This past March, we had the opportunity to sit down and speak to Canadian actor and business owner Garfield Wilson about his experience with fitness, COVID, and acting. We are excited to finally be able to share those answers with you!

IFM: What has your fitness journey looked like? How has it changed or grown as your life has changed and grown?

Garfield Wilson (GF): Growing up, I was always very active. Throughout middle school and high school, I played on most of the varsity teams: Soccer, Volleyball, Basketball, Track & Field. I also played Ice Hockey for a few years.

In high school, a good friend of mine introduced me to weight lifting, and I became obsessed with going to the gym/lifting weights. Upon moving to Vancouver, BC my love for fitness only increased. First, I became a Personal Trainer and later a successful business owner, teaching people how to stay healthy and physically fit. To this day, I still own that business!

I’m extremely grateful for everything I’ve learned throughout my personal training career. My work in fitness has helped me gain lifelong friendships; it’s also helped me understand the importance of health and physical fitness.

IFM: You must have a busy schedule, between jobs and your own business, do you find it a struggle to make time for fitness? In what ways do you accommodate for that, and do you have any tips for people who are also struggling with fitness and time management? 

GF: I have an extremely busy schedule, balancing a career as a personal trainer and actor, can be challenging. There have been many times when it’s been hard to fit in workouts, while still managing a balanced nutrition plan… And let’s not forget I’m also a dad, which is the most important job of all!

The only thing that has helped me maintain my fitness, or even bounce back quickly when I’ve fallen off the wagon, is to actually plan my week and hold myself accountable to it.

My weekly schedule can get pretty crazy between training clients, being on set, prepping for auditions and being there for my family. So, I schedule my meals, workouts, quality family time, and even my downtime on a daily/weekly basis. Every minute of my work week is scheduled down to the second, so I decided to schedule everything else in my week; including (and most importantly), my family time. Trust me it works!!

IFM: As we mentioned above, you have your own fitness business; why don’t you tell us a little bit about that, and what that journey has been like for you?

GF: My company is called Forward Fitness Inc. I’ve owned and operated that company (successfully), for over 15 years. Running my company has taught me invaluable life lessons. I’ve gained so much in terms of amazing friendships, financial security and spiritual well being.

IFM: It might be one of the biggest understatements to say that things have been very different for the last year or so. What tips and tricks do you have for both yourself, and for other people, to stay fit in this land of virtual and at home training?

GF: Absolutely! The last year has been extremely difficult on many levels. One of the top 5 things people have been doing to deal with the stress and anxiety of this past year, is to focus on movement and fitness. The mind/body connection is so important.

We were designed to move, and when we stop moving and become sedentary, our bodies begin to rebel against us in terms of poor circulation, aches, pains (lower back pain, etc). That can also have an adverse effect on our mental health. However, exercise can help reverse these, and other ailments.

Luckily, you don’t (necessarily) need a home gym in order to get a good workout at home. Simple body weight exercises such as squats, lunges, pushups, core stability exercises and dynamic stretches, can go a long way towards helping you maintain fitness, while at the same time, minimizing emotional stress.

IFM: Do you think that virtual and at home training is going to be something that sticks around, even once things settle down, and we can hopefully return to gyms properly once more?

GF: I absolutely think that home training and virtual training will become the “go to” for anyone who has a busy schedule and can’t make it to the gym for things like a yoga class, group fitness class, or personal training session. So once things open back up, home/virtual training will be a bonus for health and wellness, for those can’t make it to the gym.

IFM: The other complication that COVD has created for a lot of people, is that it has created a lot of stress for people, which has greatly affected their mental health. Here at Inside Fitness, we consider mental health just as important as physical health: have you had your own struggles with stress and mental health, COVID related or otherwise, and how do you deal with it?

GF: Thankfully, mental health issues are getting the global attention that they deserve. I don’t think anyone is immune to mental health challenges. If left undiagnosed, it can have a subliminal and devastating effect on the individual.

I’ve struggled with stress and anxiety but never recognized my emotions as that, nor did I acknowledge it.  I now acknowledge when I’m feeling stressed, and filled with anxiety. And although I use my workouts to help me physically, as well as emotionally, there are times when working out isn’t enough. I also have resources (therapist) wherein I can have an “emotional safe space” to deal with my anxieties/stress. There, I gain tools to help me overcome those emotional hurdles.

IFM: You have been an advocate for the BLM movement; in what ways do you think that both Canada, and in particular the fitness community, needs to move forward in helping advancing proper inclusion, education and recognition?  

GF: In my opinion, the fitness industry is not unlike any other industry, in that it’s not immune to racism. So, the first step is acknowledging that racism exists. Afterwards, there need to be policies put in place to educate, enlighten and lead the industry towards more diverse representation across all aspects of this business.

IFM: Lastly, as a good wrap up question, what are you excited to dive into for the future? Your next steps, and future plans

GF: I’ve got some amazing projects coming out this spring in terms of film and television (Schmigadoon! Apple TV) and I’m about to start shooting a feature film this April, towards the end of June; can’t talk about it yet! However, it’s the biggest project I’ve ever been involved in to date, and I can’t wait to start!!