We are super pumped to introduce our readers to the latest addition to the WTD team, Alyssa Ages, an incredible “fit girl” with strength to spare, who will be bringing her take on Toronto’s fitness and wellness scene as a Well TO Do Contributor.
Well TO Do: Please introduce yourself to the Well TO Do readers.
Alyssa Ages: Hi dudes! I’m Alyssa Ages, born-and-raised New Yorker. Biting sarcasm and speed walking are my birthright. I recently moved to Toronto and I’m coming to terms with the fact that everyone is really genuine and never in any kind of hurry.
I’m certified in a whole lot of fitness things that matter to very few people aside from my parents and my employer. I’m an ambassador for a company that makes glittery fitness headbands called Sparkly Soul. I’m a Strength Coach at CrossFit Metric. I like to listen to death metal when I lift weights.
I’m a marathon runner, triathlete, CrossFitter, and Strongman. I’m in an on-again, off-again relationship with rock climbing. I used to do roller derby because I have a wildly unrealistic understanding of my physical limitations.
I’m serious about very few things, but one of them is my consulting company, BeFit Marketing. I work with fitness and wellness brands to help them write their story, build a marketing strategy, create strategic marketing partnerships, and organize and execute events.
Cookie Monster is my spirit monster.
WTD: How would you describe your philosophy about being fit and healthy?
AA: Fitness has to be something you see as fun and exciting or you’re never going to really embrace it. Find a workout that makes you giddy with anticipation on your way in and surging with pump-your-fist “Take THAT, World!” adrenaline when you walk out.
Find what you love and embrace it fiercely. But if it stops giving you butterflies, it’s ok to move on (it’s not you, barre, it’s me).
WTD: As the Founder of BeFit Marketing, a personal trainer and fitness competitor, you are definitely one powerhouse woman. How did you get started turning your passion into the profession you have today?
AA: I worked as a publicist (representing the likes of Meat Loaf, James Brown, and Weird Al) and a journalist (MTV News, Vibe, Spin) before I turned to marketing. After seven years creating partnerships, producing events, and building marketing strategies for two companies, I realized perhaps I had what it takes to go out on my own.
I signed my first client when they were just starting to complete plans to open their first studio, and decided to shift full-time into running my own company. I work with my clients on everything from branding, to PR, to partnerships and events.
Around the time I left my full time job, I also got my personal training certification. There is no greater joy than being a part of the success of a brand or an individual that you have helped reach their goals. I’m so lucky and grateful that I get to do that every single day.
WTD: You recently competed at Ontario Strongman Provincials (and we are beyond proud of you!)…tell us about it.
AA: Thank you! Man, what a humbling experience! I spent eight months last year traveling the world with my husband and not training for strongman, so when I qualified back in June by placing second in a local competition, just three months after returning home, I was shocked and thrilled. It was really an honor just to get to compete.
Strongman competitions are divided up by weight class so the weights are fair for size and gender. Provincials had four events: a farmer’s carry (at 145lbs per hand), an axle deadlift at 250lbs, an axle clean and press at 100lb, and a yoke walk at 330lb. I managed to beat my personal best in three out of the four events so I was really excited about my progress.
I adore this sport because it’s totally weird, absurdly challenging, and has the best, most supportive community of strong men and women. Next up, I’m heading back home to NYC for a competition in January with some of my longtime strongman friends!
WTD: What is your favourite muscle group to workout?
AA: Booty! I adore any exercise that’s glutes-related. In strongman, that’s basically everything. Deadlifts are my absolute favorite exercise and if you’re doing them right, they work just about every muscle in your body. Strongman-specific events I love are the yoke carry and atlas stones – I love the brute strength involved in the yoke and the atlas stones are so rough (literally – they’re generally homemade out of concrete and they will shred your forearms) and such a cornerstone of strongman.
WTD: What are your go-to pre- and post-workout meals?
AA: I generally workout after breakfast which is either hard-boiled eggs and avocado or ground beef and kale cooked in coconut oil (I swear it’s better than it sounds). I can’t handle the jitters of pre-workout (a drink or powder that lifters love for the kick it provides before a gym sesh) so I turn to dark chocolate-covered espresso beans for my buzz.
Post-workout, I immediately grab a banana for the carb replenishment and then a shake with 2% milk (yes, real milk!), whey protein and a bunch of obnoxiously trendy stuff like maca, matcha and chia seeds because I’m a total victim of wellness marketing.
WTD: If you could give WTD readers one tip for reaching their fitness goals, what would it be?
AA: Make it a priority. The number one reason you’re not working out is that you just don’t have the time, right? Unless you’re prepared to have zero excuses, maybe don’t read the next sentence…. You can get a killer workout in 10 minutes. I bet you just spent that amount of time looking at photos of your ex on Facebook (girrrrl, I agree – it’s his loss). Here’s a workout you can do in about 5 feet of space with no equipment: with 10 minutes on the clock, do as many rounds as possible with little to no rest of 10 squats, 10 pushups, and 10 situps. I’ll wait.
Decent workout right? Hey, excuses – you just got owned.
WTD: Who or what gives you the most inspiration?
AA: P. Diddy. No, seriously. In 2003, my roommate convinced me to go watch Puff finish the NYC Marathon. Feeling inspired, she suggested we sign up for next year’s race. Long story short, I signed up, got in via the lottery, and ran the race with my dad in 2005. Five boroughs later, I was a complete fitness addict. Thanks, Mr. Combs!
Today, I’m inspired by the rapidly-growing, strong-as-hell community of women in my sport. Strongwomen are some of the most supportive people you will ever interact with. At competitions, no one is cheering harder for you than your fiercest competitor. In what other sport does something like that happen? These women are redefining what it means to be competitive.
WTD: What’s next for Alyssa Ages?
AA: Same thing I do every day, Pinky: try to take over the world.
When I moved to Toronto a few short months ago, one of the things I really, really missed was the fitness community I had built and become a part of in NYC. Together with a friend from university who is a veteran in the industry, we decided that instead of hunting for the perfect group or network to join, we would just create our own. It’s a brand new initiative but we are so excited about where our group is headed and can’t wait to share more.
Because I firmly believe you can find a 25th hour in the day, I am also excited to start producing events here in Toronto for fitness and wellness brands! I thrive on building strategic marketing partnerships between brands to help them grow and increase their footprint in the industry.
WTD: What’s exciting you right now about the Toronto wellness scene?
AA: The most exciting thing about the Toronto wellness scene right now is that it seems to be on the cusp of something huge. With the impending arrival of SoulCycle in April, the rapid growth of wellness brands, and the creation of this awesome website right here, there’s a real electricity around the wellness scene right now. You can feel it at events, in the boutique fitness studios, and in places where fit pros gather like my personal favorite spot, Impact Kitchen (go try everything but save me one of those addictive raw cookies!), and all along that dense strip of fitness on King West. I am so excited to be a part of it!
Photo Credit: Brad Denoon