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From classroom theory to practical application

Mar 11, 2016
Ashley Ann Lawrie

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It’s called the “freshman 15” – the pounds that pack on when young people head off to school and eat too much takeout and fast food.

Kaitlyn Deschamp was no exception, despite the fact that she still lived at home during her university years. Much if it came down to the stress and time demands of juggling six courses each semester while holding down a part-time job. She’d hit the gym and a yoga class once in a while, but that wasn’t enough.

It was a somewhat ironic situation, considering her course of study. The 23-year-old graduated with a degree in human kinetics – the study of the physiological, mechanical and psychological mechanisms of human movement. It’s a credential common among the trainers at Free Form Fitness.

Only in her final year, when her schedule allowed for a more regular routine of exercise, did she understand what she had been missing.

“I realized how much better my concentration and energy levels were,” she said. “And how much better my performance through all of university could have been.”

It may be a cliché, but nonetheless true – if you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything.

Today, Kaitlyn is working as a medical assistant, and sees this first hand.

“I work with very sick people who have lost their jobs and are stuck in a cycle of seeing multiple doctors and having to bed rest much of the day.”

Kaitlyn tried working out with her boyfriend Keith who serves in the Canadian Armed Forces. He was a tough act to follow, considering he is an Infantry soldier who sometimes hits the gym twice a day. Intimidated by the prospect of weight training, Kaitlyn gravitated to just doing cardio on the machines.

But last summer, with Keith about to deploy overseas for five months, Kaitlyn decided it was time to do more.

She had heard a lot about FFF from fellow students and one of her professors, about its focus on accountability and the importance of that to help people turn a healthy routine into a lifelong habit.

She often drove past FFF’s Kanata location. One day, she decided to come in, sign up and “just go with it.”

That was last June. Today, she’s 15 pounds lighter and fitting back into her old clothes.

“I wasn’t afraid to get into a bathing suit on my recent trip to St. Martin,” she said.

But the real changes are inside.

“My energy levels are 100 times better than they were before,” she said. “I can take on all my challenges. I feel more confident. I can keep up with Keith now when we go to the gym.”

Thanks to the patient coaching of FFF trainers Ryan Williams and Nick Antal, Kaitlyn has learned to weight train with confidence. As a student of human kinetics, she understands how important it is to combine cardio and weight training, to be strong, fit and lean.

Her next goal?

“I want to get in shape to run the half-marathon in the Army Run, and then a full marathon,” she said.

Kaitlyn is also considering a career as a personal trainer.

“I’ve learned more at FFF about personal training than during my whole time at university,” she said. “In university, they teach you theory, but they don’t train you to apply it in practice.”

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