Victory Ranch’s newest trainer Nancy Russell knows how to climb to the top. Whether she’s competing in the IFSC Climbing World Cup or training for an Ironman triathlon, Nancy has the experience and positive ambition to get through anything—so long as there’s a goal in mind. Now, Victory Ranch members have the ability to adopt this same, incredibly impressive physical and mental endurance. Through Nancy’s training sessions, specifically tailored to each of her clients’ needs and desires, one can—likewise—reach the top. We sat down with Nancy to gain insight into her inspiring background, much-anticipated training sessions and how we, too, can take advantage of the boundless backcountry year-round.
You’ve accomplished a great deal that requires both physical and mental endurance. What’s your pro tip for pushing through a workout, whether that be a short session or triathlon?
You have to always have a goal in mind. Your body can do amazing things; it can do anything you tell it to do, but you have to have a goal in mind and a plan to get you there. It’s too easy to quit when things get hard if you aren’t looking at a larger picture. I always think just go hard now and you can rest later.
We understand that you have experience in rehab and sports performance. How do you integrate this knowledge into training sessions with clients?
I like to make my training sessions very individualized—no cookie cutter plans. Everyone has their own strengths, weaknesses and goals in mind. Everyone also has had an injury or two before and that all plays a role in how you train. We will do specialized workouts for whatever you’re interested in, whether that be golf, skiing, biking, or even just getting stronger in your daily activities. If you have a nagging injury we can do exercises to carefully strengthen the affected area.
You impressively trained yourself through four National Rock Climbing Championships and one World Cup. How does a rock climbing competition work?
Well, it’s usually held on a manmade wall and whoever gets the furthest up the wall or all the way to the top is the winner. There are usually two or three routes and they total your points from each climb. It’s relatively new in the states but in Europe, where I competed in the World Cup, it is a very big deal; climbing is one of France’s main Sports. The competitions were held in huge sports arena and hundreds came to watch!
You were a mountain guide for three years in the Tetons. What recommendations do you make for those training to climb the Grand?
Climbing the Grand requires strength, endurance and climbing experience. I’d have someone do a lot of hiking, particularly steep hiking in the months leading up to the climb. It’s also critical to spend some time on the rocks, climbing, rappelling and getting use to exposure! The climbing on the Grand is easy but your thousands of feet up and your tired and it’s very exposed, you have to physically and mentally prepare for all of that.
What drew you to working at Victory Ranch?
My husband has been building homes here for a number of years and I’ve had the pleasure of coming over to tour the Ranch a few times and fell in love with its quiet, beautiful surroundings and all they have to offer here. The trails are amazing, the scenery is incredible and the new Barn is world class. You couldn’t ask for a more amazing place to get to work! And, I live in Oakley which makes the commute hard to beat.
What is your favorite part of Victory Ranch thus far?
That’s hard to say, but The Barn is pretty amazing! I also love the mountain bike trails, the river—it’s all so beautiful.
You are available only by appointment, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. What will your sessions consist of and what can members expect?
On the first session we will spend some time getting to know each other and figuring out what your goals are, your likes and dislikes when it comes to exercising—there are so many options at the Ranch that we’re sure to find something for everyone. Then, each visit will begin with a warm up, followed by a strength training session where we will help you work towards your goals, whatever they may be. It doesn’t just have to involve being in the gym all the time, either. I would love to help people get outside and learn new things. We can go outside and cross country ski, mountain bike, hike, trail run, etc.
We understand that workouts are only half the fitness battle. Are there any particular dietary tips you give to your clients?
I don’t believe in dieting; I believe in moderation in all things. As soon as you take a certain food or food group away, that’s all you want. I think treats and carbs are okay, but those things have to be in small amounts. The majority of the foods we eat should be in the plant and animal family, but our bodies need carbs for energy, especially if you’re working hard!
If you don’t have access to any equipment, what type of exercise do you find to be the most fulfilling?
My favorite type of exercises don’t involve weights at all. I love body weight workouts and think its still possible to get an amazing workout without weights. Squats, lunges, pushups, pullups, crunches—none of that involves weights and I promise you can still get very sore and very strong while not using any weights at all. I think plyometrics and box jump type activities are also great for us all—especially for the skiers out there.
At Victory Ranch, members have access to the boundless backcountry. What workouts do you recommend that families do together outdoors, regardless of season?
We do have access to the most amazing backcountry terrain here at the Ranch. Families can get out for mountain bike rides, hikes, cross country skiing, etc. I have four kids of my own and they have been skiing and mountain biking since they could walk! We kayak together, mountain bike, cross country ski, hike—anything that involves being together and getting outside.