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Transformation Tuesday - Barb Bradshaw

Being a mother of 3, a loving wife, a full-time physician and still finding time to take care of yourself.  Sounds near impossible to most!  But Barb Bradshaw makes it almost like clockwork.  


She is the ‘other half’ of our last Transformation Tuesday feature, Aaron Bradshaw.  The two of them work like a great team.  Unfortunately for us, this past week they have re-located to the Fraser Valley nestled in Abbotsford for a new career position.  We are missing them already and wishing them the best of luck in their endeavours. I know I will sure miss the cute voice of their 4 year old daughter, “HI Terrence!” of which of course I reply, “HI Katie!” with a big smile on my face.



Now, back to Barb!  She started training with us in April of 2014 “After my last child was born in May of 2012, I knew I wanted to get back into shape, so I started running,” she said. On her very first run following her child birth, she was only able to run 1km, and had to walk every few minutes - a big change from completing a half-marathon 10 years prior.  Despite the difficulty, a friend convinced her to complete a 32km leg of a mountain relay race.  She gradually built up to it and successfully completed it, deeming it was the biggest physical challenge she had completed.  She continued running and dabbling in some HIIT and then came across Functional Training and CrossFit and wanted to challenge herself more and take her health and fitness to the next level.  She felt like she always had more potential and this type of training allowed to reach far past that.  

“I loved the idea of the community of the gym rather than being a nameless face at a typical larger gym, and the level of commitment of everyone. I thought that would work well for me, as I’ve always liked doing things 'all in' or nothing. I was right, and CrossFit was right up my alley.”



“When I started I wanted to see what my potential was, how strong could I get, how fit could I get,” says Barb. She had never lifted a barbell before so it was exciting to be able to learn new exercises and feel accomplished. A couple of months after she started, she ran a half marathon and knocked 15 min off her best time, with no other changes but starting CrossFit.  Barb’s goals have only slightly changed she says,  “Now my goals are similar in that I still want to keep improving my strength and fitness, but now I am more interested in competing locally for fun and to test myself,”  She is also trying to balance her gym training with running and teetering with wanting to do more gym training versus wanting to train for long distance trail events.  She does manage to do it pretty successfully as 1.5 years ago she completed her first 50k Trail Ultra Marathon, which has been a big dream.



Although running a 50k Ultra is an impressive feat, the transformations that Barb has gone through are just as inspiring.  “After my last child was born I weighed 182 lbs at my heaviest, and when pregnant, I had gestation diabetes and learned about the negative health effects of our western, processed and refined food diet. I changed my eating to a low carb diet, specifically reducing or eliminating sugar and refined carbohydrates and processed food, which helped me manage my blood sugars perfectly.”  After the baby was born, she slipped back into old habits, but soon got back on track and decided to continue eating a lower carb diet, but in more of a “Paleo” framework. She lost 22lbs and now sits around 160lbs and maintained that for a few years. However, she continued to see body composition changes with decreasing clothing sizes despite no further weight loss on the scale. The majority of this was due to dietary changes, although Functional Training and running helped me be stronger and fitter than ever. 



As a result of her success she studied and learned about low carbohydrate eating and the dangers of sugars.  Acknowledging that our dietary guidelines were woefully inadequate and have likely caused our epidemics of obesity and diabetes, she started a physician social media group with another few similarly inclined colleagues. Her intent was to help facilitate dietary re-education and help people who have been struggling with weight loss, having always failed with the advice to 'eat less, move more’. 


One year ago that group was started with 4 physicians, and now there are 2100 physicians in Canada following a low carb way of eating, losing weight and improving metabolic health and reversing type 2 diabetes. 


With this success, Barb and another colleague became impassioned to attempt to influence Health Canada and petition for change to the dietary guidelines. This coincided with the Health Canada announcement that the guidelines were to be reviewed.  There has since been a letter signed by many of her colleagues asking for evidence based change


We feel so enlightened with the passion and determination of Barb with her involvement to spread good information and practice to improve the health of everyone who may show desire.  As a result of her dedication to this subject, we at Forge Valley Fitness have learned very much about different nutritional strategies for different individuals.


As mentioned before, Barb wears many hats.  Managing her nutritional guidance and campaign keeps her occupied most evenings, nearly filling in as an additional full-time job.  She makes sure she plans her workout at the gym on her way home from work or sometimes makes an exception to get in a lunch hour workout as being a Pathologist allows some flexibility in her schedule.  On days where there really is no way to make it to the gym, she’s lucky to have a few pieces of equipment at home to stay dedicated during very busy times.  The key with everything is priority and time management. 


With everyone we end with 3 of Barb’s favourite things about Forge Valley Fitness!

  1. The people. I’ve met so many people through the gym and have not experienced that in the past with any other gym. I love that despite different jobs and walks of life, we all come into the gym with similar goals and attitudes, and have that in common. 
  2. The sense of community. I like that we do things outside the gym and celebrate accomplishments, milestones etc. It’s rewarding to know that you are known at the gym and I feel like as we move, we are going to feel the loss. 
  3. The quality of coaching and training. It’s great to have role models and people that are very experienced and have a keen eye for form and technique, to be able to make continual improvements in my own movements. 


To say the least, we are going to miss you Bradshaws.  All of you! Barb, Aaron, Reehan, Michael and Katie :) 


Your Coach,