Finding the inner strength to be strong, at any age

Feb 24, 2016
Ashley Ann Lawrie

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Nicole Casault is carrying around a lot of weight these days, but in a good way.

Last October, she tackled her first weight-lifting competition. No records were at risk of being broken. Still, she was hooked.

“I was the oldest woman on the ladies’ side, and I lifted the least amount of weight,” Nicole said. “But I didn’t care – I just wanted to prove that I could do it.”

She lifted 140 pounds in the deadlift. That’s no small feat for any 50-year-old woman. In Nicole’s case, it was all the more impressive – just a few years before, she had been in such poor physical health it was challenging to train with even three-pound weights.

But Nicole had a personal inspiration – the competition was a cancer fundraiser, put on by her cousin in memory of his wife, who had recently passed away from the disease.

Nicole’s journey to a happier and healthier life began in 2011. After the stress of a messy divorce that had led her to put on weight, Nicole decided she had to do something to keep up with her active six-year-old son.

She started working out at a local gym with a personal trainer. Like many people trying to make a big lifestyle change, Nicole knew she needed the guidance and support of someone who would keep her accountable.

She made great progress, until she fell ill in 2014. After she recovered, she decided to try out Free Form Fitness’s nearby Westboro location on Wellington Street. Last April, she took advantage of FFF’s eight sessions for $96 promotion.

With FFF, she’s found a comprehensive approach to personal training more tailored to her needs and goals. Her FFF program also includes a key component that had been missing before – nutrition.

As a vegan, Nicole had always been challenged to find the right nutrition plan that would maximize weight loss, while giving her the ideal mix of carbs, fats and protein for optimal health. Thanks to trainer Torrence Petit and the rest of the FFF Wellington team, she’s learned to curb her longing for breads and sweets and develop a plan that works.

“The key is to prepare your meals for the week in advance,” she said.

These days, Nicole is coming in twice a week and training for another lifting competition in the spring. Thanks to Torrence’s guidance, Nicole has already boosted her deadlift to 175 pounds. She’s also tackling back squat and bench press.

Nicole has also become a competitive stand up paddler. Her program with Torrence includes building the shoulder strength to fly across the water.

Her son has become her biggest fan. “He always wants to hear about how much weight I’ve been lifting,” Nicole said.

But she has discovered that losing weight and gaining muscle definition does arouse some envy in other people.

“They’ll say things like ‘oh, you can afford to eat that piece of cake,’ and I’ll say, ‘well no I can’t.’”

It’s all about discipline and commitment and keeping focused on what’s important – like being able to keep up and enjoy life with her active son.

“If I can do it, anybody can,” Nicole said. “I don’t want to be stuck in a wheelchair and unable to enjoy life when I’m 80. This is part it.”

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