Better Bad Decisions: An Introduction
Meet the Trainer
Hello Upper Valley! Welcome to Better Bad Decisions, a blog where I'll be sharing tips and answering your questions about health, wellness and whatever else comes up. A recurring feature I'm planning to have is a "Meet the [Trainer/Instructor/Wellness Professional]" interview where you can meet a local person working in some aspect of the wellness field - from personal trainers to acupuncturists to yoga instructors to whoever else you are interested in hearing more about.
Since this is an introductory post, I'll start by telling you about myself:
Me and my adorable niece Henley
How did you get to where you are now?
I started out as a couch potato/office prisoner with a gym membership. My health insurance at the time gave me money back if I went to the gym 3 times a week for a total of 11 out of 13 weeks. Being both frugal and goal oriented, I took on the challenge. It was hard to do but after several attempts I made it happen and working out became a habit. I was taking specific classes every week and when one of the instructors was moving out of town he said, "You're always here and know the moves anyway, why don't you teach it?" I said, "Uh....okay?" and the rest is history. It still amuses me that I'm a trainer. In high school I was a theater/band geek and dreaded gym. I never played a sport in my life. Going to my 20th high school reunion and getting to say I'm a trainer was pretty darn cool.
At my heaviest (1998) - a decade before becoming a trainer
What is your fitness/wellness philosophy?
Balance is the key to everything. Not physical balance (although that is important) but life balance. You can't work on everything - strength, cardio, flexibility, mobility, relaxation, stress reduction, weight loss, etc... - at once but if you mix and match a lot of different activities they build on each other and everything you do is better for it.
What makes you unique in your field?
I've personally experienced both sides of the gym - as an unfit member and as a fitness professional. I understand how uncomfortable - both mentally and physically - it is to go to the gym. Sometimes just showing up is the hardest part. As a trainer, the clients I want to work with are people who are afraid to come to the gym. I know I have been successful when a person I've worked with, who was absolutely terrified of doing anything but walking on the treadmill, is working out on their own on all the equipment we have to offer.
Did you ever have any setbacks and how did you get past them?
As a kid and a young adult I was always "slightly overweight" and the "plumpish" one of my siblings (thanks go to my little brother for that particular descriptor.) I love food and consistently have to remind myself about all the things that we know about losing weight - smaller portions, less processed food, more veggies etc... Over time, I made small changes and have settled in to a consistent and healthy weight without ever dieting. The hardest part for me was actually getting to the point where I could feel comfortable describing myself as an athlete. Despite teaching multiple classes a week, and completing several triathlons, I couldn't get it out of my head that I was supposed to be the nerdy plumpish one. I doubted whether I could guide other people to make better decisions. But then I realized that because I had walked the walk and knew how hard it could be I was actually perfectly suited to understand people's struggles and come up with ways to help them.
What's your go to meal for breakfast, snacks/sweets, lunch, dinner, beverage?
- Breakfast: Plain oatmeal or plain yogurt with fruit and a dash of maple syrup
- Beverage: I've trained myself to not only like water but to crave it. I drink it all day long and at every meal. I try to limit alcohol to 2 to 3 drinks a week, usually red wine or whatever beer is in the fridge.
- Lunch: Chicken thighs (I can't stand white meat) with a couple of different veggies (right now I'm on a sweet potato and green bean kick), avocado, and fruit
- Dinner: Pretty much anything but with portion control (mostly). We often make our own pizza using Hannaford's wheat dough. We attempt to avoid processed food. Bird's Eye Steamfresh Protein Blends are a go to item in my house. It makes me feel like I actually cooked (something I'm only recently learning to sort of like doing.)
- Snacks: If I'm being healthy, fruit and string cheese or hard boiled eggs. If I'm not, anything chocolate. I'll often have a decaf coffee after dinner as a way to stop my sweet cravings.
What's you favorite place to eat out in the Upper Valley? What do you usually order?
I try to avoid chain restaurants but I love eating out. I honestly couldn't pick a favorite because I choose based on my mood and what we've had recently. We rotate around the Upper Valley - Gusanoz, Salthill, Mickey's, TukTuk, Elixir. One of the best tasting (and healthiest) things I've had lately is the sauteed brussel sprout salad at Molly's. I'd like to tell you that I always make healthy choices but I'd be lying. That being said, I couldn't believe how good that salad was!
You're trapped on 12A in West Lebanon starving and you only have $8. What do you buy to get your through your errands?
Honestly, probably a cheeseburger and unsweetened iced tea at McDonald's (Have I mentioned I'm cheap?) It's not exactly food but it takes the edge off and as long as I can avoid ordering anything additional it's within reason calorically.
What's your guilty pleasure (food or otherwise)?
Non-food: Sleeping on my hammock in the summer.
Hammock napping. It's my jam.
Food: I specifically make an effort to not feel guilty about food. Freaking out that I gave in and ordered the fries instead of the side salad is a waste of emotion and leads to a negative relationship with food. I simply try to make up for it in other ways like exercising a little more or by being more mindful for the rest of the day or week.
What's something health and wellness related that you wish you'd known years ago?
Self-myofascial release (SMR). It's essentially giving yourself a deep tissue massage using a variety of tools like foam rollers, tennis balls, and theracanes. It has the potential to help with a person's mobility and also alleviate pain.
What is the best health advice you've ever received?
You're never too [insert excuse here] to try something new.
What's your favorite quote or mantra?
"When was the last time you did something for the first time?"
Who, or what, gives you inspiration?
I love seeing people get better at something they never thought they could do in the first place. Every single person has the ability to improve in some way.
What's something you wish your clients knew? Or did? Or didn't do?
Change is not as hard as you think it is. A lot of little changes add up to a big change in the long run. If you think it's going to take too long to get results you have to realize those days are going to pass by anyway. Why not make changes now so your future self can thank you? Where would you be now if your past self had stepped up and done something?
If you could only have one piece of fitness equipment what would it be?
A lacrosse ball for self-myofascial release
What's your favorite non-gym physical activity?
Skiing, stand-up paddle boarding, dancing
What are your passions outside of wellness?
I'm very involved with North Country Communty Theatre (NCCT). I've been a performer, President, and a Teen Advisor to our teen program.
NCCT's The Secret Garden, Photo by Evan Oxenham (Noble Stone Imagery)
I'm also an artist. My artwork can be found at amyfortier.com and on Instagram @amy40er
Blue Moon Mandalascope, 24" x 24" acrylic on canvas
What's your least favorite exercise? Your favorite?
- Least favorite: Anything repetitive I have to do for a long time indoors - like running on a treadmill
- Favorite: Squats (mostly because I can do a lot of reps with a lot of weight in Body Pump.)
What are one or two tips you can give to help people be successful in their wellness journey?
- You don't have to make a lot of changes at once to be successful, but you do have to make changes.
- What works for one person may not work for you. Take time to learn about yourself and figure out your own way to wellness.
If you know, or are, a wellness professional in the Upper Valley, and would like to be featured in "Meet the [Wellness Professional], feel free to comment with a website or email address below and I'll be in touch!