Name: Deirdre Derby
Occupation: Owner of Dragonfly Vitality Fitness Boutique
Lifestyle: Outdoorsy, active, with time to be creative
What’s a typical day like for you?
Mornings are busy with my routine of lemon water and a flax seed cocktail, making breakfast for my son for when he returns from morning swim practice, walking the dog (or should I say, taking the dog for a sniff), going through my workout, and maybe some quick paperwork!
The afternoon is spent going over client workouts, class planning, doing my most favourite bookkeeping (NOT!), social media, and networking before my clients and classes begin later in the day and evening. I usually finish with clients and classes by 8:30pm, and then have a bit of unwind time watching some TV with my family. Bedtime is around 10:00pm, which is when I typically journal and read for a few minutes, before lights out.
What in your life is really important to you?
My family and friends are the most important things in my life. Obviously health is also very important to me, along with eating well and being active. Trying to decrease my carbon footprint as much as possible is another one, and that’s very difficult when you live in a suburb. I do what I can, however, even when it requires extra effort.
Learning and growing as an individual is also quite important! Whenever possible, I enroll in extra courses or read new books. Indigo is a dangerous place for me!
And finally, being creative!
What would you like to be remembered for?
Being kind and compassionate without compromising who I am and what I need. Helping others return to really living through helping them become healthy.
What role does fashion play in your life?
I LOVE clothes! It is pretty much a problem, hahaha!
I have to stay away from the mall just to avoid shopping! I’ve always truly believed that how you dress says a lot about who you are. Fashion allows us to express ourselves. Nothing can turn a bad day around like putting on your favourite outfit that you know you look amazing in – especially when networking or trying to make and impression! When you feel good in the clothes you’re wearing, you feel more confident. And it shows.
My tastes are pretty eclectic! For work I wear athletic apparel such as yoga pants, and I like to have outfits that make a bit of a statement and stand out. Funky bottoms, bra tops with fancy backings and the like. I love pretty dresses in the summer, great sweaters in the winter. It really depends on my mood!
What do you love about shopping at Fresh Collective?
Fresh Collective has original clothing that actually fits, is comfortable and gorgeous, all at the same time! The prices are also very affordable.
Some of the big box stores make clothes for women who are sticks, but for me with my muscular legs, it’s very hard to find pants that fit both my legs and my waist! I have no problem with this at Fresh Collective. And I love that I’m not likely to see several other women in the same outfit!
What do you have that you want to promote?
I love helping women rediscover who they are and getting them on track to living well again through healthy eating and exercise!
I offer a program to suit many needs, whether you prefer to attend classes in-person in a small, home-based studio, or whether you prefer one-on-one in-person training, or online coaching!
I really enjoy the positive energy and community environment in my group classes, but my passion lies in one-on-one coaching! I love getting to know every individual that crosses my path, and doing so in a private environment allows me to really delve into who you are and what makes you tick! Then, together we can find your path to optimal health!
Hearing the joy in your voice when you begin to live again and experience all life has to offer is what makes my heart sing!
I really want to get fit, but personal motivation has always been an issue for me. How do you encourage people to commit and stay committed to their diet and workout?
Commitment and motivation are truly the toughest part of the job. Small changes are key. Making a change so small that it isn’t overwhelming is the best way to go, and you need to feel successful at it. Once that’s in place, adding another goal becomes possible. And that goes for both diet and exercise.
When the client starts to feel improvements in their energy levels and gets more focused and excited to start a new day, the changes become easier to implement! Weight loss, muscle toning, better skin and hair start to occur, in turn reinforcing new behaviour patterns even more. Also, learning what workouts the clients like and dislike, what foods are completely off the table and what will work with their lifestyle are very important considerations! And of course, getting the client to really connect with why they want to change!
What are your niche areas of fitness expertise?
Meeting a client where they are at! When I first meet with a client, we go through a fitness assessment to determine what their fitness level is. And we kick off from there. I take the client through a gradual progression so they don’t get sore and risk being unable to walk for days (although that does sometimes happen, I won’t lie).
Over time, the workout becomes harder and more challenging. The cool thing is that most of the time they don’t even realize it! They’ll complain about how they couldn’t finish a set, and I’ll have to point out that just a few weeks ago they couldn’t do half of that! When they remember where they started from, the light bulb goes off and they recognize how far they’ve come.
I also have a super power that allows me to know where a client is at, emotionally and physically, as soon as I see them. Becoming physically fit is not always about working out to exhaustion every time. If my client shows up in tears because of a life situation, a heavy interval workout may not be the best thing for them in that moment! In those cases, I often switch to yoga and relaxation. The client feels much better afterwards; they continue to trust me, thereby strengthening our relationship and commitment to their goals.
Tell us about some of your favourite client success stories!
About seven years ago, a father of one of my son’s friends was diagnosed with type II diabetes. He was close to 300lbs, tired all the time, cranky and irritable, and his family was afraid for his life. He decided he no longer wanted that life and was ready to change!
He started coming for personal training and lost about 80lbs, and still continues coming to this day! He now runs with his wife, goes on bike rides with the kids, plays squash with his brother-in-law, and really enjoys life! When there’s a physically-demanding task that needs to be done at home, he feels strong enough to tackle it and lets me know how he is still surprised about how easy it is, since there was a time he wouldn’t have been able to do it at all! Watching him become healthy and more involved with his family again has been amazing!
Another client came to me after a difficult divorce because she was ready to make changes. She had been in a car accident a few years beforehand, and was still suffering from severe neck and shoulder pain, to point that she found it difficult to do housework. She had subsequently gained weight and, coupled with her divorce, felt very unhappy about herself.
She began coming to personal training sessions, and we were able to strengthen the necessary muscles to lessen her pain. Housework stopped being an issue. She lost about 30lbs and put herself on match.com, and found an amazing new partner that she’s now been with for 3 years! She and her new partner have even done some renovations in her house all by themselves!
I have countless stories like these. At the end of the day, it’s not really about looking better or being thinner – it’s about living your life! What I do helps people arrive at the point where they can live to the fullest! We only have one body, and it is very useful when it works well! Look after it, and it will look after you.
Is there anything else we should know about you?
I have three children – two girls who are now adults in university, and my baby son who is 14 and not allowed to get any older! Hahaha!
I love to make things and am always looking for new projects. I make cold-processed soap, eye pillows, yoga mat bags, and yoga socks – just because I like to! I also love to cook and bake. But travelling is probably my biggest passion! I have had the privilege of going to a few places in Europe and the U.K, and can’t wait to get that opportunity again. Next on the bucket list is Asia!
Where can people find you on social media?
I can be found on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. There are a few workout videos on my YouTube channel for people to enjoy! My website is dragonflyvitality.ca. And I am on LinkedIn and Twitter. I can be reached by email at email@example.com.