Growing up doing chores on a farm in rural Michigan is a surefire way to develop discipline and an appreciation for hard physical labor. But take a job at a local gym in high school, then progress to a career in the U.S. Coast Guard, and you come to possess the kind of strength and expertise that Olive Timms brings to her work as a personal trainer at HealthSPORT.
Reluctant to flip burgers or sell clothes in a mall, Olive learned the foundations of fitness as a teen when she was hired to instruct members in basic workouts at her local gym. She applied the same techniques to her own training, saw great results and was hooked.
Olive quickly accelerated to a new level of fitness when she entered the military. Commanding officers built a full hour into each day for working out. Soon military and civilian friends were asking if they could train alongside her. And she met a fellow serviceman who would later become her husband.
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It could have all gone to pieces in 2004 when she left the military and took a position as a payroll clerk at a utility company in New Jersey. She no longer had a slot in her workday schedule for the gym, and her free time was in short supply--even shorter after her first son was born in 2005.
But Olive and her husband, Butch, made working out a priority, and it even helped her bounce back from three more pregnancies more quickly. So when her family landed in Humboldt in 2014, Olive decided to pursue her passion as a career. She earned a personal training certification through ACE and began working as a trainer at HealthSPORT in 2016.
Four children, a demanding job and a husband in the service have not dampened Olive’s discipline and appreciation for hard physical activity. She recently secured a sports and exercise certification from Precision Nutrition. And in May, she competed for the first time in the bikini segment of the NPC Cascadian Classic in Bend, Oregon, an incredible feat of determination that required serious weight training and diet planning beginning last October. Her mental and physical focus paid off with a fifth-place finish at the fitness and bodybuilding competition.
Olive Is Living Proof That It Can Be Done. But How?
“I believe in hard work and consistency. But I also believe in moderation,” Olive says. “The only way I can get through it all is by planning ahead but also being extremely flexible. I have to put my health first and take care of myself so that I can take care of my family. Working out is what I need to do that."
“But sometimes I don’t have the full hour-and-a-half that I would like and have to shorten or alter my workout for the day. Also, time management is the key to getting it all done—squeezing the most out of every minute of the day.”
Her workouts typically include two to three lower-body days and two to three upper-body days a week, separated by muscle group. Diet also is key, of course.
“All food has its place,” Olive says. “I love meat—chicken, shrimp, steak, pork. I also love carbs—rice, potatoes, pasta—and of course fats such as nut butters and avocado. I also eat tons of fresh fruits and vegetables. I try really hard to have a healthy relationship with food. I eat what I like and don’t try to add things to my plate that I’m not fond of.”
Clients often come to her seeking weight loss. But Olive won’t work with those who list this as their only goal. “I can help you burn fat, gain muscle and strength, increase endurance and energy, and look and feel your best. But if you simply want the number on the scale to drop, then I’m not the one,” she says.
“The greatest challenge is accepting that body weight is not the best measure of progress. We’ve been told to use this simple-minded measurement most of our lives. It’s hard to see beyond that.”
To that end, Olive begins each training relationship with an assessment to see where a client is on the fitness scale. And she thrives on helping them move the needle.
“What I love most about what I do is the ability to change someone's life forever,” Olive says. “I love the challenge of figuring out what inspires each individual and guiding them to reach their personal fitness goals.”
Olive’s Recommendations For…
...those just getting started:
Just do it. Doesn’t matter who you’re doing it for or why: Just start. Start taking walks after dinner or doing body-weight squats before bed. Whatever you want to start with, just do it.
…those who’ve hit a plateau.
Change up the exercises, change the reps and sets, try something new. If you’re a cardio junkie, try weight-lifting; if you’re a bodybuilder, try powerlifting. Always refresh your routine and push yourself out of your comfort zone. When I feel complacent, I set a firm goal with a date attached. This always gives me motivation.
… someone who's worked out most of his or her life?
If you’re happy with your results and progress, then keep doing what you’re doing. If you’ve stopped seeing change, then take a risk and try something new.