Three big cheers for our June Client Rockstar, Shauna MacDonald. Shauna and I have known each other since we were little bebé 21-year-olds starting our Master's program together. Dr Shauna, PhD obviously continued her career in academe, while I have had just about every other job :) Shauna holds a special place in my heart because we transitioned from college kids to (almost) adults together. And we've been together again for another really cool transition. She's been with me basically since the beginning of my work in health and fitness and *I'VE* been able to watch*HER* transition to a total and complete badass. We do semi-private sessions together and she is an absolute presence in those zoom rooms working her tush off (well, not "off", it's looking fabulous). And she's gotten some pretty incredible results in terms physical changes and confidence in the crazy shit her body can do.
My thoughts and questions for Shauna are in bold.
Movement plays a pretty cool (and maybe unexpected) role in what you do for a living. Tell us about it.
Such a great question! I’m a professor in the field of Communication, and my specialty within the field is called performance studies. Most of us think of academics as people who sit in their studies reading and writing all day, and in a way that’s true, but we have bodies too! I consider myself an artist-scholar, and a huge part of my research process includes writing, creating, rehearsing, and producing performances. I’m a storyteller, and I love teaching students how to tell their own stories. The difference for me is that I want us to tell our stories with our whole selves--our minds, bodies, and souls. So, movement--whatever kind helps you feel at home in your body--is key!
You just got certified as a Strong Nation group fitness instructor! What was it that drew you to that modality of exercise?
I’m still a little in shock that I did the training, to be honest! But I’ve spent more of my life doing martial arts than not. I trained in Taekwondo (a Korean martial art) from when I was 12 until my mid-twenties, earning a second degree black belt and a whole lot of knowledge about my body along the way. I often say that, without Taekwondo, I wouldn’t have done any of the other things I’ve done in my adult life. In my early 30s, I started doing kickboxing and loved it for the ways it took my body knowledge and muscle memory and transformed it into a sweaty workout. When you started teaching Strong Nation classes, I fell in love with the routines pretty instantly. There’s just something about getting in a good workout while also feeling like a martial arts badass that appeals to me. Mind you, I’d likely get my butt kicked in a Taekwondo sparring session these days!
What’s changed for you since you started working with ieFitness?
Oh my gosh, what hasn’t?! For starters, I feel much better equipped to strength train now than I ever have before. I was the person who went to the gym and “used the machines” but had no idea what I was doing. It was often a half hearted effort, and I just didn’t enjoy it. I’ve come to love working out at home in my living room so much more than I ever would have believed. I’ve always liked fitness classes more than solo workouts; I’m competitive but also extraverted, and so semi-private training is kind of perfect. In terms of physical changes, I’m way stronger and have far more muscle tone than I did when I started, and my balance and stamina for everyday tasks and things like hiking have increased dramatically. I am more mindful of how I eat, and overall have more energy and just feel more like myself. And of course, I like any excuse to spend time with you and Tedward.
You are quite the baker! What is it about baking that you enjoy so much and what’s something that you aspire to make?
So I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and I think there are 3 major reasons I love baking so much. First, it’s a project that has a beginning and an end, and the end is usually delicious. Most of my work life is filled with tasks that don’t really “end”, and so baking is a great way to feel productive and creative. Second, I grew up in a family that loves to eat, and especially loves to eat sweets (ha), so it connects me with home. Third, it’s as close as I’ll ever get to being a wizard--it’s kinda magic, right?! I’m always finding new things to try; currently I’m loving baking bread and pastries. I would LOVE to learn how to decorate gorgeous cakes!
You’ve been able to establish a really consistent movement routine!! What advice do you have for people who might be having trouble finding that consistency?
Gosh I wish I had a great answer to this, but I think the biggest thing is accountability. Working with you for personal training means there are at least 2 days a week when I just have to show up, and I always feel better after I do. I also post a fair bit on instagram, and that helps me stay accountable to my friends and family. I suppose my advice would be: find someone (or a group of folks) who inspire you, and/or who you inspire, and concoct a way to hold each other accountable--something that works for you. And stop trying to make yourself love movement that your body really, truly hates -- you’re much less likely to do it when it’s no fun! Bodies are amazing--all bodies--and we should let them move, dance, and tell stories!
Bodies ARE amazing. Thank you for sharing your body's incredible story with us!
Bonus content: Sam and Shauna (and 3rd amigo, Shana) 15 years ago at a "Tacky" Christmas Party.