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Steph St. Laurent at HybridStrong, the fitness centre at the North Shore Winter Club

Steph’s Sensational Strength Session: Kickstart Your Mind

02/20/2015, 5:00am PST
By Kelvin Cech

February Focus: getting started is the easy part.


This is the first in a new monthly segment, a conversation with the loquacious Steph St. Laurent, the head of our burgeoning fitness centre, HybridStrong. 

If you’ve read interviews with Steph in the past, you’ll know that it’s difficult to quiet this guy when he gets on a roll talking about fitness, kinda like me when it comes to debating Star Trek vs. Star Wars.*

Anyways, that’s why the club pays me, so you can just read the good parts. 

Wait, all the parts are good! Enjoy the series, and if you have questions for Steph, just email me!


Kelvin: I’m going to set up this high-tech recording device** so we can just talk openly.

Steph: I feel like the informant here, Kelvin.

Kelvin: That’s perfect! Inform us of the day-to-day challenges faced by HybridStrong. You always seem so eager, so happy, what are you working toward this spring?

Steph: Well, I’m pretty blunt when it comes to conversations I have with people who talk about or romanticize the idea of being in a better place in health and fitness, the point of view that it’s a 1-time thing and you’re done.

Kelvin: Right. As in, people who start a program and then ditch it?

Steph: They mean to, they mean to, they mean to. They are going to start when this happens, or I’m going to wait till this before I start, I’ll create a comprehensive plan before I start. All these little hurdles that we put in front of ourselves which just self-sabotage. You give yourself the excuses of not starting because inherently you know that you are going to start just to stop again. And my mission is to change that pattern within an individual, and being honest and blunt about it goes a long way.

Kelvin: People are coming from the aspect of this is something different that I’m adding to my life instead of I’m going to switch my life into this, like this path. 

Steph: Mmhmm.

Kelvin: This is a habit now, you know, this is just normal for me, that’s where we need to get.

Steph: That’s exactly right, because they’ve been there many times. They’ve started just to stop again. There’s nothing more frustrating than spending some time getting some results or getting minimal results because you’re not set up right or educated correctly, you haven’t spent any time with somebody you knows what to do so the time you are investing in the gym, whether it’s twice or three times a week that has full impact.

Kelvin: Yeah, it’s getting started properly!

Steph: Right? And it comes back again to … is that hour impactful towards your personal goals. Everyone has different goals. Some people it’s athletic so the components of those training sessions are going to be very different than somebody who is looking to, let’s say maybe somebody has a bad knee, or a bad back, and that’s one of the things you have to work around while still losing weight and trying to get more fit. So it always starts with a mindset first. I’m sitting down with people and you have to identify, so okay, what are your eliminating factors, what are the things that get in your way because at the end of the day the only thing that gets in the way of you is you. I say it all the time.

Kelvin: Damn, I always get in the way of me. 

Steph: Cuz you may say I want this, but it’s not only a question of how bad you want it, some people may articulate it, they say I really, really want it bad but they just don’t know how to get there. And it’s all about implementing. I always say first: be inspired and then you’re motivated to take action. But the real trick is to sustain motivation. How and what do you do to sustain that motivation? Some days will be better than others. Some days you are really going to want to go do your workout, and some days you’re not. We all have families, we have kids.

Kelvin: Jobs.

Steph: Jobs. And we’re happy to forfeit the time for ourselves for everything and everyone around us. But the mind is our own detriment, right?

Kelvin: (At this precise moment my super-sophisticated recording device lit up with an incoming text message) Look at this, Steph. This is from my mom, back in Edmonton. This is so funny. “I did dead lifts this morning, 2 sets of 6 reps, that’s 12 times for you that haven’t had your morning coffee yet. I weigh 95 pounds now!” Isn’t that funny, we’re in the middle of talking about this and my mom shows up just to chirp me!

Steph: The exact same conversation. Oh man, that’s so cool.

Kelvin: And then I’m going to take it – she’s the one that transcribes all my interviews for me.

Steph: Oh really? 

Kelvin: Yeah! Anyways, leave us alone, mom! Steph, tell me about some of the stories you have about people and false starts. It’s always something, right?

Steph: For me, having done it for so long, I’ve seen it over and over again, I mean you may have a thousand different personalities out there but the issue is always the same: I don’t have enough time, I don’t have the energy, you know I’m always at work, busy and whatnot. And I would say, you know what, really, like bluntly, if you don’t have an hour at least a couple times a week, at least to get started for yourself, then you really are kidding yourself. You are truly, truly not interested in making what you would like to have happen for you in a health-fitness point of view. 

But it’s amazing how there will be a huge shift in thinking the moment that somebody starts to encounter some health problems. Whether it’s high blood pressure, high cholesterol. A person gets to a point where they have so much weight on them where they’re functionally not well, having difficulty, just being functional doing everyday stuff around the house, with their kids, is a chore, and life shouldn’t be a chore. 

And they’ll go see their doctor and the doctors says, heh you know, you better start doing something or in a couple of years, you’re looking at potentially a heart attack or other problem, diabetes or whatnot. So all of a sudden, there’s been enough pain created in that individual’s mind to not do something about it that they actually will take action.

Kelvin: So would it not be a lot healthier to do it before this all becomes a problem?

Steph: Of course! 

Kelvin: Instead of preventing bad, promoting good?

Steph: Actually, perfectly said, exactly right. And then there’s certain clichés, they say you know, it’s like being proactive and you know what you do today makes a big difference tomorrow. 

It’s just the way it is. 

It’s so true but if you wait till you get to that point where you’re in dire straights, it’s a lot more work.

So let’s just start now and keep going. 

*uh, is this even a debate? Captain Picard FTW! 

**yes, that was my phone

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