Laying Down the Law in the Gym

Dec 11, 2015
Ashley Ann Lawrie

girl in squat rack

The life of a law student is a gruelling and competitive one, with intense classes and long hours in the books. Other than lugging a massive backpack, it doesn’t leave much time for fitness.

But if there is one thing an overworked law student needs, it’s the stress outlet of hitting the gym.

That was certainly the case for 24-year-old third-year law student Stephanie M.

After a tough first semester with too much sedentary studying, she vowed to have a “healthier second semester and a stress outlet.”

During her undergrad, Stephanie had worked out for a short time with a personal trainer. She wanted that kind of expert guidance again to keep her on track through her busy schedule. A Google search led her to Free Form Fitness’s ByWard Market location.

Woman with personal trainer

She started coming in twice a week in January 2014.

“I was getting so stressed I wasn’t eating, I was thinking about school all the time,” she said. “But the trainers are there for you. I come here for half an hour and don’t think about school. After, I feel a million times better.”

The accountability of regular sessions, with a tailored program that also helps her manage nutrition outside the gym, is key. Stephanie has a fondness for breads and sweets that can catch up with her if she isn’t disciplined. Exercise alone isn’t enough – that was evident last summer when she went home to Alberta and over-indulged.

“When I went home, I didn’t have that accountability,” she said. “I gained 10 pounds because I was sitting at a desk all summer. When I came back to Ottawa, my dress didn’t fit. That was a shock. But then I worked off 12 pounds in a few months when I changed what I was eating.”

That dress, by the way, is a wedding dress. Stephanie is getting married in January.

woman deadlift hex

In addition to pursuing her legal career, Stephanie is a fitness instructor as a hobby and teaches piloxing four times a week. Piloxing is described as a “non-stop, cardio fusion of standing pilates, boxing and dance” that can burn 400 to 900 calories an hour.

It provides an awesome cardio workout, to compliment her weight training at FFF.

“You need both for optimal health,” Stephanie said. “FFF is helping me to be toned and muscular and enhancing my ability to be a piloxing instructor.”

To balance it all, Stephanie keeps a tight rein on her schedule. That includes meal planning and stocking up on healthy foods and key supplements like her protein powder.

How is her dedication to fitness and nutrition rubbing off on her peers at school?

“I think I’ve influenced them a bit,” Stephanie said. “It’s a good stress outlet. If you take a half hour out of your day to work out, you are going to be a lot more productive. Now that we are in third year, many of them are realizing that more.”

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