“I met Heidi Vincent about 6 years ago as we were members of the same dojo, Posener’s Pankration MMA.  I joined the dojo as I had hit my mental overweight number (150 lbs) to lean out and learn some self-defense skills. We sparred and trained together and she was always a great, fully participating partner. Always giving 100 %. I ended up leaving the dojo after moving farther away and had lost touch.

Until, one day, I needed to insure a vehicle for work. Our mobile agent was away so I decided to chance the insurance agency across the street. Lo and behold, Heidi worked there! We decided that we would meet up at lunch hour for a walk or a run or some sort of exercise. We had fun times creating gym equipment from truck accessories and parts! By this time I was headed in the opposite direction with my weight. I was underweight at about 115 lbs. I engaged Heidi’s personal training coach services to help me gain weight and muscle mass. I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. We worked together throughout the summer and I popped back up to about 125 lbs.

I was promoted at work and it impacted my schedule heavily. I was travelling a couple weeks a month and unable to keep a steady training schedule. After that, I was moved to a new location and given a special project to manage. All through this Heidi would reach out with a message or a voicemail. Just checking in. I found it so thoughtful.

My special project quickly became a nightmare of excessive hours and short staffing. I was giving everything at work to try to keep this project together. The fact was, it impacted my mental and physical health severely. I was diagnosed with severe depression, acute anxiety and anorexia. I ended up taking disability leave. I had dropped to about 95lbs. I engaged Heidi’s services again to pack on some pounds.

Imagine me and my 90 lb self on that first Saturday. I could barely lift a 5 lb weight over my head. Our first sessions were like, 3 reps and 2 sets before I couldn’t lift anymore. My core remained pretty good but I had lost a lot of stability and balance. So, we worked through it. All this time my mental state was deteriorating. I experienced a full-blown panic attack in December 2017 and another debilitating one in January 2018. My weight went sub 80 lbs and I was hospitalized for 18 days.

Heidi was always there with an encouraging text or call. She stopped and visited me in the hospital. Once I was stable, she organized a workout together. I wanted to work on me. I wanted to feel like I was doing something to get myself well. I was a basket case. She saw that and we tried a few sets but I was not able to push through. From there, she took my hand and we sat together and talked. Well. she talked and I cried. We did a little yoga. I cried. Then she had me just lay in Savasana, close my eyes and breathe. She held my hand and rubbed my arm while I bawled my eyes out. And I became calmer. She was the rock I needed right then and there and giant hugs filled with love and acceptance after. I am ever grateful as that day was the first real recovery day.

From there we have been working to pack on the mass. It’s slow going but I wouldn’t want to do it with anyone else. Heidi just makes me work and want to do better. Part of that is my own work ethic but she’s right there with me. Supporting me either physically and/or mentally. Catching me before I bail off the balance ball and laughing with me when she almost misses. I find I can be completely honest with her. She’s a great listener and gives well thought and sage advice. Most of all she is patient. She will push you but is very observant. If she sees you struggling she will step in with encouragement. She’d rather see me do 3 complete sets with 8 lbs than bump the weight up to 10 lbs and have me fail halfway through.

She knows my motivations. She knows she just has to say “I don’t know, do you think you can try this?”  and I’ll be right there to try my best. As you can tell, I’m a Heidi fan. I’m ever grateful and thankful to have her as part of my recovery team. She is an incredibly valuable member and my favourite!”

Ande Van Der Weken