Busting the myths about weight training … and leaving the guys in awe

Mar 15, 2016
Ashley Ann Lawrie


“When you make yourself a priority, you actually have more time for everyone else,” said Alli Pedro. “I find I can be more present for my son and my family.”

Alli has been training at Free Form Fitness’s Kanata location for about 18 months. There was a time when this busy, globe-trotting accounting and finance professional thought she didn’t have time for a regular routine of exercise. As a big yoga nerd, she dismissed weight training to build strength and muscle mass on the belief she would lose flexibility and just injure herself.

But almost two years ago, Alli reached a point where yoga classes couldn’t give her the intensity she wanted. She also admitted to herself that, despite her best intentions, she wouldn’t follow through on her plan to run through the winter months.

Alli decided to try FFF, despite her general dislike of gyms. Her goal was to come in twice a week, once with a trainer and once by herself, just for the winter.

But somewhere along the line, that plan changed. She never stopped coming. These days, she’s working out about five times a week. She has a new perspective, thanks to the fact that, at FFF, there’s a lot more focus on building a trusted relationship between trainer and client compared to the typical gym.

“I thought that coming to the gym would be a huge time cost, but once I started coming here my work productivity went through the roof,” Alli said. “My capacity to be a parent, a friend and a professional all increased. It’s like the glue that sticks it all together.”

She credits it all to trainer Ryan Williams.

“The guy is amazing,” she said. “He busted the myth for me that by training hard with weights you are going to lose mobility and injure yourself.”

In fact, she has gained mobility. Ryan has helped her remedy a problem that could have led to chronic back pain later in life.

Trading fat for lean, strong muscle

Alli has always had a fast metabolism. Her desire to exercise more consistently had more to do with stress management than a desire to lose weight. She realizes now, at 36, that she was “skinny fat” – she looked thin, but instead of lean muscle mass, much of her body shape was fat.

Since she began training at FFF, Alli has gained 10 pounds, and gone down two clothing sizes. She has changed her body composition and gained strength she never expected.

Whenever she travels for work or pleasure, Alli always finds time to hit the nearest gym. On a recent trip to New York, she was doing dumbbell rows with 45-pound weights. (When she first came to FFF, she started with only 10-pound weights.)

“I was the only woman in that gym using weights, all the other women were on the cardio machines,” Alli said. “Every guy in the place was starring at me.”

But the stronger and more fit she has become, the more Alli has had to focus on eating a full and balanced diet, to ensure she has enough “fuel in the tank. ” She used to be the kind of person who would skip breakfast and drink five Cokes a day. Today, breakfast is often her largest meal, and the Cokes, well, she’s cut those back to one a week.

Alli and her family will soon be moving to Bermuda. That means no more visits to FFF. But that’s OK. Healthier eating and strength training have now become habit.

“I know I will be part of a gym for the rest of my life now, wherever I am,” she said. “I won’t give this up.”

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