Monthly Archives: October 2014

SUCCESS STORY: Congratulations, Jim Hayden! Lost 45+ LBS and much more!

I met Jim in late December of 2013 and we started working together shortly thereafter. As soon as I first met him, I knew that he was going to achieve his goals and become the next featured success story.

Jim’s goals were to lose fat, gain muscle and get stronger. More specifically, he wanted to lose 30+ lbs in about 4 months, which I thought was very realistic and attainable.

Below is what Jim looked like before:


Jim set himself up for success. Here’s why:

1. His goal was specific and measurable

2. It was also attainable and realistic

3. He was willing to do whatever it takes to achieve it and he used the “tools” I gave him.

Although Jim wasn’t happy with his fitness level when he first came to me, I immediately saw his potential. He understood right away that transformation takes commitment, patience and dedication.

Right from the start, he has been a pleasure for me to work with.

Here is what Jim had to say about his transformation and what it’s like working with me:

“In December of 2013, I had hit my limit! Age 26, 6’5”, 231 lbs. (vs. 190 lbs. 5yrs. earlier) and I was not feeling my best.  Something had to change. I needed help!!! I started January 1st in Yana’s 12 week body transformation program.

Here we go! Starting off the program was a bit of a struggle, barely being able to do 10 push-ups and feeling worn out after 30 minutes of our first 1 hour session. Fast forward to mid February. After a change to a much healthier diet and more importantly – Yana’s discipline and persistence – I had lost over 20 pounds and, more importantly, I was getting into the best shape of my life. I never felt better.

At that point, I was flying through training sessions, having fun every second of the way! Yana made achieving my fitness goals attainable and fun! It has now been over 9 months and I couldn’t be happier! Weighing in at a stabilized 184lbs (off a low of 182 lbs) and never felt so good, I’m stoked!

Thank you, Yana! You’re a true inspiration, an incredible fitness instructor and I am proud to say a friend. I hope you can continue to help inspire and motivate people the same way you did for me!

I still train with Yana once a week and I love it! Now I’m doing 10 sets of 15 push-ups just to warm up! As Yana would say ‘FITNESS PARTY!”

Below is what Jim looks like now. I see abs.


All I can say is, it is an honour and a privilege to work with you, Jim. I’m very proud of you and how far you have come. You worked hard and succeeded. Your story is an inspiration to many. You are a champion and I’m very excited to see your amazing progress, as you keep on getting stronger, leaner and fitter.

Race Report: Victoria Marathon October 12, 2014

I signed up for the Victoria Marathon 2014 right before running the BMO Vancouver Marathon earlier this year. Marathons (and the shorter races too) have become an addiction. I’m addicted to trying to get personal bests and to the atmosphere surrounding race day.

The 2014 Victoria Marathon was my 5th marathon. Four marathons ago, after finishing my first one, I said: “Never again, I’m going to stick to half marathons, 10k’s and 5k’s”.

But then, after recovering, I thought: “I can go faster.” The desire to see improvement is addictive.

Getting out there with thousands of other runners who LOVE the sport as much as I do is an awesome feeling and a thoroughly enjoyable experience.


In the past, honestly, there have been times where I have felt that I started the 26.2 mile race slightly less prepared than I would have liked.

I would be a bit more nervous at the start line and in the end I would end up starting too fast just to slow down later. At times when I was well prepared, I would be getting to the start line with either a cold or a flu or something. Not this time.

This year was the most prepared and healthy I have ever felt before a marathon. Over the past several months, there have been many training runs that were longer than 30km.

With each 30km+ run my legs felt stronger and recovered much faster than before.

At the start line, I was looking to make a full-blown assault on the 42.2km distance. I said to myself: “Sub 3:20 or bust, but 3:15 would be better.” The goal was to not look at my Garmin every km like I used to do.

Maybe I ran the first 10km a little too fast in 44:26 but it felt very good and the best thing to do at that point was to just get to the halfway point as fast as possible, without burning out.

At the halfway point, the clock read: 1:35:02. Perfect. Keep in mind that the first time I ever ran a half marathon, I got 2:12. To split a 1:35 at the halfway point of a marathon felt great (only 4 minutes slower than my current half marathon PR). At that point, I felt like 3:09-3:12 was possible and I was gunning for it.


Above: Kilometer 37 on Dallas Road…I think. Thanks to Jennifer for this photo!

I crossed the 30km mark in 2:16:44. My first thought was: “So far I’m about 5 min faster than last year”. The next thought was: “The overall race winner is probably nearing the finish line at this point.” Conclusion: Must stay focused and do everything I can to not slow down too much in the last 12km.

On Dallas Road, (about kms 35-37) I thought I saw some familiar faces cheering, which made me want to go faster.

In some of the past marathons, the 37k marker was a signal to suddenly slow down to 6 minute kilometers (and sometimes even slower than that). There was one marathon where I really struggled from the 37k mark onwards. NOT this time.

Although I slowed down a little bit in the last 5km, there was not a single kilometer that took me longer than 6 minutes.

I admit, the last kilometer was pretty challenging. There were a few turns which made it feel a little longer. Then, the countdown began…500m, 400m….


Above: About 1 second after I crossed the finish line and high-fiving Rob Reid, right before my calves gave out. Thanks Peter for capturing the moment.

Looking at my Garmin with 400m to go, I knew I had a sub-3:20 finish. At that point, calves were really getting tired and sore. My right IT band was sore too.


Above: Beautiful finisher medal.

As I approached the finishing area with 200m to go, I decided to sprint. In the past, I didn’t have the energy to sprint to the finish. This time was different. Even though my calves were very sore and my quads were very tired, I still had a strong finish.

Immediately after crossing the finish line, I just wanted to sit down. My legs were too sore to keep walking and I felt extreme fatigue set in. I sat down in the medical tent, visited my friend and let my legs settle down.


Above: Tired legs, especially calves. At least this happened after I crossed the finish line.

I finished in 3:18:27 (average pace was 4:43 min per km or 7:35 min per mile), which is about a 5 minute personal best. What really surprised me was that I wasn’t completely out of breath after finishing. If it wasn’t for the calves, quads and IT band soreness, I probably could have gone a bit faster in those last 5k.


Above: At the Marathon awards ceremony. Another plaque to add to my collection! The look on my face says “awesome, I finished another marathon, time to eat carbs once I get home.”

Although I may have missed my target by about 3 minutes, I can’t complain about a personal best. This has been the best I’ve felt during the marathon and even if I didn’t get 3:15, I was very close.

What’s even more awesome is that the following day, my name was listed in the Times Colonist for being one of the top finishers. In my age group, I ended up 3rd (out of 41) and 21st female (out of 774 women).


Above: Top 5 Finishers in each age group, Times Colonist Newspaper.

Finishing in the top 10% overall feels amazing. 🙂


Above: Top 25 Female finishers overall, Times Colonist Newspaper.

Also congratulations to clients Stephen and Kent who raced this past Sunday. Stephen finished his first half marathon and Kent finished his first marathon. Both did an awesome job for their first attempts at the distances. I’m very proud of how far you have both come in the last few months.

Looking forward to training for the Boston Marathon, as well as working with my clients on new personal bests! 🙂




The Q’s Victoria Run Series Awards & Silent Auction

The best way to celebrate the end of the 2014 season is to spend the evening with awesome people from the running community in a way that benefits a worthy cause.

The proceeds from The Q’s Victoria Run Series and the end of season silent auction go to the Mustard Seed Food Bank. I’m always up for helping the community in any way I can, so I was happy to contribute some personal training sessions to the silent auction. Also, CytoSport donated a couple of cases of Muscle MLK.


Above: Jessica, Binder and I; shot by Chris Kelsall (the series organizer).

I bid on and got some awesome items for a good price. If I had unlimited money, I would have bid on much more as there were a lot of great products and services in the silent auction.

When it came time to do the series awards, I was extremely happy to see that my client Stephen won 2nd place overall in his age category. It’s a huge accomplishment because this was his first running series.

Stephen finished ahead of some runners that have been training longer than he has and I’m very proud of him for that. What’s even more awesome is that he also won a free pair of Saucony shoes (I’m a HUGE fan of Saucony).

I ended up winning 1st place overall in my age category as well as a free season pass into the Q’s Victoria Run Series 2015. This means that I get to do it all over again next year and I’m very thankful for the free race entries.


Above: BlackBerry photo; holding the trophy 🙂

Also, I won the Marcia Stromsmoe Performance Award, which I’m extremely stoked about, especially because Marilyn Arsenault (aka one of my running idols), had won it the year before me. It truly is a huge honour.

Overall, I had a blast at each race and that evening. I highly encourage runners of all levels to take part in this series because it’s fun, motivating and you are bound to make new friends.

Running isn’t all about being faster than other people-it’s about being faster and healthier than you used to be.

It’s also about being part of a community filled with ridiculously fantastic people who are all out there giving their best.

Since it’s inception, the series has raised thousands of dollars for The Mustard Seed Food bank. Not only would you be there to race and meet great people, but also you would be supporting a great cause.

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