- Associated Press - Saturday, September 6, 2014

DENVER (AP) - Denver personal trainer Emily Schromm, recently chosen by Women’s Health magazine as the 2014 Next Fitness Star, is a latter-day Amazon.

Tall, tanned and toned, she possesses a feline strength and confidence that make a winning combination in the CrossFit competitions that punctuate her calendar. She calls her leg muscles “quadzillas.” And look at her neck and shoulders: She has trapezoids that go for weeks.

“I have big traps, and I’m proud of it,” Schromm, 25, said one afternoon in the bare-bones CrossFit Park Hill facility where she works out twice a day. The gym is in a former garage. Black rubber mats soften the floor, with rectangles of wood flooring at the barbell stations.

That day, her midafternoon workout included 30 minutes of Olympic snatch sets (explosively pulling a weighted barbell overhead, arms extended, and dropping back into a squat in one smooth motion), and 30 minutes of snatch complexes (after executing the Olympic snatch, lowering the bar to one’s quadzillas and starting again from there).

Plus 20 minutes of back squats holding a 200-pound barbell on her shoulders. And as many rounds as she could of 12-minute sets of 15 kettlebell swings and 10 handstand pushups.

“Ultimately, the goal is to get the full squat snatch as heavy as I can,” she said when she finished. “My personal record is 152 pounds, above my body weight, but I’d like to get it to 160.

“And now I am ready for some protein and some coffee.”

She is always ready for coffee, which she takes black with a pat of butter made from the milk of a grass-fed cow. As a proponent of the paleo diet, that “grass-fed butter” in her coffee is the only dairy product she allows herself. For Schromm, paleo is part of a fitness philosophy that embraces fats and avoids both carbs and calorie counting.

“A few years ago, I stopped most carbohydrates, like oatmeal, quinoa and bread, and replaced that with fat,” Schromm said.

“I want to be the paleo-weightlifting Jillian Michaels. I want to bring people the truth about fitness and food. I wish people wouldn’t count calories, or eat gluten and processed sugar. I don’t know one person who hasn’t had tremendous health benefits from changing their fuel source from carbohydrates to fats.”

Client Supriya Surender, who has worked out under Schromm’s direction for three years, can testify to the efficacy of that philosophy.

“As a woman, it’s really easy to be obsessive about the number of calories in everything, and the number on the scale, and Emily really helped change that mentality for me,” Surender said.

“She helped change my focus to eating clean, healthy, filling food. I don’t even weigh myself any more. The only number I care about is the number of plates on my barbell, and I can deadlift about 150 pounds, which is more than my body weight. And I’m around 115.”

Schromm makes a point of telling her clients that she weighs 150 pounds.

“It’s good for people to know that weight shouldn’t be a forbidden topic,” Schromm said.

“Being fit and strong, I do weigh a lot, and that’s a good thing! Women need to get that horrible number out of their head. For me, it used to be 138. I had to be 138. I was weak and depressed and miserable. If you use the scale as progress, it never works. Change your focus; change your body.”

Here’s what Schromm typically eats in one day. For breakfast: Four pieces of “well-sourced bacon,” two eggs from pasture-raised hens, and three handfuls of kale and spinach. Plus the butter coffee.

That, with plenty of water, holds her till 3 p.m., when it’s time for more butter coffee, a protein bar and more water.

She works out again between 5 and 7:30 p.m., joining a CrossFit Workout Of The Day, and snacks on a cooked sweet potato before another weightlifting session.

For dinner, which she calls her “big meal of deliciousness,” she has 5 to 7 ounces of protein, often beef, paired with greens, mushrooms and avocado slices or drizzled olive oil.

“It’s fast and easy, and I like to make double so I can have it for breakfast in my egg scramble,” she said. She’s planning to write a cookbook.

Here’s another thing to know about Schromm, and it’s probably what helped her cinch the Next Fitness Star title: She is spookily good at trend-surfing.

Schromm was working as a barista in 2009 when she caught the eye of an MTV producer casting “The Real World: DC.” That led to MTV’s “The Challenge,” which she filmed while building her business as a personal trainer and professional CrossFit competitor. MTV rallied fans to vote for Schromm. That helped, and so did Schromm’s instinct for developing diverse social media platforms to promote her work.

There are days when she wakes up and would rather close her eyes again.

“When I feel like that, it’s a sign that I’m over-training,” she said. “We all have those days. But that’s how you grow as a person, physically and emotionally. You either accept it, or change it. Otherwise, you just victimize yourself.”


Information from: The Denver Post, https://www.denverpost.com

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