What Does it Take to Motivate People?

trail 1

If you could eat and drink and not exercise, yet still stay healthy….would you?  “Umm ya.”  I’m guessing is what most of you are saying. Well you can’t, so you need to find some form of exercise that works for you and that you will stick with.

For the past eight or nine weeks I have been going to a trail based boot camp run by my friend Donna.  Just for the record, I do not do the 6:00 am class.  I drag my sorry ass to the 9:30 am class.  So what motivates people to get out of bed and go to a workout, outdoors, occasionally in the rain?  Maybe the first time would be easy, but what would bring people back week after week?

I’ve spent 33 hours in a van with Donna.  Twice.  And I would be happy to do it again.  Both times she has passed a sweaty slap bracelet on to me with a smile and encouraging words. She has also told me to “suck it up bitch” when I’ve whined about running up a hill.  She’s one of only a few people who know that if I put my hand up while I’m running it means don’t talk to me I’m not having fun right now.  It’s called giving them “the hand”.  We can laugh about it now.

Fitness has always been a part of Donna s life and in high school and university she joined any team she could find.

“I found strength in belonging to a team and my self-esteem was created through my success in sport.”

100 steps of death

That feeling of inclusion and teamwork is evident in the way she runs her boot camp. Yes we are all moms, but we are all at different fitness levels, some have injuries and some are brand new moms with a totally different set of needs.  “She is always on top of alternative exercises for those with injuries – and keeps the class moving a good pace!” One bootcamper commented.  Her energy and enthusiasm keeps you going and before you know it the hour is over and your are done your workout.  Sometimes you don’t even realize how hard you have worked until the next day.

Donna originally wanted to study marine biology and has a BSc in Biology from the University if Windsor.  But living in Windsor, next to the Detroit River, didn’t do much to inspire that career. In 1998 she moved out West and entered the Exercise Science program at Langara College with the end goal being a kinesiology degree at SFU.  But, as often happens, life changed course and she found herself working as Head Brace Fitter at Paris Orthotics.  For the next nine years, after obtaining a diploma in Prosthetics and Orthotics from BCIT, she would work in the orthotics industry.  In 2006 she became a mom and focused on raising two active boys.  With more time on her hands now that her boys are older she has started a series of trail based boot camps.

“I find group training to be a lot like belonging to a team.  You can lean on members to help you stay motivated to continue your fitness journey.  There will always be someone in the group that helps challenge other members and I myself, find motivation through these members as well.”

cates bootcamp

We live in an area with an abundance of great trails and scenery and Donna has developed a program that has us sweating up and down those trails using rocks, trees and strategically placed water jugs full of water.  We have done plank with owls swooping over our heads.  We have conquered the 100 steps of death.  We have crawled like crabs in the sands of Cates Park.  We have challenged Old Buck and lived to tell about it.  We have laughed and we have commiserated over sleepless nights and school yard drama.  And we have sweat.   A lot.

“We laugh and have fun, I see progress in many and I love to show people that finding a place and time to exercise can be easy!”

With three time options on three different days Donna’s sessions accommodate lots of moms. Not everybody wants to go to a gym or run by themselves so this is a great option.  “No matter what you’re ability or fitness level, Donna makes sure everyone is getting what they need!”  She is a strong believer that staying fit and exercising is just as much for your mental health as it is for your physical health.  Her approach is educational and she is constantly introducing new exercises to challenge us.

“We love Donna – she rocks…even if she’s making us carry them up hills…LOL!!!”

So back to my original question.  What would motivate people to get out of bed and workout outside?  Donna would.

Educational, inclusive, naturally gifted, motivational.  Just some of the words fellow boot campers have used to describe our fearless leader.  “It also never rains during Donna’s boot camp…must be her super natural powers! LOL

The Best Thing in Life would be having Donna’s boot camp available to everyone!

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It’s a Beautiful Day in The Neighborhood

As I headed out on my morning run the words of the iconic Mr Rogers echoed in my head. It was a beautiful day in my neighborhood. The sun was shining and it was cool. Perfect day for a run. It wasn’t just that though. As I ran on the streets and trails I passed people out enjoying the good weather. Without fail I was greeted with a smile and/or a good morning. The older gentlemen engrossed in their own conversation, the mom chasing her toddler on his run bike, the couple with their dog and the elderly lady with her walker coming home from the market. Everyone friendly, warm and inclusive. So how is it that this friendly and open neighborhood is embroiled in controversy over the proposal of a recovery house for addicts being built in the area?

The reason most of us chose this area to live in is because it has such a community feeling to it. Great schools, rec centers, soccer fields, skating rinks, pools, beaches, a ski hill and locally owned businesses all within a half hour from downtown. Residents take pride in the homes and gardens and are often heard bragging about the lifestyle we enjoy. Sure, it rains a great deal out this way, but you do get used to it. Oh, did I mention the two golf courses where you can often see bears, deer and coyotes sharing space with the golfers. Deep Coves charm is a huge draw for not only locals but day trippers too. Ever had a Honeys Donut after a hike to Quarry Rock? There is no denying that it is a great place to live and raise a family but really it’s the people who live here that make it a community.

It’s not all sunshine and rainbows though. Tragedy has struck our area many times in the past few years. Young and old have lost loved ones and struggled with unimaginable events and without question the people who live around them have rallied and supported them. Last year a young boy died tragically in the park close to my house. The school that he had attended and the neighbors did everything needed to support the single mother. Raising money, arranging meals and helping out with the sibling left behind. Nobody thought twice about helping her out. Less tragic events have also brought out the best in our community. A friend of mine got separated from her dog while biking on the trails of Mt Seymour. Within hours word had spread on social media and anybody heading onto the mountain was looking for Skya. Doing what they could to help out somebody they didn’t even know. Fortunately the smart puppy had already headed home to Lynn Valley.

I like to think it’s pretty safe to say that we embrace a widely diverse group of people in the Mt Seymour area. Young and old. I can’t go a mile without seeing a new mom out with her baby. Probably heading to the drop in baby check at Parkgate Rec Centre. A few years ago a new Seniors housing apartment was built and that has brought a whole new population segment to the area. The residence of the Tsleil-Waututh nation comprise a good portion of this community and their traditions and influences are everywhere. My daughter goes to school with kids from Japan, China, Korea, Venezuela, Mexico, England and Scotland. Our kids never question where somebody is from or why they speak a different language. They are all just fellow students. I love the outdoors and take full advantage of all this area has to offer. Bikers, hikers and runners share the trails. But if you don’t like mud and steep hills we won’t judge you.

I personally know alcoholics and recovering drug addicts that live in our area. You probably do to. You’ve probably met them. They live in your neighborhood. Your kids go to school with their kids. You just don’t know that because these people are trying to heal and publicizing their struggles isn’t something they find helpful. Most of them have used a facility like the one proposed for our area at some time in their journey. So why is that we can’t open our hearts for these people who only want to improve their lives? Why can’t we be inclusive of them the way we are inclusive of so many others?