Talent, class, and newfound strength - TrueFN client Jeanne Vander Ploeg has it all! An artful photographer, Jeanne relocated to the East Coast last year and has honed her physique with us in ways she never thought possible. Since, Jeanne's taken her strength to new heights in the great outdoors (check out her awesome photos on her website: www.jeannevanderploegphotography.com). Oh, and did we mention that she's a grandmother?
TrueFN: How long have you been working with your coach, Max, and your nutrition coach, Jenn?
JV: I moved here in August of 2016. 4 months prior to my move, I tripped while running and broke my humerus bone (upper arm). I had done the PT prior to my move but wanted to develop some upper body strength to help prevent any more injuries! So shortly after my move I ‘yelped’ personal trainers and found TFN. I started working with Jenn about the same time. I weighed more than I wanted to after the accident and my initial reason for working with Jenn was to ‘lose weight’. So, about a year and a half.
TrueFN: How has your physique, strength, and/or mindset changed since you started?
JV: The biggest change I have experienced in in my mindset. I, like so many others, believed misinformation about fitness and nutrition. For example, Myth 1: If I train with weights I risk getting too ‘bulked up’. Myth 2: To lose weight I need to do lots of aerobics for lots of minutes and not eat very much. Myth 3: To prevent osteoporosis I have to do “load-bearing” exercises, like running (lifting weights is much more effective at load bearing).
My physique has leaned out and my muscles are much more defined. The flabby skin under my arms is gone (a welcome benefit to women of a certain age!). My chest wall under my clavicle now shows muscles underneath, as does my back. In addition, my ‘bottom’ is a bit higher off the ground! :)
I am much stronger. I have recently taken up distance hiking. I have been going on hikes in the Shenandoah and sometimes the trails are a bit raggedy. I find that with my new strength I hardly ever fall. Now when I trip, I catch myself, and when I do fall, I don’t hurt myself. I recently hiked the Inca Trail in Peru and never was I sore, even after 5 days on trails and summiting a 14,000 ft peak. Other participants, much younger than I, were complaining about how tired and sore their legs were.
I love that in my daily life I can carry things easily, lift my carry-on into the overhead bin without help when I travel and, most especially, carry my 5 year-old grandson on my back as a normal ‘thing that we do’. And we do it A LOT!
I still love to run and do it to build endurance and because I love it! I feel my new strength has made my running better too. Without trying (because I honestly don’t care) I have noticed my times are getting faster.
I want to add that I did not come to all these realizations quickly or easily. Many times I would push back and question. But both Jenn and Max treated me with the utmost respect and answered every question I brought up. The information seemed reasonable, but the results are what ultimately made me a believer.
TrueFN: How many days a week do you exercise?
JV: I lift weights 3 times a week. Recently, I started ‘Virtual Coaching’ with Max and I love that. I work out with him once a week and do the other two days on my own. I find when I am responsible for my own training on those two days, I take ownership of it. I have also found that when I talk to the main trainer at my ‘other gym’ about what I am learning at TrueFN, he is always very impressed.
I also try to do something outside where I sweat on 3-4 other days, so either hiking or running or fast walking. If I miss a day or if I am traveling and can’t get to a gym, I don’t worry about it. I am at the point now, that if I miss too many days, my body gets achey and I get back at it naturally.
TrueFN: How has your nutrition work at TrueFN gotten you further toward your goals
JV: It is good for me to have accountability and quality information. TrueFN has provided both. The first ‘assignment’ I received from Jenn was not to stop eating anything, but to drink tons of water and to eat 5 cups of veggies a day. By the time I did that, I was less likely to eat non-nutritious food.
TrueFN: On a scale of 1 to 10, how hard do you work during your workouts
JV: It never feels that hard because there are always rest times between sets and the Studio is a community. When I am actually lifting, I am concentrating and working hard (an 8-9), but during the rest I am getting caught up on what has been going on it the lives of the other trainers/clients.
TrueFN: What is your favorite exercise?
JV: The lat pull down. I like that I can actually feel the muscles in my back and arms.
TrueFN: What’s your #1 piece of advice to someone who wants to make significant fitness progress
1. Try it. 2. Stick with it. 3. Smile and nod at well-meaning friends who will tell you about their specific regiment- usually consisting of ‘classes' or the latest studio craze. Eventually, they will notice your progress, as happened to me and say, “Wow, you are looking fantastic!” I use that as an opening to brag about ‘my team’ at TrueFN!
Trainer Perspective - Max Berkheimer
TrueFN: Max, what is it like to work with Jeanne?
MB: It's a blast to train with her! She always greets me with a smile when she arrives, and puts in lots of work with no complaints as we go through the session. She is an easier client in the sense that her body awareness is great, and she doesn't need many technique cues to do the exercises correctly. While we started at 3x a week, I thought the move to 1x+ Virtual Coaching was a good move for her based on her motivation and skill with training. It's been great to see her progress, while also hearing how this progress has improved her day to day life. A pretty dedicated golfer, I'm surprised she left out how her driving distances have improved since she began training as well.
The past year and a half hasn't been all sunshine and rainbows, though. We have run into a few minor bumps and bruises that temporarily changed her training routine, and at one point Jeanne was in fact worried that the work she was doing contradicted her goals of a lean body. I appreciate the fact that she has stuck through the challenges and trusted in my guidance along the way. It has been great to see her body & performance improve, and I'm happy we are here talking about her success. I'm excited to see how far things can go, and feel pretty lucky to have her as a client and friend. Keep kickin' butt, Jeanne!