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Designing a Healthier Future

Apr 28, 2019
Ashley Lawrie

Author: Riley Pearce
Social Media Director
Personal Trainer – Byward Market

As the month of April comes to a close, it is time to shine a light on one of our clients and let them tell their story. Featuring our clients – telling your stories is not only inspiring to other clients, but it keeps us as trainers motivated to continue to deliver the best support and training possible.

For April we bring your the story of Craig Richer. A father of 2, born and raised in Ottawa, he kept himself active with ball hockey and softball while juggling home life and work as a graphic designer. When Free Form Fitness on Albert st. opened up across the street from his office and he saw our iconic 8 for $96 offer, he just had to check us out!

Since then he has not only seen his body change, but he has kicked a bad pop habit, gained new confidence, and even takes on more nights of ball hockey.

There is so much to his incredible story, so we’ll let him take it away. Read on and be inspired by Craig’s (ongoing) success story.

First start by introducing yourself. Where you’re from, what you do for fun, family. Just a few fun facts to help people get to know you.

I was raised in the East end of Ottawa, but now live in the South end with my wife, Kim, and 11 year-old daughter, Alyssa. We also have a 23 year-old son, Eric.

I’ve been a graphic designer for the federal government for 20 years and I also help to organize and participate in a mixed adult recreational ball hockey league for 8-9 months of the year. During the other months in the summer, my wife, son and I move from our ball hockey team to our softball team in the top division of the RA League.

I also enjoy biking, tennis and golf in the summer months.

When did you first decide to join Free Form Fitness?

I noticed FFF opened in May of last year as my office window faces that Albert Street location. So a couple of weeks later when I saw the sidewalk sign saying ‘8 sessions for $96’, I walked in and was very kindly greeted by Ashley – so I decided to give it a try!

What was your initial goal when you joined?

My goal was to lose about 40-45 lbs, from about 255 lbs to about 210-215, while also losing inches but gaining muscle at the same time. In doing so, I hoped to be in overall better shape physically to better enjoy my sports and live a longer, healthier life.

Has your goal changed since you started?

My goals haven’t changed, really, except now that I’ve lost about 30 lbs, I’m less concerned about my weight on the scale as I’m continuing to lose inches all over, like 7” off my stomach area, while definitely gaining more muscle definition. With muscle weighing more than fat, I realize that my weight on the scale might hover around the same, but I’m definitely still losing fat in inches.

What type of adversity have you faced in the time you’ve been with Free Form?

I’m happy to say I haven’t faced much adversity at all. My two personal trainers, Jimena and Andrew, are both fantastic at giving me a program that works for me – both in my eating and my workouts – which makes me literally look forward to my new healthy meals and my workouts with my trainers.

One adversity I guess I had was I told Ashley in my initial meeting, and Andrew and Jimena thereafter, that they won’t convince me to give up my Diet Pepsi. Well, all 3 of them didn’t command me to do so, but did suggest that maybe soda water with lemon and/or lime or even Mio flavour will still give me the fizzed drink I crave, while being completely healthy and free of controversial aspartame….so I gave it a try, and I’ve never looked back! I haven’t had a Diet Pepsi since about July last year, and I never will again – I’m perfectly satisfied with my soda water with lemon and lime at restaurants, and Soda Stream and Bubly flavoured sparkling water at home.

Have you experienced success at Free Form Fitness? Tell us how you got there.

I’m proud to say I’ve had tremendous success at FFF! As mentioned, I’ve lost about 30 lbs while also losing inches all over like 7” off my stomach area, and I was on notch #1 on my belt when I joined FFF, now I’m comfortably on notch #5. My XL shirts are all too big, I had to donate over 20 of my work shirts….my jeans went from a size 38 to 34….and where before I struggled to make it through my one weekly ball hockey game, now I play regularly twice a week and sometimes 3 times, and it’s not an issue at all. And of course, all that success has also made me feel better physically and emotionally, and my new healthy lifestyle has rubbed off on my wife and two kids as they’ve all now joined gyms and/or Taekwondo while eating better along with me.

I’ve tried other weight-loss methods, like meal replacement shakes but the trainers at FFF have taught me the correct way to lose weight: Making a sustainable lifestyle changes that work for me.

Another big part of my success is along with considering my trainers and Ashley as real friends, I’ve also become Facebook friends with them, so I can send them messages and they’re all terrific at answering any questions I have about meal choices or exercises. They’re also all very supportive when I post before and after photos and tell my story about my journey to a healthier me.

What is your best piece of advice for someone new joining Free Form?

The best advice I can give is to understand that if you’re serious about losing weight and/or getting stronger and healthier, you need to give FFF an honest try. Take advantage of their 8 intro sessions to see how great they are at helping you reach your goals.

I’ve referred at least a dozen of my friends and family to FFF because I fully believe in their program. I would also highly recommend getting a Fitbit or something like it to make yourself accountable by monitoring your calories in versus the calories you burn. I’m happy to say that in my 10 months at FFF, I’ve accounted for every single thing I’ve eaten and drank, and I’ve only been over budget for calorie intake on 2 days….every other day, I’m always below budget – usually eating/drinking about 1700-2100 calories while burning at least 2500-3200 calories a day.

On that note, for you fellow Albert Street gym goers, I highly recommend the Juice Monkey for your lunches! I eat there 3 times a week after my 1pm gym sessions, and they literally have the best grilled chicken wraps, salad boxes and protein smoothies I’ve ever had – and they’re all natural and healthy!

So there you have it! Craig has shown the Free Form Fitness team that by committing to your goals, taking it day-by-day, and celebrating all of the little wins along the way that you can reach your health and fitness goals AND see it as a lifestyle solution – not a short-term one.


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