A trainer who believes in a little tough love

Sep 10, 2014

Free Form Fitness trainer Josh Levesque is a big proponent of proper training and conditioning to ensure a healthy, active lifestyle.

It’s a lesson the 25-year-old learned for himself, the hard way.

During his teens, Josh was a rising hockey star. But during his draft year, he ended up with bone chips in his elbow that required two surgeries. Then a scout landed Josh an opportunity to play in Europe. He hadn’t played in over a year. With only about a month of training, Josh headed overseas.

In his first year, Josh tore his hip flexor. The injury, attributed to an inactive glute muscle, was enough to scuttle his hockey career.

But the nature of that injury inspired him to learn more about athletic conditioning and this, coupled with a desire to help people, led him to pursue personal training as a career. It’s been more than eight years, and he hasn’t looked back. In 2012, he was voted Ottawa’s best personal trainer.

“I like helping people,” Josh said. “I like seeing the results of their efforts and mine.”

He cares about his clients, but admits he’s also brutally honest about keeping them accountable and giving them the training he believes they need, regardless of what they may want.

“Every client has different needs and I train to those needs,” he said. “Someone might tell me they want to see an eight-pack, but they may have some kind of mobility or posture issue that needs to be prioritized and I’ll focus on that.”

He has little patience for excuses, especially when he sees people with sedentary lifestyles that have left them with chronic health problems such as diabetes, still refusing to exercise or change their eating habits.

“So many people are overweight and undernourished,” he said.

Josh attracts a variety of clients and enjoys the opportunity to develop relationships and learn about their personal and professional lives. He works with many entrepreneurs and business people with posture issues and nutrition challenges due to hectic workdays and too much time in front of a desk.

“Busy business people like to get a good workout, they like to feel wiped afterward,” Josh said. “I’m big on designing for them the ‘safe killer workout,’ that will give them the burn their looking for, but also work on whatever mobility or postural issues they may have.”

While he puts a strong emphasis on healthy nutrition, in keeping with FFF’s core values, Josh isn’t afraid to treat himself, or allow his clients to, once in a while. We’re all only human, after all.

“The cheat meal is something you can talk with clients about and something to look forward to,” he said.

But the odd cheat meal aside, it’s persistent and consistent effort over time that’s important.

“Clients are often seduced by fad diets,” Josh said. “But the only away to achieve lasting results is through a lifestyle change that requires some sacrifice. The worst thing you can do is come here for three months, make progress, then quit, only to come back in a year 20 pounds heavier again.”

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