2019 in Review and A big THANK-YOU!!!

We all see a lot of different posts regarding the coming of the New Year. Its a big one being a new decade. Some people have rough years with a lot of heartache and a fresh New Year is something to look forward to. Other people set bit goals at this time of year, which is also something to look forward to. For me, I hate to say it, but I’m really sad to see 2019 come to an end because for me, it was one of the best years of my life. It definitely wasn’t all easy but the end of 2017 and 2018 were rough, so 2019 I got my fresh start and I really made the most of it. That’s why when we have our health, we need to be so grateful each day. We need to live each day in the moment, something I’ve definitely done well this year. One day at a time, live for today, not for yesterday and not for tomorrow. It makes life so much more meaningful and joyful.

I won’t get into the details of 2017 but it was a challenge. I was in and out of hospitals with my Grandmother and in and out of several nursing homes, which I believe is where I contracted MRSA. MRSA is a superbug that actually a lot of people have sitting on their skin all the time. For some people, it doesn’t affect them at all, but for others, one of which was me, it can wreck havoc and oh did it – for an entire year and a few months. Long story short, in October of 2017 I developed a sinus infection, something I hadn’t experienced in years. So I was on antibiotics, which I then had an allergic reaction to, in the form of a skin rash. The MRSA then took hold of the rash and the rest was a nightmare. I won’t get into the gory details of that either. However, it was one of those things that put me on my knees asking “why”? It was affecting my life in every way. It took me off my bike for that year as well as running, I couldn’t have friction of any kind, anywhere. Weight training was my saving grace. I could have chosen to nothing and to mope about it – which trust me, I did plenty of as the pain and constant trips to the doctor and even to a dermatologist in Calgary had me going crazy.

The summer of 2018 things got really bad and I had a couple trips to the ER in Nelson. The doctor there was amazing. After one trip she phoned the next day to see how I was doing (I was at my parents house at Kootenay Lake) and I had worsened. She suggested that I come back, but rather – I left my family and headed back to Cranbrook. After a bit of a whirlwind, I actually ended up in surgery to drain a large pocked of infection that had developed (yes, its so disgusting). I did that alone as everyone was at the lake still but Chris started to panic when he heard surgery, so got there when I was in recovery. I spent the night and they gave me some pretty rad drugs, which I then reacted to sending my blood pressure into dangerously low levels but they fixed me right up. I had some awesome nurses, truly, they took amazing care.

I was told no bike at all and no running at all for the next 6-8 weeks. I had a big fat cry, as my brother was arriving from Ontario and we had the most epic ride planned out. All I kept thinking was, is this my life now? I had to keep telling myself that what I had was not life-threatening, it was something that could be managed. I had my life, I had my health. I was not battling cancer or another illness, it was a superbug and hopefully we would conquer it somehow.

Low and behold by the end of 2018, I had stopped getting infections. It was always kind of in the back of my mind and I was definitely paranoid a lot but I decided that 2019 was going to be my year!

I’m a very goal driven person. I’m not overly competitive, except with just myself. We have a very busy family life. Both of our daughters are in competitive sports, my husband travels for work each week and I train clients and coach nutrition clients. In order to train for things, I need to be realistic. I call myself a recreational athlete. I don’t have the time to commit to anything more than that and I’m not sure that I would ever want to. I love a good challenge. I like the gratification of working towards something and finishing it. I don’t have any unrealistic goals of winning or heading to the olympics – haha!

The first active thing accomplished was that epic ride with my brother! We had a little mishap on our first attempt. Oh man, I can laugh at it now, but I was so upset. We took the ferry across the lake and drove to Kaslo, which was our starting point. Got all geared up and ready to go and my bike wouldn’t change gears. The joys of electronic shifters. So there I was driving back to the ferry and heading back across the lake alone, while my brother did his ride. Thankfully, he was here long enough that I was able to charge everything up and we attempted the route together this time. Was a gruelling, but awesome and beautiful ride. A time with my brother that I will cherish forever.

In July, I completed a Spartan Beast with a great team who took me on despite never having done a Spartan before. It was a gruelling 8 hour mountain trek. It was so tough, like a massive mental challenge – every time we thought we had finished going up, we had to go up again, all that with some nasty obstacles thrown in. I had a hard time going down stairs for a full week after that. It was awesome! What a great group of people to have done this with. The true meaning of a team. Leave no mate behind! I had my ass pushed up and over things, I ate three bags of sour patch kids, drank my first ever cider and gorged on a delicious feast made for us by one of the families of our team. All of us in so much pain and exhaustion could only talk about how awesome next years races are going to be!

The next challenge was the Kootenay Lake Fondo. I was SOOOOO excited for this. It was the first one. I trained so hard all summer for it. here)
Again, my training season isn’t like most as I have kids at competitions all spring, leaving very little time to train. So once school ends, I train as much as I can. I had enrolled in the Gran Fondo (150km) but then we weInt to Italy at the end of August. It was such an amazing trip with our kids. We created a lot of wonderful memories. However, upon our return, I hadn’t taken into account jet lag, starting back to work and school after the summer and the fact that the fondo was only two weeks away. I got two rides in before the race (oh right its not a race its a ride – yeah right!).  I decided to drop down to the Medio Fondo category as I would likely be crawling back if I attempted the full with losing so much training time. Circumstances as they were (I wrote about it in a post

My parents came to watch, which was so awesome. I could hear my Mom cheering me, which was the cutest thing ever. It was like I was a kid again haha! Anyway, turns out I gotfirst place womens, which totally blew me away. I rode harder than I ever had. So that was pretty cool.

October, was the Okanagan half-marathon, which was only my second half-marathon ever. I was challenged by two amazing girls, much younger than myself. My Mom also came with me to Kelowna to cheer us on. It was such a fun, amazing weekend. You can see my post here about that.

November, I attended the canfitpro conference in Vancouver with one of my besties and now business partners. I was asked to emcee one of the presentations with three absolutely powerhouse women. The room was so full of energy and inspiration. I was so honoured to be asked and so honoured to be a part of it. That you can see more of here.

There has been so much more in 2019 that I am beyond grateful for as well. It was my first full year of working for canfitpro as a PRO TRAINER and I have certified over 20 new personal trainers this year who are out there helping others transform lives. I’ve met and worked with new clients this year who have crushed their 2019 goals and are working now on setting new 2020 goals. There is no better reward than watching people set goals, work for them and achieve them. Its always such an honour to get to be a part of this.

On the home front, my oldest daughter Jillienne spent a year recovering from her knee injury and surgery and is in her final year competing in figure skating. I think this is why 2020 is mostly going to be so hard for me as big changes are coming.My first baby graduates and will be off to university. There feels like a lot of “last times” right now. Especially in terms of herskating. I treasure our weekends away and I absolutely love watching her skate and compete. I am holding back a lot of tears this year as each competition comes and goes.

Finally, 2019 brought about a big business challenge with moving forward with The Den Performance Training Centre. There is a lot of scary but exciting changes happening for myself and Angela. We are super excited to be bringing forward a completely new concept to our community and to build something that we are so passionate about. There have been a lot of bumps in the road and a lot of sleepless nights. But we know it will be so worth it when we can open our new doors and encourage and help people to reach THEIR goals. Which brings me back to the very beginning of this post.

As I said a while back, New Years Resolutions have had a lot of bad press over the past few years. Its become a cliché in a way. But I don’t always agree. For many as I already stated, a New Year can be a time to reset and re-evaluate. I believe in helping people set performance based goals. Even weight loss goals. BUT… these goals MUST be realistic and they must include an action plan with check-ins. The reason why resolutions have become so cliché is because people set unrealistic goals that are too loosely stated with no timeline and no action plan involved. This is why its great to have someone to hold you accountable. Whether its a friend or a personal trainer. Your goals are important. That’s what keeps us motivated and moving forward. So please do not shy away from setting them for the New Year. You can and will achieve them, if you plan it out correctly.

We have lots of new and exciting things coming this 2020. We are already building our community now. We would love nothing more than for you to be a part of what’s to come. So stay tuned on my facebook and instagram as well as The Den PTC Facebook and Instagram!

To finish, thank-you! Thank-you to all of you who continue to follow, support and trust me to help you on your health and fitness journey’s. I never take a single client for granted. You all mean the world to me.

I wish you all the very best for 2020 and I can’t wait to see what we all achieve in this next DECADE!!! How awesome to say that!



Love, Olivia



Why I’ve (mostly) moved away from 1-on-1 Training

Personal Training comes with a lot of learning curves. Thankfully, I’ve had some wonderful mentors in my career who have helped me overcome a lot of the challenges that come with service based business. Without them, I’m sure I would not be where I am today. Now, I do my best to pay it forward with my own students who I certify to become personal trainers.

When potential clients contact me, I spend some time chatting with them to learn about what their goals are, what their life looks like, what they can commit to time wise for their exercise routine and what they can commit to financially. All of these factors are what combine to show me the whole picture so that I can create a plan that sets clients up for long-term success.

Now, that being said, I’ve certainly learned a lot of about human nature over the years. Why do people want to hire a trainer? Well, the number one reason in my experience is that they need the accountability. They might not have that innate desire to move their body. They may be too overwhelmed with everything else in their life, so they want to come, have someone tell them what to do and how to do it and then get on with the rest of their day. They may want to lose weight, decrease blood pressure, strengthen, or just simply feel good overall. The majority of people who hire me, say they simply won’t stick with it unless they have that appointment. Its awesome when people acknowledge this but my goal is always to get people to a place where they can commit to themselves without me. It takes time, but it happens and for me, its so gratifying.

I have trained so many people in so many different capacities over the years. I can say without a doubt there are two main factors that lead to success when working with a trainer.

Number one: Money. Yup – its true. Money motivates. Over the past two years, I have finally gotten to a place where I will not bend on payment. This may sound a little crass – but stay with me. In the fitness industry, often clients will start out strong but then after time goes on, they waiver on commitment. This leads to cancelations of sessions. Over the years, to my own detriment, I have been way too lax with clients on this. I have always had a 24-hour cancelation policy in place. But, life happens and I totally understand when a kid is sick, someone has a migraine, or whatever. But, I’ve definitely been taken advantage of. This is true for all trainers, especially those of us with a soft side. Its unfortunate and its uncomfortable for us. This is our career – our source of income. When you cancel a session last minute we lose our income. I was given this advice by another long-time trainer and it works. When clients are asked to pre-pay for sessions with no room to cancel – they stay committed. All of a sudden, the excuses to miss become zero. Money motivates. I’m no different! If I pay for something – I damn well better get my moneys worth!

Also, in terms of money, semi-private and small group training is much more economical for most people. You truly get all the benefits of a personal trainer at a lower cost. Lets face it, everything costs money. However, this is an investment in your health. Both short term and long term. We need to change the way people look at investing in health. How much money do we spend on things such as hair appointments, nail appointments, lash appointments, coffee and dinners out, wine (hello me!), massage, physiotherapy, chiropractors, acupuncturists, etc. Its preference, its priorities. For me, my mental health and physical health are number one. I pay for subscriptions for my bike, for my nutrition and for my mental health. They add up. But they come before a dinner out. I can guarantee without a shadow of a doubt, when you invest into exercise and fitness, you’ll need to spend less on all the other stuff. Your body works better.

Number two: Camaraderie. In my experience from DAY 1 – where clients have pre-paid for a series of group sessions, they very rarely miss a session unless absolutely necessary. Often times, people sign up solo or maybe with a friend, but then over time, their fitness group becomes a little family. Its truly a community that develops even in the smallest groups. We celebrate each others success, we stay motivated because lets face it – our competitive nature comes in to play as well. If three people get two extra workouts in – they will likely gain some progress on you! Our egos don’t like that! Its completely natural. These groups are also social. They give us a really uplifted feeling even on really hard days. The key is to get there, then the rest just happens and takes care of itself. I have never once had a person leave wishing they hadn’t come.

Its no surprise that the largest growing trend in fitness right now is small group training and other exercise trends such as spin and yoga. Have you heard of Orangetheory fitness? I LOVE attending their classes when I’m in the city. F45? This is one of the fastest growing fitness franchise’s in North America right now! Bob’s Bootcamp, Soul Cycle and more. Some of these chains are charging as much as $40.00 per class! Why are people paying? Because of the community that is being created and the competitive type atmosphere. Its all about the energy in the room.

Aside from those two main reasons, there are a couple other reasons I prefer small group training and semi-private training. Personal trainers are not qualified counsellors. However, we totally get that people need to vent some times. But again, through a lot of experience, I have noticed that some personalities just like to vent all the time. This can be very unproductive for the client and the trainer. Trainers are taught to refer out when they see mental health issues on the forefront. Its not an easy thing to broach but its very necessary. We look at health from all angles not just physical health. We want our clients to be mentally, physically and emotionally healthy. We can motivate and lift people indeed but only to a certain extent. I find that semi-private and group training allows for a more positive experience for myself and my clients. There is very little complaining or venting or when there is, its in more of a casual way where the whole group gets a really good laugh. We all bitch sometimes! Our spouses didn’t do the dishes, our kids left their rooms a disaster, our boyfriend came home drunk last night… whatever… its also a safe place… what happens at our sessions, stays at our sessions!

I’ll add to this that I have a very special talent for picking up on my clients’ energies. I’m an empath. So, sometimes when people come in, I will quickly pick up on a “down-day”. I take time to personally message clients to see if everything is ok and if there is anything they want to chat about or confide. This gives me the room to help direct them. Maybe its just a bad day, maybe its something more. I’ve built up a lot of connections and helpful resources over the years so that I can get people the help they may need outside of their training sessions. Fitness doesn’t work as a solo venture. It has to be a whole package.

I started out in the fitness world as a group instructor. I loved teaching large groups but it always pained me when I would look in the mirror to the back of the class to see someone with improper form. In the large group setting, you can give subtle cues to the whole room in hopes that the one person you are looking at gets the correction but often times, this doesn’t happen. You can also ask to see them after class to help them correct a movement. However, often times, an incorrect movement is coming from an incorrect movement pattern stemming from a dysfunction somewhere in the body. This needs more attention than just a five minute chat after class. We only get one body. We need to its going to last us a very long time and that they are as strong and mechanically correct as possible. Small group training allows trainers to keep a close eye on each client. We can watch and learn about each individuals body and then work with them outside of sessions by giving homework and suggestions to help correct any deficiencies.

I have lots of really exciting things coming for 2020. One of my most exciting is building our new team at The Den Performance Training Centre! We will have a new location early summer, which has been a huge challenge and a ton of work but super exciting. I love that we are building a solid team of trainers who share very similar philosophies on health, wellness and fitness. We are offering tons of semi-private options and small group training options that cater to a wide array of audiences. We are working to ensure that we have a strong standard of training for all of our clients. You can learn more about that through our website and social media pages.

Oh one other thing… I’m not one to brag about myself. But I’m going to brag a little. Turns out, people like to train with me. I guess that means I’m kind of good at what I do. I think that’s because I really love what I do and I love connecting with people by sharing my passion of health and wellness in a way that is real and sustainable. I like to be transparent. I love to share my energy and knowledge. I’m honest. What you see is what you get with me. From experience, I know people trust me. Semi-private and small group training allows me to connect with even more of you. That is actually another huge reason I’ve moved to mostly semi-private and small group training.

I hope that you will join us in our temporary location in January for some of our programming. You can be a part of what is to come at The Den in 2020! We would love to help each of you achieve your best health and best life.


If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me!