Member Stories

The Power of a Growth Mindset

Many of our members will tell us about the event that made them realize it was time to start exercising. A game of tag with their kid, some not-so-great news from their doctor, a holiday marred by pain. We’ve heard it all.

For Alastair Wilkinson, it was three days of physical agony after 2.5 hours of home renovation work. That was about a year ago. And that’s when he joined Bomb.

But that was the easy part. Like many new people who walk through our doors, Alastair was pretty green. His first few classes were a harsh reminder that he was starting from scratch in terms of strength, endurance and form. For a lot of people, this would be about the time they give up. But rather than being discouraged, something inside him sparked and he was excited to learn. He recognized if he kept coming in, listening and applying himself, that he would get stronger. And he has! Not only is he crushing it in class, he’s also started taking kettlebell (a class that might have killed him a year ago) and he’s lost 25 lbs too!

What I realized as I was chatting with Alastair is that he has a growth mindset. He understands that he’s not limited to the skills and talents that he developed easily and naturally. That with continued effort and practice, he can learn new things and improve his abilities in any area.

A growth mindset is the difference between facing a challenge and saying “I can’t do that” and “I can’t do that now, but I can learn”. It can be applied in any circumstance and it’s something that all highly successful people have in common.

So, how exactly do you achieve a growth mindset? The internet is full of lists...Ten Steps to a Growth Mindset, 25 Ways to Create a Growth Mindset etc, etc. I’m not an expert, but from my perspective it boils down to prioritizing the process not the outcome. Focusing your energy on the work, turning failures into learnings, persevering and trying new tactics.

In the age of instant gratification and results-based rewards, it can be pretty hard to apply yourself to something difficult and big goals often seem too hard to reach. But the process is always within your grasp. The first step can happen in an instant and with a growth mindset the experience becomes the reward.



Pass Me The Kool Aid Jim, I Think I've Joined a Cult

When you ask a super fit person how they got in shape, they usually give you a very passive tl;dr “Oh I just cut down on some carbs and started working out 4 days per week and wouldn’t you know it, four weeks later… voila!”

Your response is to tighten the grip on your glass until it breaks and then consider doing violent things with the shards. You’ve tried your best at everything and know it’s not this easy.

At first glance, Louise P has a similar, laid-back outlook. She joined BOMB a year ago, losing 11lbs within her first month.

She comes to BOMB 4 days per week and has ran through the gamut of group fitness – from the regular classes, to The Beast, to The Spartan Race Team to Kettlebells – and has one eye on Barbell Club.

However, there are two important things Louise did that maybe you’ve not considered about your own transformation plans.

1 – She Got Curious

Louise said that she hated the thought of group fitness before joining. In fact, her plan was just to get moving for a bit and then stop – she wasn’t even going to follow the meal plan we gave her.

But then she got curious.

She tried a bunch of different classes at Beach then Danforth. She wondered if she could build up to ten push-ups. She wondered why she couldn’t even pull herself up onto the monkey bars while her kid could traverse it with ease.

When she got moving she said, “The motivation came from realizing I could do stuff and I got really curious about that. If you just get started, you’ll find a place for it.”

You may think that you have to build up motivation to go to the gym, or look for a new job. But true motivation is built by…

Doing Something + Liking It + Feeling Competent = Curiosity and Motivation 

2 – She Changed Her Environment

With a 4-and-6 year old, Louise found it hard to keep up. While sitting at home she would always send her kid upstairs to fetch things for her, even if the remote control fell off the couch. She had also tried the Goodlife environment and that didn’t work out either.

By joining BOMB she quickly found out that she was surrounded by a different bunch of people.

“I’m a trained actress and so I know physical space and awareness. Even so, the coaches were super generous with corrections and you felt like they were focused on you – paying attention and constantly checking in with everyone.

More experienced members would also help me out with exercises and form suggestions. They weren’t judging me.”

By her own admission, Louise still calls herself a lazy person. But by changing her environment and being around a new tribe that were also trying to stay fit, she drew on the energy that environment change gave her.

She laughs, “I feel like I’ve drank the kool aid and joined a cult – in a good way!”

Louise is now down 25lbs in a year. She can do 18 full push-ups – 8 more than the 10 she imagined and she can crush the monkey bars at her kid’s school.

Her husband got curious too. He bought a rowing machine and is now down 75lbs himself.

“I don’t want to go back to where I was and that’s what gets me up at 5:40am to come to class. Not coming is not an option. 

I look for opportunities to move instead of avoiding them. Needing to get something from upstairs is an opportunity to run up the stairs. Dropping something on the floor is an opportunity to do a squat.

That's what drives me.”


Louise P Before & After - Side - Edit.jpg

The Perfect Accountability Partner

If there’s one thing we know for a fact, it’s that working out is much more enjoyable with a buddy (or 12).  I can’t be sure, but it may have something to do with the whole “misery loves company” principle.

Valerie and Krista are a shining example of the magic of finding the perfect accountability partner. This mother-daughter duo have been keeping each other motivated since last April and they have no plans to quit. 

Krista has been an on again, off again exerciser for most of her life. She was even a committed Bomb member for a while, but inevitably, life would cut in and exercise would fall to the bottom of the priority list.

Valerie played competitive tennis as a teenager and has kept active by walking every day, but didn’t think that group fitness was going to be the right fit for her. With a big push from Krista, she decided to give it a go. 

Seven months later, despite obstacles like late-night conference calls with colleagues around the world, a new, more demanding job, a kid who’s allergic to sleep and the constant parade of viruses that infect their family, Krista and Valerie have been committed to their early morning classes. And it shows! They are both stronger and more capable in class and in life. Krista even said that burpees don’t make her feel like she’s dying anymore! 

The commitment really stems from their love for each other.

When one considers skipping a class, she quickly realizes that she doesn’t want to let the other down. It’s one thing to text your neighbour and tell her you’re taking the day off. But when its your mom or daughter on the other end of the phone, it becomes much harder to come up with a worthy excuse. 

Now, I realize not everyone has a close relative they can join the gym with. The perfect accountability partner doesn’t need to share your DNA, but it does help to find someone in your life who you care a lot about. Someone who you want to see succeed and would hate to disappoint.

Because often times it’s easier to do things for others than for ourselves. And who knows, maybe along the way you’ll realize that all that do-gooding for someone else did some good for you too.


Krista & Valerie.jpg

Feeling Better Than Ever Before

Shane has come SO far since he first joined Bomb! Having him in every morning class down at the Beach is really awesome -- he humbly motivates others, and is always a welcoming smile and energy for new members to feed off.

Not only has he gained so much strength from when he first started, he has also noticed a great positive difference in his life outside of Bomb: 

"I have been with Bomb since it opened in the Beach - a regular on weekdays. I love the daily variety of exercises and programs offered.  Living with a thyroid condition, workouts were never an easy task for me.

Prior to doing regular exercise and having a balanced diet as part of my lifestyle, it took me years to regulate my thyroid hormones.  Nowadays, I enjoy my newfound energy and excellent health from this exercise routine; and losing weight is just an added bonus.

I have lost 30 lbs since my first day at Bomb and feel better now than I've ever felt before."

Keep it up, Shane! You are a great inspiration to the Bomb family.


Shane - Before & After.jpg

Being Fit Isn't Just For Other People

Kathy joined Bomb about two years ago. At the time, she had been suffering from back pain for about five years and had just received a diagnosis of early osteoarthritis.

Her discomfort was very persistent and the reality that it was worsening and beginning to prevent her from doing much more than getting through a day of work and parenting was frightening. It had her wondering about her future.

Would she ever be able to take dance classes again? Would she be able to carry her grandchildren? How long before she’d lose her independence?

With these kinds of terrible thoughts in her head, Kathy decided to take action. She instinctively knew that she needed to strengthen her muscles so they could carry the load that her joints were failing under. And so, she hesitantly joined Bomb.

Kathy and I knew each other before she joined and I remember the first time I saw her at the gym. She told me that she had never been interested in fitness and didn’t think she’d like it much, but she kept coming anyway.

And in a classic case of fake it till you make it, Kathy started to find herself (gasp!) enjoying her workouts.  And even better, her back pain started to melt away!

I think it was about a year after she joined that I realized how strong Kathy had become.  It was another few months before I realized I should share that feeling with her and her reaction was a combination of pride and surprise.  I don’t think she really recognized how far she’d come.

She said she hadn’t even really realized that she had achieved muscle definition until someone else pointed it out to her.  When we chatted for this interview, she told me that she never thought she was someone who could be a strong person and that it took her a good long while to realize that she had become one.

Before joining Bomb, she would see other fit women and immediately brush aside any idea that she could be fit too. It’s something we really connected on because for most of my life, I felt the same way.

And, not to make this about me, but the feeling you get when you stop relying on others to lift heavy things is pretty incredible.  And it’s not really about what you can lift in the gym.  It’s about self-sufficiency.

It’s carrying all your groceries in at once.  It’s shoveling the snow yourself instead of relying on your partner.  It’s volunteering to help your neighbour move their couch.  And it’s about moving through your day with the confidence that you can handle whatever physical task is going to come your way.

So, how did Kathy do it?  The recipe isn’t too complicated.  She adopted a simple philosophy of “sign up & show up”.  Signing up is the easy part, especially because in Bomb, she found the right fit for her. Showing up is a little harder, but when she’s feeling tired, she reminds herself that she’ll only regret NOT going.

And it turns out, that when she shows up, she’s intent on learning and improving. By that, I mean she’s never worried about what others in the class are up to.  She focuses on her form.  She pays attention to corrections, asking questions if she’s not sure she gets something.  And she works to the best of her ability, every class. And the results are undeniable.

Kathy is officially a powerhouse who’s always up for another fitness challenge.  Most recently, she started taking Kevin’s Beast class and is loving how it feels to lift a barbell.

What I love most about Kathy’s story is seeing her progress from thinking she couldn’t be fit to wondering what else she is capable of.  Being fit is not just for other people.  It’s for anyone willing to sign up and show up with an open mind and good intentions.



The Beginning of Life 2.0

It takes, on average, 66 days to form a new habit (science!).

When Jason Bell looks back at his first 66 days at Bomb, he likes to think of them as the beginning of “Life 2.0”.  A lot changed in those 66 days and beyond.

Jason went from an activity level of zero, to exercising every morning.  From being sluggish and bloated to feeling great and full of energy.  From eating all the food, to choosing quality over quantity.  He also lost 45 pounds and saw improvements in his health across the board in his before and after blood work.

I mean, WOW!  I think we can all agree that this is a pretty amazing transformation.

But what I think is even more amazing is how Jason arrived at Day One of his journey.  Jason spent his thirties thinking about how he’d like to get healthy by the time he was 40.

But eventually, 40 came and went, and the only thing that had really changed was his waistline. It wasn’t until his third baby was born that he realized it was time for him to act.  He knew that the best thing he could do for his kids was to live a long and healthy life.  

So he, and his wonderful wife Michelle (who is down 20 pounds herself!!), sat down and started planning for the future of their family.

They scheduled physicals.  They researched life insurance.  And they started looking for ways to live a healthier lifestyle. I happened to be at the desk the day Michelle walked in to Bomb for the first time.

Like many new members she had lots of questions and was a bit apprehensive about getting started, but she quickly set aside her anxiety and registered herself and Jason for the Weight Loss Challenge, which started that day!

I took her measurements on the spot and she booked a time for Jason to come that evening, warning me that he wasn’t yet totally sold on the idea. When I asked him about that, he gave Michelle all the credit.  She pushed him into the pool and he had no choice but to start swimming.  High five Michelle!

It's now been about four months since the Bells took the plunge.  I asked Jason what keeps him motivated.  He talked about his fitness tracker and the push he gets seeing what other members are capable of.

But what he truly relies on is some advice from his doctor.  She told him to focus on reflection, resilience and restraint.  These three Rs are Jason’s new life mantra.  They help him stay mindful of how his daily choices impact his health.  They keep him from giving up when he hits a stumbling block.  And they give him room to enjoy a balanced life.

Of all the ways Jason’s life has changed since last May, the thing he is most proud of is the example he’s setting for his kids. He loves when they ask questions about the gym and the encouragement they give him to keep working hard. He hopes his example will start his kids on the path towards are lifetime of healthy, active living.  And we can’t wait till they are old enough to join him in class!


Jason - Before & After.jpg

A Quick Fix Became the New Norm

Sometimes people come to us for a specific reason - in this case to get in shape for a wedding.

But sometimes they find much, much more... and then leave anyway!!!

Thanks Tom & Claire, maybe Ottawa will hate your guts and kick you back over to us 😊


We can't thank you both and the entire Bomb training staff for everything.

Collectively we lost over 20lbs and looked absolutely fantastic at our wedding (If I do say so myself). As we said our goodbyes we have told our trainers that Bomb has been life changing. This couldn't be more true.

We were on a path of junk food and sitting on the couch. I could see the waist line growing bit by bit every year. We had little motivation and even less energy. Then Bomb opened up just down the street (at Broadview).

What we thought would be a quick fix / weight loss before the wedding became the new normal for us. We absolutely fell in love with the gym, being much more active and having more energy throughout the day. 

Bomb is truly a one of a kind gym. We made new friends along the way and each and every trainer we met became a friend and someone who we would look forward to seeing each week.

Except Kerry and her evil laugh as we did Cardio Conditioning... it never seemed to get easier over our time with her 😉 

Again, thank you so much for everything. We will keep up the fitness routine in Ottawa and that is something that wouldn't have happened without Bomb.

Love Tom and Claire

P.S. If you're looking to get fit for a specific goal - you may need a specific program. Check out our semi-private training page to find out how we can specialize your health and fitness needs - along with a very special offer.