You Don’t Know What You Can Do, Until You Try

Nov 22, 2015
Ashley Ann Lawrie


Sometimes, it takes a hard knock from life to appreciate when it’s time to make a change.

For Josée Damboise, 49, that came earlier this year, when her father passed away.

“Fitness had never been on my radar,” she said. “I consider myself a book worm. But I was getting sick and tired of being sick and tired as I aged. I realized I had something my father didn’t – a tomorrow.”

Josée set out to make the most of it. She researched her options and found her way to Free Form Fitness’s Kanata location. A special promotion – eight sessions for $96, gave her the push to commit, but she still wasn’t convinced that working out at a personal training studio would be the right fit for her.

By her fifth session, that uncertainty had vanished.

“I started to see little changes that I didn’t expect that quickly,” she said.

That was in March. By November, Josée had lost 30 pounds and cut her body fat by almost seven percentage points. Her doctor recently dubbed Josée’s blood pressure, which had been getting high enough to warrant medication, as “gorgeous.”

“My sleep is much better, my energy levels are much better and my confidence is greatly improved,” she said.

So much so, Josée quit her job as an executive assistant to pursue a dream she’s had since high school – fine arts. She’s now enrolled in the certificate program at Algonquin College and plans to enter a bachelor program next year.

“At the beginning when I said I was embarking on this journey, my family didn’t take it seriously because it was so unlike me,” Josée said. “My husband loves it–he says I am a lot happier, because I have more energy and we are doing more things together.”

Her husband, retired from the Canadian Forces, has always been the active one. In winter, Josée would see him off on snowboarding trips. But this winter, she’s going to hit the slopes with him for the first time.

“You never know what you are able to do until you give it a try,” she said. “I still don’t see myself as a sports enthusiast, but you shouldn’t let the fact that you don’t see yourself as an active person stop you.”

But what drew her to FFF?

“I did a lot of online research and I was really attracted to the philosophy of Free Form,” she said. “Because it was looking at nutrition along with fitness and accountability, and without accountability, I knew this wouldn’t work for me. That philosophy isn’t only website deep, every trainer lives this every day.”

As someone new to exercise, it’s important for Josée that FFF is not an intimidating place. “Everyone here is serious about what they are doing. It’s a very respectful environment.”

She has no doubt she wouldn’t be where she is today without the support of the entire FFF Kanata team and her trainers, Mike Robichaud and Matt Uden.

“They’ve never given me more than I could handle,” she said. “They’re resetting the preconceived ideas I had about what I can do physically.”

When asked back in March what her goals were, Josée said she wanted to be able to do a chin-up. “I’m still working toward that. To me it’s the ultimate symbol of strength. But it continues to be an interesting journey of discovery. I can’t wait to see what’s around the next corner.”

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