Name: Nancy Newell
Location: Hudson, MA
What does being a Girl Gone Strong mean to you?
To me, being a Girl Gone Strong means two things:
1. It means that you have a purpose-driven focus to achieve daily success.
2. It means that your our energy and enthusiasm vitalize everyone around you.
GGS represents a vast and growing group of powerful women. Women who are breaking through shackles, placed on them by media, society, and self-limiting thoughts.
How were you introduced to strength training, and how long have you been training?
I spent most of my childhood in the freezing cold Tug Hill Plateau in Upstate NY. Living here made me love the outdoors, and it’s where I spent most of my time hiking, playing sports, and snowmobiling. Having always been active, I was introduced to strength training sophomore year of college (2012) by my good friend, Ryan Brenan, who is currently Graduate Assistance at my alma mater SUNY Cortland.
What does your typical workout look like?
My training varies depending on what phase of training I’m doing. Currently, my amazing coach Tony Bonvehcio—a fellow CSP Strength Coach—has me in a hypertrophy phase of death! Today, for example, I performed the following:
Back Squat 1×8@115, 1×6@135, 4×8@160
Front Squat 4×8@120
1-arm, 1-Leg KB RDL From Floor 4×8
SQUAT. My biggest weakness when I first started lifting was the back squat. I had a hard time figuring out how all of these moving parts should flow. Over the years I have strived to make my weakness my strengths, and my strengths stronger.
Most memorable PR:
This bad boy!
Top 5 songs on your training playlist:
- Volbeat “I only wanna be with you”
- Volbeat “Fallen”
- Volbeat “Still Counting”
- Volbeat “Bliss”
- Volbeat “Lola Montez”
* I kinda like volbeat
Top 3 things you must have with you at the gym or in your gym bag:
- Glacier Ice Gatorade
- Gangster Wraps
Do you prefer to train alone or with others? Why?
Other humans, for sure! The environment during CSP staff lift is contagious and pushes me to demolish every training session. One thing I have learned is that you are a product of your environment—and the environment at CSP is a strong one!
Best compliment you’ve received lately:
I Recently attend a wedding shower held at Lisa Lewis ‘s humble abode. One of the women who attended missed the story of how we all know each other (through CSP). She walked up to Lisa and whispered, “Why do all of these women here have jacked arms?!”
Most recent compliment you gave someone else:
My younger sister is in the Air Force and is stationed in Germany. I do not get to talk to her nearly enough, and a few days ago I finally got the chance. Her attitude and character have positively changed immensely since we were younger. Over Skype, I told her to “keep it up sis, you’re crushing life.”
Thanks to my godparents, my favorite meal by far is the mouth-watering, sizzling steak at the 101 Pub in Ridgefield Park, NJ.
Favorite way to treat yourself:
Anytime I get to spend a day with my friend at the beach, throwing a football.
“Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.” — John Wooden
Legacy – 15 Lessons on Leadership by James Kerr
What inspires and motivates you?
It sounds so simple, but just being truly happy every day. Growing up, I witnessed family members and friends who struggled and were never happy about anything. They constantly complained about their career paths and personal lives, and had more than one excuse as to why they were stagnant. At a very young age I learned from them, and I made it my daily mission to find ways to spark excitement, happiness, and personal growth not only in my own life, but in the lives of others around me.
What do you do?
I am a Strength and Conditioning Coach at Cressey Sports Performance. I help people over come their fears, personal boundaries, and surpass their goals in an epic fashion. I use my high energy, creativity, and passion to guide people towards achieving daily success.
What else do you do?
Brazilian Ji jitsu, cooking, hiking, powerlifting.
Describe a typical day in your life, from waking up to bedtime:
6am – wake up
620 – Fuel the machine Breakfast!
640 – 930am: Reading, writing, personal growth *knowledge gains
10 – 12pm: Lifting things up and putting them down *YESS
12 – 7pm: CSP
7 – 9pm: Ji Jitsu
9 30pm : Arrive Home /Heat up meal prepped food
Your next training goal:
Hit 315-pound deadlift
What are you most grateful for?
I am most grateful for the CSP staff. They are some of the smartest, inspiring, down-to-earth people you will ever met. They make every day at CSP a great one.
What life accomplishment are you most proud of?
My proudest accomplishments to date are being the first in my family to graduate from college and being the first female and youngest strength coach at CSP.
What is your biggest challenge and how are you addressing it?
Public Speaking is my biggest challenge. Just like anything you want to get better at you have to do it more often. I am addressing it by getting in front of people and speaking about topics I want to know more about. I then will have my friends and colleagues listen to the material and send honest feedback.
What is your role at CSP?
My role at CSP involves many different avenues such as:
- Assessing/programing individual athletes
- Youth Camps (CSP Foundations)
- Public Speaking
- Sparking excitement and happiness
- Making people smile and while crushing PR’s
When did you start working there?
I started working at CSP the day after I finished my last final on December 18th. I was thrown into the gauntlet of peak off-season baseball, and it was amazing!
How did you get the job?
I crushed my internship at CSP during the summer of 2015 and created raging fans. I worked my tail off each day to be an effective coach who talked less when it came to coaching and started sentences with people’s names. I went back to SUNY Cortland after the internship. Pete called me six weeks later, and the rest is history.
What do you love most about your work with CSP, and in the fitness industry in general?
That’s a hard question. I can’t really narrow it down to one, but these two are for sure it:
- The CSP Family! The culture at CSP is like no other. All of us help one another to be the best coach, athlete, and genuine person we can be and in result we create a community of people who flourish.
- Not being the smartest person in the room. The coaching staff is filled with some of the brightest coaches who not only have decades of experience over me but also bring something unique to the table that I can grow and learn from each and every day.
Of the things you’ve learned while working at CSP, what has been your most valuable lesson?
My most valuable lessons while working at CSP have not been about how to program, assess individuals, or performing technical arm care drills, but rather the importance of showing up. CSP is filled with countless hard-working athletes who spend a vast amount of time at CSP especially during their off-season. As soon as in-season hit I distinctly remember we held a staff meeting and organized who was attending what games and what was the best avenue to reach out to the athletes show them how much we cared. It seems so small however; I cannot explain to you how excited our athletes are to see us at their games and how much it means to them. Small gestures speak volumes.
We’ve heard that you’re “single-handedly changing the gym culture at CSP.” What are you doing?
I am doing the little things and doing them well.
Community: I am introducing new athletes to current athletes to spark new friendships and inside jokes. Along with creating an army of Newell Crew women who see obstacles as opportunities and enjoy the occasional gossip session discussing our latest love/hate relationships with our training.
Being Mama Nance: Over the past month or so “Mama Nance” has started to become my identity at CSP. It may be because I am the only female coach on the floor combined with my unique personality that creates an enjoyable but hard working atmosphere where gains are made on the daily. This role on the training floor has sparked an up rise in athletes wanting to just talk about “life”. In result, I have been known to assign homework assignments to help athletes think, explore, and problem solve.
Individualization: Each person that walks through those doors at CSP has a different story, goal, and personality. I love creating personalized interactions with each person I come into contact with. For example, I always give Brett the word of the week, I ask Tom about his breakfast every day, I always have an intense random stare down with Ryan. It’s weird I know, but it creates smiles and smiles create happiness and happiness is what I stand for!
Three words that best describe you:
Highly energetic, industrious, and loyal.
What’s the coolest “side effect” you’ve noticed from strength training?
The coolest “side effects” from training are the vast number of amazing humans I have met and the positive memorable experiences we have created, on and off the training floor.
How has lifting weights changed your life?
Strength training has taught me countless essential life lessons I use every day. For example:
Consistency is the key to success. Whatever it may be that you want to accomplish, it can be done by making time each and every day to become better towards your desired craft.
Having a coach/mentor is a must. In college, I would see many students performing the same exercises every single day. Four years down the road nothing had changed for them because they had no reliable guidance. Having a mentor is great, it keeps you honest, and your ceiling is only as high as you make it.
I love having a coach because it takes me outside my comfort zone, I have someone to talk to, and I get results by staying focused and setting daily goals.
What do you want to say to other women who might be nervous to start strength training?
I usually don’t say much at all. Rather, I ask a series of questions and listen for the answers. These, or similar questions, encourage critical thinking and help uncover next steps:
- What type of exercise do you currently do?
- How long have you been doing this for?
- Have you achieved the results you wanted from it? If not, how do you think you could get to where you want to be?
- What would be the benefits of trying something new?
- Are there any situations while working out that made you feel uncomfortable? If so, why?
- Why do you want to work with me, and how do you believe I can help you achieve your desired goals?
Answering these questions helps you actively think about your current situation and how you can improve it or make changes.
If you are inspired by Nancy, read on to learn more about—and join!—our community of strong, supportive women…