Flipping through the air like she just don’t care.
(But really, she does.)
Fitness trainer and Optimize Physiotherapy patient Stacey Petrie gets personal about her journey to strength and stability.
Competitive sports is full of champions, grit and inspirational stories, but it’s also an incredible encyclopedia of learning moments.
Stacey Petrie has taken on all that and more as a decade-long competitive gymnast in Edmonton. And if that dedication to competition wasn’t enough, she also played volleyball and pole vaulted in her post-secondary years.
“I like to do it all!” she says. That might be why Stacey has developed a strong attraction to CrossFit—the diversity in exercise keeps her challenged, learning and growing.
As Stacey matured into her career and stretched in different directions, the “pass it on” factor is more important than it’s ever been.
“I coached volleyball for about 10 years, had a short career teaching math, and now have found my niche as a fitness trainer,” says Stacey, adding that her next chapter is all about devoting her life to educating others. “It just clicks,” she says. “My passion has always been sports and fitness.”
BUILDING FOUNDATIONAL POWER
Stacey is willing to try nearly anything when it comes to pushing her mind and body, and she credits the sport of gymnastics for cracking that world open. “As a gymnast, I trained four hours a day, five to six days a week.” But with that intense commitment, many of us can probably guess the nagging injuries that came with the territory.
Rolled or broken ankles, wrist injuries, hyperextended knees and elbows; any competitive sport with that amount of training can sure take a toll. Stacey was no exception and was forced to leave the sport after fracturing her back. It was a defeating moment… but one that pushed Stacey into finding other ways to feed her passion.
“Gymnastics is a foundation for most sports and physical fitness. I believe the development of full body strength and awareness from a young age has set me up, and continues to do so, for a happy and healthy body,” she says.
COPING WITH INJURY
That experience set Stacey up for her journey into volleyball. “Hitters and blockers in the front row are repeatedly swinging one arm and often landing awkwardly, putting their knees, ankles, and shoulders at risk for injury,” explains Stacey. “But, being an athletic shorty, I was a defender (back row).” There isn’t as much repetitive motion there, which helped minimize Stacey’s injuries.
Pole vaulting, on the other hand, brought a whole new kind of intensity. “It was the most repetitive sport I trained in,” explains Stacey. “Pulled tricep and adductor, back pain, bad falls… I felt like I was always hurting.”
It was a learning experience like none other, and one Stacey couldn’t continue. She left the sport after two years.
TRAINING FOR LIFE
Along with her passion for sports and competing, Stacey has been committed to working out regularly since the age of 20. “Being 34 now, I am stronger than ever, but also with experience and maturity, I’ve become more vulnerable.”
What kind of vulnerability?
“A big fear of mine is not being able to perform gymnastics skills. Flips, splits, handstands, tricks… I feel like those all define me,” she explains.
And that’s exactly why Stacey considers her body to be her temple, making daily conscious decisions to handle it with care. It’s a formula: “I work out consistently and efficiently, go to physio when I am in discomfort, consume nutritious food most of the time, and recover with sleep and light activity.” She rests when needed, but the learning never stops.
PERSONALIZED PHYSIO AND FITNESS
That is Stacey’s story. But as an educator, she recognizes that each person has his or her own unique background. “Gyms have many types of people, all shapes and sizes, which is why training needs to be unique,” says Stacey. “It’s important to recognize that people’s movements are affected by their job, daily activities, nutrition, and more, coming with a plan that pays attention to every single one of those elements.”
Stacey finds factors that limit progress in training, including a lack of mobility and overall body weight strength and stability. “That just might be the benefit of physio summed up!” she says. “It’s about physio clinics like Optimize (and the trainers) creating a unique plan so clients can progress. Together, we get them lifting and moving without pain.”
Speaking of pain, does Stacey ever revisit the sport that ignited her competitive spirit?
“I do train at a high level, still doing lots of gymnastics and Olympic lifting, which has a major impact on my body. But I’m also taking in the big picture. I want to have a kid one day, and physio will be a major focus for me in those body-changing years.”
And when that time comes, you can bet there will be a whole lot of flipping happening at the Petrie household. Pain-free, of course!