Posts Tagged ‘coach’

Norba Nationals, Mammoth Lakes, CA - Jul 2001

Norba Nationals, Mammoth Lakes, CA – Jul 2001

I am an exuberant animal, dancing my way through life exploring every nook and cranny that is presented to me on this journey. My year round interest is ice hockey. I don’t play that much any more, so when I say ice hockey, I’m referring to the players that I develop, both on and off the ice. During the summer in my free time I’m in the mountain hiking with my dog and during the winter I’m snowshoeing with him. On the slopes during the summer I’m mountain biking, and during the winter I’m skiing. My current projects are developing an elite strength and conditioning program for Washington Ice Skating Association (Seattle Juniors Hockey Association and Seattle Skating Club). Also providing functional fitness and correction exercise services at an integrative medical clinic (Masa Integrative Clinic) in Seattle, Washington.

From as early as I can remember, my life has revolved around physical activity. Skiing, mountain biking, and hiking have all been the staples of physical activity throughout my life. When I was 9 I discovered ice hockey in the movie “The Cutting Edge”. From that day, I have been obsessed with the sport. I’ve always been passionate about fitness. The most recent catalyst for change came when I was living in Los Angeles in 2012. I had moved from Kirkland, Washington back to Los Angeles, California to be reunited with my closest friends since I moved to Washington to attend Bastyr University. When I moved back, I was my heaviest at 195 pounds. I had never been that heavy. As time went on, I continued gaining weight and hit 210 pounds in late 2012. I realized something needed to change! A better way to say that is transform! I wrote down all the tools that I used with clients to improve their lives and applied them to myself! I can now say “Wow this stuff really works”. I haven’t looked back since. I’m now 178-180 pounds. I want to add a caveat that weight is not an important number to look at overall, but for me it had meaning. And that is the key, find what inspires you to transform your life.

Without fitness I would not be where I am physically, mentally, or spiritually. Fitness has given my life purpose, and a community that has a universal language. I don’t care what type of physical activity someone participates in it’s fitness. The fitness world as a whole has given me the opportunity to touch lives, that I would not have been able to touch without my knowledge of fitness.

Maintaining a high level of fitness allows me to continue to inspire others, while continuing to participate in the physical activities that keep me inspired.

Maintaining a high level of fitness allows me to continue to inspire others, while continuing to participate in the physical activities that keep me inspired.

My driving force is leading by example. Being able to demonstrate what I’m expecting from my athletes and clients is very important. Also being able to participate in all of the sports and activities that I’m passionate about. In the long run, I take care of myself in the hopes of having a long healthy life. I’m the only child of two amazing parents that have not had the easiest of lives and I have the most amazing stories to tell because of that. My parents have been the most encouraging and supportive part of my life. In whatever I chose to pursue, they were always there to ensure I had a plan in place, to ensure that I was making progress. They offered this support for my desire to race BMX as a kid to the 20 plus years of ice hockey, and attending Bastyr University. Outside of my family, I’ve always had the most amazing mentors and coaches. For example I’ve had the same skating coach since I was 9 years old! My psychology mentor I’ve had since I was 14. Of course that relationship started with me being a patient. But hey, he’s a mentor now. More recently a former professor of mine from Bastyr has become a great inspiration and mentor. The honesty was not always easy to hear, but without the unrelenting support and encouragement of these people, I would not have been able to confidently pursue my passion for athletic performance, fitness, and wellness.

The most difficult thing to face thus far has been the numerous head injuries I’ve sustained over the years. I believe I am up to 12 concussions and 1 brain contusion. The concussions are not the obstacle. The contusion however changed the course of my life. Don’t get me wrong, the course of my life has lead me to this moment, which I’m honored to have. As an 18 year old being told that I could never play hockey, race downhill mountain bikes, go skiing/snowboarding, or four-wheeling ever again, broke my heart. That realization sent me into a place that I never wish on any of my athletes or clients.  Following my contusion diagnosis; there was a 5-year span of my life that was incredibly scary for my parents. But with the support of so many, I over came that barrier to become the coach I am today. Speaking of this time, I am inspired to do a presentation on the importance of sensitive communication when dealing with athletes who are recovering from an injury.

It's very important for me as a Coach to lead by example ~ Coach Daniel

It’s very important for me as a Coach to lead by example ~ Coach Daniel

I don’t have a set routine but I always have fun and try to stay injury free. My favorite tools though include TRX suspension, Rip Kettle bells, Barbells, Dumbbells, and of course bodyweight. Every workout does include the following:

Dynamic warm-up

Power Component

Strength Component

Agility Component

Aerobic Component

Flexibility & Mobility Components

When it comes to supplements, I stick to the items that have been shown to maintain brain health because of the severity of the brain injuries I’ve sustained, most of these products come from Metagenics. I take a high potency DHA, Co-Q10, and Multiple Vitamin Mineral. Sometimes I’ll add protein powder to my yogurt or make a smoothie. To manage my pain, I take a product called Inflavanoid Intensive Care, which is a combination of anti-inflammatory herbs.

The following are examples of how I usually eat; as with my workouts, my meals vary as well. I do my best to ensure that I’m getting a healthy dose of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats. For my own personal health; I am gluten free and take supplements specific to my health needs.

Breakfast – Greek Yogurt with peanut butter, dark chocolate chunks, and blue berries Snack – Coffee with soy milk
Lunch – Sandwich (gluten free bread) with lots of spinach, onions, and an animal based protein.

Snack – protein bar or drink
. Dinner – Vegetables and an animal protein.

I want to maintain my current fitness level and remain injury free. It’s that simple. I’m always preparing to participate in an event. Currently I’m contemplating getting back into racing down hill mountain bikes.

Am I an exuberant animal ~ Daniel Heller

Am I an exuberant animal ~ Daniel Heller

Are you lacking motivation?

If that phrase comes up, sit with it. What does it mean to you, the reader? If it’s not sitting right, try another phrase, “I’m not motivated to go to the gym.” That’s totally fine, what are you motivated to do? What does that motivation feel like? Use that motivation to create a goal. If you’re uncertain how to accomplish that goal, remember there is someone out there who has had the goal and accomplished it; who is also willing to guide you. You’re not alone! Fitness is an open-heart community full of people willing and wanting to support each other.

Personal Note: I would like to talk about the importance of community. What Socially Fit has created by bringing people together to share their fitness journey in a social way is incredibly powerful to those who need community support to accomplish their goals. Thank you for this opportunity to share my journey, inspirations, and future with your audience. I’m looking forward to continuing this journey of athletic performance with you. I hope that my journey inspires others to take charge of their own lives and to seek out the community that can offer the support they need to continue with their journey to fitness, health & wellness!

Daniel Heller, BSc, CSCS, FMSC
Twitter: @CoachDCSCS

Core Fusion Athlete Development and Conditioning

My interest in fitness began at a young age. I grew up playing all sports but once I was in high school I focused on football, hockey and lacrosse. With these sports came a huge emphasis on health and fitness. At my high school, Lakeshore Catholic High School in Port Colborne ON, there was a large emphasis placed on academics and athletics and that was right up my alley. I worked hard to be athletically and academically sound while managing to play Jr Hockey, Varsity football and Varsity Field Lacrosse and excelling at all of them. I had the opportunity to play all three sports at the University and Amateur Level so decisions had to be made. After finishing out my Jr Hockey career and playing in the Canadian Jr Football League I decided to focus on my academics. I finished my undergraduate degree in Kinesiology and pursued a Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology. It was in between my undergraduate degree and my masters degree where my focus shifted to strength and conditioning from a functional training perspective. At the time I worked as a Strength and Conditioning coach for the Brock University Men’s and Women’s Hockey teams and an Assistant Coach for the Women’s Hockey team.

Nicholas (in red)

While at Brock University I conducted research for Hockey Canada on the prediction of fitness levels in hockey players of all ages as well as the impact of body checking on injury occurrence in young minor hockey players. I then realized I had a passion for research! I was accepted into a PhD at Western University in Exercise Physiology but knew it wasn’t for me. While working on my PhD I was offered the position at Mohawk College and withdrew to become a Professor in Health Wellness and Fitness.

I have been a professor in the Health, Wellness and Fitness program at Mohawk College since its inception four years ago. I was hired to aid in the development of the program from the ground up. Our first intake was expected to be approximately 30 students and we ended up with 130 first semester students. Since then our program has grown significantly and it is now highly recognized and respected among industry professionals in Southern Ontario.

Core Fusion Athlete Development and Conditioning is a business that I run out of the college. I started Core Fusion as an initiative to provide Mohawk College students with the opportunity to observe the strength and conditioning industry first hand. I wanted them to see what it is like to work one on one with clients or run group training sessions or team training sessions. In four years Core Fusion has become a well-recognized strength and conditioning business in southern Ontario. We work with people of all ages and abilities, athletes, teams, groups of all ages, sports and abilities and the best part is that it is being run by my colleague Chantal Szpak, two former students (Mark Cormier and Kim Dehaan) and a current student (Danielle Lavoie). We are constantly looking for new clients and new teams as well.

“I remember working with personal trainers (friends of my parents) at a young age and that is what sparked me. Seeing how committed people were to the industry and constantly seeing myself improve. I remember the rush of noticing improvements in my performance at such a young age. I have had my ups and downs. I have always known how important fitness is from an educational perspective and I have worked as a personal trainer, coach, strength and conditioning coach, professor, and health and wellness educator working with students who have made poor lifestyle choices. At the same time I have lived and learned. I have made the mistakes of showing up to training camps out of shape, trying to periodize my own training and being overweight, following the wrong advice, reading the wrong magazine etc. One thing I have learned and I preach is that you have to get out there and do it. You have to try it. Try different programs, try different lifts, try different workouts, workout with as many different people as you can and do their workouts, learn from as many people as you can BUT be open-minded. See what works for you, find out what works for you and for others and formulate your own theories. Do not always believe what you read works for everyone because it does not. Everyone is different and everyone responds differently to different training.”

Fitness is a significant aspect of all parts of my life. I am surrounded by it every minute of every day. It is more difficult to not be influenced by fitness than it is to be influenced by fitness. There is a point where you start to know your body so well that you know how your body will respond to a poor workout or poor foods or missing a couple of days of training. Fitness and Wellness is my life. I am wondering what I would be like it without it. I have a couple of major influences in my life. My dad taught me the importance of commitment and dedication at a really early age. My Mom and Dad worked really hard to make sure I had the best opportunity to succeed and worked really hard to make sure we lived comfortably. They spared no time or expense to ensure that I was the focus of their lives. My high school football coach and mentor Brad Johnstone was one of the biggest influences in my life. He taught me the importance of exercise and fitness in life. He was also one of the most influential people in my life in terms of attitude and character instilling values of hard work, dedication, commitment and confidence. He helped developed so many qualities that came from my parents. As I aged and achieved my parents pride continued to grow. They are still proud of me to this day and they are still proud of all of my achievements. My Mom and Dad never missed a game I played and my Dad never missed a hockey practice.

Nicholas with his Dad

I am an independent associate with USANA Health Sciences. USANA is the highest rated nutritional supplement in the world. I take a daily Health Pak (Chelated Mineral, Antioxidant, Calcium), Vitamin C, Vitamin D and Protein. Other than that I do not take any additional supplements. I no longer periodize my workout routines as I am out of the competitive stage of my life (from an athletics point of view) so now I typically lift 6 days a week but train 7 days a week. All of my training is functional with a focus on the core. I train from the inside out with a focus on improving strength and power from the core in order to improve strength and power through the peripheries. I typically train with a slow and controlled eccentric and a powerful concentric movement. I also always train with a movement perspective and utilize as many variables of instability as possible (stability balls, BOSU Balls, ViPR’s, Sandbells, TRX, Medicine Balls, Battling Ropes, Lifting Chains etc.). No matter what I do I work with supersets or compound set depending on the day, with 30 second to 1 minute rest periods. I also always try to incorporate 1 power day a week with Snatches, Deadlifts, Hang Cleans, Upper and Lower Plyos and Push Press. Basically, I hit every muscle group 2-3x in a 7 day period with some sort of circuit or split routine.  I am always experimenting. From a cardiovascular perspective, I run with my Golden doodles for 30 minutes every morning. Over the course of a week I teach one spin class, run 10km twice, do two sprint interval training sessions, and do two days of lower intensity, longer durations.

Nicholas with his Mom

I have USANA Nutrimeal for breakfast (15g protein, low glycemic and high fiber shake with fruits and yogurts), USANA chocolate and peanut butter bar and a banana. For lunch it varies. Sometimes a chicken wrap or sandwich and sometimes a salad and sometimes a protein shake or a chicken pita. Dinner is always depending on my days. I am always on the go. I work at the college as a professor, I still sell supplements on the side so I am busy with meeting with clients and I also still have my own clients on the side as well. I am typically up at 5am, run the dogs; train a couple of clients and on the road to work by 8. Work for the day, meet with clients at the end of the day or train more clients and then home sometime around 7pm.

My current fitness goals are to always challenge myself! I do not have a specific goal or a measurable goal but I push myself every day to be a bit better or try a new lift or run a longer distance or at a higher intensity. Whatever I am doing, I do not short it. I commit myself and everything I have into everything I do. That is what I pride myself on. I do not give up, I do not quit and I do not give 50% to anything.  There is no time like the present. The most difficult part is getting to the first meeting or session. I always refer to some motivational people when I need inspiration and Jim Rohn has some of the greatest sayings. Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live. Don’t wish it were easier, wish you were better. You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of. It is never too early or too late.

Take pride in everything you do. Live every day like it is your last. One thing I have learned is that only you can make the changes you need to be happy. Once you know what you need to do, work on making those changes for the better.

Yours in good health,



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