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  • Shane Kokas

Exercise is a great metaphor to life

July 16th is a tough day.


We all have moments in our life that will shake us so hard we change.

9 years ago yesterday was one of those days.


It was the morning of July 16, 2010. My mom created a bunch of items I needed to check off before starting my last year at NAIT. As I headed out the door my mom said, “I’ll see you when you get home.”


I later stopped at the gym to visit my best friend. Our laughter was interrupted by a call. I could tell by my dad’s voice something bad happened.


The drive home was the longest drive I have ever done; yet probably the fastest I have ever drove.


My mom passed away a couple hours after I walked out of the house. Death brings a lot of heaviness. Isolation. Numbness.


It took time to realize that the death of a good friend—my mom—the one who initially planted the seed for me to peruse a career in fitness, gave me a gift in her death.

The gift was new sense of strength and confidence. I didn’t realize until I read my NAIT Personal Fitness Trainer classmate's notes on one of my final assignments. Notes I have since held on to and can be summarized as:

“I have watched you grow from a shy, quiet guy, into such a confident and strong person. After your presentation it was clear you were not the same person that walked into the first year classroom.”

They were right; I wasn’t the same person who first walked into that program a year prior.


If I could have my mom back today, without a seconds thought I would. But life sucks sometimes, and I can’t help but in a weird way, thank my mom; for giving me that rooted resilience in life. That no one, or any other situation could have ever brought.


Also, though it’s tough, I can now look back and feel grateful because I know many others never had the privilege of 21 great years with their mom.


Exercise is a great metaphor to life. So if you’re going through some BS right now, I think of it as a heavy set in your workout. It’s a lot. You don’t know if you can lift the weight. But you often do—You come out fine, maybe a little calloused, but stronger than last week.


You got this.

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