It was never my goal in life to become a personal trainer. I went back to university in my mid-twenties and at that time, a job was essential to help ends meet. I secured a job at a local health club and the rest, as they say, is history. Here I am, almost twenty years later, with my own small business having complete control over my own life. As a requirement of employment I needed to get certified as a personal trainer and I chose the American Council of Exercise. At the time it was the most widely held certificate in the fitness industry. My degree at U of T was political science, not anything health related as you'd might expect.
The experience I acquired while on the job has been an invaluable supplement to my formal certification. What has been notably advantageous is the collaborative effect of health care professionals, such as doctors, physiotherapists, massage therapists and a host of other highly skilled health care workers who, together, have taught me quite a bit about rehabilitation, pain management and the effects of exercise on a failing body. That type of education can't be taught in the classroom. I have become a well-rounded trainer effective in all facets of strength training, conditioning and rehabilitation.
As I look back through the years, it seems I have penchant for sports that take my body to its physical limitations. My first non-team sport was bodybuilding. As a scrawny sixteen year old I had the desire to be bigger. Bodybuilding was the answer to that. I went from 145 lbs. at age sixteen to just over 190 lbs. in ten years. That sport set the foundation for my desire to take my body to its absolute physical limitation. I experienced failure quite a bit in those 10 years. And then I tried again.
Over time my attention went beyond the bounds of the gym and into the climbing gym. There you would climb until you could climb no more. After you reached your limitation off the wall you went for the big swing. You would hang and wait where you fell, recover and try it again. As the saying goes in the climbing world, "if you ain't flying you ain't trying". The brotherhood of rope lead me to outdoor sport climbing, ice climbing and mountain scrambling.
Climbing lasted for about ten to twelve years. It lasted until I got hooked on road cycling. It is here where I really learned to suffer. I would take myself to the limit on almost every ride or race I did. I never felt completely void of energy in my previous sports as they weren't endurance sports, but cycling can bring you to the edge every time if you let it. Cycling now consumes most of my free time. Long, very hilly rides of up to 170 km are not uncommon.
The tremendous personal impact of cycling has steered me in the direction of promoting the sport. An integral part of that endeavour is my other website socycling.ca which advocates Southern Ontario as an excellent place to ride. I started cycling the roads of Southern Ontario when I was training for the Ride to Conquer Cancer (aka "The Ride"). While training for the "The Ride" we developed routes from Niagara to Durham County and a website showcasing these routes seemed like the logical next step.
Through my relationship with the "The Ride" came the development of a team in 2009 that I still run today, albeit in a slightly different form. The principal draw is the 10 week ride series that starts ten weeks before "The Ride" in early June. We ride every Sunday for ten weeks with each stage longer and harder than the one before. You don't have to be a party to the "The Ride" to participate in the ten week ride series. Just a willingness to participate and the initial skill level to keep up with the back of the bunch.
In addition to "The Ride" I also participate in a series of other races and events throughout the year. For more information on the Team Body Go, routes, events and a whole host of other cycling stuff please refer to the link provided above. I have also partnered with the "Ride with GPS" ambassador program and am presently engaged in showcasing the foremost of what Southern Ontario has to offer. To explore this ongoing project please click here.
This video project was initiated from a voice over segment sponsored by The Princess Margaret Cancer Centre which was aired on Bell Radio Toronto. The voice over and images were provided by one of my team mates. A cancer survivor. I was entrusted with this delicate material and in the end went on to produce a promotional video for The Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer benefiting the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.
I have been closely aligned with the Ride to Conquer Cancer since 2009, when my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I have not missed a year since. I have lead teams and inspired people to make a difference both to themselves and to those who suffer with cancer through the participation in cycling events. It is one thing to protect our bodies through exercise, it is something else entirely when illness dominates your life.
I will keep engaging people to motivate and inspire them to achieve exceptional health both inside and out. A little bit of caring and self sacrifice can go a long way to saving someones life.