Name: Akriti Sharma
Role at Fortius: Strength and Conditioning Coach
Programs coached at Fortius: SportSTRONG, BCCA Basketball
Sport(s) or specialization:  Mine? (Basketball), as a coach- Various team Sports
Education/certification: Bsc. (Hons.) Sport and Exercise Science, Master of Kinesiology, CSCS
Hometown:  New Delhi
Number of years coaching: 5
Coaching style in one word: Adaptive
How did you get your start in coaching?
After tearing both my ACLs while playing basketball, I was drawn towards strength and conditioning and using it as a tool to reduce the risk of injury. In India, there is a dearth of professionals that are able to understand the demands of sport and prepare athletes to compete at high levels- this motivated me to pursue a degree in sport science and gain experience within strength and conditioning.

Tell us a bit about the program(s) you coach at Fortius:
I am currently involved with coaching in the SportSTRONG stream which is geared towards youth aged 10-16. The aim of the program is to improve athleticism and reduce the risk of injury in kids by introducing them to foundational movement patterns, sprinting and jumping technique, and developing strength, speed, agility, and endurance. This lays a good foundation for them as they compete at higher levels of sport when they are older or if they continue to be physically active in the recreational space.

How would your athletes describe your coaching style?
Hard but fair.

Share one of your most memorable moments as a coach:
The best times are when you know an athlete has absorbed what you have been trying to drill into their heads- specifically when one of the athletes in SportSTRONG was able to run a full warm-up and coach some exercise to the group.

What is a phrase or quote your athletes always hear you say:
Not exactly a quote, but one of the cues I probably use so often that I tire myself of it: Neutral Spine!

Fortius Sport & Health is celebrating National Coaches Week in partnership with the viaSport Regional Alliance by hosting discounted NCCP coaching courses. Sign up today at and stay tuned on social media @FortiusCentre for more great content.

Coaches Week Profile: Jermaine John-Archer

Name: Jermaine John-Archer
Role at Fortius: ArtisticSTRONG Lead, Strength & Conditioning Coach
Programs coached at Fortius: ArtisticSTRONG
Sport(s) background:  Artistic sports (dance, figure skating, ice dance, gymnastics, etc.)
Education/certification: B.Kin, CSEP-CEP
Hometown:  Toronto
Number of years coaching: 10+ years
Coaching style in one word:  Innovative

How did you get your start in coaching?
As the assistant director of the McMaster Urban Dance company under the direction of the McMaster Centre for Dance, my team implemented a strategy that redefined McMaster University’s dance program. We designed a feedback system that involved many different training methods and dance disciplines, creating well rounded dancers and athletes. After graduating, I continued my career as a dancer and coach while also working as an exercise physiologist for many recreational and professional dance schools, physiotherapy clinics, athletic training studios and private artistic & performance artists.

Tell us a bit about the program(s) you coach at Fortius:
ArtisticSTRONG complements sport-specific training within a purposeful platform designed for all artistic athletes, including dancers, figure skaters, ice dancers, gymnasts, synchronized sports (swimming, diving, skating, etc.), acrobatics, aerialist, circus and more. Artistic athletes learn foundational elements while addressing functional skill development, movement quality, strength, power, and stamina for performance and overall artistic athleticism. Our goal for the artistic athlete is longevity. We complement sport specific training along a developing athlete model to improve performance, prevent injuries and boost motivation through movement competency and confidence.

How would your athletes describe your coaching style?
I was once called an “Evil Backstreet Boy” – partly due to my boyish good looks and charm, followed by a dash of tyrannical demands for proper posture, breath and mindful intention during each rep…all done with a smile!

Share one of your most memorable moments as a coach:
In the summer of 2016 I had the privilege of travelling across Europe to coach at the international figure skating camps, iceDOME. Lead by world renowned figure skating coach Michael Huth, I was invited to lend my services as a Strength and Conditioning Coach, dancer, and Artistic Sports Performance Coach to a group of developing young athletes, world champions and Olympic superstars. With multiple perspectives on youth athlete development and figure skating, the on-ice experts and off-ice coaches integrated their specialties to apply basic on-ice drills to off-ice strength and conditioning, providing a great environment to enhance skills needed for optimal performance. Together we were able to provide an all-encompassing athlete experience for the development of young figure skaters.

What is a phrase or quote your athletes always hear you say:
I can be relatively crazy on most days, so my athletes never really know what ridiculousness may or may not be spoken at any given time during our session.

Fortius Sport & Health is celebrating National Coaches Week in partnership with the viaSport Regional Alliance by hosting discounted NCCP coaching courses. Sign up today at and stay tuned on social media @FortiusCentre for more great coaching profiles.




Coaches Week Profile: Molly O’Brien

Name: Molly O’Brien
Role at Fortius: Director of Strength and Conditioning
Programs coached at Fortius: HockeySTRONG, private coaching
Sport background: Wrestling and gymnastics
Education/certification: BKin, MS (Strength and Conditioning), CSCS, USAW, FMS-I/FMS-II, PN
Hometown:  Kitchener, Ontario
Number of years coaching: 8
Coaching style in one word: Invested

How did you get your start in coaching?
I was lucky enough to study at McMaster University just as Steve Lidstone, newly appointed Director of Strength & Conditioning (SNC), was looking for interns to build out a staff. With his leadership and encouragement, he’s given many young coaches in this country a great start in this field.

Tell us a bit about the program(s) you coach at Fortius:
 I coach in our HockeySTRONG off-season training program, geared toward providing developing and professional-level hockey players with the right support team for their development needs. Our HockeySTRONG program has great energy, I love being able to see these athletes come back each year excited and ready to work hard.

How would your athletes describe your coaching style?
I recognize that the athlete has the most important and valuable observations, feedback, and direction in regards to their own training and development. I try to create an environment where the athlete feels empowered to contribute to their training plan; is actively, encouraged and motivated to execute each day; and aware of the daily contribution to the long-term objectives.

Share one of your most memorable moments as a coach: 
Watching one of our professional athletes talk about his career and give advice to the next generation while recovering after a training session. That’s what it’s all about.

What is a phrase or quote your athletes always hear you say: 
It is a great thing to be able to do what we love.

Fortius Sport & Health is celebrating National Coaches Week in partnership with the viaSport Regional Alliance by hosting seven discounted NCCP coaching courses. Sign up today and stay tuned on social media @FortiusCentre for more great coaching profiles

Win a FREE private coaching session

The health and happiness of our clients is paramount at Fortius Sport & Health, which is why we sent you all a survey last week to find out how we’re doing.

Whether you’re striving to improve your health and fitness, or pursuing athletic excellence, we want to ensure you received the best possible experience. 

Thank you to those who have already taken the time to submit your responses. There is still time! Fill out this survey before Friday, September 16 for a chance to win a free private training session with one of our world-class coaches ($100 value).


The Benefits of a Group Fitness Class

By Jerrad Guenther

Group training or group fitness classes have been increasing in popularity over the past decade for good reason. Whether it’s a small group training class based around developing foundational strength or a high intensity bootcamp, gym-goers have many reasons to implement group classes into their weekly routine. This by no means an exhaustive list of the benefits of group training, but rather a chance to highlight some perks of group fitness classes that often fly under the radar.

Arguably one of the most important aspects of training is motivation. Group fitness classes are a great way to workout alongside friends, coworkers and soon to become friends in a manner that keeps you motivated. Perfect lifting technique or training at the right intensity are not nearly as impactful to your results as being motivated to show up to that days workout. Group classes make it easy to show up at the Training Centre after a day in the office, with the help of an educated and certified coach to lead your fitness class.

In addition to the benefits of being motivated, is accountability for your adherence to the program to shape your goals and progress. Training as part of a group class will ensure that your fellow group members and coach will be expecting you at your regularly scheduled timeslot. Missing a solo workout might feel like it has very little consequence, however, when your group and coach are counting on you those consequences are much greater.

Finally, having fun with your workouts can be all the difference in seeing the results you want and keeping you coming back for more. Training in a fun atmosphere starts with the instructor. Having a Strength & Conditioning Coach that brings energy and a variety of exercise movements to a class is paramount. Each unique coach will bring something different to the table and have slightly different style of motivating you throughout the session.

Fortius offers a growing number of group classes ranging from Small Group Training in the Training Centre, to PowerWatts cycling classes in the Cauldron. Whether you want to train with friends or come in solo but still be motivated by like-minded others, group fitness classes at Fortius may be the boost your weekly workout routine is looking for.

Rucking Good Game

By Haley Glendinning

My rugby career began in high school after a high foul-count season of basketball. I was an “aggressive” player, collecting mostly offensive fouls. A then basketball teammate suggested I come out to a rugby practice as it might be a better environment for my athletic pursuits.  That February I attended my first senior high school practice as a junior and stuck with it for the remainder of my secondary schooling. The basic rules took some getting used to; passing backwards and knowing fair well that being in the possession of the ball meant that EVERYONE on the opposing team had a keen eye to take you to the dirt. This last point was brought to my attention by my grandmother, who still watches my matches despite the cringe she gives each time I’m tackled.

From there my experience with recreational, varsity and provincial level play has seen me in the sport for 10+ years now. My continued love for this brutish sport has some puzzled: after two ACL reconstructions (2008 & 2016), and one orbital blow out and subsequent reconstruction (2015). I still get those excited butterflies when I head to practice. You know the feeling before a first date? That’s how I feel for the first practice of the season. Everything is new! New teammates to teach and old teammates to tackle as we focus on claiming the Provincial Premiere title.

With the recent attention of the Women’s 7’s team in the Rio Olympics, rugby has been in the limelight as of late. The pool play played out with easy wins against Japan and Brazil, but put up against Great Britain they floundered a bit which cost them the match. However, they came back to trump the nation in the Bronze medal match to make history! Canada secured Bronze in their Olympic debut.

The women’s program, as you can see, is quite strong. Centralization of the women’s National 7’s team is in Langford, BC. The city was host World Rugby 7’s stop for the woman’s side in April of 2015 and 2016, which boasted the best support of any women’s tournament host location and secured it as a stop for years to come. As for the men, their BC stop was in Vancouver, which hosted a killer 7’s stop in 2016, securing the city for the next 5 years! The next events being May 27-28, 2017 and March 11-12, 2017, respectively.

Local rugby clubs held viewing parties for the event. Mine in particular, purchased bundles of seats at BC place stadium, which they filled with fans dressed to the nines in costumes customary for these types of international events. My club of choice being the Burnaby Lake Rugby Club (BLRC), which I have had the pleasure of being a part of for the past 5 seasons. After 4 years of playing varsity rugby with UBC in the fall, I always turned to the BLRC to finish off the club season until the summer months. Being a part of the women’s Premiere team definitely pushed my abilities, playing with the seasoned veterans, learning tips and moves here and there during practice and league games. In the last 4 years we have won the title twice and made it to the finals thrice. Being a part of this club is what drew me to Burnaby and subsequently Fortius.

Anyone interested in this great sport is always welcome at a BLRC practice. We train Tuesdays and Thursday evenings at 7pm with games all day Saturday. During season we host club dinners after training on Thursdays, we each take turns preparing food for 50+ people, with proceeds going towards our Mini-rugby program. If anything I’ve mentioned intrigues you come out to a practice and try this growing sport! All abilities, shapes or sizes are welcome.

And as always, Saturday is a rugby day!

Celebrating National Coaches Week at Fortius

September 17-25 is National Coaches Week, an annual celebration joining citizens from coast to coast to recognize and appreciate the positive impact coaches have on athletes and communities.

As part of the viaSport Regional Alliance, Fortius Sport & Health is joining sport centres across B.C. to celebrate by hosting National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) courses for only $10 each. This is a savings of approximately 86% off our average NCCP course fees.

Fortius will be hosting seven courses between Friday, September 16 and Saturday, October 08.

Date NCCP Course Time
16-Sep FMS – PD 6:00-9:00pm
17-Sep Basic Mental Skills 9:00am-12:00pm
18-Sep-16 Teaching and Learning 8:30am-5:30pm
23-Sep Nutrition 6:00-7:00pm
24-Sep Design a Sports Program 9:00am-1:00pm
7-Oct Making Ethical Decisions 6:00-9:30pm
8-Oct Planning a Practice 9:00am-3:30pm


Follow us on social media during National Coaches Week as we say #ThanksCoach to some of the influential coaches here at Fortius.

Visit to learn more about how you can get involved in British Columbia.

Yoga For Runners

Getting back into a new fall training schedule? Have you considered how you will complement your training? Why not try our Yoga for Runners class?

This is a class to promote strength and flexibility unique to the needs of the long-distance runner. Sessions will focus on core strength for better running stability, injury prevention, and post-run recovery. All levels welcome – especially folks with tight hamstrings!  This class is designed to complement run training for the Fit First Fall Run Clinic, so it will peak and taper with your training. If you’re not a Fit First Run Clinic member, that’s okay; this class is for anyone who runs!

Please click here for more details.

Athlete of the Month

The 2016 Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Team

History was made this year with aspiring Canadian talent and an exceptional performance by our athletes at this year’s Summer Olympic Games in Rio.  Tied with our second best performance at the Olympic Summer Games with our outstanding results from the 1996 Games in Atlanta (our best Games were in Los Angeles of 1984), we beat the expected 19 medal count with a total win of 22!  314 competitors represented Canada in 27 sports, bringing home 4 gold, 3 silver, and 15 bronze medals.  Congrats to all the athletes that competed – we’re proud of your achievements and performance.

A big congratulations to the Canadian women who very deservingly won 16 of our 22 medals.  Leading that train was swimmer Penny Oleksiak, who broke Canada’s Olympic record for the most medals won by a single Canadian athlete in any Summer Olympic Games – she took home 4, including gold in Women’s 100m Freestyle.  She’s also the youngest Canadian gold medalist, and became Canada’s youngest flag-bearer in Olympic history at the end of the Games.

A special mention to all of the Fortius athletes that represented Canada at the Summer Olympic Games in Rio:

Georgia Simerling – Track Cycling Team Pursuit – BC (Bronze Medal)

Brianne Theisen-Eaton – Heptathlon – SK (Bronze Medal)

Tory Nyhaug – Cycling BMX – BC

Scott Morgan – Gymnastics – BC

Brendan Hodge, Maxwell Lattimer, Nicolas Pratt, and Eric Woelfl – Men’s Lightweight Four Rowing – BC

Gavin Schmitt – Men’s Volleyball – AB

Canada Women’s Soccer Team (Bronze Medal)

Men’s Field Hockey

Congrats to our Fortius Olympians!!  As we continue to watch the Paralympic Games which started earlier this week (September 7th to 18th), let’s continue to cheer on our brave Canadian athletes – 162 athletes competing in 19 sports.  Here we highlight two of our Fortius athletes that are competing:

Shawna Ryan and Joanie Carron (Fortius PowerWatts Cycling Coach) – Tandem Stoker Canadian Paracycling Team – SK/QC

Nathan Stein – Swimming – BC

Good luck to all the Canadian athletes competing at this year’s Paralympic Summer Games.

Helping you turn motivation into action!