As a child, I was skinny, uncoordinated, and always picked last for teams in gym class. The highlight of my grade-school athletic career was scoring a goal in floor hockey – for the other team. Oops! I discovered the wonder of physical activity in my undergraduate years, becoming an avid participant in aerobics and step classes, cycling, rock climbing, and weight training. As a lover of the natural world, the logical extension of this was strenuous canoe trips into the backcountries of Algonquin and Temagami Provincial Parks, and hiking up mountains on the West Coast. I learned that, despite the messages I had received as a child, I had an amazing capacity for endurance activity and meeting advanced physical challenges. Disillusioned with the Master of Social Work (MSW) degree I was pursuing in the mid 1990s, I decided to marry my love of helping others with my love of physical pursuits. I knew that physical activity had the capacity to be transformative, as I had experienced this first hand. I passed my American Council on Exercise (ACE) Personal Trainer Certification exam while simultaneously completing my MSW. I promptly began to grow my in-home personal training practice, Lifeline Personal Training. This was a rebuke to all those who, at that time, said that fitness could never be a full time career! I began to apply my talent for counseling to the psychology of motivation, helping clients identify their goals and the roadblocks they faced in reaching them. Moreover, I subsequently attained two advanced certifications that gave me specialized skills for working with individuals with medical challenges – and to this day my roster has included clients with HIV, brain injury, stroke, lupus, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, arthritis, joint replacements, mental health issues, sports injuries, and various musculoskeletal problems. In addition, I have a wealth of experience in sport specific training, preparing clients for marathons, triathlons, cycling events, ski season, and mountain climbing challenges. I have always been the kind of person who establishes a goal, and then sets out to meet it. My many personal achievements include becoming a long-distance runner after I broke my neck in a bike accident in 1996; trekking across Utah’s Zion National Park with my husband; hiking the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island solo; rock climbing in Meteora, Greece; long distance hiking in Italy, Spain, Greece, Jordan and Israel; training half-marathon distance for road running; and meeting many long-distance trail running goals. My biggest accomplishment was the beautiful, drug-free births of my three children, two of them at home.
“There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do.” Freya Madeline Stark