It’s crazy to look back at how long I’ve been involved in the fitness biz and the evolution of my career.
My love for the gym started when I was an overweight teen who had always struggled with binge eating and lack of love for my body. I grew up in Fort Saskatchewan Alberta and back then it was still “small town” so the gym was a small box full of meat heads and heavy equipment. When my dad took me to check it out and I felt the energy in that room, it was the first time I’d ever really had an interest in fitness. I was hooked and soon found myself at the gym almost every day. In fact, I was there so often and morphed into such a fitness buff that they offered me a job manning the desk and taking new members through workouts.
Lucky for me, as I was graduating high school, the college nearby launched its very first Personal Trainer certification diploma and I couldn’t imagine anything else I’d rather do. I ate it up and graduated with honors while keeping my job at the local gym AND finished my final semester via correspondence (I got married young and moved to Winnipeg before finishing school. And no, that is not who I am currently married too. That’s a whole other story.)
The next few years were spent teaching group fitness (the 90’s were a hot bed of of group fitness explosions) , selling gym memberships at globo gyms (I hated this part, but I was good about it, because I genuinely believed everyone should exercise) and dreaming of opening my own gym one day.
And then, my career took a 180deg turn and after a brief time spent in Winnipeg MB, I moved back to Alberta and got my first job in the oil & gas industry.
For the next 14 years, I would immerse myself in this career path, with very little involvement in fitness. My only ‘break’ from this was when I lived in Florida (my current husband is American and was stationed there at a US Air Force base) and the only option for me to work was to teach group fitness and do some personal training. I LOVED it so much, had so much fun being in a gym setting again and even taught up until I was 38 weeks pregnant with my son Uriah.
After he was born (2009) we decided to move back to Canada (I have moved a lot in my life) and I got right back into the oil & gas world. And until 2014, fitness was strictly a personal thing, something that was always important to me, but I never imagined getting back into fitness as a career.
Until my daughter Hazel was born and my entire world blew into a million pieces.
I knew right away that something was different about this postpartum experience. I was more emotional, sadder and experienced so much anxiety. I chalked it up to hormones and figured it was normal, so I didn’t tell anyone about what I was experiencing. In fact, I assumed I would be judged or called ‘crazy’ for the things I was feeling at that time.
After Hazel was born, I decided to accept my first corporate downtown office job (usually I worked in the field, in a trailer, in the mud, it was great) to try to regulate my hours and be more “at home”. It was fun being able to dress up and go out for lunch every day. I was making good money, was respected in my position and got to clock out at 4:30 every day, hit the gym and be home for supper. Awesome.
In the midst of all this ‘good’ stuff, I was becoming more and more depressed, more anxious, more withdrawn and unable to think or see clearly. I also began to struggle with chronic low back/hip pain that I could not get to go away.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that a corporate office job was not my thing and as if a gift from the universe, I came across a fitness professional named Jessie Mundell who was offering a free “Guide To Coaching Postpartum Women”. I downloaded it, printed it off and took it with me to lunch one day, and within minutes I was sitting in the restaurant crying. It was like she was speaking directly to me and uncovering all the fears I had about my own body, but also sparked something in me that said loud and clear ‘moms everywhere need support during this time. why aren’t we getting more information? I need to be a voice for these women’
I started to daydream about quitting my job and working from home. Maybe even doing what I love and providing fitness support to women everywhere. I would see people running outside or walking their dogs on my drive into work and fantasize about the freedom I could have if I owned my own business. And for the first time in a long time, the postpartum depression started to get lighter and I felt some happiness.
Then, once again, the universe delivered exactly what I needed in that moment. A Facebook ad (thanks Facebook) for a business coach who was looking for moms that wanted to start their own online business. I talked to my husband and we agreed that I would start the business coaching while I still worked full time, and would build my business slowly until I was in a position to quit and give up the financial free flow I had.
I was so scared!!! Was I really doing this?? I was about to give up making $150K a year to be a stay at home mom? To start at ground zero and risk making nothing for a while? FUCK YES I WAS!!!!
In the midst of everything, I decided to host group workouts at lunch in my office building, and it got quite popular. So much so, that people started asking for me for personal training. We had already built a gym in the basement and so I began taking clients in the evening and on weekends. Meanwhile, back in my office, my co-workers were getting laid off, my workload was piling up and they told me that they were cutting my pay 20% and if I didn’t agree, I wouldn’t have a job anymore.
I knew in my gut, this was yet again, the universe telling me to shit or get off the pot. Just commit to this new path and leave the bullshit behind. But it wasn’t that easy for my husband to come to terms with. It was a huge change and impact for us as a family, but after an emotional breakdown from myself (I was scared that my depression was getting so bad, I would end hurting myself if I had to stay) I gave my notice at my job and said they could stick their 20% decrease you know where, and that I was going to pursue my dreams.
I worked with my business coach, I took on as many in person clients as I could and trained out of my home, I got hired for some work at the gym I was a member at and it grew from there. I launched an online subscription program that was successful (I recently shut it down in December 2019 to create something new). I’ve spent the last 3 years education myself on pre/postnatal specific needs of women and how to support this demographic. And most recently opened my very own studio dedicated to mothers and women in my local area.
Empowerfit saved my life.
This journey was never about making money. It’s always been about survival. Finding myself again and bringing ME back into the picture after kids. Reconnecting to the woman I was when I fell in love with fitness.
And being able to connect with you, whether it’s in person, via email or on social media, well, that’s the icing on the cake.
I’d love to chat more with you, so drop me a hello and tell me where you are from in our Facebook community (Join Us Here!)
This life it too wild to go at it alone. Let’s safari this bitch together.