From my heart

Dear Ascend Fitness Family,
I am writing this letter in on my dining room table.  It’s 5:55am on Thursday morning.  My husband, Keith, left the house early this morning to catch a flight to the island for work.  Jacob, our 3-year-old, is sleeping in his Ikea tent, on his bed.  It’s me, the rain, my computer and a cup of coffee.  Though this letter may be long, I know this letter won’t take me long to write because it’s going to come straight from my heart.  Expect some grammatical errors and a bit of rambling.
2012 had been a year of enormous growth for Ascend Fitness Coaching, and also me as a person.  I have done things that made me nervous, scared, and anxious.  Change can do that.  Change can be scary. But when there’s a reason behind it, it starts to make sense.
It’s kind of like fitness.  Coming a Boot Camp class for the first time, finally hitting the ‘submit’ button on our website to request a consultation is scary.  Breaking through the walls of your comfort can be really, really scary- and uncomfortable.   One thing I have learned that in order to grow, either in fitness, in business, or as a person, you need to do things that are uncomfortable and downright scary.  “Get comfortable being uncomfortable”.   At the end, breaking through your comfort zone, or doing things that make you anxious and uncomfortable is worth it.  You look back and can be proud of what you have done; the progress you have made.  When things are too easy, there’s nothing to be proud of.
Going back to my change.  During the growth of Ascend Fitness, I have taken on different role in the company.  I am no longer training as many sessions and teaching as many sessions.  Hiring a team, stepping out of training clients full time, opening a studio are three very scary steps.  This has not only been a change for me, but also a change for you.  For those of you who have joined our family recently, the change has not been so dramatic.  For those of you who have been used to seeing me at every training session, the change has been a bit more to get used to.
Although this change does take some getting used to, it’s been a very positive change. I am very, very happy to have such an amazing group of fitness coaches to work with.  Carleen, Gordon and Jane are all knowledgeable and passionate fitness professionals.   Both Carleen and Gordon are Kinesiologists, while Jane has 20+ years of experience in the fitness industry, helping people make positive changes in their lives.  Each coach has something different to bring to the table.  They can offer different suggestions to help you; they have a different training style to challenge your body in different ways.  As we grow, it’s also a chance for me to give opportunities to other coaches.  We have just welcomed Chris Carberry to our team- Welcome Chris!!
Just so you know what and who to expect, we post the coaches on our MindBody site (where you can sign up for your Boot Camp classes or Small Group Sessions).   Just as a reminder, to find the link to MindBody, go to our and click on “Client Login”.
As we do expand, I want you to know that I am doing everything the best way I can.  I greatly appreciate all the feedback I have gotten from you- both positive and constructive.
I mentioned that the past year has been challenging.  I have had many sleepless nights, and some days full of tears. I have worked way too many 14-hour days (just in case you thought I was just taking it easy while Gordon, Carleen and Jane were doing all the work).  Though there were challenges, the positive aspects of the year have outweighed all the negatives.
I started talking a few paragraphs back about change making sense when there’s a reason why.  We talk a lot about the reason “why” we do what we do in fitness.  One quote I love is by Dennis Waitley “When the why is strong enough, the how is never a problem”.
So why do I do what I do?  I have three main reasons.  One is that I started Ascend Fitness because I had a mission to “inspire and educate others to make positive and powerful lifestyle changes through physical exercise and sound nutrition”.  This is why Ascend Fitness exists.  I could do this on my own- but not the best of my ability.  I was stretched in so many different directions, I was not able to provide the service that my clients deserved, and I was sacrificing time with my family to train clients.  Now that we have a team, and a studio, we have been able to welcome so many more people to our family.  We are offering different services, such as Small Group Training, and have been able to reach out to people who would have not otherwise joined our family.   I have received so much feedback and about how fitness have changed the lives of our clients.  One boot camper who told me that she felt confident in her bikini and was able to really enjoy her Hawaiian vacation; one personal training client wrote “I feel great about my body and want to do better every day! My back pain is gone and I have a totally new outlook and perspective on my fitness and health”.  For me, this is a big WHY.
The second reason is one of our core values: community.  To Ascend Fitness, this means building a community within Ascend Fitness (and when I see so many boot campers encourage each other, I see small group clients form relationships with their training partners, and have so many people come out to our Ascend Fitness Challenges, I am happy!).  We’ll keep working on building our Ascend Fitness community by adding new fun programs and adventures to keep our family together.  Community also means giving back to Chilliwack.   Lack of time has been a barrier for this one.  I now have plans to partner with the 60 Minute Kids Club to help get Chilliwack kids active, the Rotary Club (I used to be a member but never returned after Jacob was born) and to do more with the Chilliwack Hospital and Health Care Foundation.   I remember thinking, back in 2006, how awesome it would be to have a business so I could have a greater ability to do great things in a community.  I want to make that a reality.
The third reason is a big one.  It’s my family. Going back to the beginning of this letter, I said that I’m writing this at home when Jacob is sleeping.  This is the first time since July 2011 that I have been home with Jacob while Keith was away.  Keith goes away to Vancouver Island regularly for work.  Every time he does that, my mom picks Jacob up from daycare (because I am usually working late), has him at her house for the night, and then takes him to day care in the morning.  I am so thankful that my mom is here and able to take on the role that she does, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing.  (I took this photo when Jacob woke up- we had a great morning!)
Having time with family, being present (not thinking about work or trying to fit in a phone call while I’m with my family) and simply being able to be a mom is, as you can imagine, very, very important to me.  Ultimately it’s the number one reason I do what I do.
Thank you so much for being a part of Ascend Fitness.  Your feedback, positive or constructive, is always welcome because I am always trying to make things better.  If you ever want to talk, please just let me know.
I look forward to seeing you at our Ascend Fitness Holiday party on December 18th at 6pm!
Tanja Shaw

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