I think of “my story” a little differently than someone who has come from an overweight or underweight background.
Growing up I was always an athlete. A competitive gymnast and soccer player from a very young age. Soccer aside, gymnastics was a whole different ball game. Gymnastics not only teaches you how to be fully in tune with your body and how to push past a point of comfort, but the sport also instills so much self-discipline in an individual.
This was my life growing up. School, eat, train, sleep, repeat. Weekends were full of gymnastics meets and when I didn’t have a competition or training, I was either playing soccer or hanging out with my friends.
Enter high school and social life. I ate this shit up!
Gymnastics? MEH…I was over it!
Now, I know many people didn’t have the greatest high school experience, but mine was awesome! A little bit of school and a hell-of-a-lot of amazing memories! Throughout school, I always remained active but like any other teen/young adult, any form of healthy eating went out the window unless I was at home eating my parents cooking (which wasn’t often). Considering I was always such a fit and healthy kid my body hated me for the way I was treating it. My gut was a mess and I started to become insanely self-conscious of the way I looked but it was never enough to make me want to change.
Change to me was just a pipe dream.
Growing up, I was absolutely obsessed with Oxygen Magazine! To the point that I owned every damn issue there ever was, I became infatuated with fitness competitors. Nicole Wilkens was a God to me! It wasn’t always just about how these fitness models looked but more so what they had to do to get there.
Throughout high school and college, I remained active and always belonged to a gym but because of my social life I would never fix my diet. My girlfriends and I were your typical “Were signing up for a gym membership and our diet starts Monday.” We continued down this path for YEARS!! We would starve ourselves the week before every high school dance because we thought we were obese. I look back at pictures now and think “What the hell was wrong with you?!”
Considering I am only 4’9 you can tell right away if I put on 5lbs. The weight slowly started to creep up and this is when I started to feel incredibly uncomfortable in my own skin. I learned quite quickly that you cannot out train a bad diet. I knew it was time to hire a trainer, not only to hold my ass accountable but to really learn the ins and outs of the gym.
I worked with a trainer for about 1 year and loved every minute of it! I learned so much in that year (nutrition included) that I was finally able to feel comfortable going into the gym on my own and was super confident that I knew what I was doing. I was able to get down to the weight that I had always been comfortable with but knew it was going to take a lot more effort than I once thought it did. I continued to keep up my new lifestyle and then I decided to travel…for FOUR years! Enter weight gain…
Travelling was hands down the best experience EVER!! I taught English in China and had the opportunity to travel Asia during my free time. I backpacked Australia and was an Aupair in Switzerland. Weight gain aside, I would not have changed anything about my travel experience.
Now back to the weight gain….yes…I got FAT!! Throughout the 4 years (mostly in Europe) I managed to put on a good 30-35lbs and became extremely uncomfortable and self-conscious. I was starting to hate everything about myself. I hated shopping, I hid behind my friends when our picture was being taken, I no longer wanted to go out with my friends at night because nothing fit and I was incredibly embarrassed in front of them because they knew damn well how much weight I had put on. My host family in Switzerland wanted me to extend my contract by 6 months to a year and at first I agreed but quickly realized I needed to go back home. I needed to get my body and life back. I had become very unhappy and it was all due to my weight gain. I knew if I went back home I could get back to my normal eating, get back into the gym and finally be able to work on myself. I needed this BAD!
I will never forget the day I arrived in Canada. My dad and I were sitting in the rec room, he was watching golf, I was bored out of my mind. I could tell he wanted to say something but he kept quiet until he blurted out, “you put on a lot of weight, eh?”. I WAS DEVASTATED! Hiding my emotions, I looked at him and said “thanks tips!”. I slowly went upstairs, closed my bedroom door behind me and balled my eyes out.
The next day I went back into my old gym, signed up for a membership and got to work! I busted my ass to get the old me back. I surrounded myself with like-minded people and tried to stay away from anyone who didn’t support my lifestyle. I definitely lost friends because of this but I didn’t care. Having the right social support was much more important to me.
Throughout my transformation, I had friends, family, coworkers and staff at the gym telling me that I should get into the industry. I was already helping friends out with their nutrition and workout plans but I never considered it a job. I did it because I enjoyed helping people and knew that everyone should have the chance to feel good in their own skin. My biggest fear with turning my passion into a career was the chance that my passion would no longer be my passion, and would just remain a job. I couldn’t see past this and because of it, I never listened to the advice from others.
A little over a year of being back in Niagara Falls I decided that I needed to make another move. Being a British citizen I had every desire to move to the UK but the “pub life” lifestyle scared the shit out of me. I was so afraid I was going to fall into the same cycle that I knew a little too well. During this weird time in my life (Do I move, or do I stay?!), I was invited to a wedding in Vancouver and of course had to accept this opportunity as I had never been out West. Well, 1 week of vacation led to me going home, packing up my car and making the drive back out to BC. 1 month later, I met my now husband 🙂
Vancouver was exactly what I needed. Health and fitness in BC was on a whole different level. I was able to keep up the lifestyle I was living in Ontario and having the social support of my boyfriend (at the time) made things so much easier to kick it up a notch. Dan was also confused as to why I didn’t want to make a career out of the industry but was fully supportive in my decision and was ready to stand beside me, no matter what career path I chose to go down.
Enter, Club Sweat Fitness…
A larger facility and a couple of new employees later led to some major changes in the business. Christine, our rockstar of a trainer had to unexpectedly move back to Alberta leaving Dan in a bit of a pickle. We took this as a sign and got me certified right away so I could take over her clients. As the company grew, we quickly realized that me still working as an esthetician just wasn’t feasible anymore. So I quit my job and dove head-first into Sweat Lab (now Club Sweat Fitness).
From being so against working in the industry to the part owner alongside my husband as a fitness and nutrition coach was definitely not the easiest life transition, but looking back, I would not change a damn thing this crazy world has thrown at me.