You’re always in such great shape—what’s your secret?
I’m a lifelong athlete. Fitness isn't just something you do to train for a specific event—to participate in a run, or to lose weight, or to fit into a certain size. Fitness is a way of life. It’s a series of small habits that have turned into a lifelong passion. I can’t live without it. It’s part of who I am.
What does a trainer do to get a client mentally into a workout?
You have to be 100 percent present when you’re with your client and really tune into their words, facial expressions, tone of voice, etc. Know their goals. Know their lifestyle. Desk job? Kids? Grandkids? What do they like to do in their off time? Fit friends? Fat friends? Healthy eating friends? If you know your client, you can create an environment that has purpose for them, that they can relate to. That keeps them mentally in their workout.
How has fitness intersected with your Red Cross jobs?
On our disaster deployments, the hours are long and the work is challenging both physically and mentally. I have to be able to lift 50-pound boxes and load them into trucks, then unload the trucks—as in Hurricane Katrina. We often sleep in unusual settings, and if we don’t have access to an elevator due to no electricity (as in Hurricane Sandy), we might have to carry our gear up five flights to our room. Being physically strong has helped me maintain emotional strength as well. Being able to stand by and support someone who has just experienced horrendous violence is both emotionally and physically challenging. Through all of my deployments both locally and domestically, I always bring my TRX and my running gear to my assignments. And I use them at the end of every shift as a healthy way of processing the events of the day, and to clear my head.
What’s the most important aspect of fitness that seniors get out of your work with them?
I think the message I try to get to those who consider themselves “older,” or maybe even “too old,” is that it’s never ever too late to start. For older folks, joining a gym and having a personal trainer was considered an extra, a luxury—fluff! But people were a lot more active 20 or 30 years ago. Today everything is automated for us, so we don’t have to do much work! And we’re living a lot longer. We have to learn how to do that in a healthy active way. We don’t stop moving and stop being active because we’re get old. We get old because we stop moving and being active. Somewhere along the line we thought we were supposed to sit down and become inactive when we got older. That’s nothing but a lie and a road to unhealthy living.
You also deal with nutrition a lot. What question do you get asked the most?
“What should I eat to lose this weight?” And the answer is both super simple and slightly complicated. The nutrition/fitness industry, healthy food manufacturers/marketers and media have really made this whole thing a lot more confusing than it needs to be. Eat real whole food. Eat when you are hungry. Don’t eat because you’re thirsty, tired, angry, lonely. Food is fuel—period. If the tank is full, why are you stopping at the gas station? Food doesn’t really make people fat and unhealthy. Our minds and emotions and habits make us fat and unhealthy.
You have a son in the Navy. What do you think of women on the front lines in the military?
I do have a son in the Navy, and I am also the mother of an Army vet who served in Iraq. I am extremely proud of my military kids. I also have a two-year-old granddaughter. I hope when she grows up that she wants to be in the military, or be a police officer, or be a firefighter. If a woman wants to be on the front lines, I say go for it. If you can do the work physically and mentally and emotionally that your male comrades can do, then you are fit to serve.
To schedule an appointment with Zoe, call (702) 558-2151.