Health Features

What’s Your Routine? Debby Siegel

“When you do things that scare you, that’s when growth happens. And that’s why we’re all here—to keep growing.” That’s the philosophy of Debby Siegel, who has spent the last few years conquering one physical achievement after another. Mom to a 16-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son, a yogi in the purest sense, and a true adventure-seeker, Siegel used to be just a ‘gym girl.’ “I’ve always been into fitness but used to take classes like step aerobics. Now, I would rather be doing something fun that’s also a good workout, like cycling. I own three bikes and know how to get everywhere by riding. It’s just like being a kid.”

It all started after her divorce, when Siegel turned to paddleboarding. “There is nothing like being on a paddleboard at sunset,” she says. “Every Sunday, I would go to the lake. It’s such a good core workout.” She has taken paddleboard yoga classes as well, which she admits is difficult. “It forces you to focus on centering. You won’t be thinking about your grocery list! And you engage muscles you don’t regularly. You’ll find them a couple days later,” she says.

Yoga is among Siegel’s biggest passions. “It’s been life-changing,” she says. She was leery at first, always leaning toward more physical workouts. “I go to all different studios throughout St. Louis, and if you find the right class, you’ll leave saying, ‘Wow, that was hard!’” She especially enjoys acro yoga, which is partner-based; one person is the base, the other the flier. “You have to be able to listen and communicate well, and you have to let the other person guide you,” she says. She’s also expanded into practicing more meditative yoga now. “There is a balance that comes with just focusing on your breathing.”

Siegel is one of the lucky ones who has turned something she is passionate about into a career. She started YoGoGirls, a fitness branding company, about two years ago with her friend Michelle, who she met at a women’s tri training camp. “We have very creative souls and discovered many overlaps in our lives: we’re single moms with passions for cycling and yoga,” she says, describing them both as “self-confessed edge dwellers.” The business is best understood through its countless images of jaw-dropping yoga poses. As the “brains and bodies” behind the enterprise, the two use their skills as photographers, designers and brand marketers to stage photoshoots and videos used by national and international clients. They also write a blog.

Siegel’s willingness to take chances and pursue her interests has allowed her to accomplish a lot. What started out as a “bucket list thing” when she and some friends were turning 40, competing in triathlons is now a normal part of her routine. “My first one was in Malibu, and I’ve competed in Boulder, Lake Powell (by myself!) and locally,” she says. She’s not interested in being the best or training excessively. “To do a tri, you obviously have to train some, which gets you into great shape. But it’s more about the positivity for me. The entire time, I’m my own cheerleader.”

In everything she does, Siegel hopes to be a good example to her two children, who have joined in on yoga class, paddleboarding, rock climbing and even the local Tour de Kirkwood triathlon with her. “My children are in the midst of figuring out what they want to do in life, and I get to be in front of them doing what I love every day.”

the routine
I don’t do the same thing every day, or even every week! I do consistently practice yoga five to seven times a week. I tend toward the more physical power yoga, but will also take a vinyasa flow class and I love acro yoga. Cycling is my second go-to workout, and I ride as much as I can. I’ll commute to work if the weather allows. I swim at least twice a week during the winter and more in the summer when I do triathlons. During the summers, you’ll find me on a paddleboard, and I just started rock climbing (rock wall and outside) to strengthen my upper body. I’m on the wall at Climb So iLL all the time now!

Photo courtesy of YoGoGirls