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: Lauren Teknipp, 24
Business/Blog: Lauren Teknipp Fitness
Location: Long Beach, California
Lauren Teknipp has been slaying on the volleyball court for years and has recently taken her training techniques into her own business. After graduating from the University of Georgia and experiencing a post-grad slum in Atlanta, she decided to continue her training business remotely and pursue her dream of playing beach volleyball in California.
Describe the moment you decided to start your business.
Lauren Teknipp: Back in April 2015, I had just finished volleyball in college and I had a ton of people asking me, “You’re in good shape, what do you do? What do you eat?” I was tired of telling one individual person over and over again. The way I ate and worked out was a little unconventional and different because I found my style and my niche. So I started my blog and kept at it for about a year. Then when I was living in Athens, people were asking me, “Do you do personal training? I really want you to be my personal trainer.” I was training a good group of girls at my apartment and thought, “Maybe I should just go ahead and pursue this because I have such a good time doing it.” So I got my certification to be a personal trainer and I was doing group fitness with girls. College was coming to an end and I knew I wasn’t going to be in Athens anymore and I realized I wasn’t going to be able to keep these clients in person. So I decided I was going to go online with my business and the only way I could do that was if I knew I had good video and an online program that I was able to develop and give it to those who were interested. I recently moved to California and people reach out to me through my social media or find me through my website and contact me through there. That’s how I get my clients and I haven’t had to reach out to a whole lot of people yet because they just find me on the Internet, which is awesome. I get work with different photographers and videographers producing content for my workout programs so it’s just a ton of fun. I have a lot of great guys and girls who are now doing my program so it’s kind of the full circle.
What made you decide to make the move from Georgia to California?
LT: I’ve known I wanted to do this before college. So I saved up at least half of my scholarship money I would get each year as a California fund. I was actually living in my brother’s apartment in Brookhaven, Atlanta from the time I graduated in May this past year until December. My brother and I were like, “What are we doing here?” We felt like we just grew up, went to college, graduated and then got a job. We felt like we wanted a little bit more out of life. It’s funny, my brother was in an accounting job and then took a leave of absence. He’s traveling in Europe and he’s in Greece right now. My brother said, “You want to play beach volleyball, right?” And I said, “So badly.” And he said, “Just go to California, do your online training, and then train for beach volleyball.” That’s exactly what I’m doing right now. Now I have practice at 11 o’clock today.
How does your experience playing volleyball influence how you train and work out now?
LT: I’ve had a lot of different strength coaches over the years, number one being my dad who’s a personal trainer and trains volleyball girls. We’ve always done the research and asked, “How can I be the best volleyball player I can possibly be? What moves do I need to be doing in the weight room to make me better, quicker, stronger on the court?” Everything I do is strongly based on volleyball—jumping exercises, a lot of short, bursting movement. Honestly that’s what a lot of strength coaches, whether it’s for football or tennis or basketball, are realizing is that the shorter, quicker movements are the best long-term moves, too. Everybody says don’t just hop on a treadmill for 3 hours—do something that’s going to keep you engaged mentally and challenge you physically. That’s what my training is based around. No matter the age of my client, I’ll try and push them as long as I know what their level is to do those workouts.
You talk a lot on your site about the Ketogenic diet. For those who don’t know what that is, can you explain it?
LT: My dad is my #1 supporter when it comes to health and fitness and about 5 years ago, he was researching this low-carb, high-fat diet but it didn’t really have a name yet. Then in my sophomore year of college, I read this book called “The Bulletproof Diet” by Dave Asprey and it totally changed my life because it talked about the quality of food rather than what the food was. Everybody knows that vegetables are good for you, but it’s all about how the vegetables are raised or what they’re cooked in when you eat them. So that got me interested in researching more. The Ketogenic diet is a low carb, moderate protein, high fat diet. The focus is to get all of the really good fats like olive oil, avocado, coconut oil and then actually eat the higher fat cuts of meat, so a ribeye steak would be a good choice. I don’t say eat that every day, but if you’re choosing between a New York strip steak or a ribeye, go for the ribeye. I eat a lot of eggs, meat and a lot of green vegetables. I don’t ever shy away from butter. Almost everyone in the world who doesn’t know the ketogenic diet is a sugar burner. We want to be fat burners. When you’re a sugar burner, you eat carbs or refuel your energy storage by eating pasta before a race or a power bar in the middle of a game. In a Ketogenic diet, when you’re fat-adapted, when you run out of dietary fat in your body, your body recognizes your body fat as another energy source and it starts pulling from that. You get leaner and retain your muscle. Ultimately, it’s a seriously life hack I’m so happy I found. One of my clients I put on the exercise and meal plan is in his 40s and hasn’t worked out very much over the years, but he’s lost 26 pounds in first 3 half weeks.
Do you have a pre-game meal or tradition?
LT: I’m a big matcha green tea drinker. I have a couple of guy friends in southern California who started this tea company called Tenzo and their Tenzo Matcha. I’m such a dork but I swear by it and I drink it every morning, I have one right now. Before going into a game, I like to get in the zone. I wouldn’t call it meditation, but I do a lot of visualization—I’ve been doing that since I was a junior in high school. I really like to just see myself doing something before I actually do it. I feel like it’s the best way to prepare outside of actually just practicing. Then probably 20 minutes leading into a match, we’d just play the most insane music and dance around. We had a disco ball in our locker room and so we would turn on Miley Cyrus, Iggy Azalea or Nicki Minaj and just go crazy.
Are there any other current fitness or nutrition trends you’re a fan of right now?
LT: I’m really into something called intermittent fasting. Everyone gets a little scared when they hear the word “fasting,” and I’m not a scientist or nutritionist by certification, but I listen to lot of podcasts by Tim Ferriss and Dave Asprey and the number one anti-aging thing you can do is intermittent fasting. One of the biggest jokes is when they tell you should be eating 5-6 meals a day, but the people who are telling you that are in charge of trying to sell the food they’re making. General Mills is saying you should eat six meals a day when actually they just want you to buy that much of their food so that they make more money. As we grow older, something called our human growth hormone starts to deplete and intermittent fasting actually helps create the good things of your body that defend against anti-aging. So basically I’ll get up, I’ll make my Tenzo matcha and blend it with coconut oil, butter, and hot water—which is amazing, it’s like a latte—and then I won’t eat again until 1 or 2 p.m. I’m fasting from the time I fell asleep until the time I ate solid food again, it’s close to 16 hours. I don’t do that every day, but I’ll do it 2-3 days a week. It puts you in this hyper focus state and you’re burning fat faster. That’s my number one favorite life hack. Everyone in my family does it because my dad got us all into it and now we’re like super human.
What’s your biggest piece of advice for busy, working women and moms who want to start living a healthy lifestyle but don’t know how to start?
LT: My mom is the prime suspect because I’m always trying to get her to work out with me. I find that a lot of women who haven’t worked out a whole lot in their lives or if they’re busy are really intimidated by working out because they see someone on Instagram doing 20 pushups and they think, “I’m never going to be able to do 20 pushups.” My biggest piece of advice is to start as small as possible, even if that just means going out and doing something you truly love like walking down a dirt road. My parents love walking on this dirt road by our house and it’s like two miles. So what they do to get themselves ready to get going for the day is they take a short walk down a dirt road and back. That’s so much better than just sitting down at your desk or coming home and realizing “Oh gosh, I’m so tired.” Even if you just have 15 minutes, just walk around the house. It’s an addictive feeling once you get the endorphins in your body going from exercising and you’re not going to want to stop. Once you see the tiny changes, it’s going to become a priority in your life to fit that in. There’s definitely enough time in the day, even if it just means sitting at a yoga ball at your desk instead of a chair or standing for five minutes while you’re working. Don’t get intimated. Just start small.
What’s your favorite exercise?
LT: Anything that involves jumping, I love. Everybody who comes to me and is like, “I want a big butt, help me.” Well, volleyball players are blessed and it’s really important to have strong glute muscles to support that lower back posture, so we do hip thrusters. You have your upper back on a bench, barbell at your waist and you’re lowering your lower body to the ground and pushing your hips up to the sky. That’s probably the best way to target your glute muscles without having the issue of bringing in any other major muscles. That’s a major glute/hamstring exercise that I swear by.
Who are some people in the nutrition and fitness world that you look up to? Either you know personally or through social media?
LT: Well I mentioned my dad, and then my strength coach at UGA, Sean Hayes. I really liked his style of working out. A lot of the stuff that I do comes from the style of workouts we did for volleyball at UGA. For nutrition: I’m such a follower of Dave [Asprey], the creator of the Bulletproof Diet. Another one is Tim Ferriss, not just for diet nutrition but for mindset and mental state. Those three have shaped a lot of what I believe in for fitness and nutrition and mental health.
What are your goals for 2017?
LT: I have a couple I write down and I literally look at them every day. I’m also a fitness model and am represented by an agency in Atlanta. Now that I’m moved to California, I would like to get represented by a top fitness model agency out here. Another goal is beach volleyball and I’d really like to get semi pro this summer. It’s my first year on the sand so I just really want to improve and get with as many professional players and play with them on the court as possible. Right now I’m playing with a couple of guys who play in the AVP and I’m just going to throw myself in there, whether I think I’m ready or not. The best way is to start training. That’s my main focus right now. Also I’d just like to read a couple more books and become more well-rounded when it comes to nutrition. I’m such a fan of the ketogenic diet but people come to me and say, “what if I’m a vegetarian or a vegan? How can I incorporate this style of eating into my diet?” So there’s a couple of books I’m looking into right now that involve that. Anything I can do to help my clients, I’m probably going to put that at the top of my list.
Photos courtesy of Caitlin Teknipp, Krista Miller and Jedd.
McGee Nall is a freelance writer based in Athens, Georgia.