BEFORE: Feb. 11th, 2013
I would say 2012-2013 was one of the most destructive years of my life. It was a year filled with endings and new beginnings. Only now can hindsight prove how thankful I am for that year being as destructive as it was. Finishing my last year of Kinesiology, any grad can share in the empty, “now what?” feeling, wondering how to use our degrees and the last 8years of sweat and tears to make a mark on the World. A 6year relationship ended going into my last year of school University, which in hindsight should have been taken as a gift. I think that would be the miracle of dreams for many entering their last year of Uni/College as a free unit. Unfortunately, I was too young and shattered to spend my nights soaking in my last year of limited responsibilities and a resilient liver. Instead, I crushed Costco sized garlic loaves all to myself, curled up on the couch not caring about much at all. Especially not the 1000’s of calories in bread, butter, and cheese I frequently consumed before bed. Menchies opened up across the street and I performed my civic duty in helping that local franchise get off the ground. I would go out sometimes, but was too insecure to feel I brought any of worth to the party. I hardly entered a gym, when I did it was spin class or a few deadlifts when I felt like it. Looking back, it was a type of out of body experience. I couldn’t figure out which way was up. I didn’t wake up with any type of purpose or aspiration for my life whatsoever.
If we back track 4 years prior to 2009, it paints a different picture. I was just graduating high school as athlete of the year and had the World at my feet. I was finishing my 12year hockey run, ending at the provincial level, and I was accepted into the University program I wanted. My dreams of a Toronto Maple Leafs trainer were still alive! That summer approaching my first year at Laurier, I attended try-outs for the Laurier Varsity Women’s soccer team and made the team as a walk-on. I entered University at 18, bright eyed and bushy tailed ready to take on the World. Fast forward 4 years I was leaving school at 22, a ghost of myself and Costco sized. My 22nd birthday I remember nothing fit me, I ripped my shorts up the seams (which I still do, but the most recent time was due to flimsy manufacturing and hip thrusts), and my gym routine was totally lost when my sports ended.
I most definitely hit rock bottom which was a blessing. Hindsight is a gift if you choose to see it that way, if you are able to assess your past life experiences and possible mistakes, you will progress year after year. No reflection means no progression. I was working at LA fitness as personal trainer when I asked a boy working the cafe to heat up my food, that boy is now my boyfriend and has the opportunity to heat up my food all the time. Ben not only helped rebuild my confidence back up, but he also introduced me to the world of body building which changed my life and carved the path for Doll Fitness 3 years later.
AFTER: March. 17th, 2018
Today, my training mostly consists of body building style training, but I prefer to label it as “body sculpting”. When my competitive hockey and soccer years ended, it was hard to find a gym routine that was both challenging but also gave the body results I wanted. Up until 2014 when I met Ben, my training mostly consisted of cardio and CrossFit, then back to cardio. Ben trains people who want to compete in body building, physique, and bikini, from here this provided me the opportunity to see another World of fitness I was not aware of. When I was working at a cooperate gym as a trainer, I would see people who compete looking amazing and I would always be in awe. On the flip side I was also frustrated, I felt like I should know how to make someone i.e. me, look the way they want to look. I felt like studying exercise physiology in class wasn’t enough, it should have been applied more into real life training scenarios. Not that my degree was a waste. Once I was shown the methodology behind dieting and training tactics towards getting someone stage ready, I at least had the background knowledge in exercise physiology to make sense of it all, and then apply it. I am the type of person that needs to understand how something works first, and then apply it in real time to fully understand the skill. Ben pointed me towards the right resources, and I started to become excited and hopeful again about my future in training.
I switched from cardio focused training i.e. running on the treadmill, elliptical, stair master, bike…and I made weight training my focus. Using all of the machines the gym had to offer, as well as learning the infinite exercises dumbbells can be used for. I felt like I had a good grasp before, but I was starting to realize there is a massive World I have never explored before, and I wanted other Women to know about it as well. My first back workout with Ben, I was blown away by how many exercises and sets on one body part. I was used to circuit training, doing timed sets and body weight training with plyometrics mixed in. I never hammered every muscle in my back to oblivion in one workout before, and I was digging it hard. Cardio in my mind switched to be more a baseline priority, and it still is today. Building muscle and specifically identifying each body part helped me build a shape, and sculpt the body I wanted. I continued this training, and found a burning passion and purpose towards spreading this message to the average women as well. I was training like a competitor without having to compete, I was using my gym membership in its full entirety, and I know other Women can learn the same.
In 2015, I opened Doll Fitness with a newfound mission, purpose, and passion once I discovered the wonderful world of weight lifting. I wanted to share with other Women how they can use their gym membership, and how the gym doesn’t need to be intimidating anymore. I changed my body through weight training, and by building a better relationship with food. No more Costco sized garlic loaves before bedtime, no more depressed bingeing and then purging on the treadmill for an hour. I am no longer tied to any fitness schedule, I can walk into any gym and know how to use all the equipment and can build an advanced workout in a few seconds. I want other women to feel that type of control over their health and fitness as well.
I’ve come a long way, but it took a lot of really bad and down moments to get here. Those years of struggle, confusion, ups and downs in my training and diet, as well as my sports background when I was young, have all led to the foundation of Doll Fitness and why it’s mission is so meaningful to me. I know other Women have been where I was, or may possibly be there right now. Weight training and learning how to eat properly are one of the most empowering things you can do for yourself. The gym and Ben brought me out of rock bottom, and I feel more like myself again when I was graduating high school at 18. There will always be ups and downs in our lives, as long as we are able to look in the mirror and ask for more out of ourselves, we can always get out of a hole. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help, even professional athletes have a coaching staff.