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My Interviews with Strong, Fit Women Around the World, part 2

August 22, 2014

Read part 1 here

Today I’m bringing you part 2, of interviews with strong, fit women around the world. In this post we feature a gorgeous American actress (actually native Indian-American) who also happens to loves strength training, an Australian gymnast/weightlifter (with a kickass site/fb page you HAVE to follow if you want to improve your gymnastics) and a HOT Swedish strongwoman and personal trainer (who just stepped out on the limb and opened her own gym.) I'm a massive fan of all 3 of these girls!

-Name: Tanis Parenteau

-Profession: actor

-Coolest thing about your job? My job is my passion--I am fortunate to have found my passion and I get paid to do what I love.

-Favourite sport: Beach volleyball. I played volleyball in high school but absolutely love playing beach whenever I can. And going to the gym counts as a sport right?

-What would you say is your all-time favourite exercise? Deadlift--when I started lifting heavy a couple years ago I just excelled at it over any of the other big lifts. It's such an empowering thing being able to lift 200+lbs off the floor over and over again (while also outlifting the majority of my fellow gym-goers).

-Chocolate or ice-cream?: Chocolate ice cream. Both. All varieties. Any chocolate really, and any ice cream really. I love food and I am not a picky eater.

-What are 3 clothing staples in your wardrobe that you can’t live without?: Levi's Demi Curve jeans--they fit my booty and thighs perfectly; oversized super-comfy boyfriend cardigans--layering in NYC is a must; and my Manitobah Paddle Grain Moccasins--I LIVE in these moccs in the Spring, Summer and Fall.

-If you are not working in the fitness industry, what makes you unique in your particular field? My look and ethnicity--I'm a mixed blood Native American actor. Being a Native actor allows me to fill a very small niche in the industry--when casting directors are casting Native roles the majority of the time they will only see Native actors, which whittles down the talent pool. That being said, I also have what the industry calls the "ethnically ambiguous" look so I get seen for a lot more than just Native roles--kind of the best of both worlds. Those factors combined with being well trained in both theatre and film/tv definitely open a lot of doors for me. Also, with my physique and stage combat/fight scene experience, I am ready at any given time to take on an action role, whereas a lot of actors have to spend a good amount of time training to get to where I am so I have a leg up there.

-What’s a mistake you made early on, either in relation to yourself and your own fitness journey and how you have grown from that experience? Reading too many mainstream fitness magazines (Shape, Fitness, etc) and forgetting about everything I learnt back in my Bachelor of Physical Education. I got caught up in wanting my ideal physique so bad I let mainstream fitness myths cloud my judgement. All I did was a bit of HIT and running a few times a week and I thought low fat/low cals was the only way to go. Years later after I completed my Master of Fine Arts I finally had more time to research fitness and nutrition again. I came across Martin Berkhan's website and it just snowballed for me from there. I found excellent industry folks to follow (Bret Contreras, Alan Aragon, Jason Ferruggia, JC Deen, Girls Gone Strong, to name a few--I could go on and on) and finally all those terrible myths I used to believe were slain. 

-Would you describe yourself as more “creative” or more “practical”?: I think I have a great balance of both and I think that's necessary for my job because both it requires creating/performing and also having a practical business sense because, as an actor, you are your product--you are your business and if you let that part of it fall by the wayside it's just not as optimal for your career.

-Fitness related pet peeves?: I have two--Number one is when people ask my advice about fitness and then not apply it because it is different from what they normally hear/read from the mainstream and not what they want to hear. The typical scenario is I answer their questions and then they say 'but isn't it supposed to be this, this and xyz? (usually something they read in a magazine or saw on some fitness segment on tv). Because of this I have pretty much stopped giving advice to my friends and random people on the internet. I am very selective with who I choose to discuss fitness with because most people have no idea what they're talking about. I usually just send them links to articles to read now and if they do their homework I'll consider helping them. Number two is when personal trainers (inside and outside of the gym) want to talk shop with me yet they haven't kept up their education past their original certification so they usually end up arguing things like squats are bad for you and your knees shouldn't go past your toes and you shouldn't go past parallel, you should stand on a Bosu ball when you do (insert random exercise here)...crap like that. I also send these people links to articles to read up on as well. It saves my sanity and energy.

-What do you do outside of work for fun? What’s your favourite hobby? (Don’t hold back here; tell us what it REALLY is) Well besides the fact that my work IS fun:) ...I am catching up on a lot of TV series right now because there is such great stuff on TV these days and it's also research for me. As an actor you should know what a lot of series are like because you might find yourself auditioning for them one day. That happened to me with House of Cards---I got an audition and I had never seen the show so I started watching it to know what type of show it was, what the atmosphere was like, how they shot it, etc so I was prepared for my audition. I watched the first episode and I was hooked! Good thing I got cast:) Outside of home--brunch/lunch/dinner/drinks with friends out and about in NYC is always a good time. There are so many cool places to discover in NYC, the possibilities really are endless. 

-Tell me about your own exercise and training? What are your short-term and long-term goals?: Programs I follow will center around multi-joint barbell movements like squats, dead-lifts, bench-press, chin-ups and over-head press. I train to get stronger and achieve new PRs--that's what keeps me motivated. I have a 265lb deadlift under my belt (which is 2xBW) and eventually I want to get a 2xBW sumo deadlift (I'm at 240x6) and a 315lb hip thrust (I'm at 265x5). Right now though I am deep in prep for a play and about to start rehearsals so I am really pressed for time. I decided to take on the 10,000 Kettlebell Swing Challenge over the next month because I don't want to put much thought into program design right now. This type of challenge is new to me so it will still keep me motivated even though it is a lot of the same thing. 

-What piece of advice would you offer to other people who are struggling to stay on track with their fitness/diet program?: Don't take on too many changes at once. You have to be able to look at it long term. Do research, have a plan, be patient and consistent. And read Libby's blog! 

-Can you give us your daily philosophy that you aim to live by every day?: Love, be proactive, be resourceful, choose to be happy (instead of miserable--the amount of work is the same), and you won't know unless you ask.

-I think it is so awesome that you are an actress. Can you tell us some cool projects, movies or TV shows you have acted in?: I was a guest star on House of Cards--season 2, episode 7 (Chapter 20). I play Tammy the Native American waitress who has multiple scenes with Doug Stamper. My character plays a pivotal role in Stamper's life and also to further the storyline through to the end of the season (I won't give any spoilers though). I got to work with Michael Kelly, James Foley and Gil Birmingham, who were all incredible and inspiring. It was such a fantastic experience. Everyone involved was terrific and Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are just lovely. I've gotten to do a lot of fun things because of that gig. You can watch the entire 2 seasons on Netflix. I've also been a part of a couple groundbreaking plays at big Off Broadway theatres in NYC that heavily involved Native theatre companies, Native playwrights, Native casts, and Native directors. These two plays were "Smoke" and "Miss Lead" and I am very proud to have been a part of such monumental occasions for Indigenous artists. I was the lead in both of those plays as well which was also very thrilling. Upcoming I am starring in "Manahatta" which also features a Native cast and playwright. It will run at The Public Theater May 15-25 in NYC which is a theatre that I have on my 'bucket list' of theatres to have on my resume. It's one of the biggest Off Broadway theatres in NYC and I am thrilled to soon be able to be on stage there telling another tremendously important Indigenous story.

-Website, twitter, facebook page, etc:

Website

Twitter

Facebook - personal

Facebook - professional

Instagram

IMDb

 

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-Name: Jade Sharp

-Profession: Mum to 2 boys, Gymnastics Coach, Business owner

-Favourite sport: It’s hard to pick just one so I’ll say gymnastics because of the strong physical foundations it provides its participants which transfers to all other sport.

-Have you competed or do you compete in any sport?: I used to compete in gymnastics as a child. I trained around 40 hours a week at the A.I.S in Canberra. I was also an Australian team Member for a number of years. I did CrossFit last year but now I compete in Olympic Weightlifting.

-What would you say is your all-time favourite exercise?: Snatch. It’s technical and fast!

-Chocolate or ice-cream?: Chocolate Ice-Cream!

-What are 3 clothing staples in your wardrobe that you can’t live without?: I literally can’t live without lifting shoes, knee sleeves and lifting belt. Everything else I can take or leave :)

-What is your particular niche in the Fitness industry if you have one? What makes you different to other Fitness experts out there? If you are not working in the Fitness industry, what makes you unique in your particular field?: I am a gymnastics movement coach for CrossFit athletes. My focus is on moving well and moving in correct positions because in gymnastics as it is in all sport, the magic is in the quality of the movement.

-What’s a mistake you made early on, either in relation to yourself and your own Fitness journey (or in relation to training clients if you are a trainer) and how you have grown from that experience?: I lost a lot of weight after having children and this was before I discovered the value of weight training. So I lost 20 kgs in around 3 months and lost a huge amount of muscle and strength because my focus was on cardio training. I literally ran 5 days a week and it took a long time to rebuild muscle. Now, I do HIIT training but do not run long distances at all.

-Would you describe yourself as more “creative” or more “practical”?: Definitely more practical. I like to stuck get in and get going. That has always been my way of doing things. Especially when you’re coaching kids - they don’t want to talk about things they just want to move.

-Fitness related pet peeves?: Not really a pet peeves but something that can be frustrating is getting this message across - Technique and positioning is the key that unlocks all doors on the path to reaching your physical potential. Therefore technique before strength before intensity. Anything else is going to send you up a path where you’ll meet your physical ceiling or limit much earlier than you otherwise would have.

-What do you do outside of work for fun? What’s your favourite hobby? (Don’t hold back here; tell us what it REALLY is): Well, I have two businesses, a family and we all train and play our own sports - so I consider all of this to be extremely fun. Outside of this - we love hanging out together outdoors. Sunday is family outing day and we live on the Sunshine coast in QLD. We usually go mountain climbing, swimming at the beach, playing at the parks, fishing or something outdoors.

-Tell me about your own exercise and training? What are your short-term and long-term goals?: I train at the Cougars Weightlifting club 3-4 times per week and I do HIIT, mid-body alignment and mobility on the days that I’m not training Olympic Weightlifting. My short term goals for 2014 is to qualify and compete at Nationals for QLD in the 53kg Women’s class. Then next year I’m a Master (35+) and I want to be the Australian Champion in my division.

-What piece of advice would you offer to other people who are struggling to stay on track with their Fitness/diet program?: Set specific short and long term goals and importantly work out your WHY? Have a plan for reaching these goals - a map of how you will get there. The goals should either excite you, inspire you or make you nervous. Surround yourself with a great team - find a great coach or PT to assist you to achieve those goals. Don’t expect it to be easy. It’s not. Remember your goals and your WHY and just keep going :)

-Can you give us your daily philosophy that you aim to live by every day?: “The past is behind, learn from it. The future is ahead, prepare for it. The present is here, live it.” ? Thomas S. Monson

-I LOVE your Facebook page. For any CrossFitters wanting to improve their technique and gymnastics, you have to take a look. Jade and her team are doing an awesome thing!

Gymnastic Methods Facebook Page

 

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Name: Isa Olsson

-Profession: Currently working as a trainer and doing graphic design and information for four municipalties, but in only two weeks I’m going full time as gym owner and trainer!

-Favourite sport: For me personally it’s strongwoman, but I love watching sports that require perfection, like weight lifting and gymnastics!

-Have you competed or do you compete in any sport?: I have competed in dressage, show jumping and eventing when I was younger, now I’m only into strength sports. I’ve competed in powerlifting and strongwoman so far, and I’m very curious to try weightlifting!

-What would you say is your all-time favourite exercise?: This really depends on the day. I can’t just pick one, I’ll give you my top three, which is Atlas stones, deadlifts and tire flips.

-Chocolate or ice-cream?: Both!

-What are 3 clothing staples in your wardrobe that you can’t live without?: It’s pretty easy to describe my wardrobe; comfortable pants that doesn’t show crack, tight shirts and base layers (I live in these winter time).

-What is your particular niche in the fitness industry if you have one? What makes you different to other fitness experts out there?:  I think what makes me different from some other “fitness experts” is that I don’t focus on both training and nutrition, I like to put focus on training. Generally I’ve seen it gets the clients better confidence focusing on what they can do or lift (body composition usually goes hand in hand with results). Personally I think confidence is one of the most precious things you can gain from training. I also don’t call myself an expert because I don’t think I am, there is so much more to learn, not only about training, but also about people, behavior and myself.

-What’s a mistake you made early on, either in relation to yourself and your own fitness journey (or in relation to training clients if you are a trainer) and how you have grown from that experience?: I was lucky to find a really good trainer early on, so I’ve been pretty lucky. One mistake I made though was getting programming from one of the world’s best strongwomen too early. Being really good at lifting stuff doesn’t mean you know how to apply it to other people. She’s fantastic, but it really wasn’t for me (I pulled my back very close to competition, the programming was too hard on my body). I’ve tried a few others, but I always keep coming back to my first coach. Chose a coach that suits your level and don’t pick a coach because of how strong they are.

-Would you describe yourself as more “creative” or more “practical”?: I need a mix of both to function; If I get too much into one of them I tend to lose my balance. But if I have to chose I prefer the practical side of things!

-Fitness related pet peeves? When lazy people who deadlift use the 5kg Olympic training plates to get the bar higher so they can put more weight on the bar. If you’re too lazy to load the bar properly you might not be ready for heavier deadlifts. Oh, and people who do lunges and split squat with the front foot right under their hips with all the weight on their toes.

-What do you do outside of work for fun? What’s your favourite hobby? (Don’t hold back here; tell us what it REALLY is): I can’t ever get enough of cats, and I’m a huge fan of LotR. Obviously lifting never gets old ;]

-Tell me about your own exercise and training? What are your short-term and long-term goals?: Currently I’m having a bit of an “off period” while starting up the gym. It’s a lot of work! But my goals are fun-oriented at the moment, I want to try new things! I want to get better in the Olympic lifts and compete at least once this year.

For the long term I want to up my deadlift to over 300lbs and be able to lift a 100kg Atlas stone to a 1m platform. I have a lot of strongman goals I want to accomplish, like a 50kg DB (only 12kg to go!), but they’re all quite random and I try to stick to one or two main goals at a time.

-What piece of advice would you offer to other people who are struggling to stay on track with their fitness/diet program?: I think that if it’s very hard to stay on track then it’s a good idea to reevaluate where you’re at and why you think you need to do this extreme routine to reach your goals. A training program is supposed to fit into your life, not the other way around. I think there are sustainable ways for everybody to lose weight, but you aren’t supposed to suffer. If you do, change your nutrition coach.

-Can you give us your daily philosophy that you aim to live by every day? After losing my best friend last year I think it’s VERY important to appreciate those around us who we love. And also let them know how valuable they are to us! And If I can do something to make life better for someone, I aim to do it.

-Website, twitter, facebook page:

Personal blog

Blog Facebook Page

Gym facebook page

Female lifting network Facebook Page

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