Healthy Kids Y Stories

The Power of Persistence: How Emily Chased her Dreams

Personal training isn’t just about losing weight or bulking up. YMCA certified personal trainers help people of all ages and abilities achieve a variety of personal goals.

Emily Shenouda, a 12 year old member at the Markham YMCA, needed some support to turn her big dreams into realities. This is her way of saying “thank you” to Andrea, the YMCA personal trainer who helped her when others couldn’t:   

“My name is Emily and I am only 12 years old. A couple of years ago, I was diagnosed with a problem with my navicular bone, which was very painful and prevented me from running, which I love. I went to physio for many, many months, and did all my stretches. That helped for a while, but didn’t last. I went to the podiatrist and he told me that I should stop running completely or I would end up needing surgery. I also remember him saying that I was his youngest client with such a serious foot issue. He told me that I should start swimming or biking instead of running, or start another hobby that was less painful on my feet. I remember leaving his office crying and telling my mom that I will never quit running and that I don’t care about what happens to my feet.

My parents suggested I get a personal trainer to help me strengthen my muscles and hopefully with time, improve my condition. That’s when we joined the Markham Y and met Andrea. My parents told her all about my condition and how much I love to compete and run. Andrea taught me how to compose myself better, develop proper posture, and how to control my pain with my breathing and stretching.  

In the first 4 lessons with her, I remember improving from 5th place to 2nd out of 52 girls.  As time went on, I improved more and more with her. She not only taught me better running form; she taught me to keep on pushing. No matter what the obstacle, I learned from Andrea that there is always a solution.

I have now been with Andrea for almost 1 year. I have improved a lot, not only in running but also in my fitness mark in school. During my last 4KM race out of 86 girls, I came in 1st place in my school and 2nd out of all the ACSI schools.

Right now, I am the most grateful person for going to the YMCA to train because I am so happy I can keep doing what I love.”

Follow Emily’s example: draw on the expertise of a YMCA personal trainer not only to grow stronger physically, but also to build a healthy mind and spirit. Learn more about how we can help you chase your dreams here.