Name and age: Tamarae Cooney, 26
Occupation: Associate Attorney (Estate Planning & Probate Emphasis) at Cooney Law Offices, P.S.
My favorite exercise at FGF is: Bears and/or overhead squats (OHS). I love both of these movements because they work practically every muscle from your traps all the way to your toes.
My least favorite exercise at FGF is: Wallballs…10 ft seems sooooo far away, and I always complain that I have to literally jump in order to get that dang ball all the way up there.
Tell us about your fitness journey
My “fitness” journey really began in high school. I say “fitness” because at the time, I wasn’t necessarily focused on my overall health and wellness (what high school teens are?) so much as trying to become a stellar varsity athlete. My sport of choice? Volleyball.
Needless to say, I did not evolve into the first 5-foot-2 all-star volleyball player. I did make varsity though, and in striving to accomplish my goal of all-star athlete, I discovered for the first time my interest in weight-lifting and plyometric training. During the season, we had specific weightlifting and endurance training practice days, and in the off season I got some help from my favorite football coach 2-3 days a week in the weight room.
High school came and went, and in essence, so did my focus on fitness. College just brought too many other things (parties, school work, parties, work, parties). I did go through spurts of 3-4 months at a time when I would go to the gym on a regular basis, but after a while I’d get bored with running on the treadmill. I also tried to lift weights (mostly squats and dumbbell work) but always felt awkward and intimidated by the room full of men staring and doing bicep curls. It was like I could hear their thoughts of “does this girl know where she is,” “she should probably just go do sit-ups or something.” I was always eventually scared away.
After graduating in May 2009, I was introduced to Crossfit by my sister Jaunessa (you may know her) and brother-in-law Pat. After seeing just how fit they and other members were though, I was scared/embarrassed to try. My plan was to get in shape first, and then join…makes sense right? Well, the problem was that I never started getting into shape. In October I finally decided to just go for it. I remember that my first workout involved pull-ups, running, and kettlebell swings… and that I SUCKED! I’m pretty sure I only did half the running and used the thickest green band for pull-ups. I was exhausted by the end, but was also hooked to this style of working out that involved so many of the things I loved about high school sports. In the 4+ years since I started cross-training, I’ve become more and more dedicated to making fitness and overall health and wellness a part of my regular life-style.
If you could tell your Farmgirlfit story in 100 words or less, how would it read?
Because Jaunessa is my sister, I’ve been a farmgirl since the very beginning. Another big reason why I made the transition from crossfit to Farmgirlfit though has to do with injury. I had been having low back pain very frequently after crossfit workouts (in retrospect, I’m sure from lifting too heavily and thus with bad form), and then during a timed snatch workout I strained my low back pretty badly. For a month or so I couldn’t lift more than 45 lbs and didn’t lift anything overhead. I continued to go to crossfit, but couldn’t do the assigned workouts, and there was no modification. I found myself making up my own workouts, and doing them solo. Eventually I figured, I can do this at a “regular” gym and not pay $100+ per month. So that’s exactly what I did. Once back in a regular gym, my workouts were less fun and less effective. A few months later farmgirlfit opened its doors, and I couldn’t be more thankful it did. Not only are the workouts butt kicking, but the community of members and trainers is something truly unique.
What has been your greatest fitness (performance) accomplishment so far? Do you have a performance goal?
I’ve had several PR’s since becoming a farmgirlfit member, but I think that my overall greatest accomplishment has been achieving those PR’s while staying injury free. Since joining farmgirlfit my Deadlift has improved by 20 lbs, my Power Clean by 40 lbs, and my Overhead Squat by about 30 lbs. My performance goals going forward are constantly changing. At this point, I’m not as focused on lifting extremely heavy weights, but I’m always looking to improve…my ring dips and hand-stand pushups could definitely get better!
How has FGF helped you become more healthy / When it comes to your health, what goals do you have?
FGF has helped me become healthier by giving me a broader perspective when it comes to overall health and fitness. There’s more to fitness than lifting the heaviest thing you can think of, or working out simply for the sake of working out, and FGF has helped me see that fitness is a lifestyle, not an activity. While I’m always looking to improve my reps, weight, times, etc. my ultimate health goal is to maintain the most balanced, healthful lifestyle I can. Like everyone, I have my occasional indulgences, but I try to keep my overall lifestyle in check when in it comes to health, fitness, and nutrition. After all, I want to be kicking butt in and out of the gym when I’m 50, 60, 70!!!
My favorite thing about Farmgirlfit is ________
Without a doubt, the members and community. There are many things that make Farmgirlfit a spectacular gym, but the diversity and quality of its members is something truly special. I know we are all women, but we are women of various ages, fitness backgrounds, professions, etc, all working out side by side, AND we all getting along. In fact, we more than get along, we encourage each other, motivate and push each other, and laugh with/at each other. This is what makes farmgirlfit more than just a spectacular gym…and the reason I like hanging out there even on a Friday night!
How have you integrated the Farmgirlfit mission outside of the gym?
I think the biggest way I’ve integrated the Farmgirlfit mission outside of the gym is by making fitness and health a priority even outside of the gym. For instance, I used to be of the mindset that “I worked out, so now I can have dessert”. Now, I try to think more along the lines of “I’m going to work out tomorrow, so I better not have dessert.” I’ve also tried to incorporate various fitness activities as a means to socialize. Instead of planning dinner and a movie with friends for example, I try to suggest an activity such as a spinning class or a hike/run.
When you’re not pumping iron at FGF, what does the rest of your life look like?
During the week I work full-time. I also recently got engaged and so am doing a little wedding planning as well. When I’m not attending the grind in the evenings, I enjoy hitting up the occasional spin class or going for a run when the weather is cooperating. I also snowboard occasionally, and can be found at Hayden Lake most summer weekends…I’m a beginner at wakeboarding, but an expert at boating and beach lounging with cocktails! I also really like to cook (and eat) and travel. I cook most weekdays, enjoy entertaining, and one of my favorite aspects of traveling is getting to try new food/restaurants.
Any advice for new members, or your fellow Farmgirls?
This may seem weird, but I would say, “you’re stronger and more capable than you think, but never as good as you can be” I think for new members (and old too), the workouts can be intimidating. It’s important to keep in mind 1) you’re probably not as bad as you think, and 2) even if you are, we were all there at some point. Stay the course, focus on the improvements you’ve made, and you’ll get there faster than you think! On the opposite end of the spectrum, I think it’s easy for us “veterans” to become a bit lackadaisical and/or overly comfortable with where we’re at and what we’ve accomplished. No matter where we fall on the spectrum, or how long we’ve been going, we all have areas (usually multiple areas) where we can improve. It’s important to keep this in mind and always strive to be the best you, you can be.