Fitness To Freedom: Create Inner Peace and Self Confidence by Breaking Unhealthy Cycles

Fitness To Freedom: Create Inner Peace and Self Confidence by Breaking Unhealthy Cycles

by Violaine Pigeon & Tarrah Wynn & Jena Weiss & Heather Chapman & Erica Glassford & Cassie Lambert & Carol Hanley & Barb Sotos & Annie Graft & Amy Howe & Allison Marschean & Deirdre Slattery & Sharlene Rochard & Pauline Caballero & Nadia Dedic & Lola T. Small & Karen Swyszcz & Julia Lefaivre & Johanne Walker & Jocelyn Hinz
  • biography
  • health
  • lifestyle
  • sports

Fitness to Freedom is a collection of health, wellness, and fitness stories written for women by women to educate, inspire, and encourage readers to live their best and find their balance.

The authors in this book share with other women how we have managed to make health and fitness a lifestyle that fits and works in our lives. It includes everything you wanted to know and more from fitness gurus, athletes, competitors, and fitness instructors, as well as from everyday women who just love fitness and keep active because it’s their passion.

This dream team of authors has collaborated to create a rich book full of fitness truths from women warriors who are making health and wellness work in their lives while helping others do the same.

What are the keys to their success? What gym life hacks help them day to day, and can move others along their fitness journey?

We come together with passion, drive, and persistence to live our best lives and share love, commitment, and learning in the hopes of informing and empowering other women to live their best life in and outside of the gym. Our stories of life lessons and personal transformation connect through recurring themes of self-love, self-confidence, and being unapologetically you.

The authors in Fitness to Freedom all have unique and powerful stories, lessons, and knowledge to give to other women to inspire their fitness journeys.


Violaine Pigeon, author

After studying at the University of Montreal as a dietician, Violaine started a clinician career in a larger hospital in Quebec. There she learned how to positively influence others to reach their health goals, as well as how to interact with her peers to become a real teammate in support of patients’ well-being. Her personal experiences further strengthened her wish to become a healthy living role model, a positive example, and a balanced person for her family and for the rest of the world. She always wants to reflect the things she teaches. Over the years, Violaine has become a motivating nutritionist and a wellness creator. She sees the good in every situation and aims to transmit that vision to her clients. She believes that humans can reach all they can dream of. Violaine is also an invested fitness athlete, a mother of two magnificent, happy small humans, Olivier and Chloé, and an overexcited wife-to-be to her fiancé Vincent. Violaine lives close to Montreal with her family. She speaks French but has always read in English. This opportunity to write in an English book completed part of her bucket list. She believes this book is a wonderful way to reach the soul of a person and give them wings.

Tarrah Wynn, author

Tarrah was born and raised in a small town in Nova Scotia. She is a born leader and mentor who spent most of her career climbing the corporate ladder within the construction industry. Her formal education came in the form of a bachelor’s degree with a major in history and a minor in sociology from Dalhousie University. Upon graduation, Tarrah enrolled in the Information Technology Institute where her love for business began to blossom. Tarrah is a proud mother of two boys and a loving wife to her husband, Matt. Together they live in Southern Ontario. Tarrah has always had a passion for fitness and participated in various fitness competitions until at the age of thirty-seven, she found herself exhausted, inflamed, and no longer able to manage her fit physique. After rounds of tests, she realized that her strict eating regime, obsession with exercise, and workaholic mindset had caused this mom to burn out. With the realization of what she had done, Tarrah poured her heart and soul into learning how to heal her body with food, lifestyle, and mindset changes. A year later, she enrolled in the Institute for Integrative Nutrition where she studied to become a certified health coach. Today, Tarrah shares her story with other high-performing women who are struggling to manage it all. She has created a space in her business, Tarrah Wynn Holistic Health and Nutrition, where she teaches women how to balance their hormones, heal their gut, and reclaim their vitality.

Jena Weiss, author

Jena Weiss is the owner of The Pound, a successful gym and training facility in up- state New York. With a clinical and social sciences in psychology degree from the University of Rochester, over ten years of experience as a certified personal trainer and strength coach, and a Level II Spirit Junkie Masterclass certification, she now works as a spiritual body and soul coach with a passion for helping others transform their lives from the inside out. Jena is currently completing a teaching memoir titled Fit to Love: My Journey from Self-Perfection to Self-Worth, with Nothing to Lose and Everything to Gain. The book tells the story of a strength coach’s journey through letting go of perfection, healing her childhood, and finding real love she didn’t know she deserved. She has been featured in print in Oxygen Magazine and in online publications of Muscular Development and RX Muscle. After decades of playing competitive sports, Jena quickly found a natural outlet in physical fitness after graduating from a prestigious college and finding herself unemployed. She navigated her way through success in fitness competitions, the body dysmorphic disorder and depression that followed, coaching, football, loss, and everything in between to establish herself as the coach she was destined to be. Jena lives with her husband and their five labs(ish) on a two-hundred-acre farm in upstate New York.

Heather Chapman, author

Heather Lee Chapman is a personal success coach with over a decade of experience coaching individuals to be their best and live their best lives through mindset, movement, and nutrition. She is a certified nutritional practitioner with a diploma in applied nutrition, as well as a personal trainer specialist. Heather has a bachelor’s degree with honors in human kinetics, with a major in movement science and minors in biology and social sciences. She is a lifestyle and brand ambassador for Arbonne and an affiliate for the Proctor Gallagher Institute. Heather is also the creative director of and an inspiring educational speaker. She believes that we are all meant for greatness and for a fulfilled and happy life, and her mission is to ensure we all achieve those goals. Heather believes it is essential that you treat the body as a whole: mind, body, and soul. She has worked with many individuals from athletes to individuals with brain injuries and spinal cord injuries to improve their quality of life and can assist you in identifying areas of improvement for optimal physical and mental performance. She focuses on identifying limiting beliefs and replacing them with affirmations and actions that serve you, recreating yourself to align with your truth, step into your power, and identify your true passion and purpose.

Erica Glassford, author

Erica is a certified nutrition coach, certified mindfulness coach, and certified lifestyle coach. She also holds titles as a Pro Masters Fitness Model and Grand Masters Bikini Champion. Originally from Seattle, Washington, she moved as a child to Canada with her parents and sister and now lives in a small hamlet just outside Calgary, Alberta with her family of five. Her most coveted title is that of Mom, and she takes every opportunity she can to cheer her kids on in their respective sports. In her spare time, she enjoys reading non-fiction history novels, hanging out with her two dogs, and indulging in the occasional night out dancing with her girlfriends. fb: Erica Bikini Fit Nutrition & Lifestyle Coaching | ig: @erica_bikinifit

Cassie Lambert, author

Cassie Lambert is an Army Veteran and a certified personal trainer specializing in helping women crush the weights with confidence. She has been published in SELF, Oxygen, Men’s Health, and SHAPE. While Cassie was born and raised in Michigan, as a military spouse, she is now calls a new place home every few years. She enjoys moving and exploring new places with her husband and three kids.

Carol Hanley, author

Armed with both determination and stubbornness, Carol Hanley set out to achieve her first place ranking in the Canadian Women’s Middleweight competitive bodybuilding forum. After competing for three years, she not only achieved a first place ranking in Canada but also went on to take first place in North America in two different Middleweight classes. What a journey it has been for this Canadian “Iron Princess,” who proudly embraces both her hometown of Basseterre St. Kitts, and Mississauga, Ontario. Carol grew up in a disciplined environment with a grandfather who was chief of police and a devoted grandmother. She attended a private grade school in St. Kitts before finishing her studies in Montreal, Quebec. After first pursuing post-secondary studies in the areas of medicine, she found herself drawn to technology and finished her degree in computer science. She is currently an executive managing director of software development. Carol’s love and interest in bodybuilding started at a very young age with reading magazines and producing sketches of muscle-bound comic book heroes. She continued to follow the sport as a fan and dreamed from the sidelines until finally following her passion and stepping on stage. Carol was no stranger to sports, as she was an avid athlete: track and field, volleyball, basketball, and tennis. Carol’s decision to embark on this competitive pathway came about after talking to a fellow competitor who took the time to encourage her to pursue her dreams. After continuously winning in various classes for five years, she took home the coveted IFBB Pro Card and become a Professional Athlete. ig: @ironprincess007

Barb Sotos, author

Barb Sotos is passionate about helping people cultivate awareness and gratitude in order to live a life more aligned with their desires. This passion led her to become a yoga teacher. Barb holds a bachelor of science from the University of Western Ontario and has completed yoga teacher training, along with certifications in restorative yoga, yoga with weights, and indoor cycling. Barb is a gratitude coach and is working toward a holistic weight loss expert certifi- cation. She developed and ran an empowerment camp for girls and also leads workshops on identifying personal desires and creating a vision for a life incorporating those desires. She teaches yoga at corporate locations and at various gyms and studios, as well as at the Region- al Rehab Centre to individuals with newly acquired brain injuries. Barb makes people feel safe when they need to express their feelings, and she has a talent for bringing a calm positivity into a space. Her clients have described her as “a teacher who has a wonderful ability to mix the physical challenge of each practice with a thoughtful dose of mindfulness. She seems to have the intuitive ability to know precisely when you need to calm your thoughts and not let your mind race away during any part of your practice.” ig: @livinyoga

Annie Graft, author

Annie Graft is twenty-three years old and currently lives in Texas. She grew up in the suburbs of Chicago as the middle child of three. She attended college at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado and commissioned into the USAF. As an active duty Air Force officer, Annie works full-time as a Public Affairs officer while running her own online coaching business, personal brand (Fit Life Fit Me), workout app, and health and wellness company. She is passionate about inspiring people, predominantly women, to ditch their excuses and embrace their best lives.

Amy Howe, author

Amy Howe is the proud mother of beautiful four-year-old boy named Danden, as well as a passionate dog lover, caring wife, entrepreneur, personal trainer, coach, business mentor, fitness competitor, author, published fitness model, and body transformation coach. She has dedicated her life to bettering others by sharing her passion for balanced nutrition and flexible dieting strategies and her love for fitness. At the young age of nineteen, Amy started her business, Howe Fit, out of the trunk of her car. She has worked countless hours to help her community thrive through volunteering as a public speaker, serving as a liaison for local school boards to educate young students about entrepreneurship, creating a safe environment for her Howe Fit members, mentoring her online clients, and serving as a friend with advice or help when anyone is in need. Becoming sober and free from alcohol and disordered eating created a clear path for Amy’s journey to become the woman and leader she always knew she could be. With this new lifestyle and a growing passion for health promotion and balanced and flexible nutrition strategies, she became Howe Fit inside and out.

Website: fb: @Amy Howe | ig: @amyhowefit

Allison Marschean, author

Allison’s parents instilled in her the importance of “I can” thinking, and over the years, she’s had numerous opportunities to apply that lesson. She’s excited to share the power that accompanies a mind set on success. Allison and her husband Vince have three daughters — eight-year-olds Brynn and Piper and two-year-old Jordan. Allison majored in French at The United States Military Academy at West Point, NY and graduated in 2001 with a bachelor of science in systems engineering. She also holds a master of science in management of technology from Murray State Univer- sity and a master of arts in organizational psychology from Columbia University’s Teachers College. Allison is a flat-vending fundraiser. She sells stickers and temporary tattoos to raise funds for non-profit organizations, and has served as an officer in the United States Army and Army Reserves for eighteen years. fb: @allison.marschean | ig: @allison_marschean li: allison-marschean-b22988108

Deirdre Slattery, author

Deirdre Slattery is a single mother of a beautiful daughter who is the greatest support and has brought out Deirdre’s passion to live her best: healthy, positive, and as a strong, independent woman. She sees change as a constant opportunity to learn and grow and to make the best of life around her. Deidre is an eternal optimist with a grounded and practical balance. Helping others to see their potential comes naturally to her, and finding the good in every situation makes her life work meaningful. Deidre’s purpose is to inspire and motivate others to stay positive and strong in the face of any adversity. This free spirit has traveled the globe learning about life and feels especially at home near the ocean with people who are healthy, thriving, and happy. Deidre received a bachelor’s of kinesiology and education from the University of Windsor, where she majored in biology and health education. After twenty years, she is following her heart and expanding her career to educate and coach others to live healthy and happy lives. Nutrition, exercise, and a healthy mindset make up the foundations of her healthy lifestyle, and her future plans as an entrepreneur include making a greater impact in the health and fitness industry and lifestyle coaching. Deirdre finds the most reward in helping others unlock and overcome their barriers a life they dream of. She is open-minded and open-hearted and there to listen and guide others to live their best in health and wellness. ig: @deirdre_sfitness

Sharlene Rochard, author

Sharlene Rochard was born in Ontario, Canada to parents of Trinidadian and European descent. Sharlene knew exactly where she was going in life from a very early age. At the age of four, she started performing in theater productions. At age thirteen, she became Miss Pre-Teen Canada. The launch of her professional modeling career soon followed. Sharlene became one of the most successful and sought-after models in Canada, featured in many campaigns and major magazines. By age seventeen, she had traveled the world as a model. Sharlene’s exotic looks and diversity booked her nationwide TV commercials and music videos. After studying acting at The Neighborhood Playhouse in New York and The Beverly Hills Playhouse in Los Angeles, she landed her first movie: The Little Richard Story, directed by Robert Townsend. She has grown her filmography ever since. Sharlene was born to perform and has been in the public eye since she was four. Her life has taught her many things, including how to stay in shape. She takes care of everything in her life from her career and her body to her four children. Sharlene enjoys cooking, gardening, and everything fitness. ig: @sharlenerochardlund | fb: @SharleneRochard

Pauline Caballero, author

Born and raised in San Francisco by an American mother and Filipino father, Rachel Balunsat was given a unique bicultural perspective of the world. Her studies lead her to sociology and psychology. Then, while living in Spain during college, art classes revealed a new direction. Rachel became an award winning wedding photojournalist traveling the world for over a decade. However after having a challenging bout with health for many years she became an Ayurvedic health practitioner eventually healing herself with plant based nutrition. Now Rachel competes as a vegan bodybuilder and has won several competitions in her mid forties. Her pastimes include visionary painting, gardening and yoga, all of which she sees as her part in creating a sustainable world. Currently Rachel is working on a memoir.

ig: @wildess_superfoods_alchemist fb: @rachel.balunsat

Nadia Dedic, author

Nadia is a Certified Raw Foods Chef (CRFC) with the Raw Food Chef Alliance. She attended the Pachavega vegan culinary school specializing in raw food chef training and plant-based culinary arts. This distinct path led her to learn more about health and vitality and to implement a positive philosophy of living through the integration of a healthy diet and lifestyle. Nadia is currently enrolled in the Precision Nutrition Level 1 Program, which is home to some of the world’s top nutrition coaches. With this training, she hopes to motivate and empower others to live a healthy and vibrant life. Nadia obtained her Viking Ninja’s Mindfulness Mechanics and Steel Mace Yoga Level 1 certification through Erik Melland, the Onnit Gym Steel Mace Master Coach and trainer to UFC Champions, and Erin Furry, Viking Ninja Master. Nadia also has her Paddle into Fitness Stand-up Paddle (SUP), SUP Yoga, and SUP Fitness certifications and received her Level 1 WPA (World Paddle Association) Certificate in 2019. Nadia is a believer in the mind’s power and its ability to exceed perceived limits and hopes to encourage and support others in their own journey to health and wellness. ig: @nd_squared

Lola T. Small, author

Lola T. Small is a growth and success coach for emerging women healers, leaders, and change-makers. Through body-mind-life empowerment teaching and events, Lola inspires and guides women around the world to build true strength within and to share their best selves with the world. She grew up with two sisters in Asia, where the culture favors boys, and is passionate about uplifting girls and women to their highest potential and empowering women to share their talents and dreams for positive social change. Having split her time between the East and the West and having lived without her family since the age of fifteen, Lola has had to go through many layers of self-discovery to define who she truly is. Extensive inner work in her twenties has given Lola a tremendous sense of self, clarity about her passions and purpose, and a tenacious drive to share her positively powerful energy and love around the globe. A lover of heartfelt connections, world travel to beautiful oceans, strength training, and destination half marathons, Lola loves her fun life with her husband, Shawn, and son Jordie. fb: @lolatsmall | ig: @lolatsmall

Karen Swyszcz, author

As much as Karen Swyszcz loved running around and chasing other kids on the playground, being active was not encouraged in her family. Her gym rat life began during university where she would do only cardio-related activities: running, spinning, and swimming at the local YMCA. Karen was then introduced to Bodypump, a barbell workout class, and instantly fell in love. She loved it so much that she went through the training to become an instructor. As an introvert, being an instructor enables Karen to come out of her shell and take on an entirely different persona. Karen also has a love for writing. Her blog, Makinthebacon, started in 2012 as a passion project to escape the monotony of her government job. Little did she know that this blog would significantly transform her life. It enabled her to make a bold career change and not too long after to start her own consulting business in blogging and social media. Karen has the natural ability to seek and create opportunities. She is passionate about helping others tell their story and believes your passions can help you make the bacon. fb, ig, t: @makinthebacon1

Julia Lefaivre, author

Julia Lefaivre grew up playing sports, including competitive soccer, and rowed on her university crew team. After university, though, Julia followed a different career path and became a teacher for almost ten years. When she became a mom for the first time in 2011, she found herself in lost in this new identity. She returned to teaching after both her first and her second child, but she continued to struggle with who she really was. Julia continued to be drawn back to her roots as an athlete and her love for fitness. Five years ago, while still teaching and raising her two kids, she began her online fitness business in the hopes of one day transitioning out of teaching and into the fitness industry full-time. She accomplished that dream. Not only does Julia coach women in fitness and nutrition, she also inspires women through her podcast, The Thriving Woman, and through her success coaching. This jack-of-all-trades, no-excuse momma of three works to inspire and empower women to take control of their health, regain their energy, and build strength and confidence so they can conquer any challenge life throws their way and become the best version of themselves.

Johanne Walker, author

Johanne Walker is a woman with the most infectious energy who can get you believing in yourself before the conversation is over. Johanne channels her seeing-through-the-cracks superpower to help others meet themselves where they are. She’s incredibly passionate about changing the conversation to cultivate a positive space and build a special connection with the self. She has created a movement to help all women look at themselves with an “I am enough” attitude. Johanne’s perspective includes connecting with community leaders and courageous women who are not afraid to embrace every part of themselves in order to help others in the community and the world. As the co-founder of the Women United Project, she focuses on creating a movement that will change the way we look at ourselves by creating a safe space for women to be vulnerable. Johanne believes that when you’re committed to change, life starts to look different. She encourages women to shift the way they approach things and realize that only they can make a difference in their own lives to change the way they think about themselves and their stories. She believes that the smallest of changes can lead to big results if we follow through with them and that if we could do it alone, we would’ve already done it. fb: women united project | ig: @womenunitedproject

Jocelyn Hinz, author

Jocelyn Hinz is obsessed with holding space for you to explore your real truths, strengths, body, and movement. As a successful entrepreneur who quit the corporate crawl, Jocelyn is known for creating dynamic yoga classes focused on the real feel, cultivating conversations about living wildly in alignment with your heart, and advocating for less stigma in coming back home to your body. Jocelyn works with young women who want to cultivate a deeper connection to their body, mind, and spirit without sacrificing their identity. Through the use of do TERRA essential oils, movement, and the cultivation of intuition and trust, she is helping women wake up to their own potential. Jocelyn is the founder of a global essential oil collective. She thrives on dark chocolate and red wine and wishes that every sunset would get a parade. Jocelyn aims to bring the balance back between flow and hustle, green juice and wine, take-out and organic groceries — that balance is where her life lives.

Additional Information

age range: Adult

number of pages: 248

publication date: 11/19/2019

Original language of pub: English

Materials Available: complete manuscript