Introducing a new series featuring stories of everyday people living active lifestyles.
The Lethbridge Sport Council is proud to be launching: Your Quality Life (YQL). In YQL we hope that, with the help of the community, we can highlight positive sporting and active lifestyle experiences throughout the greater Lethbridge area. With YQL Stories, we will draw attention beyond just the competitive aspects of sport, but also the important role it plays in personal development, relationship building, and living an overall quality life.
For our first-ever issue, we were lucky enough to interview Chantelle Erickson. Chantelle is a certified personal trainer at Kinetic Indoor Cycle and Fitness has been there for the last 7 years and worked as a fitness professional for 8. She is also a freelance writer for Canadian Running magazine and works as a running coach at Personal Peak. Outside of her professional career, Chantelle has also taken up Ultramarathon running and has run distances over 50km, 100km, along with a variety of marathons, relays, and other endurance events.
What may not be immediately apparent when talking to Chantelle, as she exudes the passion, positivity, and a wealth of knowledge indicative of a well seasoned runner, is that running and fitness didn’t become a part of her life until college. Chantelle first got introduced to active living at the age of 21 in college when her roommate invited her to come to the gym. That single invitation led Chantelle to embark on a path that would go on to reshape her life entirely.
In the months that followed her introduction to fitness Chantelle completely changed her lifestyle and routine. This attachment to exercise led to her losing 30 pounds. She got particularly fond of one activity in particular: running. The main reason Chantelle cites for her specific interest in running was the improvement it provided to her mental health. Coming from a family with a history of mental health struggles Chantelle credits her relationship with running for giving her an “outlet” with which to manage her mental health. Whether it’s day-to-day, maternal or, more recently, coping with the COVID-19 pandemic running has consistently provided her with a great ability to cope and stay strong through whatever is going on in her life.
While “Ultramarathoner'' is something that Chantelle is able to proudly call herself now, it took years of hard training and gradual progress to earn the title. She says she progressed slowly when she first started running and had to work up the courage to even enter her first ever race. It was the completion of her first race that made Chantelle realize just how capable she was of achieving anything she set her mind to. From her introduction to racing Chantelle quickly got hooked onto the idea of personal improvement and continued to push herself and her limits, going from a 10km race to a half marathon, after running several half marathons she progressed to the full marathon. For Chantelle, every time she crossed the finish and felt she still had something left in her to give she took it as a sign to continue pushing herself to the next level.
On top of her recreational running career, Chantelle has the pleasure of being able to work as a fitness instructor for her professional career. Needless to say, as Chantelle was already in the midst of attending university when she first was introduced to active living, a career in fitness was not at all where she expected her career to go. Initially working a desk job in admissions while attending college, Chantelle had her first child and shifted careers not wanting to return to a full-time desk job. It was after losing her second child that Chantelle began to delve even more intensely into fitness as it helped her cope with everything she was experiencing as a result of her loss. It was during this time that a friend of hers told Chantelle she was very talented at getting people involved with fitness and asked Chantelle if she had ever considered pursuing it as a career. Chantelle stepped back from her current job, taking a pay cut, and decided to pursue a career in fitness, something she already had developed so much passion and love for. Chantelle says she got her first fitness job by accident after her post on social media upon completing her fitness certification caught the attention of a nearby gym. The decision to transition careers has paid dividends as she has used her passion and experience to branch out her career, from personal trainer, to running coach, to freelance writer, every day that she goes to work Chantelle gets to experience the joy of doing something that she is both exceptional at, and loves to do.
Surely to some, what Chantelle does may seem extreme, and her feats of endurance and dedication to her lifestyle may barely seem to fit the definition of a “recreational” athlete. But to look at her and her relationship with running in such broad strokes does her a disservice. Since discovering running Chantelle has taken a long series of steps to gradually reach the level she is at today. She has built herself up slowly from not being acquainted with active living at all to being able to label herself an Ultramarathoner. Along the way she has opened doors to new possibilities: new groups of friends and acquaintances, new methods to cope and maintain her personal and mental health, and an entirely new career path from the one she initially planned. Present day Chantelle may well fit the definition of a fitness fanatic, but her fanaticism was only born from an encouraging community, a willingness to try something new, and a discovery of just how positively her new lifestyle impacted her overall. It is for this reason that Chantelle Erickson stands out as a shining example of just how impactful a healthy lifestyle can be, as it has aided Chantelle in living out her quality life.