June 2019 is my fourth anniversary at Strong Side.
A visit to my parents in 2015, was the kick in the backside for me. My dad at 82 could barely get the two pound toaster up into the cupboard where it’s been kept for 50+ years and my mother was recuperating from surgery and was on seven different kinds of medications. Being on a litany of medication in my senior years wasn’t looking all that appealing, especially in light of all the science and literature out there toward diet and exercise.
I didn’t want that for my golden years. I was 47. I had been doing a women’s kickboxing gym but I had a terrible neck injury from a small movement that made me miserable for almost a year. I can tell you they didn’t care if I hurt myself at their gym, as long as I kept paying my membership fee.
I had several other chronic pain issues that I was throwing a lot of money at with physio but with not much relief. I was in a long-term relationship that had been dying a slow death for years and I just didn’t have the coping skills I needed to end things. And, I was sliding into perimopause! I realized I needed strength training above all else to get me out of the physical and mental rut I was in. I had tried a few free crossfit classes but they seemed inordinately expensive and not the right fit for me.
A simple google search for Strength training, New Westminster pointed me to Sider Strength. TJ did an NKT treatment on me and with all the money I had spent on physio, I finally had some relief and found someone who actually knew what the heck they were doing! Signing up for me was truly a no brainer.
After three months, a chronic 30 year pain in my shoulder disappeared. The thousands of dollars I had spent on physio during that time should have just gone into a gym membership! Plus, it made me less inclined to drink as my overall mood just improved.
I have come to be a HUGE believer in strength training for chronic pain and depression. I was a figure skater in my youth, I was in pretty good shape and could pull off Russian splits easily. Upper body strength however, wasn’t all that. I certainly couldn’t do Russians today but I am stronger in more ways now, than I was then. However, I can say in all confidence I am stronger than I have ever been in my life: mentally, physically and emotionally. All in part to my peeps and the fit fam at SSC. You all inspire me and make me show up.
So my Strongside story. December 2017, I was 260 lbs going on almost 3 years of not having stepped in a gym. I had back problems on and off since I was 17. Finally discouraged and frustrated I stopped my athletic pursuits at the age of 23. So the goal for 2018 was to get it all back. I started a weight loss grant program and decided I needed a gym. After searching for awhile I came upon this interesting website that seemed like everything I was hoping to get. I knew I needed guidance and a plan to get started. Walking into Strongside I was expecting the commercial gym vibe. Bright, asthetically pleasing and full of machines, but what I walked into was a welcoming, casual place where I felt comfortable. I had Kam for my assessment. He told me everything that was wrong with me......in the nicest way possible and at the end of it I put my trust in their hands and they have yet to let me down. I started hitting weights that I hadn't touched after 4 months, I started hitting Pr's after 7 months. Even after a groin injury 8 months after I started set me back. With their guidance and help I hit the same numbers before my injury after only 5 months. The community that Strongside has created is ultimately the biggest factor. Seeing people of different ages and background all working toward a goal of a healthier lifestyle is such a postive force. Because of it I have dragged my mom and sister in here and countless others know where I credit my success too. I can't thank the Strongside family enough and look forward to the future with them.
I joined Strong Side in August of 2019. I had just moved back from San Francisco and was 7.5 months pregnant. I have struggled with chronic pain for over a decade. The three day drive combined with being too heavy to rock climb anymore wreaked havoc on my body and I was in a lot of pain. My friend suggested I try Strong Side as she said the coaches had always helped her pinpoint and fix pain in her body. She was right.
I met with Dee and she was so supportive and gentle, designing a program in line with my abilities at the time. Near the end of my pregnancy I couldn't do much, but Dee made me feel proud of myself if I even just managed to come in and do some stretches. During the smoky days of the summer I could feel I was about to faint during a workout and had to lie on the floor for 10 minutes. Everyone was so supportive and helpful, I never felt embarrassed or out of place.
Dee has continued to help me recover my strength post-partum. I don't know how I would be able to do the back-breaking work of nursing a baby all day and night without these programs and coaches. Because I can manage my pain, I'm able to spend more time enjoying my new baby. I feel like I'm thriving again, rather than just surviving.
January 16th. 2 year anniversary! When I first started at Strong Side Conditioning, I didn’t know how life-changing it’ll be to be a part of this gym.
My body is the strongest, most flexible, and most balanced it has ever been. After about a year hiatus from dancing, I went back to it last year. I noticed a clear difference than before in my ability to do movements more easily with more confidence. Nowadays I’m incorporating more acrobatics into my dancing, and this is very exciting. I’ll be performing at a large event in February with my newfound skills. Thank you to Kameron for all the fabulous programs (finishing #23 this week!) and to all the coaches for guiding me through them!
Dianna and I had started keeping track of my weight and body fat since last January. I’m now at a steady weight of 122 lbs, and my body fat has steadily decreased over the course of the year. When I first started I weighed in around 130 lbs. In the past two years, I had a couple of injuries like a banged-up left knee and a bruised tailbone. I was able to recover relatively quickly thanks to all the coaches’ guidance. It has also helped that coach, Ishana, has extensive training in osteopathy. I’m in the best shape of my life. I feel and look fabulous at 41!
The people at the gym are just lovely whether it’s the staff or my fellow Strong Siders. I’ve been fortunate to have become friends with some of them. Some gym friends have seen me go through my rough times in the past two years that included multiple moves, career change, and broken hearts. They have been both figurative and literal lifesavers. Forever grateful.
What is the story of my life so far? In a paragraph:
There have been many moments of happiness and triumphs. It hasn’t been an easy ride, though. Workplace bullying. Poverty. Betrayal. Broken hearts. Depression. Moments of suicidal thoughts. Lots of challenges just like everyone else’s journey. They are all my scars. Scars are actually stronger than the surrounding skin once they have healed, but they do not fully disappear. They are a part of me. They have made me STRONG. Being part of this gym has made me STRONG. I’m proud of who I am: a person who is flawed and covered in scars yet forever endeavouring to be the best that she can be, because she has the power and choice to. The support that I have gotten and continue to get in my growth from the people at the gym is priceless.
Thank you, Strong Siders, for being my home away from home, my community, my fam jam. Also thank you for putting up with the increased frequency and loudness of my grunts when I’m doing my workouts. I remember when I first started I found it amusing that people grunted very loudly in the gym. Now I’m one of those people. Love you forever.
Growing up, and well in to my twenties, I was a skinny, scrawny guy. When I got to my thirties, I was a still a skinny guy, but one with a rounder face and a small paunch in the abdomen. And one day, I thought to myself, why the hell do I have to put up with this? I can change and get stronger, and so I made a appointment with TJ for an assessment, and got on to a 3-days a week program to build up my strength and increased my overall fitness. Doing that rekindled my passion for learning about how the human body works.
When I got laid off from TELUS 2.5 years ago, I was rudderless. It was the first time I was ever “fired” from job. A friend invited me to stay with him in Toronto for a month, and while I was there, he brought me to a 2-day intro to massage course. We were taught the basic principles behind massage, and how to give a general relaxation massage. All those squats and lunges at the gym stood me in good stead - when giving a massage, you will be performing squats and lunges if you don’t want to end up with a sore back!
Today, I’m a registered massage therapist, and Strong Side was one of the foundational factors that led me to my new career, and Strong Side continues to help me build up my stamina and strength, so that I can be a better RMT.
Thanks to everyone at Strong Side for the continuing support!
2.5 years ago I walked into Strong Side on a whim. I had moved to New West that weekend and was out exploring with my brother and dad. My brother suggested I walked into the gym simply because my surname Strong matched the name of the gym. Dee was the first person I met and I immediately knew this would be a person and a place I could rely on to help me.. I asked Strong Side for a big goal: help me become a good roller derby player. I was a different person back then. I had moved to New West an emotionally and mentally ruined person, following an amicable but heartbreaking separation. I was absolutely convinced that I could pull myself through the most difficult time of my life thus far with two things: the gym and roller derby.
Fast forward to now, through more than two years of hard work and sweat, and we have absolutely done it! I play on a ranked WFTDA (Women's Flat Track Roller Derby) team and travel all over North America to do so. I have sustained no major injuries so far, as a big portion of my training has focused on "bullet proofing" my body.. And this past summer I achieved a big goal by making a highly ranked local team, the Terminal City All Stars, and being invited to play at the highest level of roller derby yet at the WFTDA Continental Cup in Omaha.
But as cheesy as this sounds, the biggest thing we have achieved has been inside of me. I have never ever thought of myself as an athlete. I grew up doing performing arts and getting straight As, hell bent on getting into medical school. Sports never factored in and I honestly thought I was a non-athletic person. I was active my whole life, but I was mostly a cardio hound that avoided the other sections of the gym. But training with Strong Side has done something awesome for me. They have convinced me that I am in fact an athlete. I am strong. I am fast. I have incredible work ethic and motivation. I can move weight quickly. There is not a week that goes by these days when I am not impressed by my own body and what it can achieve. I am so proud of myself for that.
But the work isn't done! I have one more very lofty goal: to try out for Team Canada Roller Derby, earn a spot, and go to the Roller Derby World Cup in 2021. I want nothing more than to be able to walk into Strong Side later this year and announce "We did it!", champagne and doughnuts included ;). The thing is though, if I don't make it, I will still know that my trainers and I did everything in our power to make that goal happen. I'll have no regrets. I will be so grateful for what Strong Side has done for me and I'll continue to work with them after derby is done, no matter what my future goals are.
If you have a goal in mind, an injury to recover from, or have decided that 2019 will be the year you level up or start training, get your butt to Strong Side. The staff are an incredible group of supportive knowledgeable people. The clients are all working on their own goals while supporting each other. And the environment can't be beat- it's motivating, fun, and has never once been intimidating to me.