Sherry Shaban has been a health and fitness professional for over 20 years. She helps her clients—athletes as she refers to them—overcome their health and fitness obstacles through a mix of fitness, nutrition and therapy.
It’s work that Sherry is well suited for having battled through her own life obstacles that began tragically when in her teens she was struck by a car.
Up until that fateful day, Sherry seemed destined for a life in competitive sports. She was a varsity basketball, volleyball and track all-star with a relentless drive to be the strongest and the fastest.
After the accident and resulting partial laminectomy surgery to remove a portion of her vertebrae, she was told by her doctors that she’d never play sports again.
Pain, A MotivatOR for Change
As Sherry explains it, deep transformations come as a result of pain. While both pain or pleasure can be a deciding factor in making decisions, pain as a motivator and as a leverage for change is far more effective.
Sometimes you need to hit rock bottom in order for change to occur.
For Sherry hitting rock bottom meant being a shadow of her former self. Four years after the accident, she was out of shape and looking at the prospect of a life of medication to manage the chronic pain in her leg and back.
It was at this point in her life, with a longing for her former identity that Sherry walked into the local gym and put herself back together. Six months later in an astounding transformation, she was leaner, stronger, and most remarkably, the back pain was all but gone.
Sherry had rediscovered her passion.
She was midway through a Master’s degree in Chemistry at McGill at the time but dropped out for another degree in Exercise Science at Concordia. She would go on to graduate with honours, completing her NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS).
In the years that followed Sherry would go on to open Be Training— a wellness company— and later, two CrossFit locations, the first in Westmount and the other in Ile-Bizard.
During the opening of CrossFit Westmount calamity struck again. A ruptured disk sent Sherry to the hospital for a second laminectomy where she learned she was millimetres away from cauda equina and permanent paralysis.
Recovering from surgery while opening her second gym left Sherry feeling like a failure and a fraud. What kind of role model could she be when she couldn’t even demonstrate a single squat?
This time it was her athletes that would provide the spark and motivation to change. Inspired by their commitment and personal transformations Sherry realized that she could do it again. Following their example, she set out to transform herself once more.
Her efforts would culminate into one of her greatest joys and experiences yet— the completion of her first Ironman in 2016!
FIND YOUR WHY
At this point in the story, you might very well be thinking that Sherry is an anomaly, that she possesses some unique qualities that you do not. You may even convince yourself that this kind of health transformation is just not possible for you.
Luckily Sherry doesn’t see it this way.
“I absolutely believe that every single person is an athlete. They just have to tap into that. It’s not about laziness or a lack of motivation. It has everything to do with mindset. How you view yourself. What your expectations are of yourself. How you leverage pain in order for you to commit to your goals and how you create habits along the way.”
The important thing to remember she says is that as athletes anyone of us can create a change in our health and fitness and empower a new identity if we really want to.
Finding A Sense of Purpose
Sherry has made many significant and remarkable physical transformations. She’s overcome debilitating injury and chronic back pain and come out on top.
But one of her greatest transformations has been coming to terms with what she has lived through and finding in the end, a sense of purpose in it all.
Where she was once bitter about the accident and the loss of a life she once seemed destined to fulfill, she now accepts that it all happened for a reason.
“It didn’t happen to me but for me. It had to happen so that I could share it with others”, she says. “If it hadn’t happened I wouldn’t be the coach that I am. I wasn’t just supposed to pursue my own personal goals as an athlete but instead to help motivate and inspire others through their own obstacles”.
For Sherry, whenever she feels her motivation slipping she reminds herself how lucky she is—she could have been in a wheelchair right now.
The back pain persists but she faces each day with gratitude. Health and fitness are a gift and every breath a privilege. Sherry knows to count her blessings.
Sherry Shaban is an osteopath and fitness and wellness coach offering multiple transformation programs that tackle mind, body, health and fitness. She provides a range of core services that include easy to follow meal plans and recipes, variable and fun workouts and weekly accountability coaching calls. She recently launched a new fitness program called 50Fit that offers low-impact and adaptive workouts for the 50+ crowd. To learn more about Sherry and her services, please visit sherryshaban.com.
In the spring of this year, CrossFit Ile-Bizard merged with Coexist CrossFit to become Imunity Fitness. Imunity Fitness combines the expertise and experience of owners Sherry Shaban and Tisha Lajeunesse to offer a holistic approach to fitness in a safe, clean and spacious environment.