How Fitness & Training Became One of my Top Priorities in Life

A couple of weeks ago, someone asked me: “what makes you feel strong?”

The context was of an overall nature; not just strength but more of an overall strength of person. It surprised me a bit how little I had to think about my answer to this question. All of the sudden, it just sort of flowed out of me; My instant answer was ‘training’.

It got me thinking about how things in my life had evolved to a place where training has become a top priority. I have always been involved in sports; right from a young age it has always had a place in my life. As I have grown up though it has taken on a totally different meaning in my life. After a knee injury left me unable to play a sport I loved anymore (soccer), I realized I was going to the gym and I no longer knew what to do when I got there- not only did I not have a team to train with I didn’t have a set workout. Soon enough, I stopped going to the gym, and I quickly started to feel uncomfortable. As a university student, I wasn’t eating well and  gaining weight; I was also losing self-esteem and feeling weak in general. Every so often, I would get out for a run. Even though it was tough, I did notice a significant change in the way that I felt after I would get home. My legs were sore, but I felt better about myself overall. Over time, I began to notice a significant difference between the days I chose to run versus the ones when I didn’t. Running became a way to release from my stress of studying and paper writing; I began to schedule it in to my days and soon I found myself looking forward to my workouts. I was also eating better and just feeling less stressed and more in control in general.

Post-degree and living in Victoria, BC., I started training for my first half marathon. It was the toughest things I had done, but I managed to complete it in 1hrs and 44 minutes. I had pushed my body to a new limit and the feeling of accomplishment I felt after training and finishing the race was a high that was all my own. I was hooked! My training took on a new tone of competition; training for a race gave me something to be accountable for. If I wasn’t training, I for sure wasn’t going to finish my next race. Overall I noticed a new found feeling of strength of mind and body that helped me cope with my always busy schedule. Before I knew it half-marathon training became training for full marathons, and I began dedicating more of my time to it.

When my younger brother passed away in 2010, I moved back to Edmonton to be with my family. My world had been turned upside down and I found myself turning to running to cope with my day to day. Running became my own form of therapy. Going into a run I could be feeling any number of emotions, but by the end I found myself with a clear head, positive frame of mind and a sense of strength.  That was when a good friend and training partner suggested that we train together for Ironman as a potential fundraiser for my brothers fund; I was all in.

Again my training had evolved and I was running, swimming and cycling as well. The competition factor was back, with our sights set on Ironman, but a new tone was set with triathlon training. I was trying to make a life in Edmonton with a new full time job and still trying to train twice a day!

Eventually, I ended up deciding against doing Ironman in 2011- knowing that if I was going to compete in this competition I needed to feel ready. I had no work/life/training balance and I was starting to resent something that had become something really important to me. So, I scaled back my training and the love grew once again. Over the past 2 years, I have competed in sprint, Olympic and the half Ironman distance. On Sunday August 26, I registered for the 2013 Ironman Canada. I couldn’t be more excited! I am in a place where I am surrounded by inspiring motivated athletes at Blitz Conditioning, and I feel strong and ready to take on this new challenge. It is going to be a long road, but it starts now. At the end of the day I know that this is what I need in my life; it makes me feel strong, confident, happy and ready to take on life and all that it can throw at you.

This is why I train.

Amy Coppens About Amy Coppens

I’m passionate about fitness, health and helping others achieve their goals and as a result their best life.


  1. Great post Amy! You are an inspiration to many of us, and we are so proud of your accomplishments. Thank you for sharing in this post.

  2. Keep pushing on your journey- congrats on GWN I was there this year and did Ironman Canada this year! Have a blast in #Whistler ill cheer for you

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