Posts Tagged ‘Edmonton

Edmontonian among ‘Personal Trainers to Watch’

- November 7th, 2012

John Sinclair

Edmonton’s John Sinclair is one of just two Canadian finalists named in an international search for the world’s top personal trainers.

Also on the list is Shawn Slade, of London, Ont.

Shawn Slade

Congrats, guys!

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Watch the video:

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Read the press release:


Global Search Recognizes Trainer from Texas, USA, as the World’s Best

SCHILLER PARK, Ill. — Life Fitness, the global leader in commercial fitness equipment manufacturing, and FitPro North America, a premier provider of high-quality educational resources for fitness professionals, have named Joanne Blackerby as the world’s top Personal Trainer to Watch. Blackerby was selected from a pool of nearly 1,000 nominees in the contest’s second year, along with 10 other finalists from around the world. A nationally certified fitness trainer with more than 20 years experience in the industry, Blackerby specializes in full-body workouts and is known to be one of the toughest, yet most down-to-earth trainers in Texas, U.S.A.

“We are proud to recognize personal trainers who have demonstrated their commitment to the fitness industry and are continually recognized by their peers for their innovation and motivation,” said Chris Clawson, president of Life Fitness. “The trainers we are honoring embody the same mission Life Fitness stands for – helping people live healthier lives – and we’re pleased to help them further that mission in their individual communities.”

The Personal Trainers to Watch program, which launched in April with a global call for entries, is designed to recognize and reward personal trainers who have demonstrated a commitment to fitness and helping their clients achieve a healthy lifestyle. Nominees were judged by a panel of five industry experts who evaluated each candidate on client motivation and retention techniques, community service and fitness accomplishments.

Blackerby impressed the judges with her entrepreneurial spirit, creative motivational techniques and dedication to improving her community through health and fitness initiatives.

“I started in the fitness industry because I believed that health and fitness could not only change bodies, but it could nurture communities,” said Blackerby. “By providing education and guidance, I’ve been lucky enough to help people transform their lives. This award validates what I’ve worked so hard to achieve, and I couldn’t appreciate it more.”

As a wife and mother of three, Blackerby loves trail running, teaching children’s exercise classes and volunteering in the school lunch room when she’s not training in her gym, Spirit Fitness Training. With a range in certifications including ACE, YogaFit, ViPR and TRX, Blackerby spends more than 40 hours per week with clients.

In addition to international recognition as the 2012 Personal Trainer to Watch, Blackerby won $5,000 USD toward her personal training business, a select piece of Life Fitness equipment, a personalized award plaque and a one-year membership and continuing education course package from world-renowned educational resource PTontheNet.

Personal Trainers to Watch Finalists

Ten finalists were also selected along with Blackerby by an elite panel of industry influencers. The finalists include:

  • Tonja Barugh – West Byfleet, Surrey, U.K.
  • Katie Bulmer-Cooke – Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, U.K.
  • Benjamin “Apollos” Crawford– Orlando, Fla., U.S.
  • Annelise DiGiacomo– Issaquah, Wash., U.S.
  • Hayley Hollander– Las Vegas, N.V., U.S.
  • Mary Beth Knight – Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.
  • John Sinclair – Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  • Zahin Singh – Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  • Shawn Slade – London, Ontario, Canada
  • Ryan Wilkins – Riverside, N.J., U.S.

Hollander was also named the Fan Favorite, based on public votes through the Life Fitness Facebook page in October.

“Personal trainers can sometimes be the most positive influence in a person’s life to make a change for the better,” said Andy Jackson, FitPro global commercial director. “That change can range from their personal health, their confidence level and overall appreciation for life. We thank and congratulate all of our winners.”

About Life Fitness

Life Fitness is the global leader in providing commercial fitness equipment. The company manufactures and sells strength and cardiovascular equipment under the brand names Life Fitness and Hammer Strength and distributes its equipment in more than 120 countries. Headquartered outside Chicago, in Schiller Park, Ill., Life Fitness is a division of Brunswick Corporation (NYSE: BC).

About FitPro

FitPro North America is the premier provider of high quality educational resources for fitness professionals, including personal trainers, group fitness instructors, coaches, fitness managers and health club owners. Specializing in continuing education and expert resources, FitPro North America was founded on the premise that a well-educated fitness professional will inspire clients and succeed.

Life Fitness is a registered trademark of Brunswick Corporation.

Life Fitness, 5100 River Road, Schiller Park, IL 60176. Phone:

Follow Life Fitness on Twitter at 

or join the Facebook fan page at

‘Strongman competition for women’ coming to Edmonton area

- July 11th, 2012

(Note: Today’s guest post is written by certified fitness instructor and FemSport competitor Jen Hamel.)

Jen Hamel competes in FemSport

Jen Hamel totes 45-pound water jugs in the obstacle course challenge at a recent FemSport event in Calgary, as technical judge Chas Young looks on.

When I say FemSport, a women’s fitness competition, most people think of tanned muscular women, oiled up in sparkly bikinis. But FemSport is more of a strongman competition for women.

Women ages 19+ train to compete in six events: 260-lb tire flip, box jumps, inverted rows, 120-lb tire drag, kettlebell lift and crowd favourite the obstacle course complete with car push.

Jen Hamel tire flip

Yup, that's a 260-pound tire she's flipping.

FemSport started 11 years ago in British Columbia and is being held in Alberta for the first time this year. In early June, I competed in the novice division in Calgary. On July 21st, I will lead my team the “Agility Angels” to a new personal victory in the Edmonton-area event at Johnny B Fitt in Fort Saskatchewan.

We work on all events to improve, but my least favourite event has to be the tire drag. It’s much heavier than it looks and my best event is the DREADED box jumps.

My family and friends have been so supportive of my training. My husband has built me several pieces of equipment. My 57-year-old mom attends my FemSport training camps at PHAT Training and my five-year-old daughter has been known to flip a few tires, too.

FemSport tire drag

The tire drag, says Jen, is such a drag.

I was first attracted to FemSport late in 2011 when I attended a workshop led by president Nancy Lockington and I was INSPIRED. She was so warm, inviting and I felt an instant connection to FemSport. At that time I had never even jumped on a box, let alone one 18 inches high. YIKES! But after I flipped my first tire, I was hooked.

Five years ago, after the birth of my children I was an unmotivated, overweight (over 200 lbs), depressed woman who didn’t exercise. I wanted to be a better role model for my kids and have the energy to keep up with them. Now, not only am I a competitor, but I’m also an official FemSport trainer and certified personal trainer.

My favourite thing about FemSport is the friendly attitudes of the competitors and that the competition focuses on strength, speed, agility and HEART. FemSport is about women empowering women. Whether we WIN or LOSE, we do our best and THAT makes us “our own CHAMPIONS.”

Come join us July 21st 10am-5pm @ Johnny B Fitt and help cheer us to VICTORY!!!

Jen Hamel

Jen is running FemSport training camps Tuesdays at 7 p.m. at PHAT Training. For more information on FemSport training, visit

X-Weighted Connect Tour hits Edmonton

- March 4th, 2012

Paul Plakas

Paul Plakas is at West Edmonton Mall’s Fantasyland Hotel today (March 4) as part of the X-Weighted Connect Tour.

Plakas, of course, is the star of X-Weighted, a popular weight-loss reality TV show airing on the Slice Network.

When the tough-love fitness guru isn’t working on TV, he trains clients at Custom Fit in Edmonton.

The X-Weighted Connect Tour was in Calgary yesterday (March 3) and is slated to roll into Winnipeg on April 14.

Click HERE for more info.

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Words of wisdom from Madonna’s former yoga instructor

- October 30th, 2011

The great Gurmukh is India-bound after a three-city Canadian tour this month.

Internationally renowned yoga expert Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa wrapped up a four-day seminar today in Ottawa.

She taught a Kundalini yoga training course for yoga teachers Oct. 27-30 at The Shunnya Centre, 63 Beechwood Ave.

It’s the last official stop on a three-city Canadian tour this month that included visits to Vancouver and Edmonton.

The 68-year-old former yoga teacher-to-the-stars is now preparing to go to India.

In case you missed her, here’s a collection of wisdom-filled quotes from a recent interview I conducted with the woman commonly known as Madonna’s ex-yoga instructor, followed by video clips from the Vancouver and Edmonton workshops:

• On balance

“Body, mind and soul … (are) the three aspects of the human being and once they come into balance, that’s when you find happiness.”

• On happiness

“Happiness is that which doesn’t deviate due to circumstances. You know, you have a girlfriend, she breaks up (with you) and then you’re sad. … You had a bummer day. … When you’re truly happy, you just keep constant. It doesn’t mean you’re not emotional or sad when something happens. But you don’t give away that permanent gift inside of you.”

• On inner peace and geographic location

“If you find that peace inside of you, you can almost be anywhere and not be affected by your environment. But if you don’t have that inner strength and connectiveness, the environment dictates your emotions. … Kundalini yoga gives you the interior peace no matter where you are.”

• On whether a certain physical activity is worthwhile

“Is it fun, does it make me feel good, and is it also challenging? If all those three things I can answer (affirmatively), then to me it’s so worthy of doing.”

• On her formative years in the U.S. midwest

“I worked hard at ice skating and then swimming and being on the swim team and water ballet and all that. I always loved movement and dance. I loved to read and I loved school, but I really liked to move. I always have.”

• On breathing at full capacity

“That’s why people get high when they climb mountains, when they do marathons, when they ski — because they’re using full breath capacity. It’s hard at first, but then you get a high without any drugs at all. The high comes from the connection of your breath to your spirit. They call it a second wind in sports. We just call it a spiritual connection. It’s all the same thing.”

• On teaching yoga to celebrities

“I did that for a number of years. … That was a chapter of my life I would never go back to. It was interesting, it was entertaining, but it wasn’t sustaining for my soul. I got so less impressed as time went on with all the celebrities. I enjoyed them, but I saw then just as anybody else. They still had to learn to breathe and quiet their mind and move their bodies. They just became wonderful human beings, but they weren’t any different than anyone else.”

• On her worldwide notoriety

“I never planned on it. … I never asked for this at all. It just was my destiny. It wasn’t like I went out looking for it. I just kept teaching and working hard and carrying on, and lo and behold, this thing happened. But it wasn’t any of my doing. It was more just destiny’s doing, you might say. And I’m thankful for it.”

• On teaching

“I teach a lot of teachers to become teachers. That’s my biggest goal because I’ll leave my body, but what am I leaving on the earth? I want to leave teachers that will carry this ancient technology on. … I feel so blessed every morning I wake up and it makes me really be more dedicated to wanting to help other people to feel the same way — to feel alive.”

• On yoga

“It’s the most ancient science in the whole world. It’s 40,000 years old. It wasn’t just thought up in the ’80s and the ’90s. And you don’t need anything but yourself and your breath. You don’t even need any equipment. It’s such a built-in ancient technology that just came up. It was lying dormant, you might say, and then in the mid-’70s, it started awakening. And now … everybody’s doing yoga.”

• On tips for trying yoga

“Find a class in your area. It doesn’t matter what kind. Just give it a try. Everybody’s got yoga everywhere and maybe that won’t be the yoga that you’ll stick with, but you’ll get an experience and then maybe try another yoga class or get a video. And the best test is how do you feel? Do you feel more calm? Do you have more energy? Are you less worried? Whatever it is. Does your back feel better? Whatever it is. And that would be the sign. If you feel sicker and stiffer and more angry or whatever your thing is, then it’s not for you, but I’ve never met anyone that it’s not for them.”

• On the essence of yoga

“The expression is: ‘Off the mat and into the world.’ Like, get off the mat, your spirits are up, your body feels good, now go and help other people who don’t feel this way.”

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Madonna’s former yoga teacher in Edmonton tonight

- October 25th, 2011
AA-Gurmukh-So Africa

Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa

Following yesterday’s sold-out workshop, there’s only one more opportunity to catch internationally renowned yoga expert Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa in Edmonton.

The ex-flower child who counts Madonna and Cindy Crawford among her former yoga students will be at Ross Sheppard School, (13546 111 Ave.) from 6 to 8:30 p.m. today (Oct. 25) for a workshop titled Peace of Mind: How to get it … How to keep it.

The 68-year-old presented a workshop called 10 Sacred Secrets to Success yesterday (Oct. 24) at Laurier Heights School.

Here’s a note from local yoga instructor Susan Agrios, who helped bring Gurmukh to Alberta’s capital during a three-city Canadian tour this month:

Picture 1

Gurmukh and Edmontonian Susan Agrios

I often get asked why do you have Gurmukh teaching in a school? I intentionally put Gurmukh in two schools for a number of reasons:

1) I have been teaching students and teachers about yoga and meditation so they can experience the many benefits. As well, I have been teaching yoga and meditation to teachers across the province at conventions such as GETCA, HEPC so they can use it for themselves and also teach it to their students in the classroom. I feel this is such an important/key place for yoga and meditation to be and if kids can learn this at a young age it will help them better deal with all the stress they face on a daily basis and into their adulthood. We spend so much time trying to control our environment or we try to escape from it by perhaps watching TV, drinking or going away on a trips …we either have to literally remove ourselves from our environment and we check out by watching TV and others go even further by drinking or taking drugs. Yet in the end we still have to come back to our environment. I often have people tell me they went away for a week and they were just starting to unwind the last few days of their trip. They tell me how they go back to work and by the end of the day they feel like they need another vacation. I’ve always felt you can’t control your environment but you can certainly change what you can bring to it … something yoga and meditation can help you with.

2) I was a former school teacher and was able to see first hand all the stress teachers and students are under. As well, how important it is to have mental focus and clarity as both a teacher and student … again something yoga and meditation can help you with. Please note I was a former student at both of the schools (Laurier Heights and Ross Shep, my nieces are now at Laurier Heights) Gurmukh will be teaching at. In addition to being a graduate at Ross Shep I was also a former school teacher there.

3)  I’ve got a program called TIME OUT in the schools.  TIME OUT for yoga, meditation and fitness. Proceeds and donations from this event will go towards the TIME OUT program … continuation of yoga, meditation and fitness in the schools.

4) I wanted to make it more affordable for people so having her in a larger space enabled us to do so as it will fit more people. The last thing I wanted to hear was I sure would like to go see here, but I can’t afford to.

Please note this event is also open to students … grades 5 and up.

So in short, it was very fitting to have her in the schools

Also if you get a chance, watch my nine-minute video on my website (click on classes & cds and scroll down to video) of teaching yoga and meditation in the schools and you will get a flavour of what I am doing with the students and teachers and the impact it is having on them as you listen to their testimonials.

Look forward to having you join us for two special evenings with Gurmukh and experience a magical evening with us.

Susan Agrios

International Sport Performance Specialist

Fitness Trainer and Speaker

B.A. in Psychology, B.Ed

NCCP Olympic Weightlifting Certification

Advanced Training in Yoga Nidra

Kundalini Yoga Instructor

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• Susan Agrios brings world renowned yoga master Gurmukh Kaur Khalsa to Edmonton for two Kundalini yoga and meditation workshops.

For more details and to register, click here.

• NEW! Meditation workshops and promo package.

For more details and to register, click here.

• India Trip 11.11.11. Join us on this trip of a lifetime to experience India’s beauty.

For more details and to register, click here.

• Susan Agrios, Bringing Kundalini yoga and meditation into schools.

Click here to view the video.

• Meditation downloads now available. Instructional downloads (written handouts included) teach you how to meditate in the comfort of your own home.

For more details and to register click here.

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