A strong body: The best ally for a strong mind

Feb 01, 2016
Ashley Ann Lawrie


Poor health will challenge even the most dedicated Canadian activist.

Raylene Lang-Dion knows this well. A feminist and political activist, she splits her schedule between public service, volunteering, advocacy, conferences and speaking engagements, not to mention family.

And while she thrives on the chaos of it all, the pace did take its toll on Raylene’s overall health and fitness – especially given children – aged 17 and 16. To complicate matters, she had not been near a gym since her teens.

With a big birthday milestone looming on the horizon, Raylene decided last winter to take action, make a financial commitment to her health, and begin to rebuild her body by focusing on strength and making better food choices.

“I finally admitted that I had become that person who spent the majority of their work day sitting at a desk, who had little muscle mass and who was not eating the healthiest foods,” she said. “I had absolutely no fitness level and was consuming more and more caffeine to maintain my energy.”

To get back on track and to stay there, Raylene realized she needed the professional coaching and accountability that comes from working with a personal trainer. Stephanie Boucher, owner of Stephanotis Hair on Bank Street, recommended that Raylene try FFF’s Glebe location next door.

Last March, Raylene signed up and started working with trainer David Maranger and Joey Blais as her secondary trainer.

“It was important to work with someone I could be frank with and got along with extremely well,” Raylene said. “David has been absolutely fantastic. FFF is a professional, welcoming place suited to people of all types and various levels of fitness. It’s not your typical gym.”

Raylene’s goal was to gain strength and develop muscle, while having a gym schedule that easily fit her already over-scheduled life. Working out just twice a week for 30 minutes, Raylene was “astonished” by how quickly she saw results in her strength and body size, as well as her energy level, focus and clarity of mind.

“What I really enjoy about FFF is my trainer guides me every step of the way –I don’t think about creating my own nutrition plan, workout or how to properly use the machines and weights,” she said. “If I was left to my own devices, I wouldn’t know how to use the equipment to address my specific fitness needs.”

Today, she has the strength to do what she once considered unimaginable: lifting 65 pounds after starting out with just five pounds. Her body displays the results of her efforts – Raylene has dropped three clothing sizes. The experience has also made her an advocate for others to take action with their health.

“If I can work this into my schedule, then you can too,” she said. “It’s a no brainer. It’s about looking after yourself first so you can do what you need to do in your life.”

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