After meeting on our tennis team a few years ago, Hannah and I became good friends and regular hitting partners. We both love early morning tennis, and you can usually find us practicing on Fridays at 6:30 AM at our local tennis club. The difference is, while I’m furiously caffeinating beforehand, Hannah is apt to run the few miles to the club from her house to “warm up.” She usually wins the first few games, so it’s pretty clear whose morning routine is more effective.
Hannah is a (weekly!) source of fitness inspiration to me and an example of someone who prioritizes living an all-around fitness-focused — yet balanced — life. This is why I knew she would be the perfect first profile in STRETCH’s Fit Friends series. My Fit Friends all have different routines, backgrounds and goals, but they have one thing in common — they motivate me to live my best fit life, and I think they’ll inspire you, too.
As for Hannah, I managed to convince her to give us a peek into her fit life — her routines, motivations and tips.
Read on and prepare to be inspired!
Hannah, what’s your fitness/sports background?
I was a fairly hyperactive child and obsessed with being as active as possible, to the point where I told my parents that I wanted to be a P.E. teacher “when I grew up.” Needless to say, this didn’t sit well with two PhD’s. I grew up as a gymnast and started cross-country running, track and field, and softball in my early teens. Post-college, I started racing between 5k and half marathon distances. Finally, I picked up tennis four years ago when my husband “tricked” me into it by buying me my first tennis outfit. Logically, in order to wear it, I had to play!
What’s your typical weekly fitness routine?
My first love is running, but I limit myself to about 12 miles per week, with 3 to 4-mile runs, unless I’m doing a race. I also play tennis (singles) two to three times per week for about 1.5 hours at a time with my regular hitting partners, my favorite being the author of this blog! Finally, I do ClassPass, which is a great new addition that has changed up my workouts and pushes me harder than I push myself in the gym. Some of my favorite classes include Power Pilates, Yoga Sculpt, Spin, and Bootcamp. Finally, on weekends I make sure I’m doing something active each day, but never in the gym. When you put all of this together, I’m working out daily, plus playing tennis as a “hobby” as opposed to a workout.
How do you balance living an active life with the rest of your life?
I have to work out daily to feel balanced, especially since I work long hours during the week as a media operations manager at an advertising technology company. Working out is something I really look forward to, which helps immensely. Even when I work out early in the morning before work, I wake up excited to be active. The key for me is that I don’t participate in workouts or sports that I don’t truly enjoy. My husband is also very active, which helps. During the week, we have our own exercise routines, but exercising at the same time with our shared 5:30 AM wakeup call really helps us get out of bed! On the weekends, we hike, run, play tennis together, and do all sorts of other (active)ities that perpetually annoy our friends, who really just want to catch up with us over a mellow brunch.
What motivates you to live an active, fitness-focused life?
Feeling energized and strong, and competition! I see benefits in my state of mind and energy level, and I also eat healthier when I’m working out and active. Finally, the more superficial benefits (being toned, being able to indulge in foods I love, etc.) are nice, too.
What’s your favorite workout/sport/activity these days?
Lately I’ve really been enjoying spin with weights at Wheelhouse. I love the studio and the class kicks my butt every time. Tennis is always a favorite, but I have a love/hate relationship with it since it’s time consuming and a challenge to play consistently!
Are there any fitness trends/tools/services that you’re incorporating into your life lately?
I mentioned it before, but I highly recommend ClassPass. It’s been a game changer for my fitness routine. Over the past several months, it’s become more challenging to book classes on Classpass as it gains traction in the Bay Area, so I’m hoping that their recent acquisition of competitor Fitmob will be a “net positive” for spots in the classes and not make it even harder to get in.
Do you use a fitness tracker?
Yes, my husband won a Jawbone UP at work at gave it to me. It’s a fun toy, but I don’t feel it’s super accurate and it bounces around on my arm when I play tennis. Also, I’m internally motivated to work out, so I don’t feel it’s a necessity. I’m much more excited about my Great Dane Francie’s Whistle, which is like a Fitbit for dogs!
Do you have any particular fitness/sports goals you’re currently working toward?
Well, I ran the Big Sur 10 miler a few weekends ago with my husband. I usually run about 10-15 miles a week, so I didn’t do any specific training since the goal was just to enjoy a fun race with a view with my husband. However, this is the first race that I haven’t “raced.” Most recently, I ran the Northface Challenge in the Marin Headlands, and won my age group. I trained by running up hills almost daily in San Francisco, which was pretty easy since this city is full of them. I’ve also been working on improving my consistency in tennis, which isn’t going too well since I’ve been struggling to make it to the court more than two times a week due to work!
What’s your advice to someone looking to establish a fitter lifestyle?
The absolute most important thing is to find a sport, activity or workout that you truly enjoy and look forward to. One of my close friends was struggling to find a way to become active. She followed her friends and husband to the gym, on runs, to spin classes, etc., but she’d never follow through or stay motivated long enough to stick with any of it. Then, she realized that she loved dance and cheer growing up, so she got involved in Zumba, Bollywood, and hip-hop dance classes. Because it no longer felt like a “workout” and was just fun, she got hooked immediately. This is how working out should be! If I had to go to group dance classes to workout, you can be sure I’d never make it there.