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What Makes Stephane St. Laurent Tick?

09/01/2014, 5:00am PDT
By Kelvin Cech

Learn about the North Shore Winter Club's Steph St. Laurent...

Steph is built on passion. Passion for his clients, passion for the fitness industry and passion for constant daily improvements. 

ISIS at North Shore Winter Club is the brainchild of Steph St. Laurent. A factory for elite athletes who understand the benefit of combining sport-specific dryland training with existing practices and games, ISIS is an all-inclusive centre of excellence.

In short, ISIS and Steph want to put people to work. 

5 Minutes With Steph St. Laurent*

* This was not enough time

"ISIS, the concept came up when I was asked what name would properly represent the attitude and culture we're building at the North Shore Winter Club,” says Steph across the table in the cafeteria at the club. ISIS was also the ancient Egyptian Goddess of health.
"A focus on dryland training for the athlete that integrates strength and conditioning within their sport. ISIS creates a direct crossover for hockey players, for example.”
According to Steph, the more closely you can train an athlete from a strength and conditioning perspective to elicit the results they’re looking for in their sport, the more that athlete will experience success. 

"Training specifically for their sport increases in-game speed, agility and it allows an athlete to avoid an injury.

"The more games you play, the more opportunities you have to score goals, put up points, score tri’s,  improve your serve, improve your reaction time, win more races, win more balls, secure more scouting opportunities. We want to keep players playing as much as possible. No one is just good enough just on their own, the athletes who spend time on their dryland development will show distinct differences in their game."

Spending time in the fitness centre with Steph demonstrates that It’s all business with the kids who come through the door. There’s a distinct competitive focus and a mandate with each young athlete that they embrace their unique mindset before getting started. Understanding an individual athlete fully and completely and guiding them to where they want to go is the future of sport-specific dryland training. 

At ISIS, The Future is Now

"Once there’s a clear understanding, we spend time on the educational side,” says Steph. “How does your specific training translate to the court, to the field and to the rink? The stronger the connection between the game and the training, the more excited they’ll get with what they’re doing."

The instructors at ISIS are programmed to learn about their clients, which makes it easier to educate athletes on the why as well as the how. Elite young athletes these days crave knowledge, they want to know exactly how their training is contributing to their development. 

The world’s best athletes want every possible advantage, and knowledge is a big one.

On cue, Steph and I are interrupted by David Long, who needs an update on something from Steph first, myself second. This sort of makes sense given the pace things move at the club, the passion people have for moving things forward, for accomplishing new and exciting things.

Steph St. Laurent and ISIS itself are apt representations of that pace.

"This is exactly how our conversations go,” Steph continues without missing a beat. “I’ll sit down and talk about the purpose of the session so the athlete fully understands why they did what they did. I’ve been doing what I do for 20 years because I’m passionate, I don’t try to connect with people, it’s just …"

“How you’re wired?”

“Kelvin, yes! People need to walk away from ISIS empowered, and excited to come back to another session.” 

It’s a Busy Time

We’re just talking at this point and my fingers are frantically trying to keep up.

"It’s not just ISIS,” I say, "but everything a person does should empower them. Your job, a hockey game, it’s all meant to build you into something more.”
“Absolutely. This is my measuring stick, not specific results, but when people are really connecting and wanting to come to the gym, then I’m going to get more out of that athlete. We measure things with process and not results, because a healthy process yields healthy results, and the process is what we can control. If an athlete doesn’t have a fire under their belly, then the results will be directly related to that.”

So make your hour in the gym a rich one.

Steph’s History

"We know that you’re over 20 years in the business, but what led you here, to the winter club? Everyone seems to have taken a unique route to get here." 

"What led me here? Holy hannah, how much time do you have?"

Steph is wired to promote a positive, uplifting culture, because it’s the culture that keeps people wanting to come back. 

“I’m always searching for the healthiest climate possible, an experience that's warm and welcoming. We’re delivering an enhanced quality of life on a daily basis, so in order to keep up, I’m always reinventing myself, I hate being redundant. The enhanced climate is specific to the North Shore Winter Club. I’ve always been on a quest for passion and excellence in sports because I’m obsessed with the athletic mind."

“Here at ISIS, this is a different type of enriched than I’ve felt before. I’ve worked with athletes, tactical SWAT and fire in Ottawa, and the dynamics were different, everything here is a nucleus. Everything crosses over."

"It’s awesome that my role is in the centre. All sports start with strength, conditioning, speed, so I feel I touch on everything. I’m in an environment where it’s multi-faceted, I get to see everyone, and I’m empowered by that.” 

The Extra Gene

"If I had a nickel every time I heard holy s#!t, how do you do it?”

“You’d have several nickels?”  

"Well, I might have an extra gene somewhere or I’m going to drop dead, but it works for me. It’s my personality, being excitable and passionate all hours of the day. I know people connect with that, they want to be inspired, if I’m dull and stodgy, then how am I inspiring people? I’m bolstered by the reaction, an athlete will do a great lift and their excitement is my excitement."

For Steph St. Laurent, there’s nothing more beautiful that seeing someone put in the work and succeeding. 

"It’s as simple as that. That’s what fuels me."

"I knew I had to fall into a type of work that matters. At the end of the day, I know I make an impact at the North Shore Winter Club. Whether it’s a group, a lesson, a colleague, my work has to matter."

Believe me, Steph; it matters.

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