Marie was always active as a child and competed in synchronized swimming. During her training as a competitive swimmer she began weight lifting at 14 years old.

After competitive synchronized swimming, Marie began cycling and continued working out but that slowly started to change as she entered University and then again as she began teaching and became a Mom. She was now spending 3 hours a day commuting for work and just felt that she didn’t have the time to dedicate to a serious workout program.

Up until a little over a year ago Marie still exercised because she knew it was important, but wasn’t serious or consistent with it.

On her 49th birthday she received a dress as a gift from her sisters and also stepped on the scale that day and vowed to lose 50lbs by her 50th birthday.

One month later she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“Cancer treatment causes some people to lose weight, and others to gain it. The steroids that you have to take during chemo and the hormone therapy that I’m currently on put me at a high risk for weight gain. This paired with the physical fatigue and pain that you endure during treatments makes it hard to stay active. Being overweight increases the risk of breast cancer reoccurrence. Fat cells make estrogen; extra fat cells mean more estrogen in the body and this can make hormone receptor positive breast cancer like mine develop and grow.”

Exercise and getting strong became a priority. She made the gym part of her routine just like brushing her teeth.

Marie also changed her diet, first cutting out processed foods, sugar, diary and red meat as recommended by her Naturopath and now has recently went to a vegan diet.

Marie says that the gym gave her a feeling of control back while what she was going through left her feeling out of control a lot of times.

On her 50th birthday she had reached her goal. She had the same dress that she received for her 49th birthday from her sisters altered to fit her new physique.

“If you had asked me a year ago if my body could look like this, I would have never guessed it. My body composition is amazing.”

Marie’s biggest goal now is to stay strong.

“I remember when you first had me do push-ups and I did 3 and it was really hard. Now I can do 3 sets of 20.”

Marie’s advice to others is to start wherever you have to. For her while going through treatments that was bands and 3lb weights. She also says to strive for consistency not perfection.

“You can’t always have a perfect workout but just get here. Anything is better than nothing. Excuses are poison.”

Marie also believes that the atmosphere and encouragement from other members at G&M was really important to her progress.

“Nobody ever made me feel uncomfortable and were always encouraging. I would not have been able to have the same results working out on my own at home.”

“Beating cancer is a lifelong commitment for me. I am so grateful that I’ve had the help from Matt at G&M Fitness, my Naturopath, and the support and encouragement from my family and friends.”