What a beautiful tragedy to recognize the need and hunger for more, a constant push or search for that next best thing that might hold the key to the door you’ve been desperately pounding on for what it feels like an eternity. A beautiful tragedy indeed that this core principle sounds like an exceptional way to live our lives – but most are searching for the wrong reasons.
I’ve been questioned on the topic of, “Why did you decide to open a gym” more times than you’ve heard Bitcoin come up in conversation as of late. And to be completely transparent – I don’t really have a concrete reason as to why. Initially my thought was that this type of exercise was much more exciting, there was something about it that brought back my hunger for self development (sound off if you’re picking up what I’m laying down) and the CrossFit scene in Regina at the time wasn’t anything crazy. We had a couple gyms that have been up and running for a while, but I think I was more in love with the fact of owning my own gym and making my own rules when this adventure started back in 2012. Fitness has always been both directly and indirectly a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I played competitive hockey along with 5639 other sports growing up, therefore keeping me pretty active almost 24/7. Looking back on my life in sports for the better part of my adolescent years, I never really had a reason why I was doing the things I did. There was no existential force or anything truly driving me as to why I wanted to continue playing – or even progress. So eventually I got a little bored. Didn’t quite make the cut for some teams that would take me to the next level, so I ran off and joined the Army.
Being the wise age of sixteen and joining the army has it’s own challenges in itself, but the question was begged once again – “Why did you join the army?” WHY? Truthfully there were a couple friends of mine who had picked up a brochure from the career fair happening at our high school at the time (NOD in the house) and expressed interest in joining. We all seemed on board and said this was something we would do, so I went off that weekend and joined! Monday morning rolled around, and with excitement I strutted into to school and told my buddies thinking they had done the same – turns out they had second thoughts. I stuck to my guns and a couple weeks later I was on a bus headed to basic training. Once again, I spent six years with the army, I completed many courses, earned the rank of Master Corporal at an extremely young age of 19 which put me in charge of men and women aged 30+, and had the opportunity to serve a 5 month tour overseas in Kabul, Afghanistan. When I returned home I was asked that question again more than ever, “Why did you join?” The same answer kept popping up in my head – I literally didn’t have a reason. There was nothing keeping me there, no belief that was truly keeping me around. Sure it was fun to fire off more ammo than you’ve ever seen out of some machine guns, throw grenades and blast rocket launchers – but the hunger wasn’t there. So with the plan of opening a gym after I came back from Kabul, I released from the Army in the Spring of 2012 to not only start a new chapter, but a new book as a whole.
Fitness, as cliche as it sounds, is a way of life. And for the people that balk at the notion or laugh because they’ve heard it time and time again – you’re on your way. I’ve never had something to believe in that truly drives my effort on a daily basis. I played sports and joined the Army and learned some exceptional skills along the way that would mask that belief in thinking that I had a higher reason as to why I was doing the things I did. But the “Why” was never there. Maybe it was there, but I was in search of it for all the wrong reasons. When someone walks through the door at VSC my biggest obstacle to overcome and communicate is the importance of mindset towards health & fitness. Every introductory session starts with a quick chat as to where the individual is at in regards to health & fitness, and where they’d like to go. We talk about what has worked in the past and what they’ve all tried, what their goals are looking like now a days and how we might be able to help them out. Teaching fitness is the easy part. I can teach someone how to move, where to position themselves, give them more body awareness so they can identify where their body is in space without looking – but that’s not the difficult part. The biggest barrier standing in anyone’s way in their mindset and how they perceive not only themselves, but the task at hand and WHY they’re doing it. I don’t care if you practice Yoga, go to spin, CrossFit, Powerlifting, Strongman, Zumba, Step Class – whatever. Fitness is so much more than just that hour you’re in it. We practice because we have a core belief that we can better ourselves as human beings, take care of our bodies and nourish them so they can in turn take care of us. I’m over the moon excited to see when someone hits a new personal best on their back squat in the gym. But to be completely honest I’m equally (if not more) excited to hear back from the mom of two who just came back from a vacation in BC and was able to go on hikes with their kids because of her new found level of fitness. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment being in the gym and making strides towards competition of some sorts, or be in pursuit of that new movement or increased strength – but don’t lose sight of the real task at hand. Fitness encompasses almost everything we do in life and has no final destination. The constant pursuit of personal improvement and drive to be the best version of yourself.
So when people ask me why I opened a gym, even though it took me almost five years – I have an answer. Topics and types of fitness will come and go, but that isn’t your driving factor. The difference between bodybuilding and water aerobics shouldn’t alter your view on why you’re choosing fitness. You’ve taken a pledge to yourself that you want to keep pushing your limits and improve your quality of life. So if you’re playing this game and find yourself a little demotivated or discouraged as to where you’re at – remember this is bigger than the moment you’re in. This isn’t just another hour at the gym, this hour might very well grant you the strength to save your life one day, or be able to enjoy something physical or active that you previously could not do. That game will last forever. And if your mindset coincides with that game – hold on to that until your very last breath.