I had tried a few gyms that were not my thing

Jan 09, 2017
Ashley Ann Lawrie


Hitting the gym at 6 a.m. can be tough, especially for a first-time father, but Tom Jackson has learned the benefits far outweigh the trouble.

The 37-year-old has trained at Free Form Fitness’s Kanata location for eight months, half of that time after the birth of his daughter.

The impending responsibility of parenthood first brought him through the door.

“Not only did it make me start to look at my own health and lifestyle in a different way, I wanted to support a healthy lifestyle within our home and be able to make educated decisions with my wife around our family’s nutrition,” he said.

As he passed through his 30s, Tom had come to realize he couldn’t eat the way he once did. A desk job and the poor nutrition that inevitably accompanies work travel had taken their toll on his waistline and energy level. He wanted to change his habits and get fit, but just never knew where to start.

“I had tried a few gyms that were not my thing,” he said. A gym membership was one of his work perks, but he never felt comfortable working out by himself because he didn’t know what he was doing.

An Internet search led him to FFF.

“What attracted me to FFF was its focus on the balance between exercise, nutrition, mental health and accountability,” he said. “On the initial assessment, I really appreciated the time that was taken to understand where I was coming from and to pair me with trainers I would get along well with.”

He set a modest first goal: get healthier and learn what it truly means to “eat clean.” After eight months with trainers Mike Robichaud and Matt Uden, Tom lost 25 pounds.

“I didn’t think I had 25 pounds to lose, but obviously I did,” he said. “These guys are pretty incredible at what they do.”

Mike helped Tom reform his nutrition habits and provided long-distance counsel so he could make healthier meal choices while travelling.

“I liked the tailored approach,” Tom said. “The guys understood my body, what I could do, what my limits were and what weak spots we had to focus on.”

Those morning sessions also proved to be a “great way to start the day,” boosting his energy level and focus at work. That’s been particularly important while adjusting to life around a newborn’s sleep schedule.

Tom has brought what he’s learned home to wife Olivia. Despite an active lifestyle (she’s a runner), Olivia developed gestational diabetes during her pregnancy. The knowledgeable FFF team stepped up to provide her with advice on nutrition and post-partem exercise.

Along the way, Tom has learned that leading a healthier lifestyle doesn’t mean having to be at the gym for an hour every day. And the biggest battle is fought in the kitchen, not at the weight rack.

“People say they don’t have time to exercise,” he said. “You always hear how ‘you have to make the time.’ That’s true, but it doesn’t really require that much if you learn how to pair it with eating clean, too.”

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