Women Crushing Wednesday - Kelly
Roots: Garden City, NY
Pin Drop: West Hempstead, NY
New Yorker Status: Born and Bred!
Occupation: Calendar Clerk, Glass Artist and College Student
Uniqueness: Irish and Scottish
For this week's edition of #WomenCrushingWednesday, meet Kelly Kiernan. Kelly and I have been thick as thieves for years now and grew up in the same bubble of a town on Long Island. Kelly is a true free spirit and marches to the beat of her own drum which I admire so much and is probably why we are such good friends. She has been KILLING it in the gym for some time now and seeing her progress motivates the hell out of me and it will for you too!
How long have you been seriously working out and where do you train? I joined Big Al's Family Fitness in Westbury, NY 2 years ago and have been working with a personal trainer for a little over a year.
Was there anything in particular that inspired or motivated you to start working out? What keeps you motivated to stay dedicated to this lifestyle? I started a desk job and I gained 20lbs in 2 months. I've been skinny my entire life, so after crying and feeling sorry for myself, I decided to do something about it. It was WAY harder than I expected, and I wasn't really doing it right. Tons of cardio helped me lose some fat, but it wasn't really doing the trick. I hired a personal trainer, and it changed everything. I learned a lot about weight lifting and the benefits that come with it. I originally only cared about looking a certain way, but then the satisfaction of being able to run longer and lift heavier weights became so empowering.
Obviously gaining muscle is a major benefit of lifting weights, but have you received any other types of benefits that maybe you didn't expect to happen? I absolutely used to be one of those girls that was afraid of getting too bulky. The truth is, I'm about to be 28 next month and I'm in the best physical shape of my life. I didn't realize I could have a six pack without flexing. I didn't think it was possible to get rid of cellulite, but my butt is rounder and in better shape than ever. I think one of the coolest differences I've seen is in my back and arms. My body is actually tighter and more defined from lifting weights, and it's something I stayed away from at first.
Women tend to stay away from the free weights and machines due to being intimidated by the fact that it is a male dominated part of the gym. Did you ever feel that type of intimidation? What advice would you give women who do feel that way? I feel this intimidation ALL THE TIME. I've had some serious struggles with anxiety in my life. Fitness has really, really helped me with this, actually. It's not so much that it's a male dominated environment, but more so the fact that I don't want to be that idiot that doesn't know what the hell she's doing. The truth is, no one cares about you. Everyone is there for themselves. Beyond that, there are tons of super friendly, experienced people working at my gym that are always willing to help if you have any questions. My biggest advice is that the first step is just getting your ass to the gym. Once you're there, it's up to you to make the most of your time there. Don't be afraid to ask questions!
Do you have any short term or long term goals you would like to accomplish in regards to fitness? My current short term goal is to be able to squat 200lbs, the most I've been able to do is 185lbs. I only weigh 115, so at some point I would like to be able to squat double my body weight.
What advice would you give a fellow female who is just getting started at the gym? Do not be afraid of muscle!!! Also, do not starve yourself. In order to burn fat, your muscles need to be strong. Your muscles can't become strong if you're busy starving yourself. Your diet is just as important as your physical activity. It took me a while to learn what I know now, and I still have so much left to learn. The coolest thing is that if you put in the effort, you really can better yourself every single day. This applies to all aspects of life, not just fitness. I truly believe that my fitness journey has impacted my overall work ethic and driven me to want to make myself better every day. I used to be inspired by strong women, and now I'm working on becoming one.