Written by Ashley Dier | Academy of Lions Media Team | Toronto
This week brings us to the third and final instalment in my trilogy of featuring some of the most real women I've ever met. Three quiet heroes who combine physical strength with kindness, passion, focus, beauty and big big brains.
Despite their different backgrounds and types of involvement at the Academy both Jenny and Leann are both incredibly athletic, driven and intelligent. This week's profile is no exception. Enter Emily Delpero, Academy of Lions Coach and, by the way, medical student.
I'd heard many positive things about Emily before having met her, several spoke of her intelligence, dedication and the pure joy she brings to the Academy, I quickly learned it was all true. Her journey at Academy started when she moved to Toronto for medical school. She was a triathlete with McGill University, endurance sports were her jam. Emily first heard CrossFit as "whispers" throughout the triathlete community as a way to offset repetitive stress injury, she was interested and found her way to the Academy "I really liked the shift in mentality that you needed when you did any weightlifting or any type of coordinated movements, I was humbled by how much I couldn't do. I don't like not being able to do things" she said laughing, adding, "that really fuelled me coming more and more."
Emily switched gears a bit, and began training with Alex Varbonov and the Olympic Weightlifting Team while in her third year of medical school. Her days were intense and consisted of three hours of training and intense clerkship rotations at the hospital. She remembers doing it until she really couldn't anymore, realizing she was spreading herself too thin in both areas of her life "doing too much and nothing well" she took some time to off to practice the skills. Along the way back Emily discovered coaching and realized it was a perfect next step in her CrossFit story.
Emily is in her last year of acquiring her MD, upon receiving that she'll move into a specialty and complete her residency. It's at this phase in her career that she needs to decide what area of medicine she'll practice. Doing things a little differently Emily has decided to specialize in three areas of medicine, psychiatry, pediatrics, or obstetrics and gynecology. Her goal, to have a practice that marries what she's learned and continues to learn through the Academy about nutrition and movement and its importance as the fundamentals of human health with the population in her specialty.
Passion radiates off of Emily. It's much more than youthful determination, while discussing her goals and experiences I can't help but feel that Emily is exactly where she needs to be at this moment of her life. She attributes her ability to succeed in handling such heavy work loads in both areas of her life to her training in athletics, CrossFit, Oly Lifting, and the strong work ethics being a coach in her. It is very clear that Emily's passions have aligned allowing for all the individual puzzle pieces to snap together allowing for what I'm sure will be an incredible career.
For Emily, coaching and medicine have become intertwined, lessons from one side becoming valuable tools in the other. "Coaching really carries over from medicine to the athletic world. When a patient is in front of you, you have all this information that you want to give, you have to get on their level in terms of the way you communicate what they want to hear. It's kind of the art of coaching, the delivery of information that empowers a patient or an athlete and doesn't demean, demoralize or discourage them is a fine balance that I think everyone is always working on whether in medicine or coaching. How to read the person in front of you in terms of their readiness of what you're about to say is key," she said.
Emily's work here at the Academy in both training and coaching has brought mindfulness to her practice of medicine. "With lifting and gymnastics you have to be so focused, there's no room for your mind to be anywhere else. If I work on something like a heavy squat session or handstands I come out of the gym and I realize that any anxieties [from medicine] are smaller, more in perspective," she said. Adding, "I don't think I would have been able to sustain it if it was work on both sides, the fact that I love being here is because I can leave everything behind and hang out and coach a great group of people. The awesome thing about this place, is that it's full of writers, artists, CEO's, engineers, PhD's and it doesn't matter - you're all working out and sweating together. You share stories, it keeps things real...people's perspectives are refreshing."
In the same fashion as Jenny and Leann, Emily needed to run off to a class immediately after we spoke. I'm grateful to have gotten the chance to speak to these three mentally and physically powerful women, and to have the chance to share their stories. Whether it's the incredibly busy coach/athlete/chiropractic student with a passion for elevating women, the elite athlete/phD student or the coach/athlete/medical student there are commonalities in all of us, we can find pieces of ourselves in all three.