Published October 19, 2017

Fitness Inspiration: NICU Advocate Amy Knepper

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With the TCS New York City Marathon around the corner, thousands of runners are lacing up their sneakers and preparing to embark on this impressive feat of endurance. Among this group of athletes is Amy Knepper, an avid runner and frequent FHIXer who created a charity to support Mount Sinai Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Keep reading to learn what inspired Amy to create TEAM ANDI and the role FHIXes play in her marathon training.

Describe your first FHIXperience.
It was invigorating! I liked reading on the whiteboard what was expected of me so I could mentally prepare and physically plan out the next 50 minutes.  I also really liked that there were 2 instructors.

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What brought you to Fhitting Room and who was leading the class?
My friend Eve Schenk is an avid FR athlete.  She was always raving about it so I tried it with her.  We took Daury’s class; his personality had me smiling throughout the entire 50 minutes.  I appreciated his workout instructions, which were honest, candid, to the point, and safe.

How did you feel before, during, and after your first FHIX? 
I loved it...until the FHIX at the end that really pushed me and made me love it even more.

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Tell us about the charity you're running for. What inspired you to start TEAM ANDI and what are your goals for the charity?
My daughter Andi was born 3 months premature.  She lived in an incubator at Mount Sinai Hospital’s Neo-Intensive Care Unit for the first 11 weeks of her life.  Not being able to live with her, bond with her, experience her first bath, her first diaper change, and be able to sleep next to her was a heartache I feel no parent should experience.

I took my passion for running and formed TEAM ANDI.  We run and raise funds to build private family suites within the NICU for families to live with their at-risk newborns.  We already have 1 room and are almost done with our second.  It's also extremely inspiring for all of our runners that Mount Sinai's NICU sits at mile 23 of the TCS NYC course.  To run past those little athletes who are fighting for survival gives us an extra burst of inspiration to push through those final 3.2 miles of the race.

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What has the process for starting and running Team Andi been like?
I love knowing that future families with premature newborns will be able to bond from the start as a family unit from the sweat, running high, time commitment, passion, and heart of TEAM ANDI athletes.

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You're quite the runner! How has Fhitting Room helped you train for marathons?
Cross training is very important.  You need to have strong, durable muscles to complete and compete in a marathon.  To only run is not how you train for a marathon.  Running alone will make you more injury prone and bored.  You need to work your entire body.

What moves have you learned that most beneFHIT your training?
I like the efficient warm up--I use some of those 2 minute exercises pre-run, and the rowing machine is critical to working out muscles you need for running.

How do you work Fhitting Room into your training schedule?
I only run 3 times a week.  Sometimes only 2... The other days I do FR, Spin or Barre classes or rest.

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What role does HIT training play in helping you prepare for long runs?
I work muscles in HIT that I wouldn't typically strengthen.  I’m also forced to do some exercises I might not otherwise enjoy or choose to do, which is good.  You never know when you might need those not always used muscles to compensate for a tired muscle or an injury (which you hope never happens, but is realistic).

Who are your favorite FHITpros and what draws you to them?
Daury, Dara, Mat and Dennys, I always leave with a great sweat and they correct my form when needed.

Do you have any favorite Fhitting Room moves?
I like the Ski erg which is bizarre since it has nothing to do with leg strength.

What about least favorites?
THOSE EVIL BIKES.

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How will you celebrate after completing the New York City Marathon?
We host a TEAM ANDI party with lots of toasts and food to refuel while we wear our medals proudly.   All TEAM ANDI runners celebrate together with friends and family.  My kids, Eli and Andi, are my biggest fans, I love getting that first sweaty cold snuggle in the park from them post finish line as they fight over who gets to wear mommy’s medal first.

Do you have any other races on the horizon?
I just completed Chicago last Sunday, and I’m signed up to run Boston in April 2018, , which will be my 20th marathon.

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