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Rising from the ashes - Personal trainer triumphs through a pandemic and year one of business with strength and sobriety
Story by Tina Hennigar
Gyms are great, but they’re not for everyone. If they’re not your thing, and if you’ve ever said to yourself, “I’d work out if I didn’t have to go to a gym,” then you’re plum out of excuses. A mobile personal training service can come to your home. Oh, and you’ll be held accountable by the most lovely, likable person you’ve ever met. Continue reading, but only if you are prepared to get inspired. You’ve been
Deb Silver is a long-time friend of mine, and we’ve spent many years sipping wine together, dreaming of living our best lives. Then she decided to give up the wine and go ahead and live that best life. And I’m going to go ahead and write about it. That best life started on January 14, 2018, when she had her last drink of alcohol. “When I was drinking, I was living in a constant brain fog and I really wanted to learn how to be a better version of myself,” she said in a Zoom call, which is how we have been doing our workouts since COVID-19 prohibited her from coming to my home as my trainer. Deb explained that the decision to give up drinking forced her to search for a healthy new habit. Deb turned to a set of handheld weights.
Since then, Deb’s gotten healthy - mind and body! She competed in a body-building competition, completed her fitness training, life-coaching and recovery certificates to help other women in particular, but not exclusively. Appropriately named Phoenix Mind and Body Wellness, Deb explains that “these mythical creatures rise out of the ashes to be a better version of themselves.” And there is no doubt that she is a better version of herself.
Deb’s dream, since she was in her twenties, was to compete in a bodybuilding competition but she always made excuses to herself that she was “too old”. Today, here she is, almost 50 years old with more confidence and strength than her younger self. It was those photos of her in a bikini that inspired me to call her - not so I could enter a bikini competition, but to gain the strength to do whatever else I wanted to do. I’m one of a dozen women who would anxiously anticipate her visits three days a week. We are all eager to follow her weight training and nutritional programs as she kindly encouraged us in the comforts of our own home, where no one can hear us cursing. We were all getting stronger, just like her business, when COVID-19 forced Deb to scrap her entire business model as she could no longer go into her client’s homes. “I really didn’t miss a day,” Deb said, explaining that she quickly pivoted to Zoom workouts and created programs based on the equipment people had on hand. The move to Zoom permanently changed her business model and added a new service, which it turned out, some of her clients preferred. “It took a while to figure out the platform, but I think we were all figuring it out together.” Being sober during a pandemic was a gift that enabled Deb to tackle every challenge with a clear and level head, including launching her new website, phoenixmindbodywellness.ca.
“People are more aware of the harmful effects of alcohol,” Deb said of the new-found resurgence in sober living. “People are starting to question: ‘Am I having a glass of wine or am I feeding an addiction?’” If it’s an addiction you’re feeding Deb and Phoenix Mind and Body Wellness can help. Deb even offers a recipe e-book of mocktails to help ease the social discomfort of not drinking. Plus, they’re delicious.