Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you chose Bozeman as your home? What do you do for work? And what does an average day in the life of Bri look like?
Moving to Bozeman 5 years ago was coming home to the state that had my heart. I grew up in Missoula and knew I wanted to get back to Montana eventually. The backyard playground lifestyle of Bozeman intrigued me to job hunt here. I’m a physical therapist and love that I get to help the community get back out to adventuring in our mountain trails and rivers…or shoveling all the snow in their driveways!
What brought you to The Mountain Project for your first training session, class, or event?
I was looking into different workout classes to get some conditioning before ski season and heard about this new gym opening called The Mountain Project. Their training philosophy and workout style of cardio/strength/agility/plyometrics was exactly what I was looking for. I came the first day the gym opened and haven’t looked back. This is an amazing community of friends/adventure buddies!
What motivates you to keep coming back and doing the work? Are there specific events/races you’re training for? Or is it simply the desire to be in your best shape for whatever adventures come along?
I’m a fan of getting my sweat on and the classes at TMP make that happen! They keep me in shape so I can attempt to keep up with my uber athletic friends. I do a few races a year for fun, but mainly just adventure to keep me young at heart.
What are the top 3 words you’d use to describe the community of coaches at The Mountain Project?
Bad-ass. Witty. Passionate
OK. Now for the important stuff. What’s your post-adventure beverage or indulgence of choice?
I’m not too picky when it comes to imbibing post-adventure drinks… usually a cold beer with good company!
Give us a little background info about you – like how you picked Bozeman as your mountain adventures hometown, what you do for work, and what your average day is like?
I moved to Bozeman in 1996 with my parents. My dad often jokes about how I’m not grateful enough that he brought us here instead of some city. I grew up snowboarding, hiking and fishing. Now my main outdoor activities are trail running, backpacking and foraging for mushrooms, berries and whatever else I can find.
I own Roots Kitchen & Cannery which is a small batch cannery focused on using local produce and fruit. My day involves sourcing produce, coming up with fun new recipes, sales calls, jamming, canning and whatever else comes up.
What brought you to The Mountain Project for your first training session, class, or event?
My kitchen has been located at 507 Bond St for 4 years now and I was so fortunate to have Mike Wolfe purchase the building and move in next door. It has been incredibly motivating and inspiring to have him and his crew as neighbors. They invited me over to train on their opening day and I’ve been consistently working out there since. It has been incredible to say the least.
What motivates you to keep coming back and doing the work? Are there specific events/races you’re training for? Or are you just looking to kick a@# whenever adventures come along?
I have a few races that I’m training for including a 50k, but mostly I just want to be in the best shape that I can be so I can run around in the woods like an animal. The training at the Mountain Project has made me more sure footed and increased my endurance to a level I didn’t think I would achieve especially in such a short amount of time.
Give us the top 3 words that come to mind when you think about the community of coaches and athletes at The Mountain Project
Compassionate, inspiring, and FUN!
What is the post-adventure or workout indulgence of choice that keeps you going when you need some extra motivation to get it done?
When I get back from a backpacking trip or a long run I usually crave Snickers and Doritos, which I rarely eat on my day to day.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. How long have you called Bozeman home?
I was born and raised in Bozeman. During my college years, I spent a semester in St Petersburg Russia, then came home briefly before moving on to sojourns in New York City, Milan Italy, and San Francisco, CA. In the year 2000, at 30, I decided it was time to move back home.
Why did you decide to check out The Mountain Project for the first time? Was it a certain coach, class, or open gym availability?
My girlfriend introduced me to Mountain Project. She was at the time a fitness trainer and believed that the type of training at Mountain Project would fit my lifestyle.
What are the biggest rewards for you – both in terms of your training or fitness levels. as well as the community of other athletes and coaches you’ve met?
The rewards from The Mountain Project are profound: I run further, I run faster, I can ski hard all day, I feel stronger. Mountain Project teaches us-or perhaps reminds us- that working hard produces benefits.
What would you tell someone who’s intimidated to try working out at TMP because they think it’s for elite athletes?
For a first time at TMP’er: Get ready to understand and acknowledge muscles in your body that you never knew you had. Im not a fitness guru, but Mountain Project is about balance and agility as much as it is strength, and that means we find new muscles to tweak every day.
Give us the low down on who you are and what makes you tick!
My name is Ruby Zitzer. I am 22 years old I was born and raised in Bozeman. I feel extremely fortunate to have grown up in such an awesome town with a solid community and outdoor opportunities.
I grew up in a family passionate about the outdoors and exposing the beauty and opportunities it offers. I grew up nordic ski racing for BSF along with running, paddling, mountain biking and whatever else got me outside. I took some time off after high school to travel, ski and adventure. I am currently a student at MSU trying to confirm my major in Human Development and science or snow and avalanche forecasting.
How did you decide to make The Mountain Project your gym to keep you primed for all your mountain adventures?
I began going to mountain project because my mom and brother were and loved it. I also grew up knowing Mike and was interested and excited to check it out. I really fell in love with it all the first class.
I have a hard time going to the gym by myself and doing quality workouts. The gym is so important when it comes to doing other sports, working out at mountain projects builds the strength I need in order to avoid injuring myself when exploring the outdoors. I think Mountain Project has a wonderful, warm, welcoming fun atmosphere along with the guarantee that the workout will make you sore.
What progress have you seen since you started training at TMP? (in terms of both physical and mental performance/attitude)?
Since I started working out at mountain project my overall strength has drastically improved as well as my balance. Mountain Project has helped me become faster and more confident when I am out in the mountains.
What would you tell someone who’s on the fence about TMP because they think it’s for elite athletes?
I would tell them that I work out there and I am far from an elite athlete. I would encourage them to come because there are people of all ages with different ranges of strengths and weaknesses. You go to the gym for yourself and your own improvement so it shouldn’t matter what the other peoples abilities are. Not to mention no matter how elite the person is I guarantee that they are having their own challenges and soreness from the workouts.
How are you planning to use your mountain fitness and stoke to get out there this winter?
I will be in Idaho this winter so I will have a lot of new mountains to ski and explore, I will need to have full body strength to keep adventuring and prevent injuries. I will also be nordic coaching and will need to be in good shape so I can keep up.
You’re one of the original athletes to sign up for training at The Mountain Project. Tell us what drew you to the gym and training programs in the first place.
I started working with Mike in the summer of 2016, while training for The Rut 50K. He was offering Rut training plans, and I decided if anyone would know how to train for The Rut, it would be him. I knew of his previous accomplishments, and I was excited to work with him. Through training, I learned that he was moving to Bozeman to open a gym in August of 2016. I checked out the gym and fell in love with it.
Who have been your coaches at TMP? How did their coaching style and customized training program work for you in terms of keeping you motivated and committed?
All of the coaches are amazing! They take training seriously, but have positive and energetic personalities. The Mountain Project community is awesome; it’s not just coaches and clients, but a team of friends united by a common passion for being in the mountains. As an ultra-runner, I have been working primarily with Mike. It has been incredible training with him. He’s a legend. The goals I want to accomplish someday, He’s been there, done that. That really keeps me motivated and inspired to train hard. As a coach, He is really down to earth and truly cares about his athletes and helping them accomplish their goals.
Where have you seen the biggest performance results since starting your The Mountain Project workouts?
Mobility and Flexibility. Apparently you’re supposed to work on stuff like that as a runner. I started taking the mobility class last summer as a focused recovery/stretch session, and since the first class it has kicked my butt. Strength training with TMP, especially during the off season, has also played a huge part in correcting weaknesses and building the strength needed to run up mountains.
What are the mountain adventures or athletic goals that keep you coming back to The Mountain Project for a good sweat and steady progress?
I love spending big days in big mountains. I’m drawn to a spiritual side of ultra-running, diving into the unknown in search of my own limits, until I’m defeated in humility by the biggest mountains. I have my eyes set on races like Hardrock, UTMB, even Tor des Geants.
If challenged to a fitness duel, would you choose burpees, pull-ups, or squat jumps?
Squat jumps. It’s going down.