I am writing this to let you into the deepest darkest corners of my brain and to share my greatest stories… just kidding - I want to share my journey with fitness and food, and what brought me to where I am today.
Growing up, I lived what I thought was a “normal” childhood (What is normal anyways…). I had family dinners, would go out to McDonalds with my Grandfather and would celebrate special occasions with heaps of delicious food (shout out to Dad) and the worlds best desserts (shout out to Mom). I was on the heavier side in terms of bodyweight but didn’t think anything of it. I lacked awareness when I was younger and was always informed kids are allowed to be “heavier” or “built like a football player.” Boy…was I wrong about how football players were built.
I was an active kid, I played a ton of sports, was involved in drama and worked/volunteered at a trail riding barn starting at the age of 10. I’m pretty sure I began working out around then… What drew me to working out was looking good. I was always interested/borderline obsessed with fantasy and gladiators etc. all that fun stuff. I decided I wanted the body of one. To me, they were in peak physical condition. So, for my birthday one year my parents got a Bowflex. It was a gift for me and my Mom was planning on using it as well.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention my Mother. She is the reason I have the drive, dedication and education towards health. It became a way to spend time with my mom. We would use the Bowflex or put on P90x. I continuously tried all sorts of physical routines growing up and would bounce from one to the next. It was when I hit high school that I began studying physical fitness and nutrition. I’d spend hours reading articles online and flipping through Men’s Health Magazines trying to absorb as much as I could. I remember wanting to try everything I would read… and I still am like this today.
One of the first diets my Mom and I did was Paleo. See, my Mom is a type one diabetic and was diagnosed at the age of three. She didn’t have the greatest eating habits growing up as she was so restricted so she would sneak snacks whenever she could. Spin the wheel of life 25 years down the road and even though she was active and working out, the weight piled on over time. By this time it was obvious to me that being overweight was associated with a multitude of health issues and a shorter life span… so I said to my mom “lets do a diet.” I researched eating habits and fad diets and found one of the best diets to control insulin levels and eliminate sugars was Paleo. [Side note: We’ve now begin applying a more flexible method to nutrition and she is still seeing results!] Thus, after all the years of going to dieticians/doctors and having them pile on meds or hand out Canada’s food guide, my mother began to see progress. Not in weight loss necessarily, but her blood sugar levels were normal and her other medications reduced. Down the road this is what would translate to weight loss.
Fast forward 10 years and I’m now in a role where I have the opportunity to apply my knowledge to help athletes and clients with controlling their eating habits and body composition. It’s very exciting to have the support and education of Healthy Steps Nutrition and use their tools along with my own knowledge to do my job well. I continue to work with my mother and help her in her weight loss journey (Update: SHE IS CRUSHING IT). I’m consistently seeking out more knowledge on the science of successful nutrition, forming/breaking habits, and the impact of food on our bodies.
I WAS heavier growing up. I know what it’s like to have poor eating habits and live with a parent who WAS out of shape. I wouldn’t change my experiences for the world though. It’s given me perspective and is what allows me to connect with individuals struggling with eating habits or who are trying to fit healthy eating into their day to day life! I’m open about my previous experience so feel free to chat with me if you have any questions. I’m always around when you’re ready to make a change or are looking for personal growth - I’ll be right there with you.
- Coach Ryan