Knowing that being active is important for my health is not what pulled me out of a sedentary lifestyle.

I am an “EPIC-ly” active individual because a few years ago I made a conscious decision to be the best person I can be. After such a decision, setting goals around being fitter sounds like a logical next step doesn’t it? NOPE! First off, at the time I thought being the best version of me only meant better dealing with people and circumstances. There was no consideration for my physical self there.

Secondly, and most importantly, I was told to avoid thinking that I knew what needed to happen and how. I was taught to set the intention, invoke it, affirm it, feel it, repeat it … but also to surrender it, leaving both means and results in life’s hands.

In a world that is all about doing, having, taking our life into OUR OWN hands, and taking the bull by the horns (how suicidal is that???), it was challenging to take a different direction. However difficult it might have been, I opened myself to possibilities. As Buddhists say: “Be an empty rice bowl”. As I delved into books, resources, and spiritual guides, I worked hard to put their teachings into practice as best I could. My life of discontent started to morph in unexpected ways.

Among other things, I naturally started to feel like moving more and connecting with nature, which had never occurred to me before. That’s when someone told me about EPIC Fitness &Lifestyle. I don’t think that was a coincidence.

I have been blessed in so many surprising ways to support my transformation. Justin Thiboutot, an EPIC Personal Trainer, is one of those blessings. He helped me overcome a significant challenge: strengthen my commitment to my health. #LevelUp!


Want to know how he does it?

Motivator #1: Creativity and fun

Traditional exercise is mechanical. With Justin, movement flows. #CoolMovesInTheGym.

Traditional nutrition is mathematical. With Justin, I see food with a beautiful new perspective.

You see, Justin is a top-notch movement technician. He brings a genuinely personable and skillful approach to his practice. When it comes to guiding me in my holistic nutritional practice, he inspires me to bring creativity into the kitchen. I can now elevate my eating habits to a whole new level! #NoBlandFood. With Justin, things are never dull or ordinary. Even discussions on improving my sleep routine don’t make me yawn! If you are a foodie like me, ask him about “sleepy foods”, you’ll be enthusiastic about your bed routine too! #ICanEatBeforeBed.


Motivator #2: Goal setting 2.0

There is no point worrying about outcomes … one cannot be around Justin for long without outperforming themselves in one way or another. Justin doesn’t try to dictate end results with a focus on the future. (i.e. lose this much weight, inches or percentage of body fat by a certain date). Alternately, every four to six weeks we sit down to discuss and take stock of any and all improvements. For someone who easily falls into self-criticism, this is not as easy or trivial as it seems. We set a specific direction for the next phase in all four of EPIC’s Pillars of Health: Functional Training, nutrition, self-care, and nature/spirit. The direction we follow doesn’t focus on the outcomes (what), it focuses on the means (how) to be healthier. Instead of narrowing the possibility of satisfaction to: “I will have lost 10 pounds in two months”, we say “For this next phase I will practice food prepping for the week and we’ll focus more on abdominal/core strength in the gym”.


Motivator #3: “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey”

You see, I want training, nutrition, and self-care to be happy experiences altogether, EVERY step of the way. It is tempting to commit to going somewhere when one has a great travel guide like Justin.

With him, every movement is not merely completed…it’s performed with quality, but more than that, it’s HONOURED as a part of the trip. Justin brings his whole self to every appointment. His presence is mindful and dedicated. It inspires me to be in that same state. Moving is better than not moving at all, but moving mindfully is a whole other ball game!

Remember my decision to be the best person I can be? By his approach, Justin helped me align movement (YANG) with purpose (YIN). After all, YIN without YANG doesn’t go anywhere. It does say in the EPIC mission statement: “In YIN and YANG we discover meaning”.


Motivator #4: Let the journey surprise you.

What did I witness as results of all this so far? In a nutshell, I am fitter than I have ever been. This is no surprise after everything I just said about my journey with Justin, but I mean that I am WAAAAYYYY fitter than I thought possible.

It’s not that I’m an Olympic athlete now. It’s that I overcame the belief that I was physically weak and never thought to achieve anything fitness related. How? I experienced the opposite with Justin’s guidance. In a gym no less … the last place on earth I was interested in!

If I had tried to set specific (and let’s not forget “measurable” and “time-sensitive”) goals a few years back, I don’t think I would be where I am today. Why? Because I would not have thought to aim for that. “Careful what you wish for” to me means being careful not to block the best outcome life has in store. #EmpyRiceBowl.


Motivator #5: Put the spotlight on achievements.

Talk about self-discovery! I particularly appreciate having better cardiovascular endurance. I can enjoy my workouts now instead of panting and I can run to catch a bus! I am also astonished with finding myself naturally inspired – as in not having to pressure myself - to implement new (beautiful!) healthy foods and exceptionally relaxing sleep habits.

Still, I have trouble recognizing my progress sometimes. Justin acts as a mirror who reflects to me the improvements I don’t notice, or simply can’t, because I am not a fitness professional. Being alone on a treadmill at home or in a conventional gym could not do that for me. #TreadmillsDon’tTalk.

Thanks to Justin, I walk out of every visit to the gym with an addictive feeling of accomplishment. Now if that’s not fuel for commitment, I don’t know what is. 


REFLECTION

I reached beyond my mind’s eye and I am on my way to being the best (healthy) version of myself. I have Justin to thank for making that happen and for ensuring that I am truly aware of it. I feel such PRIDE and GRATITUDE. #MoreFuelForCommitment.

Justin and I continue on our fun and creative health journey. I am all in! What will future results of that be? I don’t know, but based on what unfolded so far, my curiosity is ignited (Motivator #6). How will it happen? Justin was sent to me for that. All I have to do is open my mind, open my heart, and accept the help that is offered to me through this fabulous person that is Justin. #StatusQuoHasNothingOnUs.


A NOTE FROM JUSTIN, EPIC’s PERSONAL TRAINER

Discovering a lot about yourself can be an eye-opening and inspiring journey. For Annie-Pier, I hold nothing but the highest regards. Through a consistent commitment to her training and lifestyle, she has reached an exceptional level of personal growth. I am grateful to be an ongoing mentor and guide for Annie-Pier, knowing she is always open to expanding her mindset and physical self even further.

 When you connect with someone who is hugely positive and supportive in your journey, there’s nothing that can hold you back from reaching your potential. A.P. is a joy to work with, someone who isn’t afraid to go beyond her comfort zone. She loves to explore adventurous movement without fear, takes passion in cooking nourishing food, and thrives off of the energy found in nature. She is a shining example of someone who lives the EPIC life inside and out. I couldn’t be prouder.