Success Stories

We chose to acknowledge our students, employee and public members’ successes in health and wellness through fitness and fun. We hope to share these successes of others to help inspire you to Find Your Awesome!

Jamey Wagner - Personal Training Client

What do you do regularly that contributes most significantly to your overall wellness? Jamey Testimonial Pic

Besides going to the gym every day I eat a super healthy diet, Sunday to Thursday, Friday to Sunday I do what I want. I am also on a competitive dragon boating team and that’s one of the reasons why I train daily. I want to be in the best shape possible for the team.

How or why did you start with it?

I lost my sight in 2009 when another fellow ran a stop sign and hit my car. It was very sudden. My last career as an electrical engineering technologist was stolen from me and I was left with a lot of grief and anger. I started to go to the gym regularly as my way of venting this frustration of living my life now as a blinded man. Going to the gym makes me cheerful, it was one of those things that helped me move past it.

How has MacEwan University Sport and Wellness helped you along the way?

I moved out here a year ago and I needed another gym to go to. I used to have a trainer, he definitely helped me, but coming here the quality of trainers is so much higher. With these two Kyle’s, I see gains in the gym every single week, every single week. I’m able to push a little more or more repetitions. Their quality of training far surpasses what I got (before).

What’s been your greatest challenge with it along the way?

I overcome my greatest challenge of not being able to see. It makes it very tricky for me to work out on my own when I can’t see. I can get used to a gym and use it, but not very efficiently. Getting a trainer helps me circumvent that and really helps me to maximize my time.

What‘s your favourite memory of this journey?

My favourite memories are when I am able to do a workout I couldn’t do when I first got here due to my training, when I’m able to push myself to be better and do exercise more properly.

What wisdom would you like to share with someone thinking about doing it?

I promote working out wherever I go because it has made such a massive improvement into my own life. We invest time into work, we invest time into training to go further in work, when you take time to go to the gym you’re investing your time into yourself, your investing time into your health.

Despite my injuries, I physically feel healthier than I did as a young adult.

What’s next for you?

My next goal is to get into my peak performance possible. My club wishes to try for Worlds in Hungary next year and I want to be a top physical specimen for my team. So that I can make my team go further. I wish to be the best I can be to place myself on my club’s top team for that chance to go to worlds next year.

I adore the training I’m getting here. The quality of the trainers, I get so much more experience with these guys. And I’m just thrilled that every single week I’m able to do more and more. I haven’t hit a plateau in a very long time because this training is based on science. That’s why I love this training and I love this facility. It works great for me because it’s close to my new home.

I took massage therapy at MacEwan here. I retrained as a massage therapist after I lost my sight, so I’m very familiar with this school and I love this school. It’s very fitting a go to the gym where I spent three years retraining.

Serena Webber - Public Member

What do you do regularly that contributes most significantly to your overall wellness? Serena Testimonial Pic

I limit my calories and make sure I do some exercise each day, whether it’s cardio, strength or just stretching on Sunday.

How or why did you start with it?

In December 2015 I realized I was close to 300lbs even though I’m only 5”3. I was barely able to walk, in chronic pain, on a bunch of medication, and I had no quality of life. I had lost 12 years of my life to obesity and inactivity and I finally had enough. At that point staying the same was more painful than changing, so I decided to do whatever it took for however long it would take to get my health back on track.

How has MacEwan University Sport and Wellness helped you along the way?

The facilities are amazing; I swam in the pool almost daily which was a huge help because it’s low impact. Later when I lost more weight I switched to the treadmill and the elliptical. The equipment has always been top of the line and responsive, which is important for my interval training. The staff that got to know me were always incredibly friendly and encouraging; that played a huge part in me wanting to come back day after day.

What’s been your greatest challenge with it along the way?

Consistency. Life gets in the way – it’s not a question of “if”, it’s a question of “when.” I dealt with that by making the time to do my meal prep and exercise. Making these things a priority above all else was hard, but investing in my health has given me more energy to deal with everything else life throws at me. It’s an investment that pays for itself many times over in the long run.

What wisdom would you like to share with someone thinking about doing it?

You are not beyond help. Unlike other diseases, obesity is reversible and you could start reversing it today. See a doctor or dietician to figure out how many calories your body needs, get moving (even if it’s just a 1 minute walk) and have a backup plan for when things go wrong. Above all else, STICK WITH IT! If you have slips, they are just that – get back on the horse and your life will change for the better. 

Ashley Nickerson – Masters Swim Participant

What activities do you like that make swimming so enjoyable for you? I thoroughly enjoy being active and being in the water, and swimming is a great way to exercise. Ashley N Testimonial Pic

How or why did you start with it? My husband has been swimming with the master’s program for years and has always enjoyed it, so I thought I would give it a try. This is now my second year participating in it. I also used to be a lifeguard and swim instructor and after a break from the pool I wanted to get back into swimming.

What’s your favorite memory of swimming at MacEwan University Sport and Wellness? Jason is a great instructor and really pushes you every time you come in, his workouts are always different and challenging. What are the two greatest gains you’ve made from doing this? My endurance and strokes have improved since being in the master’s program.

What would you like to share with someone thinking about doing it?
I would highly recommend the Master’s program; I find that Jason pushes me way harder than I would push myself with my own workout. It has also been a great way to meet new people with a similar interest in swimming.

Find out more about Masters Swim at Sport and Wellness.

Vishva Ragunatha- Public Member

I have been attending the MacEwan University Sport and Wellness Centre since moving to Edmonton this year. I usually workout and swim in the mornings before I go to work. Vishva Testimonial Pic
 
This is a great way to start your day. In addition I joined intermural soccer at the university and overall this facility has everything under one roof for my health and wellness.

Find out more about Aquatic and Fitness Programming and Intramurals.

Trevor Fletcher- Public Member, Find Your Awesome Contest Winner

When I started with the Find My Awesome Fitness Challenge I was hoping to get into a routine during the challenge that I would be able to continue once the competition was over. After the first week of seeing the facility & meeting theTrevor Fletcher Testimonial Pic staff I soon realized this was not a “normal” fitness facility. There was a different feeling amongst the people training & the way the staff interacted with them. It felt (and still does) as if everyone is rooting for you to succeed.

I have been told on a number of occasions by Becky that the staff have made comments on the difference they have seen both in physical appearance & ability to perform during an exercise in myself.

As I mentioned before I wanted to get into routine in hopes of continuing after the competition was over, a routine has defiantly been established and I can wait to see the changes after one year. MacEwan has giving the opportunity to succeed and without Becky’s help and guidance this would not have happened.

Thank you again for this opportunity!



Learn more about Personal Training at Sport and Wellness.

Hanna Ouellette- Student Member

I first started going to the MacEwan gym when I started my degree 3 years ago, and I’ve been regularly attending ever since. I started going because it was convenient since it’s right at school, but I also had friends who went and I had heard a lot of good things about it!

When I first started going, I was amazed at how incredibly friendly the staff are! The great atmosphere and positive vibe make you feel glad you made it to the gym, even if it’s as early as 6am. Being greeted with a big smile and great personality on a regular basis, you can tell the staff really love what they do and it makes you feel good to be part of it! They have consistently been genuine and sincere and I am still extremely grateful for that. They manage to motivate you and push you harder if you’re willing to, even on your worst days.

After the first year of regularly attending the MacEwan University Sport and Wellness, I lost 20 lbs. Being a nursing student, I’m fully aware of how important it is to be healthy, but I’m realizing more and more how important it is to feel good about how you look and feel too. Going to the gym can be intimidating at first, especially for those who aren’t too familiar with what exercises to do or how the machines work. However, when I was at that point, I found that a simple question to a staff member went a long way! Now, my goal is to run a half marathon this summer. So far, I did a small New Years Resolution run on January 1st and I’ve yet to decide which race I’ll be signing up for, but regardless I’m looking forward to it!

Tessa Dimnik- Alumni Member

What do you do regularly that contributes most significantly to your overall wellness?
A big part of my physical and mental wellness is going to the fitness centre at least 4 times a week (the more the better ). I really enjoy having an hour or so to focus on bettering my physical health by exercising and my mental health by allowing guilt free time to concentrate of myself. The combination of exercise, eating healthy and being social with friends and family creates a happy and healthy lifestyle which I quite enjoy. It is this balance, I believe, that is most significant to my overall wellbeing.

How or why did you start with it?
I have been active all my life participating in gymnastics, skating, dancing, swimming, track, hiking, soccer, basketball, volleyball and more so being active is really just part of my who I am. In 2009, I moved to Edmonton to attend Grant MacEwan University as a Bachelor of Arts student as well as a Women’s Volleyball Player.  As an elite college athlete, performing certain exercises was key to the success of my game. Our coach had us working out in the fitness centre twice a week and doing short body weight team workouts almost daily. This is when I became conscious of my fitness and that it was a journey. Even though I had been active all my life, I had participated in these activities for the social aspect and to burn off some energy (no wonder my parents encouraged sports) but now, along with the enjoyment, I participate for the mental and physical wellness!

How has MacEwan University Sport and Wellness helped you along the way?

When I was a Griffin, the fitness trainers created a program for our team and taught us how to perform the exercises properly. After I was no longer a Griffin, I still loved to go to the MacEwan Fitness Centre as it somewhat felt like home to me! I had ‘grown up’ there in a sense. I felt comfortable and knew the facility and trainers well. Following this, I began to Olympic Weightlift with the coaching expertise of Jeremy Potter. This was a brand new sport for me and I was thrilled to participate in it.

What’s been your greatest challenge with it along the way?
It is easy to become stagnant – just going through the motions for the sake of it instead of having a purpose. For me, this usually leads to a plateau creating frustration and making me wonder why I still spend my time in the fitness centre instead of elsewhere. This results in a lack of motivation and enjoyment along with a lack of results. These lulls are very challenging to overcome especially because it isn’t always easy to see them coming, however, it is these lulls that make it worth it as it helps me to recognize my progress! (See my below notes for another type of challenge I constantly experience).

What‘s your favourite memory of this journey?
Each time I hit a lull, I find a new way out of it and that is likely my favourite thing about my wellness journey. It isn’t easy, which is what makes it worth it! Having to work for something and then achieving it is so gratifying. Probably my absolute favourite example of this occurred just last December (2015). After travelling for five months in Europe in 2014 (July – December), I had unsurprisingly gained some weight and lost a lot of my muscle mass. When I returned, I was able to quickly lose the weight however, building my muscle back was one of the most difficult and discouraging times in my wellness journey. So I decided to do something about it. I challenged my boyfriend to a friendly fitness competition. With the help of Jeremy Potter, we established a baseline for a number of different fitness measures including: body mass index, aerobic fitness, maximum pushups, maximum flexibility, maximum plank, physical age, etc. From September 15, 2015 to December 15, 2015, I was determined to beat my boyfriend – there was a spa day for the winner on the line after all! However, this meant so much more to me than winning and losing. This gave me the opportunity to prove to myself that I could make the changes I wanted to see if I simply put my mind to it. It became a challenge against myself – could I be better than the Tessa I was in September? This three month period has absolutely been my favourite memory on this journey so far as I was able to directly measure the gains I achieved with a little motivation and a lot of dedication (and beating my boyfriend in the competition is also a pretty good memory!).

What wisdom would you like to share with someone thinking about doing it?

Set a goal – whether short term, long term, both or many – and achieve it! Having something to work towards is very motivating and reaching that goal is so incredibly fulfilling. It gives one the opportunity to say to themselves – See! I can do it… now, what’s next?

What’s next for you?

At the moment I have decided reintegrate Olympic Weightlifting back into my life a little. I believe that it challenges my mental strength as much as my physical and this is something that I need now that I no longer participate in competitive volleyball. Further, I am going on a one month trip to Asia in April and I plan to prepare my body as much as possible before I go so, not only do I feel excited about myself aesthetically while I am there, but also so that I am in the best shape to come home and pick up where I left off.

My wellness journey as a whole has taught me a lot about myself – about what I would like to do with my life, who I want to be, what makes me happy and BALANCE. I am very grateful to my parents who encouraged me to be active and participate in sport and to the MacEwan Athletics Program for broadening what fitness and wellness means to me.

Chris Penwell- Student Member

What do you do regularly that contributes most significantly to your overall wellness?
I go to the gym five times a week and try to find other things to do such as badminton, swimming, or doing a kickboxing workout from HASfit.

How or why did you start with it?
I have interviewed Kyle Dunlop, a fitness and lifestyle consultant for MacEwan University Sport and Wellness, for class. He said to me during the interview that “Exercise is great to get the blood flowing, wake you up, [and] feel more energetic” even though “it seems kind of counterintuitive, because you’re coming in and fatiguing yourself a little bit.” He concluded, “But it helps.” That stuck to me, and I have grown to enjoy working out almost every day of the week due to that reason and the results I’ve been getting.  Watching Creed also pushed me to work out regularly. I listen to the soundtrack as I work out sometimes. 

How has MacEwan University Sport and Wellness helped you along the way?
MacEwan University Sport and Wellness is open long enough to be manageable on anyone’s schedule. I work out in the evenings typically, so it’s handy for me. You have no excuses! Get the workout done and be thankful you did afterwards!

What‘s your favourite memory of this journey?
Getting below 270lbs. I’ve lost almost 25lbs and at least 4 inches off my waist – I think I may have lost another inch or two as well - from September to the end of January. I’m proud of the progress I’ve made so far.
What are the two greatest gains you’ve made from doing this?
Slowly but surely seeing myself getting thinner and stronger every day, and actually enjoying each work out with a smile on my face.

What wisdom would you like to share with someone thinking about doing it?
Rather than dread it, enjoy it. Think positive about the work out and what you’re getting out of it. Crank some tunes on, get some Bluetooth headphones, and work out to the rhythm (or work out to songs that can pump you up). I would also recommend getting an eating plan. Never starve yourself. Eat properly, regularly, and keep your metabolism up. Plus if you have a goal, make sure it’s something you can reach.

Julien Larame (mom JoAnne)- Private Swim Lessons

When I decided to sign Julien up for private swimming lessons at MacEwan University I was hoping for 2 things; first, that he would be able to connect with an instructor and second, that he would develop the skills required to become a stronger swimmer.

We have been extremely fortunate!  Before his second lesson, Julien who is often hesitant to warm up to people, waved to Carlos from across the pool! He loves seeing Carlos and looks forward to his next lesson all week! His confidence in the water has grown and he is much more comfortable on our recreational swims. 
 

Hal Martin- Public Member

How has MacEwan University Sport and Wellness helped you along the way?
Fantastic facilities with remarkable trainers and staff.  I am supported by every member of MacEwan University Sport and Wellness, from the moment I walk in the door to when I leave. Trainers are there to answer any questions I have from equipment operation, to technique and style. The front desk is supportive, friendly and can answer any facility questions I may have.
The equipment is excellent, and I have yet to encounter anything in or needing repair. Everything is functional and very clean, including the change rooms.

What’s been your greatest challenge with it along the way?

There have been no challenges with the facility in any way. As for my journey, doubts and concerns with eating habits. Those concerns have been addressed, advised and dealt with thanks to the training staff who were able to help me with advice and opinions on the matter.

What ‘s your favourite memory of this journey?

The progression I see in myself on a weekly basis.

What are the two greatest gains you’ve made from doing this?
Living a healthier life allowing me to do simple tasks I previous had issues with, such as playing with my pets and playing minor sports, to even walking a flight of stairs without being winded.

What wisdom would you like to share with someone thinking about doing it?
The health benefits are beyond your expectations. Don't be afraid to seek help or assistance with the staff here, in any form, use the support they can provide. Just do it... while difficult at the beginning, in short times you'll see some results, after that, you'll feel better and going for any workout will become less of a 'burden', and more of a lifestyle. I sleep better, feel better in general and many have commented on how I am a happier person. Fitness really does help with depression and other mental illnesses.

Brianne Thomas- Employee Member

What is the greatest gain you’ve made from doing this?
Confidence! While taking swim lessons, I could not give way to fears of the water and I had to learn to trust myself and my instinct. Through my instructor’s guidance, I was able to dive into the water by myself and learn to really love swimming. I’ll always be grateful to MacEwan for giving me my confidence in the water. 

What wisdom would you like to share with someone thinking about doing it?
As an employee at MacEwan, I highly recommend taking advantage of the amazing programming Sport and Wellness has to offer. It’s affordable (I used my Access to Learning funds for most sessions) and very convenient. Nothing can compare to the feeling of getting home from an eventful day at work and knowing I’ve already completed a great work out, either at noon hour Spin or Barre class.

Karen Pottruff- Triathlon Training

What do you do regularly that contributes most significantly to your overall wellness?
For the most part, I try to eat well and keep on top of my fitness. And I try to balance out the training for races with doing something fun with friends which could be heading out to the mountains to get out for a hike or just taking a bike ride out in the river valley.

How or why did you start with it?
A friend introduced me to the triathlon training at MacEwan about 6 years ago. I was looking for a change in my workouts and something that would challenge me. I didn’t know much about triathlons then – only that you swim, bike and run. I could do those things so why not try putting them all together?

How has MacEwan University Sport and Wellness helped you along the way?
Without the triathlon training, I wouldn’t have known where to start to get myself ready for races. Sure, there is a lot of material online but finding the right stuff or balance for you is tough. Terra, the coach for the triathlon training, was great in listening to what my goals were and helping me get there. She provided me with a training plan that would work with my schedule and get me ready for my goal race. Terra and everyone in the triathlon group provided so much encouragement in my training for the races, especially when I was training for Ironman Coeur d’Alene. Not to mention, it was great getting tips on nutrition (during the races and before/after training) and training from everyone in the triathlon group – whether I was training for a sprint or an Ironman distance.

What ‘s your favourite memory of this journey?
There are a couple of favourite memories. First, training with and getting to know a great group of people in the triathlon group at MacEwan. And I’ll never forget crossing the finish line in Coeur d’Alene – the complete joy in finishing and knowing all that training over the year paid off, the atmosphere, seeing my friends, my coach, Terra, and others from the triathlon group supporting and cheering me on.

What are the two greatest gains you’ve made from doing this?

After Ironman, it really boosted my confidence – if I can do that (and in 40+ degree weather!), I can do anything I put my mind to. And I gained so much knowledge around nutrition, technique, taking care of your body to avoid injuries and on the sport itself.

What wisdom would you like to share with someone thinking about doing it?
If you’re thinking of doing Ironman or any distance of a triathlon, join up with the group and chat with Terra about your goals. Having a plan and training with others who have similar goals helps to keep you motivated and committed to your goal.

Megan Woloshyn- Student Member

What do you do regularly that contributes most significantly to your overall wellness?
Being a student I always try to make sure I get enough sleep and that I am able to go to the gym. I find that taking care of your body really helps your mental health and awareness. Also rewarding myself after stressful project and papers helps boost my mood.

How or why did you start with it?
I started working out because I was tired of how awful I felt all the time. I was overweight and wasn’t particularly physically active besides school sports. For some reason in high school I didn’t think working out was supposed to be incorporated into my life and that work, school and sports was well rounded and fulfilling enough for me. I started working out more at the end of my first year out of high school. I started with 3 or 4 days going to the gym and now I have worked up to a 6-10 times a week. I didn’t go on a diet while starting my fitness regime because I felt that people tend to try and change too much of their lifestyle too quick and it is just not sustainable. However a great side effect of working out is that you really don’t want to eat the bad food after working hard at the gym.

How has MacEwan University Sport and Wellness helped you along the way?
In my second year of University I was introduced to the Value Added Fitness Classes and I haven’t looked back. I have probably tired almost every class offered at the Sports and Wellness center and it has been a great learning experience. I love all the trainers! They are so helpful and friendly and always willing to show you different workouts to help target whatever areas you want. I love getting to know them. I love that they push me hard during workouts because they know how much I am really capable of. As well being a student I always take advantage of blitz days so I can try out other classes that are not usually free.

What’s been your greatest challenge with it along the way?
The last couple years I have hit a plateau in my body transformation that has made it really frustrating. Along with school, which puts a lot of stress on the body and mind that sometimes prevents me from working out or eating well. Eating well is probably thee hardest thing to do while in University.

What‘s your favourite memory of this journey?
I don’t think I could narrow it down to one favorite memory. I have met a lot of amazing people in the Sports and Wellness that have made this a great experience for me.

What are the two greatest gains you’ve made from doing this?

Confidence is the biggest gain I’ve made in my fitness journey. And I’ve gained an abundance of knowledge from the people who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting at Sport and Wellness.

What wisdom would you like to share with someone thinking about doing it?
Don’t be afraid to try. Don’t be intimidated by people. Don’t be ashamed if you can’t do something at first. Everyone starts somewhere and even if you just take baby steps you will make it to a place that you never thought you could.

What’s next for you?

Well in my fitness I hope to start lifting more seriously and hopefully run a marathon or triathlon. And potentially one day compete in a bikini competition, which would be exciting. As for my education, this is my last year of University and I hope to travel and find my passion in life.

Thomas Lee- Public member

What do you do regularly that contributes most significantly to your overall wellness?
I go to the Sport and Wellness centre every Monday through Friday mornings (between 6:45 and 7:45) before work for a workout. It starts my workday right and I have a great deal of energy throughout the day. I try to cycle in the summer and play volleyball in the winters.

How or why did you start with it?

It was New Year’s Day about 2 ½ years ago, I was 23 lbs heavier than my “normal” weight and my pants were getting rather uncomfortable. I decided that I needed to lose a little weight and get back in shape. It wasn’t a New Year’s resolution but it was a great time to start.

How has MacEwan University Sport and Wellness helped you along the way?
The Sport and Wellness offers everything that I needed – large fitness area, appropriate equipment and an amazing staff that’s always willing to help. Plus, the Value-Added spin class was what I needed to add to my cardio exercises. I had a personal trainer, Jeremy Potter, setup a program for me to help in the areas that I wanted to concentrate on – legs and core. I strongly recommend that you get professional assistance since they know the exercises and weight training program that will target the areas and you do it without causing problems such as injuries – proper technic is a key. I wasn’t targeting weight loss because I knew that the weight would come off as I continued to come on a daily basis.

What’s been your greatest challenge with it along the way?
I would say commitment was the greatest challenge. Jeremy had setup a weight training program for me but I didn’t start doing it until 3 months had passed. I was coming to the gym for mostly cardio and legs exercises but I wasn’t following the program that he had setup for me. However, once I committed myself to the program and I started to see the changes in my body. I got stronger and leaner with some added muscles.

What ‘s your favourite memory of this journey?

I was targeting to back below 170 lbs. I started when I was 193 lbs. I managed to lose the weight and gain muscle mass and achieve my goal without changing my diet. It was a good moment for me.

What are the two greatest gains you’ve made from doing this?
I got to meet a great people at Sport and Wellness centre. It’s the same group of people that I see on a regular basis and they are fantastic. I gained back my fitness and body that I once had. I truly appreciate a healthy lifestyle and promote to it to my friends and family.

What wisdom would you like to share with someone thinking about doing it?

As we get older, health and wellness is a key to overall well-being. I don’t know if I have any wisdom but I would like to share with anybody that is thinking of going to the gym or fitness centre. Just do it! Yes, we can work out on our own and, yes, we may not need to get a membership but it helps us become committed to exercising by having professionals assist us with appropriate program and building new friendships that will encourage one another to target a specific goal.

Dan Marfei- Public Member

What do you do regularly that contributes most significantly to your overall wellness?
Combination of different activities on a daily basis is the key to my super healthy lifestyle. Winter limits my options to skiing and ice-skating which I still love a lot. But summer time is when my adventurous spirit truly comes out. One can always join me for biking along the river valley, yoga in the park, playing Frisbee, Tennis, Volleyball and of course the king of all sports- Arm Wrestling.

How has MacEwan University Sport and Wellness helped you to achieve the top place in Canadian Arm Wrestling?
On May long weekend (2015) I became Canadian National Arm Wrestling Champion on the left arm in the 63 kg (138 lbs) weight class, also got silver on the right one. I am extremely thankful to your incredible staff for being a huge part of my success. Cindy from Turbo Knockout along with Spin & Core trainers made my best body shape so far. And it’s just the beginning…
On the top of that last year we got an Arm Wrestling table in the performance area. It had an enormous impact on our workouts. Every Saturday Chris and I push our limits arm wrestling beside the Keiser cable machine. We both truly appreciate the consistent support from your amazing team.

How or why did you start arm wrestling?
Almost 8 years ago, when I was a 2nd year law student at the Ukrainian National University of Lviv, I tried to arm wrestle couple of bigger guys in our gym. Felt some power and signed up for the university’s team. In 2012 I moved to Canada and immediately became a member of the Edmonton Extreme Arm Wrestling Club. 3 years later I am the Canadian champ 

What’s been your greatest challenge with it along the way?
Going up against multiple Canadian champion Will Sarty was the biggest challenge so far for me. Because of the triple elimination system at the last Nationals we faced each other 9 times. In addition to my 1st place on the left and his on the right we got an award “Best match of the day”.

What ‘s your favourite memory of this journey?
Placing 11th out of 20 competitors on left arm, in Malaysia proudly representing Canada at the 37th World Arm Wrestling Championship in Kuala Lumpur. I didn't get a chance to show my full power on the right one as I got a fever next day.

What are the two greatest gains you’ve made from the arm wrestling?
My passion for the Arm Wrestling resulted in gaining an excellent physical and mental shape. I shortened my gym days off to 2 days a month. Finally I can do 1 arm pull-ups, I can beat national champions, I go above and beyond with my strength, technique and strategy. Another positive moment reflects in the numerous friends I’ve got in Arm Wrestling world. I feel their support; moreover my competitors do not allow me to stop training for a bit.

What wisdom would you like to share with someone thinking about doing it?
You never know about your real Arm Wrestling abilities until you start actually pulling. Once you try it and if you become as passionate about it as I am you are set with the greatest circle of people. They will motivate you, push and pull you to the top of the hill where gold medals are awaiting for you. But keep in mind in order to reach that top of the hill you have to shoot for the stars. “Per aspera ad astra” is one of my favorite Latin sayings, which means “Through hardships to the stars”.

What’s next for you?
In 2016 I will apply for EPS. For me it’s the best way to give back to the community. And thanks to MacEwan University Sport and Wellness I’m going to pass physical exam with flying colors!

Shawna Fisher- Employee Member

What do you do regularly that contributes most significantly to your overall wellness?
I love to spin! I try and do a variety of exercise classes but I love to cycle and it is my favourite way to spend a morning or a lunch break. It is so convenient to work and exercise in the same place, so signing up and just making the commitment has really helped!

How has MacEwan University Sport and Wellness helped you along the way?

I’ve tried a few different gyms and workout routines but I have always fallen off track quite easily. When I started group exercise classes at MacEwan, I was immediately hooked. Sport and Wellness has created a real community, where people notice if you skip a morning and challenge you to work harder and try new things.

What are the two greatest gains you’ve made from doing this?

Since joining Sports and Wellness I started exercising because I actually enjoy it! I had a personal trainer design a program with me focusing on activities that I enjoyed, and now it doesn’t feel like such a chore to go to the gym and feel out of place.

Bailey Regan- Personal Training Client

I was always irrationally afraid of the gym because I thought I’d be the only person there looking totally lost, but now I’ve realized that everyone starts at a different place, and we’re all just trying to better ourselves. To anyone starting up I’d say that meeting with a trainer for teaching and motivation is a very good call. Overall, the increased strength and energy I feel with a consistent workout regimen is so worth getting over my initial reservations.

Arianna Plunkett- Swim Lesson Participant

How or why did you start with your wellness journey?

I wanted to learn how to swim.

What ‘s your favourite memory of this journey?

The friends I get to meet.

What are the two greatest gains you’ve made from doing this?

I learned how to swim. And I feel good about myself.

What do you like about swimming at MacEwan?

When I started swimming I was scared of the water. Now I’m excited to go swimming.

Sofia - Kids of Steel Participant

 

What do you do regularly that contributes most significantly to your overall wellness?

I stay connected with my team and follow our leader, Coach Carlos (Kids of Steel instructor). Carlos is an ironman and he inspired us to become triathletes. He also trained other athletes before, but my friends and I discovered him almost 2 years ago, and we trained year round with him since then.

How or why did you start with it?

Searching for sports leadership. I was finishing a swimming class at MacEwan and looking for further sportsmanship opportunities. This is when someone talked to us about coach Carlos training triathletes.

What’s been your greatest challenge with it along the way?

Transforming my physical skills in the triathlete abilities requested by Coach Carlos. He takes any good swimmer and makes him/her into an endurance performer. He change sport talents into hard core, dedicated athletes, but when you initially face his professional demands, it could be a bit intimidating.

What‘s your favorite memory of this journey?

Coach Carlos and his assistant coach Michael took us to Hawrelak Park last year when we trained for the St. Albert KOS race, in June. We took on race size “tracks” there, combining the run and bike segments of the triathlon. We got to test our own bikes and see whether they were fit for the race conditions. Because we were not pressed by competitive demands, I got to enjoy being with my friend’s outside. It was like a playdate.

What are the two greatest gains you’ve made from doing this?

Personal development, becoming someone else that I can only dreamed about before, a super girl. And getting a new family, my triathlete family at MacEwan.

What wisdom would you like to share with someone thinking about doing it?

You are not alone, but you may not know it. If you just stretch your hand for help or information, any of the wonderful people I met at MacEwan Sport and Wellness would give you the support and guidance I got for the last 3 years.

What’s next for you?

To follow in my coach’s footsteps and raise my endurance level so I could do three triathlon races per year. I also want to train and take all my certificates to become a lifeguard at MacEwan University Sport and Wellness when am 16.   

Sofia Salazar-Dion - Swim Lesson Participant

What do you do regularly that contributes most significantly to your overall wellness?

Swimming!

How or why did you start with it?

As a baby, my mother took me to pools a lot; I continued on with swimming and now am told that am an excellent swimmer.

What’s been your greatest challenge with it along the way?

Well, maybe sometimes finding the motivation to go swimming, I can get quite distracted by reading at times.

What are the two greatest gains you’ve made from doing this?

Don’t let the water scare you, just think about how the Olympians started, exactly like you. Remember to keep being inspired to improve and the only way to get better at something is to practice, so come to the pool often.

What wisdom would you like to share with someone thinking about doing it?

Well, I most definitely want to keep on swimming, gain more endurance, start doing more competitions, then more serious competitions, and who knows maybe even someday to the Olympics.

Chris Suvan - Public Member

What do you do regularly that contributes most significantly to your overall wellness?

In 2009 I had a career ending neck injury that took me out of playing every contact sport I enjoyed. In 2010, I began working out with Personal Trainer James Linthorne. Since making that decision, James and I have been working out 3 times a week and he always ensures he is cognizant of my injury and finds creative ways to motivate me and push me during my workouts.

How or why did you start with it?

Being in sports my entire life, then having a career ending injury was extremely difficult for me. I wanted to stay active and have someone motivate me throughout my work week.

What’s your favorite memory of this journey?

I have been lucky enough to build a great friendship with James Linthorne who I count on everyweek and he ensures that I have a healthy and clear minded life.

What wisdom would you like to share with someone thinking about doing it?

If you need the extra push in life like I did, and need someone to keep yourself motivated and healthy, take that first step and sign up. These trainers are absolute professionals in all matters in life and you might just gain a lifelong friend like I did.

Hana Matova - Employee Member

What do you do regularly that contributes most significantly t o your overall wellness?

I exercise four to five times a week, combining strength and cardio. And what might be even more important, I try to make healthy choices in what I eat.

How or why did you start with it?

My life was very active when I lived overseas and I struggled a bit after I moved here. About 3 years ago, I decided it was time to do more and wanted to see what else I could do since running was not an option at the time due to an injury. I started attending classes in the fitness studio and
that was it. I was hooked.

What are the greatest gains you’ve made from doing this?

Becoming fit, finding out there are no limits, and feeling fantastic! Meeting great people along the journey. It is great for your body, but just as important for your mind.

What wisdom would you like to share with someone thinking about doing it?

Be active. Try different things and find what you like. You need to have fun and enjoy whatever you are doing. Whatever you do, do it right. You are not doing it for anybody else, it is all about you! And always challenge yourself!

Esther Auger- Public Member

How or why did you start with your wellness journey?

I started to do a lot of cardio 3 to 4 times a week. After going to weight watchers to get advice, one of the members told us that Cardio really helps to get the heart pumping. I also aim for the big numbers in calories on the treadmill for example 600 to 1000.  

The reason why I wanted to lose weight in the first place is because my knees and my feet are always hurting. I ended up damaging my left knee because of the weight I went to. I don't mind sharing my weight before I started this weight-loss journey I weighed 303.4lbs and today I weigh 191 down 120lbs. 

What’s been your greatest challenge with it along the way?

My biggest challenge was to do the exercises and stick with it. I used to hate exercising because I would always breathe heavy. Now I enjoy it. It became my routine. You can't lose weight without exercising, that's how I see it now.  

What‘s your favourite memory of this journey?

My favorite memory is seeing success. For example my waist at the start was a size 48 now I am at a 35 waist. I have lost 13 sizes I guess. Going shopping and not being in the plus sizes. I now fit a size 12 and it feels great. 

What are the two greatest gains you’ve made from doing this?

The greatest gains from doing this is more self-confidence and having a higher self-esteem. 

What wisdom would you like to share with someone thinking about doing it?

Keep your mind and spirit focused. Share what you accomplished and never lose your beautiful self.

Deb Kershaw- Public member

What do you do regularly that contributes most significantly to your overall wellness?

Sticking to my schedule!!! I truly believe that consistency in exercise yields the results in the long term.

How or why did you start with it?

In December 2013, I started my membership at MacEwan University and met Jeremy through the triathlon training group. After meeting Jeremy and getting to know him, I felt it was a good fit to work with him as my trainer.

What's your favorite memory of this journey? 

My favorite part of this journey at Sport and Wellness is meeting the awesome, supportive people. Not only the trainers and staff, but also the other members of the gym. My three hours a week at the gym are probably my most favorite three hours of my hectic week!

What wisdom would you like to share with someone thinking about doing it?

Do it! Take the few hours each week and do something for yourself! I don’t hesitate to recommend personal training to anyone. There’s a trainer for everyone! And it’s the best mental / physical three hours a week you can have! So great to do something for yourself.

Oliver Dechant- Student Member

What do you do regularly that contributes most significantly to your overall wellness?

For me it is all about staying positive and avoiding injuries. I stay positive by having fun, pushing negativity and self-defeating thoughts out, staying in the moment, committing to clear long-term goals, and by adding variety to all aspects of my life. I have avoided injury by staying realistic about my day-to-day condition and dialing down the intensity where appropriate, focusing on small incremental improvements, cross training, eating healthy, and of course resting/recovering.

How or why did you start with it?

I started swimming for fitness several months before joining with the Masters group. Mostly I was a horrible swimmer so I was looking for a convenient and ongoing avenue for improvement. I was active in variety of other fitness areas but unlike running or weight training I learned that with swimming you could really push yourself hard day after day. So for me Masters Swimming has become a very consistent and doable add-on to other areas of my fitness lifestyle.

What wisdom would you like to share with someone thinking about doing it?

I think that swimming is something that you can do at any age and that if you start early you will be setting yourself up for a lifetime of healthy living! Also I’ve noticed that once I developed my core abilities in the water I enjoy other water activities such as surfing much more, especially compared to people who are not swimmers. Another great aspect is that you are never going to have to wait to get started, the equipment is simple and there aren’t long intervals of ‘bench warming' involved, in swimming you are always moving and improving! 

Maurice White, Public Member

What do you do regularly that contributes most significantly to your overall wellness?

I have been a member of MacEwan Sport and Wellness for 16 years. I come to the fitness centre five days a week around 8:30 in the morning. I walk on the treadmill and work out with the machines, free weights. I enjoy the new Performance Zone and the new equipment!

How or why did you start with it?

When I was in the military I smoked and developed emphysema. I had to do something to help with my breathing and lung capacity. So I joined MacEwan and have been coming faithfully five days a week. I enjoy the comradery of the staff.

What are the two greatest gains you’ve made from doing this?

I was diagnosed with lung cancer two years ago. I know, and I was told by my Doctor, that it is because of MacEwan and the love and support I receive from the staff and other patrons that I am still
alive today. I look forward to coming to MacEwan because I feel loved and the staff is like family to me, like my second home! 

"I know, and I was told by my Doctor, that it is because of MacEwan and the love and support I receive from the staff and other patrons that I am still alive today.”

Jo Stack, Employee Member

What do you do regularly that contributes most significantly to your overall wellness?

It now has become a habit for me to get up everyday and go for a swim. When I miss a day now, I do feel like something is missing from my day. I also now have a lot of support from family, friends and coworkers and even people I hardly know. It always seems when I am most in need of some encouragement that someone comes along and says ‘keep at it’, ‘we are proud of you’ or ‘you inspire us’. That is incredibly motivating to me.

How or why did you start with it?

I knew that I needed to change my life. It took me a long time to find the courage to start the journey back to a healthier way of life. I am not sure why I have been able to persist with the diet and exercise program this time. It also seemed that they were always talking about obesity and how unhealthy that is. I started to feel that all those news reports where talking directly to me.

What have you gained from doing this?

Before I started this, I was on three different kinds of drugs for high blood pressure and cholesterol. I no longer need them! I guess this means that I now have a chance of a longer and healthier life.

What ‘s your favourite memory of this journey?

One of my favorites is picking up my parents at the airport after not seeing them for a several months and my mother being shocked at my appearance and not even recognizing me.

What’s next for you?

I will be trying a couple of Triathlons this spring and summer. I plan on never going back to my old way of life. It is not how I want to live any more. I would really like to thank the huge number of people who I talk to everyday for encouraging me and even inspiring me. Without you, I would have stopped a long time ago.
 

"Just keep at it. As with everything in life, the things worthwhile doing are never easy."

 

Betty Myles, Public  Member

How or why did you start at MacEwan University Sport and Wellness?

I have been coming to the fitness centre since it opened, except for a couple of years due to health problems. I had recently retired and moved to Edmonton, and realized I needed the physical activity I’d had at work. My first experience with this facility was when I attended the open house and I soon became a member. I moved again 10 years ago and am now just five blocks away, which is a nice walk. I have never been very interested in athletics, apart from learning to skate and taking Phys-Ed classes at school. I have played little more than a guitar, the radio and TV. I have never been to a hockey game. I mention this because I suspect there could be others as keen about sports as I.

 

What’s been your greatest challenge with it along the way?

I have some health issues, which need more than diet and pills, and my doctors support me in continuing with my program here. They have said that so far, it has helped me to avoid major surgery, so I am serious about doing as much as possible. I follow a routine that is geared to my needs and ability.

What’s your favourite memory of this journey?

I enjoy the atmosphere of the fitness centre and the choices available. I am most familiar with the weights and bikes areas. I have been in the pool for exercise only. I do not swim, but have tried to learn many times. The staff are friendly and helpful and I like being with students, staff and neighbours, as well as with other seniors.

What’s next for you?

I have just turned 82 and want to continue working on keeping fit as much as I can. I try to keep my body, mind and spirit in good balance. The fitness centre helps me do this even when I’m extra creaky or less than eager. I’m grateful for the difference it makes for me.

"...[M]y Doctors support me in continuing with my program here. They have said that so far, it has helped me to avoid major surgery, so I am serious about doing as much as possible.”

Jim Williams

Jim Williams had only been coming to MacEwan University Sport and Wellness for a few months when he collapsed at home on February 8, 1995 leaving him unable to walk. Months later he was diagnosed with MS. Determined to still do something, Jim, with the help of his wife Annette, came back to MacEwan Sport and Wellness to use the pool so he could participate in aquafit classes. His first trip to the pool was memorable for Annette, as she accidently dumped him on the ramp leading into the pool when wheeling him in with the aquatic wheelchair. After the class Jim felt happy to be doing something again and he became a regular. In a few short months Jim was able to do things by himself without relying on others, and he developed the mantra, “If I can get better, no one will need to know I have MS.”

By June, his doctors were amazed with the strength he gained in such a short time. He went from using a wheelchair to walking with two canes and they believed the pool and aquafit classes were making the difference in his recovery. As his strength and progress continued to improve, with the support of staff, he learned to use the fitness equipment and became a regular fixture in the fitness area as well.

Jim was never able to go back to work after his diagnosis, but made good use of his time. He would be found in the fitness and aquatics areas three times a week working out, swimming and attending aquafit classes. He soon went from two canes to one, and many at MacEwan University Sport and Wellness never knew he had MS. He refused to let anyone know about his condition, and would abandon his cane at the Centre. Also unknown to many of his friends here at MacEwan, was that Jim had epilepsy.

In September, 2010, Jim passed, leaving behind him a legacy not soon to be forgotten at Sport and Wellness. Several of the attendees at his funeral were members and staff of the centre, and everyone spoke of Jim as the rock and driving force behind the 9am aquafit class. He was the glue that held the group together, extending himself to ensure everyone felt welcome and part of the group, and acted as their spokesperson. The friendships that formed from this group over the years were strong and went well beyond just membership in an aquafit class.

Jim lived his life to the fullest and is a shining example of how through fitness, belonging and friendship, one can overcome what would appear to be the greatest of odds and not let the difficulties life sometimes deals you, beat you.

"If I can get better, no one will need to know I have MS.“


Contact us if you would like to share your wellness success.