Learning the lessons of a different kind of school
(January 2021)

In the mind of Taryn Green, the Sudbury School of Fitness is not all that dissimilar to the world of academia.

And in that sense, there is really no reason for folks to wait until they have reached a certain level of athleticism before diving into a workout regimen, however challenging it may be perceived.

“You don’t go to school because you already know everything – you go to learn,” said Green, a 39 year-old mother of one. “You don’t have to wait until you’re fit to try and be fit. You’re there to grow, as a person, as an athlete.”

Green speaks from experience. Though her involvement with the group dates back far enough to recall outdoor workouts at Queen’s Athletic Field back in 2011, the talkative young woman has remained aboard, on an on and off basis, for the past decade, facing the same hurdles as most.

“There were definitely some off times,” she said. “I was really steady for the first two to three years, but then life got in the way.” She and her husband, Mike, would welcome the birth of their daughter, Mia. Ironically, it would take a pandemic to get her thoroughly engaged again.

“For the past two years, it’s been a bit of a struggle to get myself into the gym,” she said. “Mike has shift work and his schedule is strange, so trying to build consistency is tough. I like to be scheduled, but really, we make up excuses.”

Watching the staff of the Sudbury School of Fitness do everything in their power to remain connected with their devoted base fuelled the fire for Green. “When COVID hit, they really did pivot,” she said. “They were amazing, working so hard for their clients. I could stay at home and do the workouts online.”

“I really didn’t have an excuse not to go. I started in early June and haven’t stopped since.”

And while some would point to the demands of a toddler as ample reason to take a pass on any kind of workout, Green simply flipped the script. “I really want to be a role model for my daughter, to make sure that my body is strong as I age. The language that I use, around women and body shapes, is so important.”

“I grew up in a family setting where the importance of staying active was always there.” Green mentions that the value of exercise isn’t based on pounds lifted or times achieved, but in building the habit of physical activity. “A lot of my workouts are scaled”, meaning the movements, or loads prescribed are tailored to help her progress, but not produce any risk for injury.

That is not unusual for many of those who attend the facility. Age alone will often require some adjustments. In the case of Green, who lives with cerebral palsy, there is a need to temper the expectations.

“My goals for doing this are probably not the same as everyone else’s goals,” she explained. “I’m not going to dead-lift 500 pounds, or whatever it is. My goals are probably more broad.”

And like most who participate, Green knows that she simply cannot do it alone. “I like the fact that when I walk into the Sudbury School of Fitness, or I am doing it online, there is somebody there who is excited to see me, and they have a workout already planned out. They are there to watch and remind you of how to do it properly.”

“I think it’s a pathway to success.”

Yet, for as much as she is fully invested, Green acknowledged that the setting is one in which she enjoys a less engrained comfort than her younger sibling, Kristin. “To get up and go to the gym is not in my nature, not like my sister,” she said. “She played soccer, flag football and everything, all throughout high school.”

“I was the opposite. I love to write and read and do film editing. I like to be active doing things outdoors, but naturally, I prefer to sit by a fire on a couch and read a book.”

Still she perseveres, taking advantage of the convenience of an online platform, despite its challenges.

“Working out at home, you don’t have all of the equipment at your disposal,” stated Green, noting a variety of household items that have been substituted for weights. There is also the effort made to, “adjust your camera, so that your coach can see that you are moving properly.”

“But I don’t think it impedes the ability to coach” – or to be coached, apparently.

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