Personal trainers not just for celebrities anymore

By Curtis J Phillips

Years ago personal trainers were something only celebrities and rich folk could afford.

Nowadays they are popping up like the mom and pop corner convenience stores of yesteryear.

Participants take need of their services for various reasons: to shed some pounds, get in shape, stay in shape, stay motivated, tone up for the beach season…the list is endless.

For 10 local women the goal was a wee bit different.

The target was for them to prepare, participate and finish in their first-ever sprint triathlon. Namely the 8th All Women’s Tri for the Cure staged recently in Chandler, Arizona.

With the challenges of a 400-metre swim, 8 mile bike ride and 2 mile run, they turned for guidance and leadership to Lori Lynn Leach Tovay, owner/trainer of local Triple Training Fitness.

Tovay, a resident of Fort McMurray for four years, is no stranger to the world of sports or triathlons.

Down Lloydminster way, Leach (her surname) and sports blend in as one.

Her dad Larry played 18 years of pro hockey including two seasons for the Boston Bruins. Her mom Chris was an all-around athlete as were brothers Garry, Jay and Renn.

As a youngster, Tovay was attracted to cross-country, swimming and track and field, thus the natural transition to triathlon and later the Ironman.

During her 17-year professional career as an athlete, Tovay had 10 podium finishes, including second place in the 1999 Ironman Canada and 2002 Volcano Triathlon with a third in the 2000 Ironman Australia.

Another highlight was earning top spot in the1998 Triathlon Canadian Nationals.

Age, 46, Tovay still competes for fun as we caught up with her last week by telephone at the Denver Airport as she was in route to a competition in Arizona.

So when Kim Doan, Angela MacDonald, Amy Wilson, Sandy Grandison, Trisha Holland, Jessica Dolling, Jolie Wist, Angela MacDonald, Lindsay Pike and Lisa McDonell came to you and asked to be trained for a triathlon, were you shocked?

To differentiate between the two MacDonald’s they will be known as MacDonald the Older or MacDonald the Younger.

“Most people that come to me are usually sports specific,” said Tovay. “I have a lot of runners and triathletes come to me as it is high-intensity and sport specific. I train people for the race they want to participate in and it is more personal and goal-focused.”

Tovay noted that the ages of the 10 women in question ranged from 22 to 52 and that “it took many out of their comfort zones.”

She also noted that “One woman could not swim but did learn to swim over the 10 weeks of training. Most had never ridden road bikes before and it was great fun after using spin bikes all winter.”

Tovay continued: “We took them down to Arizona a week prior to get acclimatized and to get used to being on a road bike, which was a new experience.”

All 10 women finished, nine entered in the sprint triathlon and one in duathlon.

Two finished in the Top 50 in a field of 273 with Wilson 55:59.11, 37th and Wist 58:22.01, 50th.

Their remaining times, in no specific order: Doan 1:00:11.20, MacDonald (the older) 1:05:42.20, Grandison 1:01:15.40, Holland 1:05:42.80, MacDonald (the younger) 1:02:29.45, Pike , 54:47.68 and McDonell 1:07:18.42.

Dolling finished the duathlon – 1 mile run, 8 mile bike, 2 mile run – in 57:54.02 for No. 12 spot out of 31.

Another local trainer I’d like to mention is Ian F. Sinclair.

At age 43, this man is ripped. He makes those Abs of Steel workout guys on television look flabby.

Sinclair, who was born in Jamaica and moved to Canada when he was five, grew up in London, Ontario.

An excellent amateur wrestler, he placed third at the 1988 Canadian Olympic trials for his weight class in freestyle wrestling.

He stayed involved with the sport as an assistant coach with his alma mater, the University of Western Ontario, for a few years and then like many before him, made his way west to Fort McMurray where from 2007 -2011 he worked for Coca Cola Refreshments with also a brief stint at Kal-Tire.

During this time he was a member of the YMCA Wood Buffalo and at the age of 41 decided to see if he could take his passion for fitness into a career choice.

“I always felt that I could do a 9 to 5 job and never believed that personal training could be my sole source of income,” said the affable Sinclair. “I used to help train my friends and do it part time here and there,” “For me I have always been fit and active be it wrestling or dabbling in kick boxing or judo.

“Now working (at the YMCA Wood Buffalo) and with my business (Sinclair Fitness, TRX/Personal Trainer) the last two years I have accomplished that and I love it.”

Incorporating various training styles including, muscular endurance, cross fit, cardio boxing, bio metrics, Sinclair says the perfect balance is a “combination of diet and exercise. You have to eat clean. Reduce process food intake and exercise as a regular part of your life.”

Sinclair adds “I’ve always been an advocate of a healthy lifestyle. The better shape you are in the better mentally you are. It helps boost self-worth and self-confidence.”

Catch you on the Rebound.