Between her active lifestyle and our sometimes hectic pace at RHF, we only recently grabbed a chance to sit down with our trainer Jessica for an interview. You may have seen her at the front desk, leading a Group Training or demonstrating to members how to use our equipment properly--sometimes in espanol (Jessica is the only RHF trainer who's fully bilingual in Spanish and English). We love having this lady on our RHF team! Nos gustas, Jessica.
What do you like best about working at Rainier Health & Fitness?
The diversity and just the people that work out here are just so nice and it just feels like a community. I know everyone here and everyone talks to each other and no one is just serious, like “Give me my space.” We talk and it makes it so much fun to be at the gym. Like I’m actually at work, at my full-time job, and I’m thinking “I can’t wait to work out” and “Oh I wonder if I’m gonna see this other person; I haven’t seen them in awhile and just hang out.” And to have that feeling that you know people and you care about those people--I think it’s a big push for that person to come to the gym as well. You want to feel welcome when you work out, you wanna feel like it matters that you’re here. And I get that feeling all the time and the people push me to do better and there’s always someone that will help me to improve on the things that aren’t my best. There’s always someone that will tell me and guide me to do it better because they know I can do it better, which is nice, because not in every gym will you get people like that who will push you to be better. I’m very happy. I’ve been to a lot of different gyms and I’m happy here. This is the best one and I would not leave it.
How did you become interested in fitness?
I really like sports and being active. I love being active. I love biking, I love doing CrossFit but my number one passion is playing soccer. I feel like here in this gym, in RHF, it’s very flexible and open to the community, and we have a lot of kids, like high school kids that come and work out. I think that’s great and another thing that really made me want to be here and work here. Because when I was in middle school and high school, I always loved sports and I never had the opportunity to play sports. I never had the opportunity to play soccer or do any sports in high school because I had to work full time in McDonalds since I was 15, so I never had time to go to tryouts. It was school, and then as soon as school was done I had to leave to go to work. I wish I could’ve had that opportunity and maybe pursued my dream of playing soccer in high school and college but it’s one of those things that it’s not gonna happen anymore, but I would love to make that possible or help someone that’s in that stage to do those things. Because I think it’s very important, it’s a very good experience doing team sports; it helps you build character and self-esteem. Team sports teaches you collaboration, team work, time management—all those things that are very important and that you’re gonna use for the rest of your life, for work, for college, for your personal relationship, friendships, everything. And I think that it’s just a different experience that I wish that if someone really wants to do it, I think that they should have the chance and the opportunity and the support to do it. It’s just something that’s very important to me and if someone really wants to do it, I would love to help that person do it.
How old were you when you first started playing soccer?
I played soccer my whole life. I played soccer in El Salvador. And I learned to play soccer with boys because I was the only girl that was really into it, that got serious about the game. And I grew up playing with boys and I came here and I couldn’t play for awhile because first I was new in the country when I was in middle school. So I didn’t know where to go and because my English was not the best at that time. I just didn’t know who to ask or who to contact and I was shy too because no one really wanted to hang out with me at that point, I just felt a little like, “Ok, it’s just not gonna work right now.” But when I got to high school where I was a little more confident in talking and all that, I had to work, so I just didn’t have time. I went to one tryout and then the coach said “I need you guys to be here at least four times a week, training for like an hour to two hours and the games are on the weekends.” And the weekends were when I worked the most—I would get eight hours Saturday and Sunday—so that day I was like, I liked it and everything but it just was not possible. And in college, same thing, I had to work to pay for school. And since I didn’t play in high school, I didn’t have the skill they look for when you go to the tryouts. I mean, I’d been playing soccer my whole life and I think I’m a competitive player, not the best but I always give my 100%, but still my style of playing is more like street soccer because that’s how I learned and that’s all I know. But when you play in high school and in college, they teach you more techniques—you know, how to move around, how to talk with your teammates—and that’s something that I don’t have. I mean, I have some of it because I’ve learned and I play with some other girls that played in college, but it’s not the same. And they look at that too when you go to college; they ask if you played in high school and if you did that’s like a plus and if you didn’t, you really have to be someone special to make it. But in college I never tried out. I just knew—because if high school was like two hours per day, college was like three or four hours because it’s a higher level. So there was just no way I could work and train for that. Classes in itself was like three classes; I had to be full time because I had some scholarships, so I had to maintain those scholarships.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to stay fit?
Well the craziest thing I’ve done where I was just completely exhausted is when I first started working in my office. They were located by the space needle, and I would bike from here basically all the way there, which was ten or eleven miles each way. So I would bike there and back and do CrossFit and maybe come to the gym and get another work out. And I would do that twice a week—very demanding. So on Monday I would bike—so that was 20 miles round trip—then I would go and do CrossFit and then I would come and work here on some movement that I wanted to improve. Then Tuesday I wouldn’t bike, but I would still do CrossFit. And then on the weekends play [soccer]. So the craziest thing has been to work out pretty much every single day for like two months straight. That’s the longest I’ve been able to keep that going; after that I’m not giving it my 100%, it takes me longer to bike and you can tell like my performance is just not the same. But that’s the craziest thing.
What’s your guilty pleasure and favorite healthy snack?
I have way too much; can I tell you what my favorite guilty pleasure is right now? Ellenos Greek yogurt. They’re in Georgetown. They’re just sooo amazing but they have so much sugar! But I could eat that whole thing by myself in like two days.
How about healthy snack?
See that’s the tough one and it shouldn’t be! Celery?
Just plain celery?
I guess. I eat it with Ranch so not so healthy.
Well you have an intense workout schedule to make up for it.
That’s bad, probably not the best example. Almonds? Almonds. Yeah, I’ll do that. Celery and almonds.
What's your fitness philosophy?
What’s important to me is that it’s for your physical health and also for your mental health since to me working out really got my head out of bad things I was going through. So it was like a good distraction where I could focus on my good energy and releasing that energy into something positive helped me to be more healthy but also helped me mentally and emotionally just to feel better and to be in control of my life and my feelings which is something I struggled with. And when I work out, I’m in my zone. I don’t think about anything else, I don’t think about work, I don’t think about problems, anxiety, nothing. Everything is just about giving my best in that moment. And then afterwards that good feeling that I made it through, just not giving up in the middle of the workout, even if you slow down, even if you don’t have the best time or the heaviest weight, what matters is that you got through it and that you finished and that’s an accomplishment even if you didn’t do it with the super heavy weight or super fast, just getting through it is gonna push you to do better. At least you know “I can make it through it” the next time you can think about, “Ok, maybe next time I’ll try to make it a little faster” or “maybe next time I’ll try to add a little more weight.” But it’s about making that progression even if it’s small steps but to feel that you’re moving forward.