If you want to get stronger, you’re not alone. Building strength is one of the top goals among Tempo members, and we’re excited to introduce a new guest coach, Raychel Epperson
, who developed Everyday Strength, a brand new strength training
program launching August 1, specifically designed to help busy people gain strength, move better, and gain confidence in their body. Raychel is a mom of two, with a background in strength training, boxing, and prenatal and postpartum workouts.
Clarence, Tempo Coach and our Head of Coach Development sat down with Raychel to talk about strength training, myths around getting bulky and how to stay fit with Tempo!
Coach Clarence: Hi Raychel! Can you tell us a bit about your fitness journey?
Raychel Epperson: My fitness journey started when I was in college, I developed bad eating habits and wasn't working out at all. I felt sluggish, like I was in a mental fog and semi-depressed since I didn’t have the endorphins or motivation to do much. It got to this place where I realized this wasn’t the person I wanted to be and I knew I had to change. I started slow but found that fitness, specifically group fitness, was what I needed to help get me out of my fog.
CC: How long did it take to create this new habit?
RE: To be honest, it took a while. I changed my diet first and focused on eating healthier. Once I started feeling better I decided to start adding in movement. I took a few spin classes once or twice a week because I loved the music and the vibe because it felt fun! Once I was able to maintain a regular workout schedule, I tried out some other types of training but it took about three years to feel comfortable with myself and fitness. When I moved to San Francisco I started to experiment with strength training. That's when things really started to click for me and I dove deep into fitness.
CC: I love it. It seems like you were someone who enjoyed group classes more than working out alone. Do you think at Tempo people can find that same camaraderie and motivation?
RE: Definitely. For me, going to the gym alone or trying to find an online plan just felt so difficult. I tried it and didn’t like it because I never knew if my form was wrong or if I was doing the exercises correctly. What I like about Tempo is that whether it's a program or in a live class, you get the chance to workout with people. You can find motivation from the instructor or by following the leaderboard or just by hitting your reps. You get the chance to push yourself and that makes it feel like you’re not alone.
CC: What is your typical fitness schedule? How do you prioritize fitness in your day to day life?
RE: Sometimes it's just about doing what you can. I used to be that type of person who had to do three 45-minute workouts a week but after having kids, I realized that I may not always have time for that and that’s okay. If doing 15 to 20 minutes of movement is going to make me feel better, I do it. I was working out this morning but my son started getting fussy so I had to stop and not beat myself up about not doing my full hour. I’m also a big walker and just got a new double stroller, it’s my jam. I try to lift full body three days a week since I can't commit to a five-day workout schedule or specific body-focused workouts because things happen. I definitely try to prioritize my three days of strength training and other than that I fit in what I can.
CC: Obviously there’s a lot of good that can come from strength training, but for some it can be intimidating. I know when I started, it was. What advice would you give to someone who is completely new to strength training?
RE: I totally relate to this. That's why doing something like Tempo is great because it allows you to focus on just you. Going to the gym can be intimidating since are so many pieces of equipment that you may not know how to use. With Tempo, you choose the class, it recommends the weights to use and then you follow along at your own pace. You get to feel like your own strength guru!
CC: So true. Now, a lot of people associate strength training and lifting heavy with getting bulky. Does getting stronger and lifting heavy weight automatically mean that you’re going to bulk up?
RE: Not at all! A lot of people believe that if they lift heavy weights, they will bulk up but it's really hard to get bulky. You have to eat a lot of food and work out a ton to get super bulky and big. When I was working out postpartum after my first kid, I was at my strongest, I lifted a ton and did a lot of strength training but I was also the smallest I’ve been. Most of the time, when you build muscle it’s lean muscle. Strength and muscle doesn’t always mean mass. You’re likely not going to get bulky by just lifting heavier weights unless you add in other things outside the gym to aid that.
CC: Besides strength training you’ve also ventured into a new realm of fitness. Can you explain what it means to be a Prenatal + Postpartum Corrective Exercise Specialist?
RE: Of course. When I was pregnant with my daughter I was really interested in learning about holistic medicine and saw a pelvic floor specialist before and after giving birth. I found it fascinating to learn and experience so I did the same thing with my second child, which made me realize how much I enjoyed working in that field. As a specialist, we focus on breathwork and regulating pressure before, during and after pregnancy. We can also help with diaphragmatic breathing, 360 breathing, pressure regulation and things that are safe for pregnancy and postpartum. It’s a lot of pelvic floor work, which I am totally obsessed with, which also helps with strength training and corrective exercises for pregnancy.
CC: That’s fascinating. Did your own experience having children lead you to this career path?
RE: 100%! Having my kids is what led me to this part of my fitness journey. After having my daughter I got super into fitness and that was probably the fittest I have ever been. When I got pregnant a second time, I really wanted to set myself up for success. Not just aesthetically but in all assets of life.
CC: How would you describe your teaching style?
RE: My teaching style is energetic and pretend dancing (which you’ll see when you join) but I also like to put in the hard work and get sweaty. Don’t judge me!
CC: What made you want to partner with Tempo for this program?
RE: What I love about Tempo is that it allows you to do things at home but not alone. As a mom, you have to find the time to do things for yourself since I have to set my schedule around my kids’. Tempo makes it easy to take a 30 minute class while my son is napping or do a strength training class when they are with Dad. I also love that Tempo offers so much strength training. It can be hard to do virtual fitness when there are no form cues or form feedback, so it’s amazing to receive real-time guidance and metrics for your workouts. It helps make fitness and strength training accessible for everyone - and I love that!