Excite me. Embrace me. Understand me. Motivate me. Teach me. Celebrate me. Surprise me.
At Total Woman, we empower women to live their best lives everyday in a supportive, motivating environment. And what could be more motivating than having an Olympic athlete as a personal trainer? We got the unique opportunity to talk to Kristin Hedstrom, a personal trainer at Total Woman Alameda, to learn more about her exciting life and accomplishments, and what she does to teach, help, and guide others along the path to accomplishing their own goals.
Kristin, now an elite level rower, got her start back in 2000 during her freshman year of high school. She wasn’t an athlete at all growing up, even though her parents really tried to get her into sports. “I really hated the idea of going to a gym and sweating”, says Kristin, “I tried every sport in the book (and didn’t like any of them) before a family friend recommended that I come down to the lake and try rowing.”
She was instantly hooked – rowing was completely different from anything she’d done before and she loved getting to be on the water every day.
Kristin continued to row through high school and college and slowly worked her way up in the sport. By her junior and senior year in high school, her team was already winning medals at the national championship. She was then recruited to row at the University of Wisconsin, “An experience I absolutely loved”, she says.
During her time at the University of Wisconsin, her team won two national titles in 2006 and 2008. She had also started rowing on the Under-23 national team at that time, although she admits that her “first few international finishes were pretty terrible”. We think that any international finish is a great finish, Kristin! 🙂
Once she graduated from college, Kristin was too old to compete on the Under-23 team, but was not yet sure if she was ready to make the leap up to competing on the Senior team (the Senior team is the same as the Olympic team)! She decided to continue training her first year out of college and see where she ranked against all the veteran national team athletes. “I completely surprised myself”, she says, “by becoming the youngest person to ever make the priority boat for my weight class in my first year.”
From there, Kristin knew she wanted to continue competing at the elite level. She’s now represented USA at six World Championships and one Olympic Games. Highlights in her career include a silver medal at the World Championships in 2010 and 2013 (she just recently finished competing in Korea this past August!) as well as four World Cup medals.
“The Olympic Games experience was simultaneously similar and different than other races I’ve competed at”, recollects Kristin.
“The World Championships is the biggest, most important regatta of each summer in non-Olympic years, and they’re set up just like the Olympic was. You train the same way, travel with many of the same Team USA rowers, and see the same competitors as you do at the Olympics. However, the biggest difference with the Olympics is how much interest it generated. At the World Championships, only the rowing world is paying attention. At the Olympics, the whole world is paying attention. The crowds were huge, people were taking pictures of us all the time, and all of a sudden everyone wanted an interview. Usually we’re in our own rowing spotlight instead of the world spotlight. Friends I hadn’t seen since elementary school were emailing saying they saw me race on NBC primetime. You feel a lot more pressure to perform at the Olympics”, she says.
A typical day for Kristin involves 4-6 hours of working out, split into either two or three practices. In the mornings, she works on cardiovascular endurance by rowing out on the Oakland Estuary. Afternoons are more geared towards power, either through lifting or doing hard sprints on the rowing machine. Sometimes afternoons will be 2+ more hours of long, steady cardio.
Kristin came to Total Woman because, “I thought if I used to be unmotivated to work out (and also really disliked it) and was able to find reasons to love it, I could help others realize the same thing”.
“My own journey has taught me that we are way more powerful and capable than we believe we are. We just have to take a risk and see what happens if we take something further than we thought possible. A lot of times I meet women who think they’re permanently going to be junk-food eaters who dislike or are intimidated by the gym and think their health is only going to get worse with age. Seeing those same women take their lives back and find strength that they didn’t know they had – both physically and mentally – is so common with my clients and simply incredible for me to be part of”, she says.
“I’m all about people surprising themselves with what they can achieve”, continues Kristin. “It’s one of the most powerful motivators.”
Another reason Kristin loves working for TW is that it affords her the flexibility she needs with her own training. “A typical 9-5 job just doesn’t work with the volume of training I do. I can’t thank Heidi Dauberman, my PT supervisor, enough for supporting my rowing goals and helping me make this possible”, she says.
In terms of nutrition, Kristin says she has “learned that people underestimate how great they’ll feel if they eat healthier food”.
“I eat a ton of fruits and vegetables every day and try to eat as few processed foods as possible”, she comments.
To support her clients, Kristin posts a weekly healthy recipe on herwebsite so they constantly have ideas of how to put fresh, healthy foods together into meals or snacks (http://www.kristinhedstrom.com/this-weeks-fuel.html).
Visit Kristin’s blog and website at http://www.kristinhedstrom.com/index.html to learn more about her amazing accomplishments over the years.
We are so proud of you Kristin and it is an honor to have you as a part of the Total Woman team! Best of luck in all of your future endeavors, you are truly an inspiration!
Written by Madeline Harbach