Dedicated to building a new her

Jan 24, 2017
Ashley Ann Lawrie


Even the most self-motivated individual can use some expert guidance to keep on track and work smarter rather than harder.

Tanya Woo is no exception. The 46-year-old dental technician and college instructor understands the value of staying fit through middle age.

But she’d grown tired of big impersonal gyms and group fitness classes. It was time for a change. She wanted a personal trainer, a true personal trainer versus what she had experienced in the past at one of the fitness chains.

“I was never comfortable there,” she said. “You’ve got these incredible hulks all around you grunting and throwing their weights down. When you are not sure of yourself you don’t want to be in that type of atmosphere.”

A fan of safe and proper technique, Tanya wanted to learn to train the right way with weights.

A Google search led her to Free Form Fitness, where she was impressed by the client testimonials and the holistic focus on nutrition, exercise and accountability.

She’s been coming since June, training four times a week – once with trainer Nick Antal and the rest of the time on her own.

“I was never concerned about my weight,” she said. “I just wanted to learn how to lift heavier and properly. But I did lose weight by lifting and I’ve also changed the way I eat and the way I look at food, too.”

Changing her eating habits was more challenging than what she did in the gym.

“Nick put me through a meal plan boot camp that cut out carbs for four weeks,” she said. “At first glance I was shocked. I then looked at it, took it apart to decide how I could do it. Before I knew it, I was two weeks in and feeling pretty good. By the fourth week I realized I could keep doing this.”

Tanya’s results to date have proven that common perceptions about women and weights are wrong and that lifting will not make them “buff and bulky.”

“I’m not bulky, I’ve slimmed down,” she said. “My arms have form to them now.”

In fact, weight training is far more beneficial than cardio alone to maintain strength, flexibility, and joint health through middle age and beyond. A well-rounded fitness program should include both.

Tanya has learned a lot in six months, but the trainers continue to surprise her with new ways of doing things.

“I like coming here,” she said. “It’s quieter without the intimidation of a big chain gym. Sometimes, I can even sing to myself without anyone listening to me. There are a lot of days driving down the Queensway when I’m tired, but I get here and I’m always glad I came.”

What’s her next goal? An ambitious one. Tanya intends to enter her first bikini competition in June.

“That’s a big challenge for me, but I’ve been thinking about it for a long time,” she said.

We’re all rooting for Tanya and will check back in the spring to see how she’s getting on.

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