2019: The Year of Learning, Doing New Things & MORE!
I believe in life we always have choices, so here you are presented with 2 choices: the short version of my 2019 Year in Review below or you can read this full blog post full of all the juicy details of my year and what For the Love of Fitness PEI has in store for 2020!
2019 has been a year of much needed lessons but also so many NEW things like being part of retreats, attending a virtual conference and being a keynote speaker twice! …CHECK OUT WHAT FOR THE LOVE OF FITNESS PEI HAS BEEN UP TO!
1 national award recognition: Top 3 Finalist-Fitness Professional of the year with Canfitpro
1 national recognition: Top 100 Health and Fitness Influencer with Optimyz magazine
1 provincial recognition: Female Road Runner of the Year by PEI RoadRunners Club
2 #BodyPositivity courses completed
1 Training completed: Peer Support Group Leader workshop with Canadian Mental Health Association
1 #Mindfulness course completed: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction 12 weeks
4 articles published in Optimyz magazine
1 guest on a podcast discussing how to cultivate a positive body image with Suzi Fevens
2 Keynote Addresses: PEI Road Runners Club & Fitness NB
1 NEW #Yoga class launched: Trauma-Informed Yoga
1 NEW #LearntoRun5K Group Training Program launched
1 new #CORE Strength Fusion small group training launched
1 MORE #ChronicPAIN Management class added to the Yoga schedule
1 NEW Body Image Facebook group launched
1 NEW Workshop launched: The Complete Running Workshop
5 yoga workshops completed
2 workshops completed on #BodyImage
1 Retreat workshop on Body Acceptance
1 Virtual Conference attended-Body Peace Conference
2 fitness conferences attended
5 PEI Humane Society Fundraising Yoga/Pilates KARMA classes offered
14 fundraising races completed
Juicier longer version…
My business and I have made a lot of changes since 2017 that I am proud of and the learning curve has been steep. I have made mistakes, picked myself up, asked for help and pushed forward. I have been a student. I’ve embraced the beginner’s mind. I’ve been humbled and reminded of how much I don’t know. I am grateful for these lessons and reminders. My inspiration to learn, grow and evolve has never been stronger. The progress is slow but it’s progress to be celebrated. I tell that same sentiment to my clients and I practice it myself.
It has always been and continues to be important to me to always be learning and growing in my field and strive for excellence. I have always had a strong commitment to continuing education and it’s always been a valuable time and resource investment and this year was no different.
The Education Continues
This year I spent a great deal of time on education similar to 2018 however with far less travel. I continue to work through a course with the Body Positive Fitness Alliance to earn my affiliation with the company. I’m really enjoying the course and have been pacing myself with the content to balance my workload throughout this year. I do have two other courses I have my sights set on for spring or fall of 2020 but will reassess as the year progresses and based on my availability. I attended two fitness conferences this year in person and one virtual conference. In August, I attended the Canfitpro Conference in Toronto where I completed 10 sessions consisting of both lectures and workshops led by world-class experts. In November, I attended the Fitness New Brunswick Personal Training and Fitness Leader Summit completing several sessions and was honored to be their keynote address speaker. Staying up to date with fitness trends is key to any fitness professional in this fast-changing industry so I always commit time to checking industry journals, studies and keep my pulse on the evolving aspects by following industry experts. For a full list of continuing education that I completed this year you can check it out on my website here (scroll to 2019): https://www.fortheloveoffitnesspei.com/extras
Growing Positive Mindsets Inside and Out
This year my small business has been recognized as a body positive organization by the H.A.E.S. community and by Superfit Hero as well. I also am listed on the Badge of Life registry for my work with trauma-informed yoga. I also was named one of the Top 100 Health and Fitness Influencers by Optimyz magazine and chosen as a finalist for Fitness Professional of the Year with Canfitpro. Also, in the body image area I facilitated a workshop for Teen Esteem PEI on body acceptance, was a guest on a podcast to discuss body positivity, and was a presenter at the Recharge Atlantic women’s retreat to present on body acceptance through self-reflection. Optimyz magazine published two body acceptance articles written by yours truly; one on how to cultivate a positive body image through changing our mindset and the other on breaking down diet culture by identifying and rejecting it through our self-talk and taking back control.
Giving Back and the Fitness Industry
Mentoring is a key way to give back to the fitness industry and ultimately helps everyone rise up including helping clients and class participants reach their goals. I have supported individuals in the industry that are expanding their role in the industry and an individual that is going to start their career in the future in our industry. It’s an exciting time for both of these folks and I love answering their questions, sharing my experiences and information. Sharing best practices is one of the best ways we as fitness professionals can grow the industry as a whole.
When we grow together, we ultimately help everyone succeed. We as individuals grow, our clients grow and our communities grow. #BetterTogether I spoke about this during my keynote address at Fitness New Brunswick’s 25th Annual Personal Training and Fitness Leader Summit on November 2nd. I have never viewed my peers as my competition. They are my peers. Period. When they do well, I applaud them. We are working towards common goals: to guide others to live healthy active lives through movement and education. When I see them progress and succeed, that means to me that their clients are too which is what I want for my clients too. When their clients are reaching their goals, there is a ripple effect into the community rich in inspiration that far outweighs if I were to view this success as “my competition”. My peers progress is my progress, it’s the industry’s progress and our community’s progress. We all succeed together. If a new gym opens in town, GREAT! That means there is an opportunity for MORE Islanders to get active, new ways for them get active, new people to be inspired by, etc.
We need to shift our mindsets to seeing a big picture to work towards common goals and share our success working together for the greater good of all. Recently I hosted a Fit Pros Sharing Best Practices event in my community and it gained so much interest and was so inspiring that I am hosting another one in 2020, stay tuned on my Facebook page for the announcement of the date and time. These events are for fitness professionals to share best practices to help everyone rise up and ultimately help YOU and your clients/class participants achieve their goals! Everyone wins! Another initiative I started was creating a Facebook group dedicated to continuing the conversation of sharing best practices. This group is for fitness professionals to share resources, tools and information to help each other grow, learn and flourish together to improve the whole industry. Check it out, search for Fit Pros Sharing Best Practices.
Pairing Animal Love with Fitness Love
I host fundraisers for the PEI Humane Society as part of my ongoing efforts to pair my love of animals with my passion for fitness. 2019 brought many Yoga/Pilates Fusion Karma classes in support of the PEI Humane Society. They were more popular as the year went on and we had fun in these classes
and raised funds for all the sweet animals in the shelter. I am so proud of this work and will continue these efforts for many years to come. I was very pleased to be able to present the organization with several contributions throughout the year and in 2020 I will have new fundraisers, stay tuned on my Facebook page. Thank you to everyone who attended, shared the posts and to those that gave donations in lieu of attending, you all really are making a difference for the animals.
Running races this year was very different than last year. This year was a learning year because of my injuries. I have had a hip injury I have been working with for a long time and it would improve significantly then it would flare up off and on during the year. I also had a few other injuries this year but with the support of my treatment team and my own compliance to my physiotherapy exercises I was still able to stay on my training plans and complete all of my races, a total of fifteen. I had intended to complete two 16k races this year which were going to be the races I worked towards all year as those are longer distances for me however I decided based on my hip to change the distance category for those race days so I could still participate. There is always next year. I am only competing with myself. I am very happy with my performance overall and the important thing is how I feel at the end of the day and that I treat my body well by not pushing it too far and injuring myself further. I did have some amazing training runs and races that were most certainly worthy of me naming running highlights of 2019. The PEI Marathon weekend I raced in the 10K category and it was my 100th race overall since I started racing in 2005, a big highlight for sure. It was also my fastest 10K time all year. What made this race extra special was that one of my clients came out to support me cheering me on along the course and then greeted at the finish line to congratulate me. I was so moved by this gesture. To have a client and friend waiting at the finish line to support me was a first for me and a nice reminder that I will experience more “firsts” even after 100 races.
Another notable highlight was PEI’s newest race called Chase the Pace held at the UPEI track. A very unique race where you are paced by a pair of UPEI Cross Country athletes for your chosen race pace around the track for 5K. It was so fun and different; we had a blast and also my fastest 5K of the year. One thing is for sure, I am grateful to be able to run, race and move my body the way I do, to
push my limits in ways that challenge me and help me to grow and learn my potential. The running community is a gift and I am looking forward to my running and racing experiences in 2020. Big thank you to the PEI RoadRunners Club for all of their work to organize and promote the many races across PEI that are in support of local non-profit organizations.
Writing is Sharing and Sharing is Caring
I have been writing for Optimyz magazine since 2010 and over the years have had 16 articles published in their print version and seven online on their site https://www.optimyz.com/?s=doris+ward. In 2019, I had four articles published and am honored to be a part of a Canadian women’s wellness publication. As I mentioned earlier, two of the articles were about improving body image through our mindset and our actions. The other two articles were about healthy aging and keys to whole-life
balance. In their Feb/March issue I was honored to be recognized on their annual Top 100 Health and Fitness influencers list. This list features leaders who are creating a better path to health in Canada. They represent the 5 pillars of Optimyz magazine: health, fitness, nutrition, life/adventure and mental well-being. I have been nominated for their Top 100 Health and Fitness Influencers for 2020, stay tuned for their February/March issue to find out if I made the list again!
Lessons, Always a Student
In 2019, the same lesson came to me over and over again for me to learn and it was that I need to stop hustling and simply slow down. At every opportunity my body and mind were trying to tell me this and throughout the year there were so many signs. I even blogged about this mid-year about how I was going to slow down and I did take steps to but it wasn’t enough. So, as we wind down in 2019 and enter 2020, there is no more hustle. I will continue to remind myself of my priorities, my boundaries and make the right choices based on those for myself and my business. I made choices this year that led to pushing myself too much based on others expectations and needs and my priorities got out of balance as a result. Once I learned this lesson, I started pulling back, taking the lead and making smarter decisions to take care of my own self and also to be sure that I was following my own goals and not someone else’s.
Moving forward I will continue to work hard, dream big and strive for excellence but not at my own expense or at the expense of the people and pets I care about. That’s what was out of balance this year and probably last year too because I was hustling everything got pushed to the side including me. Not any longer. I am leading the way now.
The Person behind For the Love of Fitness PEI-Let’s get Personal!
What’s a business without the owner and the person that created it? Right?! Let’s remember I am one person, a one-woman show and take great pride in my business, it’s growth, accomplishments and
also, it’s future. I believe, and have always said, personal training is PERSONAL! I stand strong to that statement. My business is built on relationships. I know that honesty is one of the most important aspects my clients want out of their services from me. Authenticity and honesty go hand and hand. I am what you call a “real” person. I laugh out loud, I make mistakes in front of you, I apologize to you when I see I have overstepped, I am not perfect and be sure to point it out, I do my best to make everyone smile or laugh at least once during their hour with me even if it’s at my own expense and I share my own struggles with the people I work with to build connection and to show them I can be vulnerable with them.
Personal struggles and sad news have been a part of 2019 however I have also had some memorable highlights like enjoying the Blue Rodeo concert in Summerside with a good friend, attending a taping of The Social in Toronto with my husband, going to super fun 90’s concert in Truro with my super fun friend, and also being named PEI Road Runner of the year! Also noteworthy on a personal level for highlights is the fact that I ran my 100th race this year since I started racing in 2005. I ran in the PEI Marathon 10K category in October and had a wonderful experience and to top it off I had a personal best time all year. These are just a few that stand out to me that really have hit high notes this year and I will be able to look back and feel these moments stored inside me and a smile lights up on me.
What’s next in 2020 with For the Love of Fitness PEI?
I have BIG goals and dreams for my business and am excited about the possibilities and opportunities that are coming my way. In 2020, I will be offering workshops including my body image workshop and yoga classes, please stay tuned on my Facebook page and the Town of Cornwall Facebook page for the yoga class schedule and registration details.
I plan on offering my Running workshop and Learn to Run program in the spring should my schedule allow it and that it aligns well with my other priorities.
My sessions with my one-on-one private Pilates and personal training clients will continue as will my fitness coaching clients.
I will be completing my course material with the Body Positive Fitness Alliance that will empower me with information around diversity, inclusivity and body positivity in the fitness industry. Check out their website here: https://bodypositivefitness.org/#!map
2020 Get fired Up!
The turn of the new year is one of my favorite times of year. The energy, motivation and spark in everyone’s eyes to create their best selves is so uplifting!
I love goal setting for me, for you, for everyone! Goal setting, a designing of your life, aligning your priorities, making choices in the right direction and planning your future! Exciting right?! I will be offering a goal setting workshop in January, stay tuned! Goal setting is part of my role in personal training as well as fitness and life coaching. It will also be a part of the running workshop and learn to run program. I offer it with my private Pilates and Yoga clients too.
I have written articles in Optimyz magazine about goal setting and blog posts too, it’s something I get fired up about. Check out how you can get ready for 2020 to by doing your own year end review with my tips and guidelines that I posted recently on my blog while you are there sign up for my blog so you don’t miss future posts.
It’s been quite the year. Has there been hiccups, obstacles, fears and doubts? Yes. There always are and will continue to be. What’s important is that I learn from the bumps in the road. I am grateful for the meaning and lessons from owning a business, from the people that I work with and get to meet along the way. Just as much as I am their teacher, they are my teacher too.
Alignment vs. Balance
Work-life balance is something I am always striving towards. I don’t believe work-life balance is 100% possible or that it exists perfectly but I do believe that as long as I am actively working towards it that is what is best for me. I continue to actively take steps to take care of my self to be my best for me and for others. I align my choices with my priorities, do my best, continue to look for growth opportunities and remind myself to breathe a little deeper. I recently had an article published in Optimyz magazine about the keys to whole-life balance. Pick up your copy of the issue which is jam-packed full of articles dedicated to your self-care at Superstore/Loblaws, Indigo/Chapters, and Shoppers Drug Mart. If you prefer to read your magazines digitally, click here for the issue:
Over the last three years my approach and way I communicate with clients and participants has changed and I am glad about that. My approach is now focused on being choice-based led while helping them to make the mind-body connection. What is a choice-based approach? It’s setting an environment where others decide how much they participate, they are in control of their movements and body, they get to set their own pace based on their own fitness and energy levels and choose to rest as often or as little as they like. My instructions are suggestions and invitations and I ensure all clients and participants I work with are reminded to listen and respond to the sensations of their body in a way that is in their best interest. I have become much more aware that this is a powerful way to support and guide others that has really been able to make incredible positive impact on others I work with. It’s been a welcomed mind shift working from the inside out to feel your best. I have become aware that working from the inside out is the most powerful and effective way to help others feel their best, achieve what they set out to do, and have the highest quality of life.
The Power of Words
I’ve also been mindful of my power of words and working carefully with my language with everyone I interact and work with. I understand that as a fitness professional, my words have power and impact and that I need to be careful with my messages. I continue to be aware of what I say and how it impacts the people I work with and use my language in a way that is positive and to help others realize their potential. That being said, I also believe there is not one-size-fits-all approach and that my way isn’t the only way or always the right way. I adjust as I go if this approach doesn’t seem to be working to find another way that works better for my client or participant but I will say that this new approach works far better far more often than the old style. I will continue to evolve, adjust and educate myself to ensure I am delivering the best experience and meeting the needs of my clients.
I am so grateful for the growth I had in 2017 and 2018 and also for the #lessonslearned in 2019. I welcome 2020 with open arms for all it has to offer me. I will be prioritizing, exercising my power of choice and my body, helping others and fiercely pursuing my goals! Who’s with me? Let’s go!