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Dane Issigonis – An Inspirational Story : Part 2

Here is part 2 of the Dane Issigonis story. The following is an interview with Dane’s mom about his road to recovery!

1. What was the significant change in Dane’s life?

Dane was a very atheltic 12 year old hockey player who suddently found himself having to re-learn to hold his head up, sit up on his own, and then eventually walk and run again. He will tell you that the most significant change in his life is being unable to play contact sports – hockey in particular. Dane was a hockey fanatic and like many kids his age had dreams of playing in the NHL someday.

2. What were the reactions of Dane and Family?

Shock and devastation in the beginning. It was very difficult for all of us to comprehend the severity of Dane’s injury when everything had been so normal up until that morning. His oldest brother Joel had left on Christmas afternoon for Calgary with his teammates (Vancouver NW Giants) for the Mac’s tourney and had to return home less that 24 hours later when he received the news that Dane was in critical condition.

3. What were the steps to recovery (critical care, physio etc…training)?

Dane underwent emergency surgery at Lions Gate Hospital, followed by 9 days in intensive care at BC Children’s Hospital and another 10 days in their recovery ward. From there, he spent 4 months as an inpatiet at Sunny Hill Health Centre for Children as part of their intense rehabilitation program.

For most of the first month, Dane was unable to move. He slowly regained mobility of his head/neck and torso, and then his arms and legs followed. He gradually moved from his wheelchair to a walker and then to walking with the aid of an orthodic. In the spring, Dance began training once a week with Jens. He had trained with Jens before and loved it and getting back into the gym with him was huge for his mental health.

Dane returned to school in September for half days as fatigue was still a big factor in keeping him from doing the things he was used to doing. Currently he still has regular physiotherapy sessions as well as extra strenth and balance exercise, which help to restore many connections in his brain.

4. How has his life changed since the incident and how is Dane coping with everything?

Dane’s inner strength and “never give up” attitude still amaze us every day. He is incredibly mature in coping with the circumstances and continues to work hard at his goal to get back to 100%.

5. What is he up to these days (activites, social, sports, etc.)?

His is playing inline hockey, weekly one-on-one sessions with his martial arts instructor and last spring, he became a junior Member at the Mt. Semour Golf Club.


Click on the link to read more about Dane’s inspirational story :

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Athlete of the Month (July) – Colton Sissons

The JK Fitness athlete of the month for July features Colton Sissons.  He has been training in the spring and summer strength & conditioning program for the past three years with JK Fitness.  Colton is an extremely hard worker in the gym and is very serious when it comes to working out.  He has a great presence at the gym and in this way inspires those around him to work that much harder and smarter.  One can easily see the level of professionalism he portrays at the gym, from his punctuality to his meticulous attention to details when performing exercises.  It is his attention to details in the gym and his creativity on the ice that will rocket him into the player he desires to become.  He is eager to learn more and to grow not just as an elite athlete but as a person as well.

Colton’s unique hockey specific program includes full body connective strength training, flexibility, coordination, power, speed, cardiovascular endurance, balance, basic nutrition and inner body awareness development. He trains hard 4-5x/week and has the weekends off for rest and recovery.  One of Colton’s main goals for this upcoming season is to be more explosive from a standstill and to increase his overall top speed and agility.  So far he has improved measurably in all of those areas.

In terms of his hockey career, this has been a very exciting year for Colton Sissons as he finished a successful season in terms of his own hockey development and leadership with the Kelowna Rockets.  He was also selected to play in the CHL Top Prospects Game for Team Orr as Captain.  Just recently his was drafted 50th overall by the Nashville Predators and is striving to make a big impact with them at main camp coming up near the end of summer 2012.

We understand that in order to become a better athlete one must learn to become as healthy as possible with regards to nutritional intake, overall state of being, and stress management. If we are not healthy mentally, how can we be healthy physically?  And if we are not healthy physically, how can we be our best athletically?  Fitness training is simply a small aspect of the bigger picture in the experience of life.  What we admire about Colton is his passion for all aspects of life and that he realizes that it is ultimately the bigger picture that is important to foster his own experiences.

The JK Fitness crew is very thankful to be working with Colton and would like to honor him as our athlete of the month for July 2012.  Congratulations Colton – well earned!

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Athlete of the Month (May) – Cole Todd

JK Fitness would like to honour Cole Todd as athlete of the month for May.  Cole has been training with JK Fitness for just about 2 years now.  He finished a successful season with the NW Giants and is looking to make a huge impact on his upcoming hockey season. He is participating in our elite hockey camp with high level players that push each other to the max.  He recently took up the JK Fitness treadmill challenge which requires an all out push at a remarkable slope and speed for an unlimited amount of time.  He managed to get 2 minutes and 5 seconds all out.  The previous record was held by Thomas Woods at 1 minute and 46 seconds.  We would like to congratulate Cole for his hard work and dedication for being the best he can be.  The JK Fitness sweatshirt is now yours!  Keep up the great work Cole!  Our staff would also like to honour Ryland Chernomaz for coming in second place with 1 minute and 55 seconds just before Cole set the all time record.  Cooperatively we push each other forward!

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Exercise of the Month – May

Single Leg Oblique Crunches

Reminder to keep your back straight when performing the crunches.  Repetitions should be performed slow and controlled.  The lower back muscles will tend to work on this type of exercise.  If the ache gets persistent it is a sign to stop the exercise because the core is not able to support the spine anymore.  This is your cue to take a moment break and then continue on to finish your repetitions.  You can start with 1-3 sets of 5 to 10 repetitions per side.  Stop the exercise completely if there is any pain.


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Athlete of the Month (April) – Meagan Green

How you do anything is how you do everything in life! That is why April’s athlete of the month goes to Meagan Green.  The transformation she has gone through is truly remarkable and the changes she has made not just in her training, but in her overall approach to well being deserves the recognition that everyone should take note of. Meagan is proof that if something doesn’t work the way we want, we must change the way we look at things. When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.  In just six months, Meagan has transformed the details of her attitude and perspective that have contributed to the huge physical results and benefits she has seen and more importantly felt. Congratulations Meagan you deserve this!

Since Meagan joined JK Fitness her overall fitness has improved immensely, here’s an email she sent us when she was awarded Athlete of the Month!

I completed my first Ironman in August 2011 and didn’t exactly have the race I was hoping for. My body rebelled on race day in ways I never anticipated.  I had trained for hours on end, eaten everything I thought I was supposed to, taken every vitamin imaginable, and I still struggled.  Along with the pain of cramped muscles, an angry stomach, and the overheating came the mental strife – that guilty feeling in the pit of your stomach that you didn’t live up to your own potential or the expectations that you set out for yourself throughout months of hard training.

It was frustration with that race and my desire to improve my triathlon abilities that brought me to start training with Jens.  In the months that I have been training at JK fitness my attitude from that day in August 2011 has drastically changed.

Without training, racing and competing for the right reasons, our bodies get frustrated and can let us down. I know this is the mantra that most athletes utilize, but it is your mentality and attitude that spurs success.  Your physical fitness level alone will never be enough to realize your potential and achieve even the most seemingly unlikely of goals.

My change in mindset was certainly not something that came quickly or easily.  As someone who many would describe as a competitive, goal oriented type-A personality, it was a massive challenge to conquer that guilty feeling from ironman and the idea that I wanted to race fast simply because “I should be fast.”  I worried that someone would check the race results from an event I was training for and see my name somewhere other than the top; I worried that someone I always trained faster than would suddenly rise up and beat me on race day; I feared that my parents who had come out to watch me compete all the way from Ontario would wonder why I wasn’t at the finish line exactly when I hoped I’d be.  I worried every time that I skipped a workout because I was exhausted, catching up at work, or maybe even had a few drinks the night before, I would fall behind and never catch up again.  All of these worries caused the pressure and guilt to continue to mount and that knot in my stomach to grow…. My realization that I needed to train, race and compete because I wanted to be healthy, happy, and have an amazing hobby that complimented my lifestyle (but wasn’t my whole life) has brought about an internal and external strength I didn’t know I had.  I learned not to compete for anyone else but myself, to set smaller, more manageable milestones and to build a plan to reach them.  I learned that I can’t control every element of every race day and last but not least that stressed-out triathletes aren’t that fun to be around!  My commitment and dedication to training is driven by new motivations that have helped spur my success in the first few races I have done this year.

The moral of my story is simple – relax and enjoy every minute of your training.  Of course there are days when you will struggle, be sore and maybe even not want to drag yourself out of bed for that 6 AM practice, but remember to put yourself first and think about exactly why you are going to that workout.  You’ll find a light and an energy from within that will provide the positivity to keep you battling through all aspects of your life with a smile on your face.

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Exercise of the Month – April

Hip Flexor Stretch

Since we have many new clients from North Shore Athletics we decided to do a stretch that works on your hip flexors. This stretch is great for runners, hockey players and even cyclists!


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Athlete of the Month (March) – Jacqui Lilley

Many North Shore Athletics clients train out of JK Fitness, but this month definitely honours the one and only Jacqui Lilley (possibly athlete of the decade). Jacqui, a mother of two daughters and wife to Paul, has now been through the first segment of her membership program and like most clients that train at JK Fitness have shown tremendous results in such a short time. What’s sets Jacqui apart from the rest is her attention to the details and her ability to apply proper technique with every exercise new and old. She is able to settle into challenging new programs much quicker than before because she has trained her muscles to fire precisely the way she wishes to maneuver the body. She has mastered control of numerous postures, movements, and balance. At JK Fitness, all we do is bring attention to the break downs & corrections, the rest is up to our athlete of the month. Congratulations Jacqui, it is all you this month and beyond! The only limit is that which you choose!

Read Jacqui’s unique experience below as she is March’s athlete of the month:

I have always been a runner. In June 2011 that changed. While being a spectator in Oliver race, I witnessed some amazing people complete the half ironman. I was truly inspired and by January 2011 I had purchased a road bike. I never thought I would like riding but once I started I was hooked. Last year I completed two grand Fondo’s while training with NSA. I decided my goal for 2012 would be the Oliver race. Naturally I joined NSA as my husband was already in his second clinic with NSA. They offer a complete package of awesome training, encouragement and camaraderie. NSA is always willing to help with any training questions or concerns.

Sometime during the winter maintenance clinic I felt I was training hard but wanted to be stronger and wasn’t sure where or how to go about it. NSA referred me to Jens. I realize I could have done strength training on my own but what I really needed was some accountability, a reference point for starting and safe monitoring for progress to keep me going. Jens offers all of the above. My first assessment with Jens proved a humbling experience. My overall fitness was good but core strength was my biggest area for improvement, it also confirmed my suspicion that like all of us, one side seemed stronger than the other. This imbalance leads to a feeling of instability and often over compensation which then leads to injuries. I have been with Jens now for almost 5 months.

There are many things I like about working with Jens. The environment at the gym is non intimidating. I think that is huge, very few gym’s can offer that, I am very much relaxed and at home at the gym. Everyone is friendly and we all have our own goals. I like how Jens monitors not only your progress but also every exercise he gives you. Changing or building on the exercises weekly, keeps you challenged and focused, no time for being bored by the same set week after week. Jens has helped me tremendously with my core strength. Things I thought I would never learn to do are now often just a part of any given work out. A strong core is something you can feel the benefits of in any sport and daily life. For me feeling stronger in my running and biking is really noticeable. Jens has also helped me with my running technique. Some slight adjustments and mental awareness have resulted in a smoother and more efficient running stride which makes me feel like I have more energy .

I am sure there are more benefits in store, thanks for the tune up Jens!

Jacqui Lilley

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Exercise of the Month – January

Jens’ Abs

January Exercise of the Month consists of the famous Jens’ Abs, Good Luck!

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Exercise of the Month – November

Nose Touches

November Exercise of the Month with Head Trainer Jens Kieling!


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Renovations Complete!

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