I’ve been in the fitness industry for many years and many things have changed. I’ve watched fads come and go, many of them thankfully disappearing forever. What never changes, however, is the need for movement. We are creatures of movement. I believe it is not only our privilege but also our fundamental right as humans to move well and move often. I’m now in my 40s and understand this more and more.
I’m thankful that I spent my time in this industry training ‘unconventionally,’ meaning I use kettlebells, gymnastic rings, TRX, medicine balls, ropes and things like that. My primary form of training since I began this career is, and always has been, bodyweight exercises. I hate that ‘unconventional training’ phrase, however, because that way of training was how we always trained! That is before bodybuilding came along and changed what we though movement, function and aesthetics were all about. Truth be told, trying to isolate a muscle – not possible – and simply focusing on how one looks is what is really unconventional.
One of the most fun and effective ways I trained, both in terms of strength and how my body moved and felt, was gymnastic strength training. I have a tremendous amount of respect for gymnasts, as their ability and strength is perhaps the pinnacle of movement. It’s why we all marvel watching them perform at the Olympics.
The most recent evolution in my training has been GMB. GMB is an online fitness company that “is about improving strength, flexibility, and body control for practical physical autonomy,” to borrow directly from them. Really, it’s about moving in meaningful, mindful ways and training in a way that is enjoyable, addresses your weak spots and gives you the confidence to try new things with your body. Know thyself, as the Oracle at Delphi professed.
How’s that for right timing? GMB came along when I was ready for it! Our philosophies are so in line and I’m proud to say that I’m now a certified GMB Trainer. That was a tremendous amount of hard work - four months of learning and training, not a stay-alive-until-the-end-of-the-weekend-and-you-pass type of certification that are rampant in the fitness world. I’m looking forward to spreading our shared, positive philosophy with my students.
One other thing I think you should know about me is that I love to say, “I don’t know.” It gives me an opportunity to learn, which is probably what I love to do more than anything else! If I don’t know something, I’ll do my best to find the answer.
Mike's Ideal Student: An open-minded person looking to learn unique (and cool) skills by training with bodyweight and gymnastic strength movements.
I grew up playing various organized sports. After I stopped playing sports, I found myself (like most people do when they stop moving) over weight, sick, tired and sick and tired of it all. I got back to weight training and it has been a consistent part of my life for over 10 years. I began training with kettlebells in 2012, completing my certification in 2014.
My training philosophy is to keep it simple. It may look exciting to hop up and down on a bosu ball, on one foot, but how is that going to help you move and feel better? Training that focuses on fundamental movements will allow you to develop a solid base of strength that enhances your life outside the gym. Also, don't confuse simple with easy!
I coach because I love watching people impress themselves. Whether that impression is through freedom of movement, or strength, I am grateful to be a part of the process!
Elizabeth's Ideal Student: Anyone who wants to feel strong and confident.
Hello! I’m Sarah, the highly energetic redhead, who is thrilled to join the Ritual team. Movement, wellness and fitness are integral to what I do and who I am. Upon moving to Edmonton, I wanted to find a gym that fit with my fitness philosophy. It didn’t take long to realize that Ritual was the gym for me. I love handstands, hanging from things, lifting heavy, sharing my knowledge, and learning from those around me. When it comes to coaching, I want to help people move better, become stronger and accomplish kick-ass things!
I’ve been a personal trainer for the last 3 years, and have had experience in all sorts of training. I spent over a decade committing to martial arts (Shotokan karate), and I’ve taken formal training in all sorts of realms, from powerlifting, kettlebell and conventional training to calisthenics, and a variety of circus-type feats! Although I saw nice gains with the more conventional stuff, I really felt that I found my calling with Calisthenics; specifically climbing and handstands!
I’m also enrolled in a master’s in Physiotherapy program at the U of A. In my undergraduate degree, I dabbled in many forms of physical activity, but it wasn’t until after working as a math teacher for a little while that my formal education into fitness would begin, and I would start to follow my true passion.
I have a specific interest in working with people who want to learn to move better for the rest of their life (balance, mobility, motor control, and functional strength). I believe exercise should be playful, enjoyable AND beneficial. The human body comes chock full of puzzles and challenges, which is why I’m so fascinated with it! I want to share these exciting discoveries with my students, and show them why age or body type isn’t an excuse for not feeling able.
The human body is meant to work well. Age does not break us, but inactivity and poor habits do!
Sarah's Ideal Student: Sarah’s ideal student: Someone who likes a high energy trainer, and wants to have fun while learning to move better and stronger!
Prior to working with Ritual, I was working in the IT field for quite some time. I realized one day that there needed to be major shift in my lifestyle and a greater feeling of fulfillment. This change led me to want to be able to inspire this in other people.
One of the things I quickly identified that I could provide was the teachings of calisthenics, which basically means beautiful strength. It made it easy for me to conceptualize the idea that physical fitness is more about learning about yourself and having the ability to live fully, instead of how much weight you can push.
I want to help others learn their own bodies as well, and change those perceived limitations on how they can move. Having that kind of physical preparation and confidence makes all the difference, because it is too late to get it once you actually need it.
Ryan's Ideal Student: Anyone looking to learn more about his/her body and what it really can do.