18 Aug

Read Marla’s article in Spotlight magazine, read about Marla’s humble beginnings into fitness, and get the link to vote for us in the Best of Medicine Hat contest in this issue of our email newsletter...

I am so pleased to be writing monthly for Spotlight magazine, a locally published and widely distributed information hub of local experts and writers. In this article, I decide to talk about my humble beginnings into fitness. Grab a coffee and I hope you enjoy!

Black Beauty

When I was a little girl of about 5 years old, I wanted a horse. And not a toy horse mind you, a real horse. I wanted a majestic black steed with long legs, a bold chest, a wild spirit, fire in his eyes and a flowing mane. If I close my eyes and I can still picture him today. Sigh, he is a regal beast! So, I asked my parents if we could get one, and they instantly said ‘no’! I was crushed. Devastated may be a better word, actually. I cried and cried. Why wouldn’t my parents let me have a horse? Why were they so mean? I just couldn’t understand it! We had a huge back yard (P.S. dear reader, we lived in town, and not on a farm) There was plenty of room for a horse to run in my opinion, and it could eat grass from our backyard, we wouldn’t even have to buy it food! I just had no idea why my parents were just so uncaring to my hopes and dreams! So- I did what every child does who wants something and doesn’t get it. I threw a tantrum, which instantly landed me a grounding. Since THAT didn’t work and I was only a helpless child, I just came to terms with my horrible fate and I would instead draw horses and read my Black Beauty books over and over again to help heal my broken heart. (Pause for reader to wipe away their tears due to my sad childhood story)

Fast forward two years. We moved away from the town where my beautiful horse should have been my best friend and lifelong pet. We settled in another small town of Allan, Saskatchewan. I liked it, it was alright. I spent my days going to school, playing football with my brother, playing Barbies, riding my bike, and going to the park with my new friends. Typical 7 year old girl stuff. Then one day my life changed forever. We were sitting at the dinner table, having our family supper, as we always did every night (oh, how times have changed!) My mom asked me if I wanted to enroll in gymnastics. I had no idea what on earth she was even talking about, so I just immediately said “no”. Then my mom said to me and I quote, “But they have a hooooorrrrse!” OMG OMG OMG! I was so excited!! I finally get to have horse! (Now just to clarify, everyone, a horse and the vault are interchangeable terms in gymnastics, but I didn’t know that at 7 years of age and my mom had tricked me!) And boy, I am glad she did! I fell head over heels in love with the sport and eventually started competing. My strongest event was the floor, but I was also very good on the balance beam. Ironically the vault (or horse if you will) was not my best apparatus. I won a bronze medal on the uneven bars in a division of the Olympics in Winnipeg, which qualified me to move on BUT Kelly Bly also won a bronze medal on bars and in the event of a tie, the scores overall are tallied and –alas-she beat me by 1 point. She moved on and I did not. I’ll save all the emotions and details of how I feel about Kelly Bly for my next childhood heartbreaking story.

I competed and practiced gymnastics everyday while in Allan, until the time came for our family to move again. My dad was a bank manager and we moved every two years, until the bank put a freeze on moving their managers and we settled in Melfort, Saskatchewan in 1981. I still call Melfort my home town, even though I have lived in Medicine Hat for much longer. Once I stopped competing in gymnastics due to lack of programs in my new town, I got my coaching certificate and began teaching gymnastics at age 14. I have been teaching fitness ever since.

I don’t think anyone could have predicted that the little girl who mourned over a horse of her very own would have that pivotal event lead her to owning a fitness studio and teaching health and fitness for a living. Myself included. After all these years, I am still very passionate about fitness and clean eating and I am so happy that I get to do what I love for a living! I have helped thousands of people reach their fitness goals, look better, feel better, and live a better quality of life. I am excited to spill my brain monthly to you dear reader, with everything I have learned and experienced in the fitness industry in the past 30 years of my career with the hope of giving you inspiration to move more and eat even better food! Please look for my monthly article in Spotlight magazine that will share fitness information, nutrition, recipes and maybe even more childhood stories!

Marla Howard
Heartbreaker Dance and Fitness

Call: 403-952-6191

Certified in the following areas...

  • AFLCA Group Leadership Designate
  • Agatsu Kettle bell
  • Kickboxing Level 1
  • Zumba
  • Sports Nutrition

My Gymnastics group

Marla's Gymnastic Group

I loved that red gym suit! I practically lived in it! I am in the third row standing with pig tails. To my right, one of my best friends, Tammy and to the left my other best friend Leslie. The coach, Jill Lord (in the black and gold suit) is my mentor and hero! I would love to find her and tell her how much she inspired and changed my life- so heres goes....anyone who knows Jill Lord who used to live Allan, Sask.....give her my digits! Heres hoping!

Please vote!

Don't forget to vote for Heartbreaker Dance and Fitness in the contest! You can vote very 24 hours! We certainly appreciate your love and support!