NEW WATERFORD, N.S. — Vicky McNeil smiles with encouragement as she watches a client do a set of kettle bell squats. There’s a hint of pride in her encouraging words as Jennifer Budden-White adjusts her positioning, insuring all the right muscle groups are being worked during a session at Perry’s Gym in Glace Bay last
NEW WATERFORD, N.S. — Vicky McNeil smiles with encouragement as she watches a client do a set of kettle bell squats.
There’s a hint of pride in her encouraging words as Jennifer Budden-White adjusts her positioning, insuring all the right muscle groups are being worked during a session at Perry’s Gym in Glace Bay last week.
“I saw more results in two months with Vicky then I did in a full year of working out by myself … It was like I wasted a year of my life,” said 41-year-old Budden-White.
The mother of two also praised McNeil’s training for helping to reduce the number of injuries she was suffering while working out.
“I wouldn’t work out my arms before because it would hurt too much,” she explained. “Vicky would watch and say, you have to work on these certain muscle groups … We have to strengthen this muscle to get to this end.”
Now Budden-White does lots of arm work, including chest presses which she couldn’t do before.
McNeil, 31, is a yoga instructor, personal trainer and healthy eating coach. With specialties in yoga and autism and yoga and children, McNeil’s chair yoga classes at Warden Church in Glace Bay are so popular a second session has been added. She also teaches at Breathing Space Yoga in Sydney and conducts training sessions at Perry’s Gym in Glace Bay. She can also bring her services to your home.
“I’m not a yoga studio, I bring the yoga to you,” said the New Waterford native who moved home from Alberta when she was pregnant with her now two-year-old son.
“That’s why I called it Mindful Motion because I can move around.”
The idea for the business came to McNeil two and a half years ago when her life was “kind of falling apart.”
Her relationship with her son’s father broke down when he was an infant and McNeil needed a new life plan.
Drawing on her education and years of experience in physical fitness and yoga, she started Mindful Motion Fitness.
“It was definitely a dark time for me but it was also one of those get up or stay down moments,” she said.
There was another motivating factor for McNeil — she was 100 pounds overweight as a result of her pregnancy. Deciding to use her personal weight loss and fitness journey as marketing for her business, McNeil took the plunge.
“I turned myself into a walking billboard. I thought I could use my own journey to show people what I can do for them,” said the Cape Breton University graduate who is also a Canfitpro.
“I knew with my son, I had to have a job that would let me create my own schedule and this does that.”
Family: Son Otis McNeil, age two
Hometown: New Waterford
Education: CBU graduate with bachelor of community studies and kinesiology
Owner: Mindful Motion Fitness
Offers: Yoga, personal training, healthy eating instruction
Loves: Spin, squats, headstand pose
Afraid of: Leeches
The cost of a personal training session with McNeil starts at $30 per hour and there are package deals for people who buy more than one session at a time. There are also package deals for clients who want training and healthy eating instruction.
McNeil’s healthy eating coaching (starting cost $25 a week) is a 24/7 consultation service and includes meal planning for a set number of weeks. Clients can call or text her when they are grocery shopping to review options.
For Budden-White, increasing her protein intake and cutting instant oatmeal were key to seeing quick results.
“I was addicted to the stuff … Best decision I ever made was joining on with Vicky,” said Budden-White.
“She lost five pounds in a week just from cutting that stuff out,” added McNeil, who said before her meal planning, Budden-White was eating about a quarter of the protein she needed daily.
Hoping to expand her services to more small communities in Cape Breton in 2019, McNeil said she enjoys what she does.
“I have a passion for fitness … It changed my life,” she said.
“I used to struggle with stress, anxiety, pressure to produce. I know what fitness has done for me and I like showing people what it can do for them.”