Heather Sykes

Calgary personal training Heather

When Heather Sykes started at One On One, she was pushing a size 14, wearing elastic waistband pants or stretch jeans, and hiding in oversized shirts. She was 175 pounds and 35 per cent fat. Today she is a trim 155 pounds, sporting a size six on the bottom and size 10 on the top. Heather says, “Do you remember the big black workout shirt I wore at the start? It was a men’s medium because I couldn’t fit a ladies XL.”

“Never again will I let that happen to me.”

Heather’s Story

I am 48 and feeling great! I have been married for 26 years and have a daughter, 22, in Bachelors of Nursing and son, 21, in Bachelors of Business, both have been elite athletes. I spent many years in the stands perfecting my poor snacking habits. I have many reasons for finally taking the step to walk into One On One last summer. After dealing with a health problem and the loss of family members over the past few years, I felt I was off track with my life.

As a Massage Therapist I was “talking the talk, but not walking the walk.”

Many of my clients in their fifties and sixties were in better shape than me. My body was hurting and my strength and endurance was terrible, I knew weight training and some nutrition counselling were the answer for me something I had never done before.

I also have a family history of heart disease and diabetes and know that preventative health, exercise, and fitness are key.

I started training at One On One once a week, and then I increased to two times per week. Jay, my trainer, has set me up with a plan that I can do at the gym or anywhere for a third weight workout. I also try to run outside or do cardio at the gym four times a week. I have always known the importance of fitness but took it for granted that I didn’t have to have a regular exercise program. In turn, it caught up to me. What I have learned is how important the combination of nutrition and exercise are together. Years ago we would just eat meat and potatoes, then go play our sport. Now, what we eat and how much is just as important as the sport we play.

I book the time just like I would any other appointment and give it the same priority as any other appointment. My family has accepted that and knows how important it is to me. I really love it! I like the way it makes me feel. I’m stronger than I have ever been in my life and happier, and even my memory has improved.

After taking about 12 years off of regular exercise, I was still able to get back into shape! Sandra was training one day and said to me, “Stop putting limits on yourself!”

From that day on I never said “I can’t” anymore. Now I can do eight to 10 chin-ups in a row! If you asked me to do that a year ago, I would have broken out into a sweat and said forget it!

Getting out of my comfort zone was tough. I also had to make a plan and not get talked out of it.

At the beginning there was some resistance from family. Change is hard. However, when I set my first goal to run a 10k race on May 29th, I asked my two kids if they would do it with me. They agreed and we registered. Their shift in attitudes changed and we encouraged each other to practice. I think they were worried that I was going to beat them! My brother, 52, and his daughter even ran the race. It was a huge accomplishment for all of us. My husband cheered us on and took pictures and then said, “I think I could do this, too.” Next time!

I have learned from One On One’s Nutritionist Colleen Parsons how much to eat, when to eat, and what to eat. I’m only eating the “good stuff” now (lean meats, fruits/veggies, whole grains). I cut the “crap” that takes too long to work off.

When I fall off track, I tell myself it’s a new day, a new start, and slowly I’m not falling off track anymore. I have begun to recognize the triggers and sabotages.

Jay Bakir, my fitness trainer has really helped me reached my fitness goals. He has told me when I reach a goal to make a new one.

Here are my goals:

Stay fit for the rest of my life
Ski with my 75-year-old mother this winter and keep up!
Better my 10k time and run a half-marathon before age 50.

What are my tips for success? Plan your week of meals, snacks, and workouts. Plan your weekend of meals, snacks, and workouts. Get a handle on your food portions, sugar, and salt intake. Hire a personal trainer – I can honestly say it’s the best money I have ever spent on myself. You can do a lot more than you think you can. You’re never too old to start.

Final Comments: I remember coming into One On One one day about a month into it. I said to Sandra, “oh I’m so sore and stiff” expecting to get the feel sorry for me speech but she said to me, “Yeah It’s going to take awhile to get the rust out.” Plain and simple! I’ll never forget that. I walked in and started working out. There aren’t many places a person can go and get a personal trainer that genuinely wants to see you succeed.

It’s a really good feeling.

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