Calgary, Alberta

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Big Four Building, Stampede Grounds

Calgary, Alberta

YYCfit Health and Fitness Influencer: Jeannette Castillo

March 21, 2018 0

In 2007, Jeannette Castillo was given a 3% survival rate upon being diagnosed with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. At the time she was celebrating her 30th birthday and her second wedding anniversary. Eleven years later, following a variety of treatments including chemotherapy, radiation, stem cell transplant, and medication, Jeannette is now an advocate for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada.

A lifelong fitness fanatic, Jeannette resumed her heavy fitness load a few years ago, once she began regaining her strength, and has placed well in several fitness competitions and is a regular participant in numerous activity-related fundraising events. Furthermore, Jeannette has recently launched her new business, JCJNutrition, Calgary’s newest comprehensive health and nutrition management company.

We’re thrilled to welcome Jeannette to the YYCfit demo & seminar stage to share her powerful story. Prepare to be inspired!

And thanks to Jeannette for answering some fun questions for us:

Q: If you could spend an afternoon with any Canadian (dead or alive), who would it be?
A: It would be John Candy, especially his Uncle Buck’s character making those gigantic pancakes for his nephew’s birthday and hearing his Uncle Buck laugh!

Q: Do you have a quote to share?
A: I have a few if I could share…Survivor Quote, “Stay Strong, Live Long”; Learning Quote, “You Gotta Get Uncomfortable to get Comfortable, you dig?”; Canadian Quote, “Yeah, totally, eh?”

Q: How do you chill out?
A: Watching my nephew’s play hockey with my husband and my sister on weekends or checking out Calgary’s coolest restaurant on a Friday evening with friends.

Category : Celebrating Local


February 27, 2018 0

After a decade working for big corporations, and getting his MBA along the way, Chris finally found his calling as a health & wellness entrepreneur. He’s turning his passion for healthy, mindful eating into a food startup business. Brain Bar, is a plant-based protein bar fortified with nootropic nutrients. It’s due in stores Spring 2018.

Competing in his first fitness show taught Chris a lot about setting daily goals and practicing self-discipline to achieve them. At the time, he was broke and unemployed. He learned to develop tasty and nutritious recipes in his home kitchen with affordable, quality ingredients. Many of those he created for Muscle Insider’s Best Protein Chef Challenge. Chris shares his favourite (and easiest!) recipes on his personal blog, Doyouevencookbro.blog.

Chris is a new brand ambassador for Oranj Fitness. He draws a lot of strength and inspiration from Calgary’s health & fitness community. He practices hot yoga, is an avid volunteer for local arts & culture, and considers himself a capable outdoorsman. Through his work as an ambassador for Modern+Mindful in 2017, Chris developed a deeper appreciation for the benefits of meditation. His favourite places for meditation (in no particular order): in the sauna after a workout, camping in the mountains, or watching the sunrise over the prairies.

Thanks to Chris for answering a few questions for us:

If not birth, then what brought you to Calgary?
I came to Calgary in 2013 to help the city get back on its feet after the devastating floods. I loved it so much that I decided to stay and make my home here. After nearly a decade in downtown Toronto, I was ready for a change. Since I was born in Edmonton (cue the boos…), moving to Alberta after decades in Eastern Canada was like returning to my roots. I was drawn to Calgary by its mixture of energy, enthusiasm, resilience and resourcefulness. I want to help this city reach its world-class potential. Calgary offers many of the things I enjoy: a booming health & wellness community, a vibrant arts & culture scene, an abundance of food options, and diverse neighbourhoods to explore. By the way, we also happen to have the most impressive “backyard” in all of Canada: the Rocky Mountains.

What are the best books you’ve read in the past year?
The Hard Thing About Hard Things by legendary Silicon Valley venture capitalist Ben Horowitz. Every entrepreneur should read this book because it offers blunt advice on the struggles of startup life. The author talks about all the messy stuff you don’t learn in MBA school.
12 Rules for Life by psychologist and cultural critic Jordan Peterson. The author (who was raised in Northern Alberta and has appeared multiple times on Joe Rogan’s podcast) draws on ancient texts, scientific research, and his own clinical practice to offer wise advice for everyone in the modern world.
Rising Strong by sociologist and thought leader Brené Brown. When life knocks us down (as it inevitably will) how do we find the strength to get up, own our story, and write a new ending? The author provides an incremental process to do just that. Her work has added a powerful word to the mainstream vocabulary: vulnerability.

What are your success habits?

“Win the morning, win the day.” I believe that having a consistent morning routine is critical. When my alarm goes off at 5:00 am (even on weekends), I get up, have a quick stretch and make my bed. Then I make a big cup of coffee and cook a stack of protein pancakes while listening to a podcast. Nourishment for body AND mind. After that, no matter what the day may throw at me, I know I’ve already had some small “victories” to put me on the right track.

Thanks to Mark Bilodeau for the photos!

Category : Celebrating Local


November 28, 2017 0

Like our October influencer of the month, Andrew Obrecht, Devin is a born and bred Calgarian. A hockey player from a young age, Devin was able to parlay his love of hockey into a WHL stint with the Prince George Cougars, University of Lethbridge Pronghorns and then played in the East Coast Hockey League with the Kalamazoo Wings.

Devin’s desire to start a family led him back to Calgary, where he joined the fire department. While Devin considers this his perfect career move, he was still looking for something to fill the hockey void. Enter trail running. Followed by ultra marathons, where this seasoned hockey player and firefighter experienced a whole new level of pushing his body to the limit.

In February 2016, Devin and his wife Elise welcomed son Kai into the world. Devin heard time and time again how this new addition would limit his adventure days in the mountains. Devin was committed to staying active, but made a pact to find ways to make it a family activity. From the time Kai was introduced to his first family hike at the age of six weeks, Devin kept this pact by logging an average of 100 km per week with the Thule chariot stroller running with Kai. Other ways the family plays together: yoga, travelling, climbing, biking, skiing and more!

In addition to serving an important role in helping to relieve stress from an intense job, running has also led to some awesome travel opportunities for Devin, including Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Hawaii and other various places in the USA.

In his spare time, Devin helps others with their running and strength with personalized programs, through his company Sharp Conditioning.

Thanks to Devin for letting us get to know him a bit more:

If you could spend an afternoon with any Canadian, living or dead, who would you choose and why?
Terry Fox – to truly understand the mental and physical push he had and dedication to his goal. Trying to overcome a terrible disease and being an inspiration for so many Canadians.

What is a skill you’d love to master?
Being able to fix vehicles and do more home renovations.

How do you chill out?
Watching a favorite TV series (The Punisher, Shameless, Big Mouth), board games at the cabin, listening to music.

Thanks to Mark Bilodeau for the great photos! If there is someone you would like to see profiled, please let us know!

Category : Celebrating Local


September 28, 2017 0

We’re thrilled to introduce Kirsten Fleming as our inaugural health & fitness influencer of the month. Kirsten is no stranger to Calgary’s health and fitness scene. A former TV broadcaster, Kirsten has served as the Executive Director of the Calgary Marathon for the past five years. In addition to that very cool gig, Kirsten also purchased a yoga studio in 2015 with her honey, Matt, and turned yet another passion into a job.

Originally from Saskatchewan, Kirsten also has a strong passion for the mountains and skiing, as well as spending time at her place in the Crowsnest Pass. Coffee and wine are up there too for Kirsten….and of course, spending time with Matt, who is super sporty himself and brings out her competitive side.

Running-wise, Kirsten has six marathons in addition to several half marathons, with her faves including Calgary, New York, Dubai, Scotland, Beirut, and the Marathon du Medoc where wine meets running.

Thanks to Kirsten for letting us get to know her a bit more:

Describe your ideal weekend in Calgary.
I spend a lot of weekends in the mountains at our cabin so when I get an urban weekend I am known to jam in a lot of things. An ideal weekend would look like hitting a Barre Belle or UNDRCARD class to finish off the work week, before meeting some friends at one my fav Calgary restaurants: Una, Ox or Native Tongues, River Café or Cassis. I would start Saturday with a hot yoga class at My Yoga Calgary and will usually see what’s happening on the Avenue events page and hit up a festival or play. I love to cook when there is time so staying in on Saturday night to chef up a big dinner with my honey and curl up and read a book or watch a movie. Sunday I would get in a long run in with some of my YYC run crew friends somewhere like Weaselhead and then hit a market to do some meal planning and prep for the work week. I would complete the weekend with a candlelit yoga class at MYC. Oh and there would also be a lot of wine and delicious coffee at the appropriate hours.

What are three things on your bucket list?
I was inspired by another Calgarian so I started a “40 before I am 40” list and I have been chipping away at that although I have 5 years and a long ways to go. Three things on that list are to write a novel (I have the idea but I need to find the time) qualify for and run Boston Marathon (if I can keep running my current pace I will qualify at 45) and to take my mom on an extended trip to Italy. All doable I think!

What is a skill you’d love to master?
There are a lot of things I would love to master but skiing is up there. I took up skiing in 2011 and I am OBSESSED, there is no better way to spend a winter day and I consider us so lucky to have half a dozen epic ski hills within a three hour drive. I try to get in about 25 days a season and took my avalanche training last year so I could start touring. All of my ski friends and my man are excellent skiers so I just try to keep up. Last season I skied double blacks and started playing in the trees and my next goal is to cat ski. Touring still intimidates me and it would be more fun if I was a more experienced skier so I would love to master skiing.

What are your success habits?
Go to bed early and get up early, meditate before your day starts and do the hardest thing first when you get to work. I don’t always do this but I know I am most efficient when I do. I also sweat every day for at least an hour.

Photos courtesy of Mark Bilodeau Photography.

Category : Celebrating Local


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