What led you onto the path of becoming a personal trainer?
My story starts strong, has some set backs, and finishes (for now) at a new version of strong.
I started training myself in my early 20’s, while in university. I discovered the gym with a roommate, and quickly learned that I loved weight training, and was good at it. My strength grew rapidly and the gym quickly became my favorite place to be. This was during the earlier years of public gyms becoming the norm, and bodybuilding and building the perfect body was all the rage. I studied weight lifting (from bodybuilding and fitness magazines) obsessively, planning every single workout, 6 days per week. I did achieve my training and body goals, and yet I couldn’t see it, as perfection was my goal, and that definitely can never be reached. Plus, I was trying to fix poor self esteem and body image, and learned that creating the perfect body does not change my thinking or beliefs.
Later, not having any formal training on how to work out safely and effectively, over time, I eventually became exhausted, injured, and simply couldn’t recover. It took several more years and several more set backs for me to accept that I didn’t know what I was doing, and was now hurting myself more than I was helping myself.
Move forward another decade, and that all or nothing attitude and my perfectionism also caught up with me at work. I encountered illness and needed to step away from working temporarily. Ultimately I chose a career change, as I wanted work that would actively support my health recovery, and I knew that sitting at a desk was not for me. I became certified as a Personal Trainer and my first job was at Steve Nash Fitness World, where I was able to learn from 20 trainers and their high level educators. I quickly learned what I didn’t know, and it was eye opening to look back on my first 15 years in the gym, to reflect on my experience. There was definitely some missing critical information in those bodybuilding magazines! And I am no longer surprised at my injuries and struggles.
Today, I have recovered my health fully, I have energy, and balance. I train for my new goals of health, energy, easy movement, and revitalizing myself for the rest of my life goals. And more importantly, I listen to what my body wants and needs. I’ve learned that my body needs are often different than what my brain wants. I’ve learned that when I honor my body, listen to my body, and allow myself to enjoy life, play, be connected to the people I love and enjoy, my health thrives. When I worry less, love more, play more, strive and grind less, my life, my body, my soul thrives. Self Love guides all my work with clients.
What is your fitness specialty?
Natural movement, functional movement - learning and continuing to move well, with ease, to be able to do all the things you want to, and need to in life. Creating a body that can move in all ways, all directions, slow and controlled, fast and with power, quick and light, dynamic and big. Creating a body that can do all the important life movements (everyone has different important activities); like pick up your children, climb the trails, swim, cycle, garden, with ease and without pain. As for my favorite tools in the gym, I do love kettlebells, bulgarian bags, barbells, and experimenting with all the ways these tools can help us achieve our goals in the gym and life.
What are your hobbies?
I like to hike, take wandering long walks, swim in the ocean, cycle, read, paint, write poetry, and enjoy great food with friends.
What qualifications do you have?
BCRPA Personal Training, with weight training specialty. Agatsu Kettlebell certification, TRX certification, Bulgarian bags certification, Functional Movement training level one and two, including Functional Movement Assessment. Muscle activation, Trigger Point percussive tools, Fascial Stretch Therapy, Pre-post natal. Life Coaching, Accomplishment Coaching, a one year certification course.
How do you assess new clients?
We have a conversation about lifestyle and goals, including what has this fitness goal matter to you in your life. We get very clear about your goal and your future life. We talk about what has worked in the past and what has not worked. We talk about your current lifestyle, fitness, health and nutrition; and then what will be different, how will we know you’ve reached your goal? We assess your movement patterns to ensure I am aware of any imbalances eg. overhead squat assessment, cardio capacity, mobility/flexibility, and we do a mini-workout to get you started, and so I can see how you and your body respond to a workout.
Do you have any nutritional experience?
I am Dotfit Nutrition certified (partner to Precision Nutrition company).
How do you track fitness goals?
That depends on the client and their goals, as we will have already decided how will know we that you have reached your goal. It might be number days adhere to their fitness plan and/or nutrition, it might be strength testing pre-post, it might be measuring changes in body weight, or body fat, or clothing size changes. It might be re-testing what we did in your initial intake, it might be being able to do a pull up, or being able to squat a specific weight. It might be progression of complexity of TRX movements or progressing to kettlebell swing.
What’s your preferred style of encouragement?
Positive reinforcement — setting up rewards for milestones and positive comments like (“you’ve got this”, “you can do it”, “you are almost there”), praise (“wow, you just did 3 more than last workout, and it looked easy, that’s amazing”), acknowledgement “(you are committed, you are strength, you are a vibrant and healthy woman”). If a client prefers and asks, I am comfortable with providing “come on, you can do 3 more, there’s no way you can’t do 3 more, you are not gonna quit before you get to 10 reps are you?”. I don’t badger, bully or insult to create performance.
Lara Gregory, Personal Trainer