People have different needs, goals, and starting points when it comes to fitness. I am a CSEP certified personal trainer, I have my NAIT PFT Diploma with honors, 5 years of experience, and I am a bikini competitor with several medals under my belt. I have the skills and experience needed to customize my approach to each client. Every person I train can expect that I will strive to create a safe and positive environment to work towards their goals. I always start with a movement assessment so that I am able to draw information on movement patterns, strengths and weaknesses, and how to proceed with the best workout for you.
I believe functional training, muscle balance, as well as corrective exercise is important to cover, but I am also thrilled to use my experience in bodybuilding as a bikini competitor to help clients sculpt and shape their body towards their desired physique. Nutrition is also key in seeing results, and I am happy to point you in the right direction in that regard as well. Competing has made me very creative in the kitchen when making delicious, high protein meals. You don't know cravings until you compete, so the food has to be good!
Being a personal trainer is not my first career! After high school, I went to the University of Alberta for a BA in Psychology. I wanted to be a social worker or therapist when I first chose my major because I could see myself helping people through difficulties in their lives. I had always been told that I was effective at holding space for a person, a great listener, and I was actually fascinated by psychology and human behavior.
When I graduated, the economy wasn't the greatest, and turns out, counseling jobs aren't looking for 22 year olds who grew up in a bubble. I ended up working as a recruiter for a sales company that basically modeled itself after 'the wolf of Wall Street'...long before the movie came out. It required high energy, high volume recruitment on my part, as well as after hours rewards and incentives like club bottle service, expensive dinners including Dom Perrion, and 5 star company trips to exotic locations. I was even able to afford my dream car after my first year there. When you are in your early 20s, these flashy things can suck you in, and make you forget that you may not actually be offering anything real to society.
Eventually, I had seen enough people fail and waste their time in our business, that I lost the belief that I needed to sell it, and I didn't want to do it anymore. It wasn't the healthiest lifestyle either. With all the dinners and nights out, I started struggling to maintain my weight as easily as I used to. Besides weight gain, inactivity wasn't helping my strength either. When I first moved out on my own, one of my most dreaded chores was groceries because I could barely carry a milk jug into the house from the car!
I hadn't made any decisions to look for other work at this point, but I felt like I could at least take control of my fitness.
I started working out by trying Zumba, which was fairly new at the time. It was always a great workout, and really fun to do. I used to think you had to start running to lose weight, I had that "fear of getting bulky" fallacy about lifting weights, and I was too cheap to buy a gym membership anyway. I did zumba at home on the Nintendo Wii game. I did see results, and I actually really enjoyed it. It was a good start for me.
One day, I saw a friend on Facebook post some photos from a bikini photo shoot. She was competing in a bodybuilding competition in the bikini category, and did a photo shoot after to celebrate her hard work. At the time, bikini was a very new category introduced to bodybuilding, so her body did not look like my typical idea of what a female bodybuilder looks like. I had never seen a physique like this, and I was intrigued. How can you actually get your body to look like this?? I started doing some research, and imagine that, they lift weights! I got a hold of some smaller weights for home training, and started following a woman's fitness page who actually prepped for a bikini comp from all home workouts. Of course I wasn't actually thinking I was going to compete, but I wanted to see what kind of results I could get.
I wanted to learn more and more about exercise and how to actually work out, what are the best ways to get results, how often do I need to work out etc.
I noticed people I knew were getting motivated by me to start working out too, and started inviting me to try classes, jogging, and gym trials with them. I started to wish that I could actually do this for a living. When I was at work, I felt like I was wasting my time, and wasting the time of every resume I called in. When I saw other people being motivated by my fitness interests, it made me feel excited and useful for the first time in a long time, but I definitely had limited knowledge.
With a lot of thought and consideration, I enrolled at NAIT to take my PFT diploma. It was the perfect time for this transition, because I also moved to Australia within a few months after I started. I hired a personal trainer, and this is where I had my debut as a bikini competitor. I took the 5th place medal my very first time on stage. Fast forward to now, I placed first in my class at my most recent competition here in Edmonton.
My career path may not have lead me to have that counselor title I originally planned, but I absolutely love the relationships I form with clients. We may not call a training session 'therapy', but undoubtedly, it is. I am happy to be that trusted person to listen to what brought a client to me, and between being that safe space, I will also provide a great workout that will improve their health, mood, sleep quality, reduce pain, and eventually give the satisfaction of reaching a body goal. I love what I do because I finally get to motivate and inspire others to do something as important as taking care of their bodies and health.