Posted on Oct 02, 2015
Posted in: What's Your Workout
Nikki Strick loves playing team sports. When asked which one, she recites a laundry list that sounds like the greatest hits of the Summer Olympics. At Menasha High School she played basketball, softball and volleyball. At UW Madison, where she obtained both her B.S. in Exercise Science and her Masters in Physical Therapy, she played intramural volleyball, flag football and indoor floor hockey. Even after she graduated in 2002 she continued to play volleyball and later joined a kickball league. “I have always been involved in sports. It is a great way to stay fit and be social.”
In addition to playing team sports, Nikki also competes in triathlons, obstacle races and long distance bike rides. “I am competitive with myself rather than other people. I don’t have to place first in anything. It is more recreational for me than a competition.” Her favorites include the Tough Mudder and the Scenic Shore 150 Bike Tour. Two summers ago Nikki raced the Scenic Shore 150 when she was 30 weeks pregnant with her first child. “Attending spin class prepared me for the physical demands of the ride but I definitely got fatigued more easily. Besides that it was a great event.”
Playing hard at team sports can have its risks. In 2004 Nikki tore both ACL’s while playing volleyball and had two surgeries five months apart. Afterwards she worked hard at physical therapy to recover fully. “Now I have the perspective of being a patient and feeling challenged. I worked hard so I could get back to the things I wanted to do. I think I am a better physical therapist because of it.”
Besides back-to-back surgeries the only other thing that has slowed her down is the birth of her son, Quinn, who turns one this month. Although she does not have as much time as she used to, her fitness goals have not changed. “Staying motivated isn’t the issue. I enjoy going to classes and staying fit. It is like mental therapy for me because it makes me feel better.” To maximize her time, Nikki goes to work prepared. She packs her workout clothes, lunch and snacks the night before. That way she does not have any excuses to skip class. She also started attending classes before work. Being a parent also motivates Nikki. “I want to stay young through movement so I am able to keep up with my son as he gets older.”
Nikki attends classes at Anu in Neenah twice a week, varying it up between Body Flow, Body Pump and CXWORX. These three classes offer enough variety to keep Nikki motivated. Body Flow is a mix of tai chi, yoga and Pilates, Body Pump is a weight lifting class set to music and CXWORX is a core and gluteus-focused workout. She also fits in workouts when she is at home with her son. When her son does tummy time she does planks to keep her core strong. During nap time she uses her elliptical machine for cardio work. “My perspective has changed because I have less time. My desire is there. I’m still playing kickball this fall and I want to return to volleyball in the future. There is a delicate balance between giving enough to my child and staying true to myself.”
She enjoys riding her bike when the weather is nice. Typically she rides 20-30 miles 2-3x per week during the warmer months. Recently she has also returned to running. Along with her colleagues Kari, Molly, Becky and Denise, she ran Run Away To The Bay in April, which was 55-mile relay race between Oshkosh and Green Bay. She trained 1-2x per week to get in shape for it. “My first training run went surprisingly well. I didn’t have to walk at all. It felt good after not running for a whole year.”
Nikki does not have much time to make meals but she still tries to eat healthy. For breakfast she likes granola with milk or yogurt, topped with raisins or nuts. She will also eat a piece of fruit like pineapple, orange or berries.
For snacks she prefers hard boiled eggs, greek yogurt with berries, or wheat thins. For lunch she always has yogurt and a piece of fruit. She will also eat a Healthy Choice meal because they are fast and easy. Other options include leftovers from dinner or a turkey sandwich.
For dinner she eats pasta or chicken breasts on the grill with a side of rice and steamed vegetables. Chicken parmesan, casseroles, and lasagna are also perennial favorites. To spice things up she orders takeout from her favorite ethnic restaurants. Her favorites include Mexican, Indian or Thai.
Nikki is not a clothing or gadget snob. She wears whatever feels comfortable for her. For shoes she has a pair of Asics. Capris are a favorite part of her workout uniform and she likes Nike or Lululemon. She has an inexpensive Ironman watch that she wears while running so she can count her cadence. She owns a Specialized Ruby Elite bike and wears Specialized biking shorts.
Like many of her colleagues, Nikki prefers silence over music. “I like having stillness in my day. It’s nice to have peace and quiet because my days are so crazy.”