Like most people, growing up I did little strength training. I was young and healthy and just needed rest to recover from injuries I got from playing hockey, rugby, skiing, football, etc. However, while in law school I injured my back playing intramural basketball, and this injury persisted. A year later my back continued to hurt after sitting for long periods of time. Rest was not enough to heal.
I experienced the cost of inaction: aging makes it harder to recover and bounce back from injury, and I wasn’t putting in the work necessary to prepare my body for the physical demands of the sports I was playing. Out of shape and in pain, I got benched in the finals of my competitive hockey league. I was either going to have to find a way to fix my back and get in shape or “retire” from my favourite sport at the age of 23!
Earlier that year I had another life changing event: five days apart my dad and grandfather sold the family business, and my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. It taught me that money doesn’t matter when you don’t have your health. Later on I decided to leave the legal profession to pursue my interest in health & fitness.
Frustrated by the short term approach to fitness the gyms I worked at were taking, I decided to start 3 Seasons so that I could build a gym with a long term approach to health & fitness.
My fitness journey started for all the wrong reasons. I wanted to become thin so people would like me. That was important to me at that time in my life because I had low self-esteem and no confidence. I didn’t realize then that what I was looking for from others I could only get from myself. My journey into fitness expanded into bodybuilding. I learned new ways of training, worked hard and even won the INBA New South Wales State Championship in Women’s Bodybuilding!
The next stage in my journey was weightlifting. I had to expand my understanding of training again to participate in what was for me a whole new discipline. I was so happy with the results I was getting in the gym, I started entering weightlifting competitions. As I started to achieve more, both in the gym and at the competitions, I started to notice a positive difference in my confidence and my belief in myself! As my fitness journey progressed, what others thought of me mattered less and less and I started to love myself more and more.
This change in attitude, one that still causes me to pinch myself every now and then, also made me start thinking about my whole self and exploring other ways to feel better about my whole self. That led to in-depth learning about nutrition and its impact on both physical health and self-esteem. This began with an internship at the Clean Health Institute in 2016, and most recently with the completion of my Precision Nutrition Level 1 in 2020.
I am constantly learning new ways to improve my whole self so that I can help my clients travel on the same journey to physical and emotional wellness. If it wasn’t for my fitness journey, my life could have gone in a very different direction. Instead, I’m happy!
Marwan El Wali
Marwan is a canfitpro certified Personal Training Specialist. He is also a functional Anatomy Specialist and Knee Programming Specialist. A former IT and marketing professional, he became a personal trainer “to help people and make a difference in their day to day lives.” A great trainer for comprehensive strength and fitness, he has a particular focus on helping clients recover from injury and re-enter the sports they love to play. He also specializes in helping clients with knee and other joint pain stay active and reduce their discomfort.
Marwan is an expert at coaching clients who want to improve their compound movements (bench press, deadlift, squats, etc.) and prioritizes doing so in a way that ensures healthy joints and maximizes results. Similarly, he is known for helping clients with corrective posture exercises to fix neck shoulders and back pain. Inspired by his wife’s concern about back and joint pain due to pregnancy, Marwan is an expert on training to ensure a healthy back, joints as well as core strength pre and post natal. (Thanks to Marwan’s training, his wife never had any of the typical physical problems during either pregnancy). He is a proud father, and trains to ensure he has boundless energy to play with his young children.
Growing up I was always active. Baseball was my favourite sport, and I excelled at it, eventually playing in university and college on the York University and George Brown College teams.
While at York, there was a strike, and I decided to turn a negative into a positive by going to the gym to fill my days – I loved it, and have been working out consistently ever since then, trying different things like crossfit, bodybuilding, etc.
Around the same time I went abroad for the first time, and fell in love with the world of food and cooking. I transferred from York to George Brown to become a chef, and went into the Toronto restaurant industry upon graduation.
I also got certified to coach Crossfit around the same time, but that was a side hustle / passion project.
Due to my active lifestyle, I always tried to make healthy food as appealing as possible to people that otherwise had a hard time eating healthy. This expertise led to me becoming the personal chef of a top ten ranked ATP tennis player, and traveling the world with him for several years. I was fortunate that this opened many doors for me, leading to me meeting and cooking for NBA, NHL, and MLB players, including all stars in all three leagues.
Instead of traveling the world following the ATP tennis tour, I now cook for athletes in the Toronto and Muskoka regions and my side hustle is my personal chef business.
As much as I love cooking and food, I started to find I was missing the world of fitness. While I still love Crossfit, I have come to believe there is a difference between seemingly being at peak physical fitness and true full body health for long term performance and quality of life. That’s why once I decided to make fitness my main career I was attracted to joining the 3 Seasons team.
Born and raised in China, Daisy Ma grew up influenced by Chinese holistic culture. Her father was an MD specializing in both traditional Chinese medicine and Western practices. This unique background would play a pivotal role in Daisy’s life and career.
Daisy grappled with severe back pain for over a decade. While regular exercise made a difference, it wasn’t the complete answer to her pain. Motivated by her own journey and with a passion to help others, Daisy pursued a fitness certification. However, she soon realized that fitness alone couldn’t address the underlying issues.
She expanded her skills with a yoga certification, aiming for improved flexibility. Still, something was missing. It was only when Daisy studied fascial stretch therapy (FST) that she had an important realization: our skeletal, muscular, and fascial systems need to work in harmony. When out of sync, they can lead to pain, poor posture, reduced flexibility and other issues.
Her exploration didn’t stop with FST. By diving into the literature of physiotherapy, massage therapy, chiropractic, and other disciplines, Daisy began to see the bigger picture about fascia’s role. This extensive research and practical experience led her to develop Body Realignment Therapy (BRT). BRT focuses on realigning the skeletal, muscular and fascial systems in order to “reprogram” them to work in harmony. The benefits of BRT include pain reduction, better posture, and increased strength and flexibility.
While Daisy became increasingly confident she had figured out how to combine best practices from Fascial Stretch Therapy and other disciplines into an effective soft tissue treatment therapy (her BRT system), she was still looking for an effective exercise system to complement her practice.
Daisy had always admired Yoni’s commitment to travel all over North America and Europe to learn from the leading figures in the health and fitness world, and so she reached out to Yoni about joining 3 Seasons in order to learn his 3 Seasons methodology for strength training and fitness. The 3 Seasons approach of “Prepare, Perform, Recover” – the three seasons of your sport – resonated with Daisy, and she has taken to it with zeal. She has even helped Yoni and the rest of the team improve how they do certain exercises that relate to posture and longevity.
Daisy’s commitment to understanding and improving the human body to reduce pain remains her driving force. Today, she continues to refine BRT by studying fascia across various healing disciplines, always aiming to provide the most effective relief and support to her clients.