"The darker days were far less frequent than before. I rediscovered myself. I was more confident, more in love with myself and others, more at peace. I made some changes in my workouts and my diet, and now, six years later, I realize that the only competition I needed to be up against was with myself. But my body is beautiful just as it is, even if I don't see a lot of women looking like me in the magazines or online. I am still a badass.
"I get to hang out with friends, and be outside, and it smells great by the cows!"
"Exercise has always presented a challenge for me. However, since being diagnosed as pre diabetic and having treatment for early breast cancer last year has changed my attitude. This spring my sacro iliac joints gave me a lot of pain. My chiropractor advised me to walk just 15 minutes a day. I tried it and it was doable for me. Gradually I got up to about half hour. But then I fell, twice. So I got my poles out.
"I’ve been running long distances for twenty years. Like many runners, I am drawn by the quiet, peaceful and rejuvenating aspects of the sport. I am a non-religious person; running is my spirituality. One of my regular routes in Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont., is a 13 kilometre out-and-back run with the turnaround point at the top of a local ski hill. It’s my go-to run when I need to clear my head, think through a difficult problem or just try and make peace with the world."
“We start at 5.30am, and I’m walking in the door at 6.35am ready to start the day. I prefer the morning, and I find that if I don’t train I get grumpy and irritable. Besides, my wife says I’m a better person when I exercise.”
"Each time I climbed, I learned how to move past my fear and problem-solve my way through difficult situations. I later became a Zumba instructor, started two fitness blogs, and became a personal trainer, all of which would not have happened if I had continued to walk in fear and hid in my comfort zone."
“I work on a variety of machines, that mostly work upper and lower body with weights. I feel strong and I definitely feel like I am able to walk and get around better and more confidently. I just feel better overall. I’m really enjoying the class.”
"Running lets me clear my head. In moments where my depression would get the best of me, I found myself starting to turn to running instead of withdrawing from my social life and habits. It was on a run one day where I decided to tell my boyfriend everything, talk to my parents, and gather a support group around me. At the time I wasn't suicidal but I wonder what would have happened. It's incredible now that friends and family describe me as a 'woman who is making her life an incredible adventure."
"At first it was driven by vanity. I was in my late 40's, in menopause, and the changes were coming fast and furious...my skin was melting off like a waterfall, and I grew an impressive udder seemingly overnight. I started Barre and I saw improvements, some in just weeks. I felt really good, proactive, and strong; I loved the community I was tapping into, and it was the first form of fitness I have bonded with successfully.
"The end of my junior year of high school, I fell into a deep eating disorder. Within six months, it was to an unsustainable and unhealthy point, at over 45 pounds under my current weight. I've always been an athlete, but while I was sick, I had virtually stopped exercising, with the exception of the occasional light 20 to 30 minutes on the elliptical. Once I decided to get back into running, I had to fuel my body properly if I wanted to be strong and run fast. I made the decision to build my body back from the ground up. Within a few months of hard work and determination, I graduated high school with an again-healthy body and a healthy mind."