In our series Fit Chicks, we chat with female fitness bloggers and trainers from all over the country. Equipped with their collective experience, expertise and practical tips, you’ll be happy to know that a healthier lifestyle is right around the corner.
Name: Kristen Seymour, 37
Business/Blog: Fit Bottomed Girls
City: Sarasota, Fla., and Kansas City
Ever since 2008, Jennipher Walters and Erin Whitehead have been empowering women to live a healthy lifestyle in various ways, whether it’s during motherhood, in their mindfulness, or through their next recipe. In 2009, Kristen Seymour started contributing to the site and was made an official business partner two years ago. No matter what season of life you’re in, these ladies have got your back.
Where did your love of being active come from?
Kristen Seymour: I grew up really being an athlete. I took dance starting when I was 5 and then moved into gymnastics. When I realized I was taller than literally every kid in my class, I moved on to basketball and volleyball. Once I got into college I started moving into things that were not team sports and getting into fitness for fitness’s sake.
You’re a recent addition to the FBG team. How did you get involved?
KS: Back in 2009, I was writing for AOL’s fitness blog, “That’s Fit.” Jenn and I met at a Tropicana event in Chicago and just hit it off and realized we had similar tastes and attitudes about body image, workouts, and fitness in general. We also shared a love of Paula Abdul and late 80s, early 90s hip hop. Not too long after that, I started writing pieces here and there for [FBG]. Some things got shaken up a little bit at AOL and I asked [FBG] if they’d like me to do things more regularly. I started editing and then two years ago, I bought in as an official business partner. As of this year, Erin has exited the business to pursue some other interests and we’re super excited for her. She’s looking at getting her master’s in teaching. We’re all about chasing your dreams wherever they lead. We miss her of course, but Jenn and I are keeping it going.
In what ways do you see fitness and nutrition changing?
KS: I really love the fact that there’s been an increased awareness that fat is not the enemy. A low-fat diet is not an ideal diet for most people. People who are in their 30s or 40s grew up in this age of “Everything should be fat-free or low-cal and if it is, it’s basically good for you.” That’s so not true and it messed with a lot of our heads. I can’t tell you how much I embrace that so many different industries are coming together and saying, “Let’s focus on a whole food, plant-based diet.” Do your shopping in the perimeter of the store, get the produce, and if you eat meat, shop for quality meat. In terms of nutrition, that’s been a huge shift in the last few years, and it’s only getting stronger. We’ve been preaching this for a long time, so we’re really excited that people are finally latching on. For fitness: even though I’m not a CrossFitter, I love that there are so many opportunities for men and women to find ways to get strong and become really fit without the focus being so much on getting tiny or about losing weight, even though that tends to be a benefit for many people. Some people do CrossFit, some people do yoga, some do triathlons – some people do all of them. I think that’s becoming more accepted for women to do the things that are hard and used to be thought of as a little more masculine. I can’t tell you the last time I went to a yoga class when there weren’t men in it. I love that. You do you, and let’s get together and do what makes you feel great.
Talk about FBG’s sister site, Fit Bottomed Mamas.
KS: FBM was our second site that we launched a couple of years after FBG when Erin became pregnant. We realized she was going through a lot of things that were not as strongly fitness related as the things we covered on FBG. So we launched [FBM] and you’re still going to find a lot of fitness, nutrition, and interesting interviews. But you’re also going to find some articles just based on better communication with your child. We’ve got one on why it’s so important to say sorry to your children when you’ve done something for which you should apologize. That’s a great lesson, but that’s something that wouldn’t necessarily fit on FBG. FBM is strongly for parents, but parents who are looking at living a fit and healthy lifestyle that works for them and feels real and natural.
What’s been some reactions or feedback from readers?
KS: People really appreciate that we’re real with them. I just did an interview not too long ago and it made me realize that having the audience we have and this amazing support of community means that if I sign up for a race and it goes all sorts of sideways – I meet none of my goals, it’s terrible – in the midst of that, I’m still looking for the story I can tell people because I know if I’m going through this, I’m certainly not the first and sure as hell won’t be the last. Our readers really like looking to us for that. We’re certainly not shy about asking advice for other fitness professionals and influencers, and that’s something we’ve done with our podcast that we launched last year. We have brought in some amazing people who have had the most incredible discussions. Our readers tend to like us saying, “We’ll answer your questions, and if we can’t, we’ll find someone who can.” We won’t sugarcoat it, we’ll be real, but it’s always going to come at you from a place of love. We try not to “should” on people, because everyone is different. You have to come from a health and fitness journey, or a weight loss journey, or changing eating habits that you’ve been following your whole life journey. It has to come from your own happy, want-the-best-for-yourself-place.
What’s your favorite healthy snack? What’s a treat you can’t pass up?
KS: My favorite healthy snack is sugar snap peas. I love them. I can just sit down and feel like they’re candy. That’s tied with roasted Brussel sprouts. If you like them, Trader Joe’s has shaved Brussel sprouts so if you don’t’ have time to do a chop-prep-roast, you can just throw them in a skillet with olive oil and they’re perfect. That’s been my lunch for the past two weeks – I just throw an egg on it and I’m great. For a treat, I don’t have the biggest sweet tooth around, but I love ice cream. But cheese…it’s just not a good idea to sit between me and cheese plate. I feel that in my soul. It calls to me.
What’s your favorite exercise?
KS: I have a TRX and I’ve gone as far as getting certified in teaching it because I love it so much. What I love about it is that you can use it to make a lot of exercises easier. Even though I’m only 37, I have the knees of a 90-year-old. I still run and race, but it can be a little hard on them. Doing things like deep lunges or squats is not always possible for me unaided. But using TRX, I can get that full movement. You can use it to modify yoga poses and make balancing easier. Or you can use it to make things harder. They’re only $100, so you can hang it on your door and I nailed it into my ceiling. It takes me maybe 90 seconds to set up and then I’ve got a home gym.
What are some of your goals for 2017?
KS: I tend to get roped into doing longer distance races, like half marathons or half Ironman races, which I love, but it’s been years since I’ve focused on short distances. This year I’m planning to go for a 5K PR, so I’m really focusing on getting faster at short distances. And I’m not known for being very speedy, so it’s not like I’m going to blow someone else’s record away. It’s all about what I can do to be better than I was yesterday.
McGee Nall is a Paste intern and a freelance writer based out of Athens, Georgia. She was probably eating Nilla wafers and Nutella while writing this.