Name: Mary Thompson
Hometown: Oshawa, ON
PSP employee since: May 2017
What inspired you to pursue a career focused on fitness?
Since high school, fitness has always been an outlet for me. I played sports as well and I did alright, but I was never the best at anything. Fitness gave me an outlet that was mainly effort focused; the more effort you put in, the more results you get. By the time I was applying for university I knew I wanted to help other people find an outlet in fitness. After a few years working in the industry, I’ve also become more interested in the mental aspects of fitness, taking a holistic approach to include mind, body and spirit in my own practices as well as the programs I design for others.
What do you enjoy about working in the CAF/DND environment?
I knew nothing about the military culture when I first started, so it was really interesting for me to learn more about it. I have so much respect for the CAF members and what they do for us and our country. I love that we, the CFMWS team, are there to provide a fitness/sport/recreation outlet for the members, offering ways to stay healthy and manage stress.
What are some of the challenges that come with the job?
Some challenges are relating to the members, as we haven’t been where some of them have, but just being an ear to listen is often enough. It can also be challenging to motivate units or groups who are mandated to be at PT, but over the years you find different strategies that work for different personality types. Adding in jokes and making it fun usually works well, in addition to asking for their feedback so you can cater sessions to their likes and dislikes. For more on my personal motivation strategies you could check out the article I wrote in last year’s issue of Vitality Magazine on motivation!
What kind of exercise or sports do you enjoy in your free time?
I am a national level bodybuilder in my spare time, having been to Nationals three times with top placings in the Bikini category. Most recently I have decided to make the switch to the Figure Division, so I’ve taken the year to build muscle for that. I also love to dance, both for fitness and when out with friends.
What are your tips for staying fit while spending more time at home and practicing social distancing?
First off would be checking out the CFB Halifax Facebook Page! We’ve been providing daily noon hour workouts to keep people moving. Second would be just using technology in general. We are so fortunate to have this happen in a day and age where we have unlimited resources via the internet. Third would be getting outside. Walking, running, outdoor workouts or anything else you enjoy. Vitamin D and fresh air are all always important, especially at a time when we are staying home more.
Tell us something unique about yourself outside of your job (hobbies, special interests, etc.)
Though I do often try to incorporate it in my job as well, philosophy/meta-physiques is my other passion. I love learning ways to better myself through finding deeper meaning in our existence.