Alexandra Sheppard - Food ‘n Fitness
Occupation: Founder and Owner of DancingGinger Meal Prep and Nutritional Service, Yogi, Pilates, and Crossfit Instructor, Health Coach (throughout the US) and Dancer.
Alex considers herself a typical Californian woman, she loves the sun, nature, and tacos, but we think she’s so much more, so what sets her apart from the other Californians, aside from living in New York? She took her passions and found ways to live off them: she used her love of food and cooking, and turned it into a meal prepping and nutritional coaching business, called DancingGinger. She turned her love of dance into a degree, all while getting certified in not one, not two, but THREE forms of fitness. We had the opportunity to sit down with her in Tel Aviv, and talk about her passions and how she turned them into her career.
From Coast To Coast:
Growing up in San Diego, I always participated in sports at school, and dabbled a bit in dance, nothing too serious, but after bouncing around a bit between universities, I landed at San Jose State, where I graduated with my BFA in Dance. It was towards the end of my undergraduate career when people, professors, instructors, kept telling me I should move to New York, that I would do really well there. Eventually after so many people kept telling me to move, I started to think about it more and decided I should give it a try.
I’ve always been passionate about food and fitness. When I got to New York, a friend of mine really encouraged me to start a food blog, and that’s how DancingGinger was born. It’s a meal prep and nutrition service where I go to clients houses and prepare them a weeks worth of fresh home-cooked meals, that they can eat whenever they want.
Personally, I feel like I eat a more seasonally, especially living in New York. In the summer I find that I want more raw foods, and then in the winter I make really hearty meals.
I make sure to only put good, clean, food in my body, I tell everyone, the more you feed your body good, the harder it is to feed it bad.
"The more you feed your body good, the harder it is to feed it bad."
I still love to dance, so I take dance classes and do freelance work when I can. In college I was part of the Dance Company, a modern-contemporary group. When I first started I really didn’t know if I wanted to make a career out of dance, or if I even could, but then we had a master teacher Rogelio Lopez, come in and teach a class. He was so passionate and fluid in his movement that I thought: this has to be my life, and now I’m actually going to school to get my Masters degree, and I’m actually training under him. Through watching him and his passion, and as I studied dance more, I learned about Gaga and the BatSheva dance company. I fell in love with the movement and that's what brought me to Tel Aviv. I'm working towards learning as much as I can from the company and studying the technique more. I’m actually auditioning for them this week, which is a dream come true for me.
I was working as barista in college, but decided I wanted to support myself a different way, so I went and got my yoga certification. At the same time my teacher said, you know what, you can actually teach Pilates too, so I started doing yoga and Pilates, and from there found out about Crossfit. At first I was very put off by crossfit because I saw a lot of people hurting themselves and getting injured, and my body is literally my career, but then I took my first class, and found there is a correct way and technique to it. I fell in love with Crossfit, so when I moved to New York I got certified to be a crossfit instructor, and from there I also moved into personal training. So now I do personal training and I teach yoga, pilates, and crossfit which are all very different from each other but that’s what I love.
To keep myself motivated I tell myself and I tell my clients, you always feel better after a workout, there has never been a time when I thought to myself, after a workout, man I really shouldn’t have worked out. And I think maybe it’s also that added feeling that I can’t be an out of shape instructor, and I need my body to be in tip-top shape.
"You always feel better after a workout, there has never been a time when I thought to myself, after a workout, man I really shouldn’t have worked out."
My goal for my career is to teach college dance, at a university. I would love to do that, but I also never envisioned the company that I built up for myself in DancingGinger, and I’m really enjoying it. I’m trying to get more into online health coaching, so I can help more people wherever they are. I would also love to build my Instagram community more, to create a platform to help inspire people.
I’m very much an eco-friendly person, it’s one of the reasons I became vegetarian in the first place. I saw the impact it has on the environment, and I loved that FRÉ works to empower women, and is both vegan and cruelty free. I was looking on the site and I just thought I love everything here! I don’t really have any beauty products or anything, so I loved that the products are very gentle, because I don’t do a lot to my face. My favorite is PROTECT ME because it has sunscreen in it, and I have pale skin so I have to really be careful to use sunscreen.
"I was looking at FRÉ’s site and I just thought I love everything here!"
- Leg day: Hate It or Love It?
- Both, I hate it ‘cause it’s painful, but I love it because it’s good for me
- Work out attire: Tight or Loose?
- Tight for yoga and Crossfit, loose for dance
- Favorite “cheat meal”?
- French Fries
- What’s your favorite aspect of your job?
- Everything! Working one-on-one with people
- What’s the hardest thing about your job?
- Having to be in multiple places all the time
- If you ruled the world, what’s a law you would make?
- Equal Pay
- Where do you hope to see yourself 5 years from now?
- Dancing more and working one on one with more clients
- What’s the best food in the world?
- Mexican→ Tacos
- East Coast vs. West Coast?
- West Coast
- What does it mean to be a woman today?
- It means being able to stand up for yourself and at the same time still being open to everyone
- What is one thing that’s going to save humanity?
- What is feminism to you?
- I think it’s being strong, knowing what you want, not being afraid to say what you want, and leading your own life not caring what people think of you.