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Olympic Gold Medalist, Triathlete and Movie Stunt Women Share Their Secrets of Success

An Olympic gold medalist, a kickass movie stuntwoman and a triathlete champion share their secrets on how they became badass athletes.

 

 

 

Steph Corker1.png

Steph Corker is a 13 x Ironman finisher and 3 x Ironman World Championship qualifier. This year she completed 3 Ironmans in 3 months and secured 2 Ironman Hawaii qualifications.

 

Photo Credit: Cervelo

Photo Credit: Cervelo

Tell me about your sports and what you have achieved that you’re proud of.

I grew up in Ontario as a competitive swimmer and that is something I'm really proud of, because I was never that great of a swimmer yet I loved it so much! I was usually one of the slower swimmers on our squad. I did it because I loved it. Now, as an adult who has been chasing Ironman start lines, I look back on those days in the pool so grateful for the discipline and dedication that was instilled in me going up and down that chlorinated box. Beyond the pool, I have recently completed my 13th Ironman triathlon and have qualified for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii 3 times.



What’s the toughest athletic thing you’ve ever done?

I've had some pretty stellar (ie. tough!) training sessions leading up to Ironman races, however I really think running the last 6 miles of the marathon at Ironman Hawaii was THE toughest feat I've accomplished to date. Hawaii is a very special place to race however it is also a very tough place - it's hot and windy and unlike any other location I live or train. After more than 9 hours of racing, I was indeed properly smashed and had to dig very deep to finish that race off! And I did -- in a sprint finish, I crossed the line 10th in my age group and the 2nd Canadian, in the WORLD!


 

Have you ever had any big failures?

Heck! Yes! I qualified to race Ironman Hawaii in 2012...and then it took me 3 years and 8 Ironman races later to qualify to get back there in 2015! I guess on paper you could say that I failed, but really, I never it saw it that way. I loved every minute of the journey, I was heartbroken when I missed it and I always always always knew that so long as I was doing my very best, I just needed to keep going. And that I did. I crossed every finish line giving it my all and was proud of doing so. You know, I think that is the secret -- do your very best and be unattached to the outcome. I've learned that the outcome can be even better than you could ever possibly imagine!

 

 

What do you do/tell yourself to get out of your warm bed on a cold winters morning to go and workout or train?

I have a few secrets/ training rules:

1. Always have a partner in crime! I don't leave the house unless I'm meeting my buddy MikeyP. Seriously. It makes a difference. We swim with the same squad, always run together

2. Always prepare the night before that way the weather in the morning won't impact your decision to get out the door; it just might change what you are going to wear.

3. Method Indoor Cycling studio! I coach 3 days a week here and absolutely LOVE getting sweaty with this crew.  Come ride with us. You won't even know it is winter!

 

What do you think is the difference to how you view movement compared to someone who doesn’t enjoy being physical?

Honestly, it is my drug - endorphins are something that I can absolutely admit to be addicted to, and I’m okay with it. I think the reality is that we are all addicted to different things in life - maybe even addicted to sitting on the couch! And I LOVE how I feel when my heart rate is elevated. I make better choices, I am more productive, I fuel my body with better food. I think I am a better lover, a better sister, a better friend for it. Not to mention, a day is never boring with some sort of sweaty pursuit on the horizon -- a new adventure, a new outdoor experience. Isn't that what life is all about -- making memories?

 

 

What’s the most badass thing you’ve ever done?

Well, that's a tough one. I hardly consider myself badass but I do think I'm relentless! This year, I raced 3 Ironmans in 3 months. I won Ironman Whistler which qualified me for Ironman Hawaii. I then went to Ironman Muskoka and placed 3rd which secured my spot to Ironman Hawaii in 2016...so perhaps that is indeed the most badass of all! 3 Ironmans in 3 months and 2 Ironman Hawaii qualifications!

 

Photo credit @jasperblake / @b78coaching

Photo credit @jasperblake / @b78coaching

 

What would you tell someone who is interested in unleashing their inner athlete but is scared or hesitant?

START! TODAY! Just go move your body -- move your body every darn day until you realize that you are changing your thoughts. That's what it is all about. Unleash your inner mind athlete and the physical stuff will all follow. I've never met an unhappy person after a hit of endorphins!

 

 

More about Steph:

When she is not running miles before sunrise, Steph runs a thriving people consulting business based in Vancouver, BC. She is most passionate about what makes people's heart beat faster -- be it a start line or their career. And hopefully, it is a combination of both.

Connect:

www.stephcorker.com

Twitter  -  Facebook  -  Instagram  -  LinkedIn

 


Ashleigh McIvor DeMerit is a ski cross World Champion & Olympic Gold Medalist and soon to be mumma

 

Photo credit: www.ashleighmcivor.com

Photo credit: www.ashleighmcivor.com

Tell me about your sports and what you have achieved that you’re proud of.

I grew up in Whistler doing all sorts of sports. I realized that skiing and mountain biking were the two I wanted to focus.  I represented Canada internationally at the age of 13, and had success on the juvenile circuit until I broke my leg really badly racing in our Canadian Nationals. It wasn't until I was 19 that some friend convinced me to try racing ski cross.  I immediately saw success on the North American pro tour, and in the one World Cup.

 

When I was 22, it was announced that ski cross would be added to the Olympic Program for our Home Games in 2010.  As a nation, we suddenly had a real team -- a deep support system -- with coaches, ski techs, massage & physiotherapists, and high level teammates!  From there it was game on, and after a few hiccups (injuries), a World Champs victory, an X Games medal and consistent top-3 world rankings thanks to good results on the World Cup circuit, I ended up leading the Canadian charge into those Home Games in 2010.  Winning the Olympics at home, in the Olympic debut of my sport was an incredible experience that I will always be thankful for and proud of. 


What’s the toughest athletic thing you’ve ever done?

Coming back from injuries was always tough.  It's a lot easier to just shy away from those unpleasant emotions like fear and all of the uncertainty that comes with a lack of confidence.  I can think of so many times where I thought  "I'll just go around this jump, or this cliff..." instead of overcoming that natural hesitation -- which we all feel -- that would be heavily amplified in times where a recent injury was quite fresh in my mind.  Once I'd put the work in to rehabilitate physically, I had to rely on my mental strength and (relatively) good judgment, and trust that my confidence would eventually come back, if I just tackled the mental side one step at time.  I had to start way back at the beginning, hitting the tiny little drops that only used to scare the 8 year old me.  I'd work through goals of that scale until they were no longer the least bit scary, then step it up just a little bit and repeat.  It was hard and I don't really know why I did it.  I must have enjoyed that process, I guess!  Or I just felt like I has yet to realize my true potential and I was reluctant to throw all of the time & energy I had dedicated to my sports away before I felt like I had done my absolute best.


Photo credit wwww.ashleighmcivor.com

Photo credit wwww.ashleighmcivor.com

Have you ever had any big failures? What was that like and how did you pick yourself back up?

Well I suppose finishing a race with an injury instead of a medal is a failure.  So my strategy for picking myself back up after injuries could be applied to real life failures. I'm really good at convincing myself that everything happens for a reason and forcing an attitude shift to something positive. I was able to ensure that there was not too much pressure on me by thinking about all the fun things I would get to do if ski racing didn't work out.  I suppose stacking the back-up plans helps turn 'failure' into opportunity.   


Photo credit: www.ashleighmcivor.com

Photo credit: www.ashleighmcivor.com

What do you do/tell yourself to get out of your warm bed on a cold winters morning to go and workout or train?

Again, this goes back to my one step at a time approach. I would often tell myself that I was just going to go to the gym and do a light spend on the stationary bike. I could typically count on feeling pretty good after 15 minutes of spinning, so at that point diving into a workout didn't seem nearly as daunting as it would have while lying in my warm bed. Same with going for a jog... I would just put my shoes on and go outside for a "walk"... It's easy to convince yourself to go for a walk. And then, once you're walking the idea of running doesn't seem so horrible. Of course there were times when I actually would leave the gym after 15 minutes on the stationary bike or never turn my walk into a run, but I would say 90 to 95% of the time that approach would result in my doing a good work out.

What do you think is the difference to how you view movement compared to someone who doesn’t enjoy being physical?

I definitely have a deep understanding of an appreciation for the way exercise makes me feel. There are times when I feel stressed out, everything seems unmanageable, and I'm on the verge of tears, and I'll go out and get some exercise, Be it a walk, run, mount bike ride, etc.… and my entire perspective will immediately shift. I also recognize how much better I feel about myself, the people around me, and even the scenery after I've had some endorphins pumping through my veins. It's just a well-known fact that exercise is important for my psyche, my productivity and my relationships. So I suppose this attitude makes me embrace movement and physical "work" more readily. I don't mind carrying heavy groceries from the grocery store all the way home or helping someone move, because I like to pat myself on the back for all the many workouts I get during a normal day.  I always take the stairs, and I don't get upset when there are no parking spots anywhere near my destination! 



Photo credit: www.ashleighmcivor.com

Photo credit: www.ashleighmcivor.com

 What’s the most badass thing you’ve ever done?

My broken leg at the age of 16 was pretty gnarly.  I slid out on my hip and tucked my arm in to protect my bad shoulder, instead of just putting that hand down to catch myself and pop back up, which resulted in a lot of tumbling... and when I stopped moving, I was laying on my left side facing my left ski tip.  My right knee was facing the same way, and my right foot was pointed 180 degrees in the wrong direction, so it was just the tail of my right ski that I could see.  I instinctively reached down, grabbed my right ski in front of my toes and rolled over and straightened it.  My coach had the whole thing on video and my teammates watched in about 15 times that night.  (Holy shit!)

 

 

What would you tell someone who is interested in unleashing their inner athlete but is scared or hesitant?

I would say there is no lower-end threshold of exercise that's too little to do any good.  Set realistic, manageable goals for yourself and celebrate mini-victories, even if it's just going to the gym once or twice a month at first, or adding our weekly walk or bike ride to your routine.  Or taking the stairs!  

I would also suggest trying all sorts of different activities. You may learn that you are actually a really good tennis player or skier, and you'd never known!  Once you find something physical that you're good at, you'll find yourself wanting to do it more and more,  then eventually exercise will be disguised as fun.  I can't think of anything I'd rather do than go on a 2 hour mountain bike ride with my riding buddies, where my heart rate will inevitably be above 180 most of the time, and the adrenaline will be pumping.  

More about Ashleigh:

 

Ashleigh is about to have her first baby, and has a few projects on the go on top of the work she does as an ambassador for healthy living and accomplishing goals.  Her husband Jay (retired Captain of the Whitecaps) and Ashleigh will be focusing efforts on their Rise and Shine Foundation which will help kids in the Sea to Sky corridor identify their strengths and establish confidence to "rise & shine" through whatever their passions may be -- sports and beyond.  

Connect:

www.ashleighmcivor.com

Twitter  -  Instagram -  Facebook

 


Meghan Cooke has seen a varied career as a movie and television stunt woman, female fitness competitor, dancer and performer, now turned nutritionist.

 

Tell me about your sports and what you have achieved that you’re proud of.

I started as a highland dancer when I was very young and that grew into ballet, jazz and eventually musical theatre (which I went to college for). I got into teaching aerobics at a local gym to help pay for theatre school which eventually led to working as a personal trainer for almost 20 years. I began competing in Fitness Competitions when someone suggested to me that I should combine my dance, performance and gym skills. When I was about 30 I met a theatrical sword fighting Master, he introduced me to the world of stage combat and stunts and I felt like suddenly my dance world and fitness world were merging. While I was a bit old to get completely immersed in the industry I worked as a stunt person in both film and television. 

 

What’s the toughest athletic thing you’ve ever done? Why was it tough, and why did you choose to do it even though it was hard?

Learn to catch a baseball. Seriously, it is comical how bad I am at it.

In all seriousness I don’t know how to narrow it down….For me I always danced, performed and competed because I loved the performance aspect of it. The daily slog was often just that, a slog, but I learned to love the process because I knew it was necessary to get to do what I really enjoyed which was perform.

 

Have you ever had any big failures?

When you work in performance/film you are constantly failing and being rejected. There are a zillion reasons for not getting a role and most of them have nothing to do with you. I also had some epically bad fitness competitions when I really wasn’t ready to step on stage. I think many adults stop themselves from trying something new because they are afraid they might fail. I try to constantly remind myself that I can try something new whether it be circus, parkour, horseback riding or capoeira, even if I may never be great at it. As I get older I realize the only person I need to compete with is myself.

 

What do you do/tell yourself to get out of your warm bed on a cold winters morning to go and workout or train?

Schedule my workouts for later in the day. Truly. Especially when I was dabbling in fitness competitions, despite what my coach and normal protocol preached, I realized I just really, really hated working out in the morning. I realized that I was much better in the afternoons. When I acknowledged that I didn’t HAVE to do mornings and did what felt right to me I enjoyed it more and had much more significant gains.

 

What’s the most badass thing you’ve ever done?

Fire. I love being set on fire. I haven’t had the opportunity to do it many times, but the first time I conquered the fear and did it is one of my proudest moments.

 

What would you tell someone who is interested in unleashing their inner athlete but is scared or hesitant?

If you want to do it don’t let your head rule your heart. Of course be realistic, but it’s never too late. I didn’t take up fitness competing until I was 25, stunts until I was in my thirties or even try circus silks until I was in my forties. Sure, you might not become a “pro” but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it.

 

More about Meghan:

Two years ago Meghan went back to school and became a Certified Wellness Practitioner / Holistic Nutritionist. She primarily works with local food security programs and with people from low income populations to teach them how to meal plan and cook in the most healthful and delicious way possible based on the reality of their personal situation. She has a new company just about to launch called CookeSimply where she plans to also begin taking on more private clients to help assist them in day-to-day nutrition and food.

Connect:

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