How Monique is getting her grove back
Sometimes, it’s just good for the soul to repeatedly slam a medicine ball into the floor. It’s a great proxy for everything, and anyone, that’s giving you stress.
And Free Form Fitness client Monique Tremblay certainly has her fair share to work out on hapless gym equipment.
Monique is the primary caregiver and advocate for her husband, who lost his independence nine years ago after suffering a rare brain stem stroke. Adding to her stress are two legal disputes to ensure financial and medical support for her husband’s care: one she finally resolved a few years ago, but the other is still in progress.
It’s only natural that these trials would take a toll on anyone’s health and well-being. Monique always was physically active, with activities such as marathons that gave her powerful legs and a strong core. But as she passed into her 50s, regular exercise went by the wayside and food became a comfort. The pounds began to pile on.
Time for a reno
She wasn’t oblivious to what was happening. Still, she was shocked when she stepped onto a scale earlier this year and saw that, at only 5’ 2”, she was up to 170 lbs.
“I wanted to lose some inches, be able to wear my favourite clothes, feel like a woman again, and get myself out in the world again,” Monique said. “Last year, I did some renovations on my house. I decided it was time to renovate myself.”
She had tried the big fitness chains before, with only passing success. Nor had she been impressed with what passed for “personal training” at these clubs – cookie-cutter programs based on age and gender that didn’t take into account her individual needs.
At an Aging with Rage panel at the Great Canadian Theatre Company this past spring, Monique learned about Free Form Fitness and its personalized approach, and decided to give it a try.
She quickly noted a big difference between FFF and the training services she had experienced before.
“I saw that nobody gets the same thing – the weights are different, the approach is different (for each client),” Monique said. “I don’t see anyone getting the same cookie-cutter approach.”
Most importantly, she found the emotional support and encouragement to get motivated and stay consistent through whatever life throws at her.
“This isn’t just about exercise,” she said. “It’s about my overall personal health, my mental and emotional states, too.”
Getting back on stage
A few months into her new routine, Monique has found the energy to regroup and consider what to do next with her life. She wants to parlay her background in marketing and communications into a rewarding part-time job. After four years with Toastmasters, she will qualify for the Distinguished Toastmaster award in 2015 and wants to look fabulous at the District 61 conference.
And Monique wants to sing again. Husband Rick is a musician, and they used to perform together at local pubs and festivals.
“I want to be in a show, I want to be part of a blues or jazz band,” she said. “Losing the weight is part of that.”
She also wants to raise awareness about the plight of individuals who reside in long-term care facilities, such as her husband. About 85 per cent of these people have been abandoned by their families and friends. This includes a surprisingly high number of younger people who are there due to accident or disease.
“I am an advocate for my husband’s care, and I stand alone with a very small percentage of people who do that,” she said.
We wish Monique the best of luck and expect to have a great success story to tell when we follow up with her next year.