am-6:00pm, weekends upon availability.

 

We may deny a child’s admittance due to a child’s illness, misbehavior or any other reasons as appropriate to ensure a safe environment for all.

We will be retrieving the parents from the facility to accompany their child to the bathroom or for diaper changes or assistance in cleaning any accidents.

Toys from home are permitted at the staff’s discretion and staff is not responsible for lost, damaged or left behind items.

 

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the child care program at the Fremont Health Club please contact us at 206-632-2200 or [email protected]