I was first introduced into athletics at the very young age of 4 years old. My dad bought me a little baseball outfit, a ball and the rest was history as they say haha.-What can someone expect when they take a class of yours?I like to keep the energy nice and high in my classes so expect a lot of energy out of me. I’m always trying to get the most out of every participant in my classes so I like to create a comfortable and inviting atmosphere where people feel comfortable. In my classes you’ll always find me bouncing around and making sure everyone is executing the moves safely and effectively.-You are also a NASM certified personal trainer! How might you be able to help our members that are interested in personal training? What can they expect from training with you one-on-one?I love the group training environment but my passion lies within one-on-one personal training. My training style is always based on what my clients goals are. I like to run through an initial movement assessment just to see how somebody’s body moves in space. From there we discuss goals and I map out a workout plan from there.-What do you like to do outside of the gym?My training schedule is usually pretty crazy so outside of the gym I really enjoy just relaxing. Outside of the gym you’d most likely catch me grabbing an acai bowl and catching up on some of my favorite shows.-Word on the street is you can juggle while on a unicycle. Any chance you would demo that in one of your classes?Once I procure a unicycle I would love to demo my skills for one of my classes!
Hi there! My name is Neal Haley. You’ve probably seen me at the front desk or working out on the gym floor. I have been a member of Fremont Health Club since 2014, but only just joined the team at the beginning of this year.
I am currently studying to get my ACE personal trainer certification and am looking forward to working with clients one on one. Starting at the beginning of April, I’ll also be teaching some group fitness classes like HIIT, Circuit, Butts & Guts, and TB 50/50.
My fitness journey began late compared to other athletes. I grew up in a home full of artist. My Pa is a conductor and music director, my mom is an author, my sister is an illustrator, and my brother is a musician. My family was never very outdoorsy or active and as a kid, I had more energy than my parents knew what to do with. I used to jump rope in front of their tv during commercial breaks and run up and down the stairs in my house for hours on end. From an early age, I had a difficult time sleeping. My energy seemed limitless.
During Jr. High and High School, I went to a performing and fine arts academy where I focused primarily on visual arts. There were no sports at my school, so it wasn’t until after high school that I truly discovered my love for movement. Initially, I only started working out so I could exhaust myself enough to sleep at night. My struggle with insomnia got really rough in my early 20’s and sleep medication didn’t seem to work for me.
So, I worked out. A lot! I took every class I could find. I got a personal trainer and learned how to properly lift weights. And you know what? It helped! But beyond just helping me sleep at night, I realized it brought me a deep sense of joy and satisfaction that I had never felt before. I thrived by challenging myself, breaking and redefining my limits, and competing against the me I was the day before. I met Coach Manny at the club and he introduced me to boxing and it was love at first punch. I loved the discipline, the history of the sport, the warrior spirit it raised in me, the amount of mental energy it required.
Fast forward a few years and here I am making fitness my career. I decided to pursue something that makes me happy, helps me sleep, pushes my limits, brings me joy, and gives me purpose. If you take a class or train with me, I hope it is apparent just hope much I LOVE to move. I hope to share that joy with everyone I work with.
Hi Fremont Health Club!
Have you noticed that office just to the left of the front desk when you come in? I will be hanging out there on Monday, April 8th and would love to meet you. My name is Rachel and I’ll be joining your community to provide mental health support in the form of coaching or counseling. Outside of FHC, I enjoy playing in nature, cooking with family and friends, and finding adventure. Keep reading to learn more about the services I’ll be providing or stop by and please come say hi!
Feeling stuck? Does your mind race when you just want to relax? Are you adjusting to a significant change? Life brings trials and we are not always able to respond in the way that we would like. Perhaps you are experiencing relationship issues, challenging family dynamics, anxiety, depression, addiction, or some other trial that has left you feeling hopeless. Often in these moments, we long to be heard and understood. If you’re facing a difficult season, you don’t need to struggle alone. As your counselor, my goal is to meet you where you are at, help you gain perspective, and encourage you toward ongoing growth. I am here to work with you and for you as you gain peace and strength.
Do you struggle with work-life balance? Do you find it difficult to prioritize your health? Do you want to start making healthy changes to your lifestyle but not sure where to start? Coaching services are for you. After designing a customized wellness plan we will meet regularly in order to achieve your goals.
Need a little extra encouragement to meet your goals? With general support services, receive a 15min consultation, weekly text/email encouragement, and customized suggestions for motivation.
Interested in Scheduling a Free initial consult? Reach out today.
Rachel McKay, M.A., LMFTA
Matt Jones is a regular face at the gym. He always comes in with a big smile and friendly greeting. We got to talking to him the other day to reveal where this inner contentment comes from. -He enjoys what he does. Read on to hear his story.
Outside of the gym, Matt is an abstract painter. He paints very large pieces and works with designers specializing in providing furnishings and art for high-end residential projects.
Matt had only been painting for 3 months and just sold his first painting in 2004 when he started Gasworks Gallery. He converted a 3 story, 12,000 sq ft warehouse by Lake Union in Wallingford
into his art studio, that is still going strong today. The building is a beautiful earthy blue on the outside and turn-of-the-century ultra funky on the inside with a lot of natural light. Over time it evolved into an artist enclave with 60 studios and one really fabulous fully equipped photography studio that he now shares with over a dozen photographers.
Outside of the art world, Matt founded a grassroots community project called MashedPotatoes.org. Every year Mashed Potatoes delivers 2 semi-truck loads of potatoes to King 5 Team Harvest (Washington’s local hunger relief agency). Last December was their 14th year.
Matt says his life as a painter is a total blast! He’s always thought it was more like play than work and his time in the gym is similar. He does his signature Matt Jones 30-minute workout. The secret to his ease of dedication is that his houseboat is about 2 blocks from the gym and it’s easy for him to just walk over, hit about a dozen machines, back-to-back, in 30 minutes and go back home. Matt says he loves Fremont Health Club because there are a lot of friendly people and the sun shines all day in the space.
If you would like to learn more about Matt and his work check out the links below!
Matt’s bio: http://mattjonesdesign.com/jones/About_Matt.html
The Mashed Potatoes Project: http://mashedpotatoes.org/
Matt’s Paint Dancing project: http://paintdancing.com
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 email@example.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.
We all come from somewhere and our different stories make up this community that we have created at FHC. Here is an interview with one of our members, Helen Lafferty.
1. You are originally from Ireland. What brought you to the US and how long have you been a resident here?
I came from Ireland with my husband in 1986. We are both physicians, and we came to Boston to do some post-graduate training. We thought we were going to stay for three years but somehow ended up staying quite a bit longer than that! Now I have lived in the US for more than half of my life! The years have flown by.
2. Did you become a citizen?
Yes! I became a citizen, because I wanted to be able to vote. And I do vote!
3. What was the process like?
At that time were living in New Mexico, so we had to travel long distances to get through certain parts of the process. Apart from that, it was easy!
4. Do you have dual citizenship?
Yes. I would not have become a US citizen if that had meant giving up my Irish citizenship. Being Irish is still a huge part of my life and my identity. But I am happy to be a citizen of the country I actually live in.
5. What has caused you to take multiple trips back there lately?
Well, my Dad died in January this year. It was very, very difficult for me to be so far away when that happened. I made three trips to Ireland this year because of that – for his funeral, getting his house ready to sell etc. Then, after that, my husband’s sister died at age 58, so we made another trip to Ireland for her funeral. In October I made one more trip for a family wedding (my fifth of the year!), and it felt good to finally go back to Ireland for a happy event!
6. Have you felt it difficult to be a part of two worlds, and what are the things that make you feel most connected to your home in Seattle?
For me it has been very hard to be part of two worlds and to have two places I call “home.” I love living in the US, but it has also been hard for me to be so far away from Ireland, especially from my parents as they grew older and I was not there to be able to help them. I imagine many, many immigrants to the US feel that same yearning and pull to the country of their birth. I don’t think it ever really goes away. My husband and three adult children are here in the US, so this is home for me now! But I will always love Ireland dearly, and I hope to continue going back there regularly to enjoy my beautiful country of origin.
I think Seattle is a wonderful city to live in. It is just the right size for me – not too big (or too small!). It has the best climate in the US for an Irish person – not too hot or too cold! It has all the art galleries and music venues and bookshops that I love to have close by, and it is easy to get around – I walk as much as I can around the city. Best of all, it has beautiful nature that is very close by. I have lived in quite a few places in the US, but Seattle is where I will stay!
7. You stay in great shape. How has FHC been a part of this journey?
I LOVE Fremont Health Club! The teachers are wonderful, the staff are all very friendly and helpful, and the schedule of classes is great. I do not use the machines, but I go to a lot of classes. I have met many wonderful people at FHC and made some great new friends through the gym as well.
My Dad was almost 92 when he died in January, and he had been going to the gym three times every week until a couple of months before he died. He inspires me every single day to try and stay as fit as I can for as long as I can. FHC is helping me along that journey, and I am really happy to be a member of this gym.
8. Anything else you would like our members to know about you?
I ride my bicycle with my husband – that is our entertainment! Last year, we cycled across the Continental Divide in Glacier National Park in Montana. That was HARD! But we love to be outside as much as we can, enjoying this beautiful earth we live on.
My other form of entertainment is singing. I sing with a great choir in Seattle – Seattle Pro Musica.
Thank you Helen for sharing your story and for showing us what a privilege it is to vote!
You seem to have encompassed your workout into a healthy and balanced lifestyle. What motivated you to start and how do you keep a good routine going?In terms of health and weight issues, sometimes, it seems, the very beginning of our lives sets on a course that we would not have chosen, if we had a choice, or even if our parents had a choice: the first years of my life were spent in a refugee camp in Germany following World War II, which meant starvation, no medical care, not even bare essentials. All of that impacted my life, in terms of health and disordered eating for decades, as it did my siblings and all my friends from that era. I struggled with disordered eating from my teenage years, for decades, with the deep-seated fear that, “If I don’t eat it now… all of it…. there won’t be any food tomorrow….’ and, for years, there was no food tomorrow. It has been a long journey toward determined health and fitness and I think the bottom-line advice I would give anyone, struggling with anything, is Never Ever Give Up!!!A few years ago, I returned to my homeland, Latvia, for the first time since being born there and having to flee because of WWII. It was an epiphany for me and that first trip has impacted my life in a powerful and wondrous way now for years. I was on my own; renting an apartment, walking miles daily, learning to adjust to weather issues, re-learning the Latvian language, creating new communities — all very challenging and very wonderful. I have always wanted to travel but circumstances were such that I couldn’t. Finally, in Latvia, I began to satisfy that hunger by taking bus trips all over Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Those trips were mostly Senior Expeditions, so very reasonable and now I have been on more than 20 trips all over the Baltic countries and elsewhere, as well as fulfilling my dreams of climbing volcanoes in Iceland, climbing huge mountains in Iceland to view hidden waterfalls, climbing the Giants Causeway in Ireland, and most recently, a long ocean-going ‘raft’ ride in the Atlantic Ocean in Portugal, to view ancient ruins only visible from that wild ride. Absolutely exhilarating! Over the past few years, have conquered fear of flying.. now cannot wait to get on an airplane… fear of heights… no more… and the turbulent rafting trip in Portugal, dealt with my fear of being on turbulent waters, since I never learned to swim! Again, my advice to anyone is: Never, Ever Give Up!!!!You do a lot of traveling and stay on extended trips. Where do you go and how do you stay active while abroad? Share some of your favorite experiences.When choosing where to go, I purposefully look for a excursion which includes physical activity that is challenging – sitting on a bus is not very healthy, so when we arrive at our destination, or stops on the way, it has been absolutely thrilling for me to challenge myself with long hikes through primitive woods in Latvia, hours climbing steep cliffs, exploring islands where one would not be surprised to discover a sleeping dinosaur– non-meat eating, of course… because the setting is so isolated and primitive; hours hiking along boardwalks built over bogs for the purpose of sighting wildflowers, wild orchids in particular, hours walking to an isolated island to hang out with the wild horses who live there…. and my Bucket List is endless: I want to explore Greenland, Gotland, the Faroe Islands, more time climbing near glaciers in Iceland and more challenging sites, where fitness is important to be able to enjoy the setting.Tell me in a few words what “The Third Place” means?All of this is related to working out at the Fremont Health Club, my Third Place: I love books, so am thrilled when a new bookstore opens. When Third Place Books opened in Shoreline some years ago, their philosophy was and still is: we all need a Third Place: In community building, the third place (or third space) is the social surroundings separate from the two usual social environments of home (“first place”) and the office (“second place”). Examples of third places would be environments such as cafes, clubs, public libraries, or parks. In his influential book The Great Good Place, Ray Oldenburg (1989, 1991) argues that third places are important for civil society, democracy, civic engagement, and establishing feelings of a sense of place. The Fremont Health Club has been that gift to me, in countless ways. Too many of my friends in their 70s, with empty nests, no family close by, isolate themselves and develop unhealthy lifestyles. They need the Fremont Health Club!!!What did you do before you retired?I worked for the House and Senate in the Washington State Legislature, helped run – successful — political campaigns, and still love politics and those of my friends who are still in office or are involved in politics. We have many animated political discussions at the Fremont Health Club, and that adds to the energy and fun of that very important Third Place atmosphere: any point of view is accepted, even if not one’s own.Now that you have the time to do other things, what are some of your favorite activities?In terms of passions in addition to fitness efforts, I love being a Grandma and wish my grandchildren lived closer, so we could have adventures together; love to garden and there, also, fitness is important, as I have to haul huge bags of soil and compost from store to Queen Anne, up many stairs, dump in wheelbarrow and use in my flower beds! All wonderful FUN but not if one does not work out! I saw a sign in a gardening store some years ago that said, “Gardening Is Not For Cowards!” The same is said about aging and many other life challenges: working out at the Fremont Health Club has been such an important part of my determination to be that courageous Grandma who has many more mountains to climb, volcanoes to be awed-by, bogs to cross, wild horses to ride!!!! Thank you, Fremont Health Club, for contributing greatly, endlessly, to my life in a positive way!!!