Here at One Life we believe personal connections truly contribute to our overall success. What better way to connect than to let you get to know some of our team members and personal trainers. Meet Michelle Blackford, one of the personal trainers.
How long have you been in the industry?
I’ve been doing this for just over 10 years. I’m a personal trainer, yoga instructor (200hr Yoga Alliance certified), pilates instructor, and I teach spin classes.
Why did you choose to become a personal trainer?
I have always been into fitness, since I was a kid. I’ve always used it as a way to manage my physical health and as a form of stress relief. In the 8th grade I started taking fitness classes and loved it, I wanted to be like the instructor. Later in life when I had my first child, even though physically I was in ok shape, it was a very challenging time as my body had gone through so much change. I hired a trainer to help me with my post baby fitness and unfortunately had a negative experience. I wasn’t getting what I expected as in there wasn’t much relationship building, it was just sort of instructional and not really supportive or encouraging. I thought there must be others out there like myself, who had experienced major physical changes, and needed more positive coaching and wanted to have a connection with someone. Shortly after I started pursuing the necessary certifications to start personal training as a career. I thank the lucky stars each day my body allows me to keep going, I am very grateful for my journey and where it has lead me.
What are your areas of specialization?
My focus was pre-post natal fitness when first started, because of my experience. Since then I’ve expanded into teaching group classes and boot camps, as well as doing one-on-one personal training sessions. Whether it’s someone who wants to gain or lose weight, whatever their objective, everybody has a story and it’s great to meet someone and get to know them while helping them achieve their goals. I like to focus on the individual and apply my knowledge to not only help them get where they want to go but also to give them positive encouragement and coaching in order to get there. It’s really about the relationship and the experience; part of my philosophy is that exercise can be really therapeutic both physically and mentally. I can take a grumpy person and within an hour after making it fun, they’re thanking me.
What’s your favourite workout for yourself?
I like everything from hiking to cross country skiing to just hitting it hard in the gym for an hour.
Outside the gym, what are your hobbies/interests?
I absolutely love staying active and enjoy anything outdoors. In the winter it’s cross country skiing, in the summer lots of hiking and stand up paddle board (I am a SUP instructor as well). I try to make the most of every season.
Who is your inspiration/someone you look up to?
My mom. She’s played a huge role in my life, even to this day. She had four kids and still went back to school to graduate at the top of her class. She gives me so much inspiration with her integrity, honesty, and loyalty. She is just such an amazing woman.
Tell us about a personal challenge that you were able to overcome.
When I was going through a separation that was definitely not an easy time, and my training kept me sane. Situations like that can be a really complicated and complex time. It’s hard sometimes to keep your focus, but my job and my dedication keeps me going. Everybody goes through struggles, but I believe whatever doesn’t kill us really does make us stronger. Whatever adversity we experience, we create the potential for growth. One of my favourite quotes is from Baron Baptiste and goes something along the lines of “be willing to come apart”. I interpret this as coming apart to reconfigure yourself in a stronger way.
What’s your favourite pre-workout & post workout meal/snacks
I’m a big smoothie fan! My favourite recipe is 1 cup kale, 1 cup spinach, unsweetened almond milk, half a frozen banana, half a frozen avacado, and fish oils.
It tastes yummy, doesn’t fill you up, and it can be consumed in a vehicle on the go!
What’s your favourite protein shake/smoothie recipe?
Well the one I just mentioned!
How do you encourage your clients to stay motivated?
I think that definitely keeping track of your goals is huge, and re-evaluating those goals every 6 months. As you go you might be ready for something new, and it’s my job to help keep you accountable.
Just for fun… It’s the zombie apocalypse – what’s your plan?
(*laughs) I would need to call my son, he talks about zombies all the time. I’d follow my 12 year old, he’d know exactly what to do!