A Bucket Full Of Positive Attitude

Mar 10, 2015
Ashley Lawrie
Personal trainer Michael Robichaud

Personal trainer Michael Robichaud

It may seem like an odd choice for a personal trainer to advocate a client treat herself to jellybeans. Or maybe not, if you understand how your body works.

Free Form Fitness personal trainer Michael Robichaud doesn’t consider sweets the best post-workout option. With one client, however, it was an important psychological boost, a reward for all her hard work. And because she had diligently followed her nutrition plan, and she understood her body chemistry, it was easy to determine that a handful of jellybeans post-workout would do no harm.

“If you give yourself too many limitations on what you can and can’t eat, you start to have an unhealthy relationship with food, and can come to judge people by what they eat,” Michael said.

He has been empowering clients to take control of their health at FFF’s Kanata location for about five years. In fact, the 28-year-old heavy metal aficionado and former wrestler is the longest serving member of the Kanata team.

After high school, Michael first pursued a degree in computer science, but halfway through the program, he came to realize he just couldn’t see himself sitting at a desk for the rest of his life. He ultimately switched his studies to biomechanics and leadership, and studied fitness and health promotion.

FFF was his first job in the fitness business. His mother was his first client, and he helped her to lose 40 pounds. Within a few short years, he worked his way up from the front desk to the role of senior personal trainer responsible for training new hires, and to the role of location manager.

But managing a business wasn’t for him.

“My passion really is focusing on the clients and helping them as a trainer,” he said.

Michael is an active athlete who likes to experiment with new sports. In fact, after completing the Spartan Sprint, a five-kilometre obstacle race at Ski Edelweiss in June, he decided he could tackle an even more daunting challenge. In August, he completed the 20+kilometre Spartan Beast obstacle race at Mont Ste-Marie.

But while Michael has helped many clients achieve his level of physical condition, every engagement begins with the basics, customized to the needs of the individual.

This involves correcting posture, improving flexibility and achieving structural balance, to ensure every muscle group is of equal strength. These steps prepare the body to handle more intensive training with less risk of injury. Michael’s clients have ranged from competitive athletes, to stay-at-a-home moms and heart transplant recipients.

“You have to understand that everyone comes from a place that’s a little different, and you have to work out what’s best for them,” Michael said.

Recently, Michael became a Poliquin-certified bio signature practitioner. This discipline looks for correlations between body fat storage and possible hormonal imbalances, which are then treated with a combination of nutrition, exercise and supplements.

But at the end of the day, it’s attitude that matters most. Michael takes his inspiration from the book, How Full is Your Bucket. It advocates that we all have inside us a bucket that must be filled each day by positive experiences and interactions.

“I believe in the idea of paying it forward and trying to improve the lives of everyone around me,” Michael said. “People tend to get broken down throughout the day. Too much negativity only serves to bring them down and bring down everyone around them. But having a positive and encouraging training experience helps to fill their bucket.”

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