Meet the Woman who Kicks FFG’s Ass: Personal Trainer Audrey Shepherd

Behold the Monster Girl, aka DYT, aka Audrey Shepherd.

Behold DYT, aka Monster Girl, aka Audrey Shepherd.

You might know Audrey better as DYT, the Delightful Young Trainer who whipped me into better shape for my figure competition in June 2011, after G-Smash, my original trainer, decided to devote herself full-time to bodybuilding. Audrey’s nickname is apt, for she is indeed delightful. When Audrey recently opened her own business in a studio near the campus where I work, I was happy to start training with her again. She is at once sweet, supportive, and tough—willing to push me to work harder every session. I look forward to and enjoy every single work out with her, especially the boxing sessions which my back fondly remembers for about a week afterwards. I recently sent Audrey a list of questions about her life as an athlete and personal trainer, and paste her responses below. I hope you enjoy getting to know her. A few pictures are included, which reveal not only Audrey’s high level of fitness but also the fact that she is naturally gorgeous. Audrey is the kind of woman that far less genetically blessed people such as me might want to envy, or even hate, but she is so generous and caring that it is in fact impossible to do so. Believe me, I have tried. Especially on leg day.

Check out Monster Girl Fitness Inc. on Facebook. And now it’s over to you, Mistress Audrey.

Awesome AudreyDYT: I have been involved in sports since I was a little kid. I went from ballet to kickboxing, with a wide variety of athletics in between. I took my AFLCA (Alberta Fitness Leadership Certification Association) examination in 1999, when I was 13 years old, but failed it by 1%. Since I was easily discouraged, I went on to pursue my swimming instructor goals instead. It wasn’t until 2008, when I had moved back to Edmonton from Kelowna, British Columbia, that I accepted a job as a receptionist at the Club Fit gym, surrounding myself with people who encouraged me to pursue my personal trainer dreams. I’ve always loved helping people. As I child I was the “doctor” in the house and my brother was the “dentist.”

Muay Thai is my favourite kind of training, hands down. It is the toughest sport, mentally and physically, that I have ever experienced and it has been the most life changing for me. I always tell people that Muay Thai is cheaper than a therapist. I had a fantastic coach who instilled a true hard work ethic into me. I say true because he made me push through the most challenging training days even when I was crying my eyes out. These lessons carried over into my personal life as well.

The most difficult thing about starting my own personal training business was taking that leap of faith: going from relying on regular clients and a bi-weekly pay check from an established gym to not knowing who is going to come and train in my own studio. This uncertainty requires facing the fear of failure and all of the doubts that go with it. The most surprising thing about having a business is the sheer amount of work that it takes to run it. It’s often overwhelming for me because even when I’m not physically working, my brain is still thinking about work. The most rewarding thing about starting my own business is living every day being able to do what I love, while seeing my clients change and realize their capabilities! It is life changing for both them and me.

stairs

Audrey’s clients run the stairs leading into the river valley near her studio.

Some advice I’d give to anyone starting his or her own business is have faith in yourself, surround yourself with positive people who believe in you, and be prepared to work your ass off! I truly believe that if you are passionate about what you do, no matter what the job is, you WILL succeed.

I think one of the most challenging things about my job is adapting to people and what makes them tick. Not everyone is the same and what motivates one person isn’t necessarily going to motivate another person, so it takes time. Sometimes this learning curve is a game of trial and error, requiring patience from my clients as well as myself. It is also difficult when I see the potential in my clients but they don’t (yet) see it in themselves. I want to bring it out of them, even if they’re kicking and screaming!

I think one of the funniest things that happens while training is when clients fart doing crunches. It still makes me chuckle, although it happens more often than you think.

tires

Clients at Monster Girl Fitness can jump over tires or smash them with sledge hammers.

My clients have taught me to be persistent. They actually have no idea how much they motivate me to keep working hard and challenge myself in my own personal and fitness goals [Aside from FFG: Audrey is currently training for a triathlon to take place in Hawaii]. I am surrounded by an amazing group of women.

My biggest fitness challenge occurred just last year: it involved overcoming an injury. I went from being in the best shape of my life, training 2-3 hours a day/6 days a week, to being restricted to doing my physiotherapy and spin classes 3 times a week at best. It was really hard for me, not only physically but also mentally. I was in a dark place for a while; during that period my job became extremely challenging and I couldn’t do anything that I loved. I felt like I had lost my identity. In the end, my clients, friends, and family helped me to get through it. My clients were a primary motivation, encouraging me to get better. I wanted to show them by example that if you keep fighting and are persistent, you can get back to a good place again. Admittedly my injury changed the way I train (because I’ve always had an all-or-nothing personality) but not necessarily in a negative way; it has in fact made me train smarter and actually listen to my body.

I would say that I have farm girl strength. After all, I am Scottish, Irish, and English, a deadly mixture of TOUGH! My weakest link is my endurance. I am built to be strong and explosive for short periods of time, but I have been working to increase my endurance for the past few years now. One final piece of advice that I can offer is this: be sure to train with people who are in better shape than you!

Audrey does deads at the gym with a friend.

Audrey does deads at the gym with a friend.

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About feministfiguregirl

I am a 50-year-old professor named Lianne McTavish who receives as much satisfaction from working out at the gym as from publishing my academic research. I decided to combine my two primary identities (scholar/gym rat) to create "Feminist Figure Girl," a fictional character who both analyzes and participates in bodybuilding. I competed in my first figure show in June of 2011, and then wrote a book inspired by the process, published by SUNY Press in February 2015. In this blog I will write about and consider my ongoing research on the body, while regularly making fun of myself. I recommend that you start reading my first post from August 2010 (available on the home page), instead of backwards from the most recent one, in order to get the full FFG effect.

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