Fernanda Lazzaro knows that finding your fitness groove doesn’t happen overnight. Find out how she stays strong and keeps up with her body’s evolving needs.
My full-time job is client relations in a municipal government association, but my passion is writing. I write short stories for children about the importance of bugs in our ecosystem. I love to write, and I am passionate about the environment. The combination of the two fulfills my need to be creative while helping educate young minds (and their parents or caregivers)about our environment.
A budding interest
Fitness is my other passion. I was seven years old when I sprinted my first100-meter race and won. I won first place again the following year. But when I turned 10, we moved from Toronto to Etobicoke, Ontario. I was too timid to join any after-school activities; I was a hermit for the first few years of school.
But then I discovered20 Minute Workout. I was hooked. I would tap sessions back-to-back so I could exercise for an hour straight. When I turned16, I bought a universal weight-training station with the money I had earned working part-time. I had no idea what good form was! Eventually, 10 years later, I started working at a mom-and-pop gym and was introduced to proper bodybuilding.
I’m now 48 and I’ve worked in the fitness industry on and off for 15 years. I started by working part-time reception at a local gym. After they went out of business, I worked at various locations for the Sports Clubs of Canada; I worked in the pro shop selling products and making shakes—peanut butter and chocolate were my specialties. I also taught group fitness classes in Brampton, Ontario.
Evolving and adapting
When I started making fitness part of my daily routine, I also started watching what I ate. This was the 80s during the non-fat fad, which was really coded for “extra sugar added.” I had no idea what harm I was actually doing to my body. I was young and active between my exercises, work, and studying broadcasting, so I was lucky not to see too much of a negative impact from what I was eating.
After I received my broadcast journalism diploma, I pitched a show to a producer I met while volunteering at Rogers Community TV. I created, produced, and co-hosted Art of Building Bodies, which ran for two seasons and aired in Canada South Africa, and Dubai. The program was about building strength.
It wasn’t until I worked on the Art of Building Bodies that I learned that you can share your body with the food you eat. I was in my early 30s by this time, and I was learning about the importance of eating natural foods. I would stay away from processed food and cooked everything from scratch.
For me, learning what to eat made the difference between feeling energetic or lethargic, feeling bloated, or feeling light. I can’t do much about what aging will do to my body, but I could always feel great just by eating the right foods.
Continuing the journey
I thought I’d be a she-woman forever, but the pain from heavyweight training eventually set in in my mid-30s.I had to quit cold turkey, or I would have suffered long-term damage. I started to swim and skip rope, and I went back to the old-school workouts that use my own body resistance, like push-ups and pull-ups. My body stopped aching and I gained more flexibility. Not to mention that I was able to work out at home and save time not having to travel to the gym. There are upsides to everything!
There is no one food or exercise that will give a woman her ideal body. There are many factors that work together: proper nutrition, exercise, sleep, low stress, and much more. Our needs change as we age, so you need to find the right formula that works for you. The key is balance and consistency, no matter where we are in the aging journey..
PHOTOS BY MARK RUDDICK (@mark_ruddick)