My fitness journey began about 5 years ago when I moved up north to Snow Lake Manitoba. It was the first time in my life I had time to take care of myself. I had spent years in Thunder Bay as a single mom struggling to just get by. I was smoking a pack a day and surviving on coffee and stress when a promotion opportunity became available at work. I jumped at the chance to give my kids and I, a better life and a fresh start. The move was a big one and we were sad to leave our home and head the 15 hours north but I knew it was the only way out. In Snow Lake I quit smoking, started Beachbody and started seeing results. Then I started running and started seeing more results. When I left the north and came down here to work in Morden I decided to leave Beachbody and join Fittwell. It was a perfect little gym, super close to work and I figured it would be a great way for me to meet people in the area with similar interests. Within a few months I was seeing more results, that’s when I decided to compete. I knew very little about the industry and asked Candice if she would be interested in being my trainer. I signed up for the 2017 Spring MABBA show. It was a first for her as well and we navigated the waters together. I was pleased with a 6th place finish as both my classes were stacked with beautiful women. It was an extraordinary experience and I met some amazing women that I still stay in contact with now. I decided that I would take a break from that but kept my gym membership going over the years and continued training at my own leisure. For 2018 I set my sights on some other fitness goals, I did the Mud Run with a friend in summer of 2018 and did a half marathon in Churchill Manitoba in November of 2018. Churchill was an amazing experience as well; testing yourself against the elements forces you to dig deep. This year I have decided to go back to the stage and again have enlisted Candice as my trainer. She cares, she knows me and she knows her stuff. This time around, we going for a win and I know Candice will test me on every level and I only hope to not let her down. Since moving to Morden Fittwell has been a part of a big part of my life. I know where ever my fitness journey takes me, it will involve Fittwell. This is a great opportunity to say thank you to Fittwell as well as Candice for everything you do.
“If I ever have to go to a gym to get exercise, something will have gone badly wrong in my life!” In my younger days, I naively assumed that the calories I burned through routine physical work would suffice to keep me in good condition. (Not even close). Fast forward thirty years: I am sitting my doctor’s office, consulting about severe knee pain. I am overweight and out of shape. The doctor mentions “water on the knees” (joint effusion) and the future prospect of surgery. That gets my attention. Something has gone badly wrong…because I have not come to the gym. I arrange to see a dietician. I commit to a program of weight loss and exercise. I take out a Fittwell membership and start to work out several times a week. I sign up for Deanna Baker’s nutrition course and Candice Bone’s weekly “Spin” class. The journey begins. Over the next 24 months, I shed 60 pounds and shrink eight inches from my waistline. This is cause for celebration—I have met my first goal. But now I face an even greater challenge—keeping all that weight off as my body seeks to return to its “Set Point,” my previous maximum weight. I read the warning of obesity expert Dr. Yoni Freedhof: “You can’t outrun your fork.” I learn to eat more mindfully, and I keep coming to the gym. Exercise is only part of the solution, perhaps 20 percent, but it helps to keep my metabolism active. And the resistance training strengthens my aging muscles. The pain in my knees is now gone—another cause for celebration. Every pound I’ve lost has reduced the stress by four pounds. My joints are healing. I also am finding the regular exercise boosts my mental energy and emotional resilience. Why did I wait so long? Coming to Fittwell has become a healthy habit and…best of all, I’ve discovered it is fun.
I’m Duane Thiessen. My fitness journey began at a young age. I received a weight set when I was a kid and used it occasionally. High school and college offered more weightlifting opportunities. Moving to Morden in 2003 brought the accessibility to gyms where I could grow more in my fitness journey. I find Fittwell Centre is a great community of like minded lifters and I’ve developed lasting friendships with other gym goers and workout partners. I have come to the realization that working out and fitness are important for my physical and mental personal well being. Through the years I’ve developed my own workout routines. In the last couple of years, I’ve been developing a personal brand that uses fitness as a way to drive me in a positive direction. Through that, I can motivate others in a positive way. I’m always learning, always growing, always moving forward.
Hey everyone! My name is Zachary Isfeld!
Growing up I was always the chubby friend in the group, and was made to be the running joke for years, being called “tubby” and “chunky” by some of my closest friends. I was discouraged and I started working as a roofer in the summer months (losing weight slowly.) In 2013 I ended up in the hospital having shoulder surgery.. Mentally, for me that was the end of the road for losing weight.
It wasn’t until April 2017 that my real fitness journey began! When I was driving home from work I had noticed the FITTWELL CENTRE sign! Immediately I was intrigued and excited to try working out! When I met Candice and Deanna I was nervous but they where extremely friendly and very welcoming!! They advised me on proper techniques and a variety of different exercises that I would be able to do to work out without hurting/overdoing my shoulder!! Since working out at Fittwell I have gained a lot more confidence than I’ve ever had and ever expected , I’ve seen such amazing results in my body transformation that I never thought possible!
When I started working out I was 265 pounds! I’m now down to a comfortable 200 and I couldn’t be happier! With lots of time and journey left for me I cant thank Fittwell enough for making the gym my second home!
Always having battled my weight, I was forever looking for the secret to being thin. I always thought being thin would bring happiness. I’ve tried every “diet” there is and I’ve been the cardio queen. Nothing got me to where I wanted to be. In a leadership workshop I took a few years back, we were tasked with having to set some tangible goals.
Having been with my husband, who has always lifted weights, for many, many years, I decided that I wanted to give weight lifting a go. I set a goal to lift weights at least 4 times a week. I stuck with it and quickly decided I needed to set my aim a little higher because I was really enjoying it.
Turning 50 yrs old in late 2017, I decided my gift to myself was to be fit at 50! That quickly became a bigger goal when I decided to compete in the provincial qualifier in the bikini class in March 2018. My journey to that day and since has taught me what healthy balanced eating is all about and how lifting weights with a combination of HIIT/cardio has brought me to feel the best I’ve ever felt in years.
Has it all been easy? Nope! There are days I don’t feel like going to the gym but there is NEVER a day that I leave the gym and wish “hmmm, I wished I hadn’t worked out”. I’m incredibly lucky to be married to my husband who not only coaches me but supports me in every way possible and pushes me to work hard. Sometimes I need that!
I have learned that there isn’t one way to be fit and healthy. I’ve also learned that we all have issues, whether we are thin or not! Everyone needs to find what motivates them and keeps them energized. Surrounding yourself those that support you will only make you stronger. Having recently moved back to Fittwell, I’m enjoying the atmosphere it provides. I am excited to be moving into the next ages of my life with strength, health and happiness.
I have been anxious for as long as I can remember.
From what I’ve learned, a person’s childhood is usually time spent doing things like playing with toys, making a mess, playing outside, and getting to know other kids. Mine was just slightly different. I spent my time lining up my toys over and over again, and then crying because the line wasn’t straight enough. I also spent lots of time using Windex, dusting cloths, and a toilet brush because there were too many germs in the house. I ate with a washcloth beside my plate because I couldn’t stand getting food on my fingers, and going outside to play any time of year that there could possibly be bugs was completely out of the question. My childhood was filled with fear, OCD, and crippling anxiety.
Even in kindergarten, school seemed impossible. For starters, one of my parents would stay at school with me so I wouldn’t run out of the classroom. There were far too many people, it was too messy, and I was beyond terrified something would happen to my family while I was at school. Recess was spent inside, and during school assembly’s I would sit in a chair outside of the gym, everything overwhelmed me. Going home wasn’t much easier. I spent my time taking everything out of my room and then putting it all back in. My clothes were to be folded without wrinkles, organized my thickness and color. My books needed to be lined up according to author and height. My hangers in my closet were evenly spaced. The first time was never good enough, so I would repeat everything until it looked perfect.
As I got older and learned more, I began to worry about different things. I was scared to death of the house starting on fire. Every morning, lunch break, and before bed, I would make my rounds to every room in the house, running my fingers over every outlet to make sure that nothing was plugged in. I would often second guess myself during the day and would leave school to check again. This was the beginning of many panic attacks.
High school was a fast downward spiral for me. Hundreds of people in such a small place, so many eyes. “What if I do something wrong”, “Are people looking at me”, “What if I trip”, were the constant thoughts going through my head. In the first year of high school I developed brutal body image issues. There were several occasions before school that one panic attack would lead to another because I thought I looked like absolute trash, I usually ended up refusing to leave the house. I would go days without eating and would exercise nonstop to try to lose as much weight as possible.
I began to self-harm when I was 14. I was hurting so badly, and dealing with physical pain seemed so much easier than dealing with emotional pain. By grade 11, I was barely going to school. If I was having a good day, I would go for a couple classes and then go back home. I didn’t trust myself, nor did my family trust me to be home alone at this point so one of my parents would usually stay back from work to stay with me.
When I was 16 I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder as well as depression. My mom suggested that I try going to Fittwell as a healthy way to cope with stress, seeing as how I had always enjoyed exercise. I was very hesitant at first because I knew it could be a busy place and I was worried about doing something wrong in front of so many people. My mom offered to go with me, and said we could go later in the evening when there wouldn’t be as many people. Surprisingly, I agreed to try it.
Candice was very welcoming and gave me a run through of the equipment. I loved the atmosphere right away, it felt friendly and non-judgmental. After my first workout, I felt incredible. My mom continued to come with me for a few months until I felt comfortable. It wasn’t always easy to go to the gym. Some days my parents would have to drop me off so that I would actually go, and some days were just too overwhelming so I would cut the workout short. However, I ALWAYS wanted to try again the next day and that was a whole new feeling for me. Exercise makes me happy and has given me the opportunity to safely cope with stress, as well as helped me grow stronger both mentally and physically!
The gym was the first place in my life where I felt like I was making progress, it helped me dig myself out of that dark place and start to see a future for myself. I still struggle with anxiety, but Fittwell has helped and continues to help me overcome more than I ever thought I could. Thank you for helping me change dangerous outlets into healthy ones!