Using Fitness to Battle Breast Cancer

Michelle Goldrick may be Irish, but she didn’t get this fit through luck. This Bossbabe believes in working hard for what you want in life and getting what you earn. “Lucky is definitely not a word to describe me. I’ve been a single mom with no child support for years,…been broke more than once, been a breast cancer patient and survivor, have had miscarriages back to back, and [have] gained massive amounts of unwanted weight with all [my pregnancies]. I may be Irish….but I sure ain’t lucky.”

Female personal trainer lifts a dumbbell weight in her private studio in London, Ontario.

“There is no magical concoction to my training or nutrition. The one thing that separates you is your hustle. Find it, wake up with the hustle mindset & instill that into your work ethic. The only thing ever stopping you is in fact…you.”

Goals to Reach

Just over three years ago, Michelle was diagnosed with breast cancer, had to have a mastectomy, and is now a proud breast cancer survivor. “Breast cancer has created more body awareness that wasn’t there before to this extent. From overall having a deeper perspective for why I need to do what I do, to a deeper appreciation for my body and what it can accomplish and overcome.”

Not only did Michelle’s diagnoses change her perspective, it also inspired her to shine some light on breast cancer and mastectomies for newly diagnosed women and their families. “I vowed to make [the results of surgeries] more beautiful. To celebrate life and a second chance at things. I created a Breast Cancer Charity Benefit that I hosted in 2014, the year after my surgery, called Bustin’ Out. It was to celebrate survivors with an empowering boudoir photoshoot and to rock what they got.”

Michelle has also been helping out newly diagnosed women by “…maintaining complete transparency throughout her whole journey. [I’ve] never been shy to show my scars and reconstruction. From the perspective of a newly diagnosed cancer patient, that’s exactly what you want to see and know.”

Female personal trainer punches a bag in her private studio in London, Ontario.

“Since the cancer I feel 10 times more beautiful now then what I ever did before.  Cancer brought that light inside me to the surface to shine out even brighter than ever before.”


“Aside from the emotional side of what cancer does, the bigger issue was the physical.  All of my nerves on the left side were severed from the surgery, and they did not come back.  The permanent nerve damage was a huge obstacle to overcome.  Going from being that girl that could do 70+ pushups with ease and [several] unassisted pullups to nothing was the toughest part for me. After each of my five surgeries, there was a great deal of blood, sweat, and tears to regain that strength and that neurological connection.”

Female personal trainer performs a deadlift in her private studio in London, Ontario.

Being a Bossbabe

Michelle has had her fair share of obstacles to overcome, which have helped her become a relentless fighter and use fitness to get through anything life throws at her. For over twenty years, she’s worked in the fitness and weight loss industry as a manager, a personal trainer helping others surpass their personal obstacles and reach their goals, and as a fitness bikini competitor and model. She now runs her own fitness and weight loss business, Michelle G Fitness, where she teaches her clients how to “train like a beast and look like a beauty.” She also is certified and “…specializes in Pre and Post Natal, and has tremendous experience in regulating hormones and insulin levels in the menopausal woman as well.”

Female personal trainer lifts dumbbells weight in her private studio in London, Ontario.

Michelle’s Mission

Michelle’s clients are women anywhere between the ages of sixteen to seventy. “I train clients out of my private training studio in northwest London. I also provide online programming services. One program in particular is my SIX Weeks to SEXY Program. With this program we have the unique opportunity to empower our clients to be their sexiest, most confident selves possible. I’m all about being unapologetically fierce and feminine.”

Female personal trainer with her punching bag in her private studio in London, Ontario.

“My ultimate vision is to empower women, allow them to see themselves better than they are, shine the light down their cloudy path and be a part of their growth.  To show them they have the power to turn their life and change directions at any point in time.  It’s just getting them to decide when to take the wheel.”

You are What you Eat

Most personal trainers will tell you, eating right is a huge part to keeping fit and healthy. “Eating is 80% of everything that you do and why it’s such a large component to my programming.  Without that key component in place, you literally are banging your head against the wall.”

Here’s a typical meal plan for Michelle:

Personal trainer's meal plan for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks.

“I do snack.  I eat every 2.5 to 3 hrs.”

It’s not all business when it comes to eating. Michelle does allow herself some cheats. “I preach this to my clients all the time.  A cheat that is kept under 300 calories every week or every two weeks (depending on their progress) will not only be good to keep the metabolism in check and working for you, but keeps the brain in check and sets rewards that are earned.”

Sexy Mama

And she’s done most of this while being a single Mom. “Being a mother is by far my greatest accomplishment.”

Female personal trainer performs a deadlift in her private studio in London, Ontario.

Since day one, Michelle has been incorporating fitness and healthy eating into her daughter’s life. “My daughter understands healthy treats from unhealthy treats.  [She knows] that the day always starts with breakfast.  She drinks her water and broccoli is her favorite vegetable. My daughter is also extremely active and loves rock climbing and training with mommy. It’s clear I have a dramatic impact and influence on her and I’m very proud of that. Healthy body image and habits start at home and will take her throughout her life.”

Though now married to her childhood boyfriend, Michelle used to achieve her goals alone. “I never used to [have a support system]. I went to a lot of my first shows alone.  It’s important my clients have a good support system, but I also teach them this is their dream and to keep pushing even if no one else believes in you.   As long as you do, that’s all you need.”

Female personal trainer performs a bicep curl with a dumbell in her private studio in London, Ontario.

“I have no regrets. I don’t believe in looking back. What I am proudest of? Working really hard… and achieving as much as I could.”

Quick Q & A

What is your favourite exercise outfit to wear?

Michelle: I always rock the muscle tank tops.  I have to have my arms exposed to train.

What is your favourite brand of active wear?

Michelle: I’m big into Victoria Secret and PINK for bras and leggings.  ALWAYS Nikes for training at the gym.  Nike Frees to be exact so that I have optimum ankle flexion while training.  And I train my clients every day in Converse Chucks.

Where do you shop for your gear?

Michelle: I shop around for my workout equipment.  Always for the best price.  I’ve even bought some gently used.

What is your favourite piece of equipment in your gym at the moment?

Michelle: Always my squat rack.

What is your favourite exercise?

Michelle: I love training shoulders and back the most.  I love working with cables at the gym.  If I could fit a cable machine in my studio I would be in heaven.

What songs are on your workout playlist?

Michelle: Depends on the mood.  Progressive house beats typically get me through. Other days its gangster rap all the way!

What song pumps you up the most right now?

Michelle: I can’t stop by Jay Z, Kayne West & Flux Pavilion

Who is your biggest inspiration?

Michelle: Michelle Lewin, Paige Hathaway, and Andrea Brazier.

Female personal trainer performs a deadlift in her private studio in London, Ontario.

“Dreaming isn’t just about thinking of it and hoping it’ll be real. It’s also about acting on it. Be inspired and work on your dream for it to be real. Always end the day with a positive thought, no matter how hard things were, tomorrow is a fresh opportunity to make it better.”

The Future of Michelle G Fitness

Michelle G Fitness is moving into the future with online training. “[I am] looking to expand into online training as the demand for training is getting higher. I also have some collaborations with other trainers into some charity boot camps next year.”

How to Maintain an Active Lifestyle

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a busy women trying to figure out how to incorporate fitness into your life. One way to start is to “…find that goal or finish line. You always have to remember why you started. Whether it be a dress you want to get back into or a marathon you want to enter. There should always be a goal. A plan with no goal is nothing but a wish.” Once you set your goal, it’ll become your priority over everything else and will help motivate and keep you on track.

If you find yourself making excuses, listen to Michelle: “Here is some hard core motivation. Stop making excuses for yourself. ‘I am tired,’ ‘I have work,’ ‘I have kids,’ and etc. if you want to get in shape just do it. If you don’t know where to start walk in a gym, go outside and run around the block. Go to the grocery store and buy healthier choices. Every ‘I can’t’ is an excuse you just give yourself. Push yourself and get up earlier. Run 2 minutes longer than usually or walk 5 minutes more. Each extra push is the push in the right direction. Making you stronger and better than before. Little by little change will happen you just have to believe in the process. Don’t give up on you.”

Female personal trainer in her private studio in London, Ontario.

“Real change is difficult at the beginning, but gorgeous at the end. Change begins the moment you get the courage and step outside your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone.”


Don’t forget to check out the other posts in my photo series, How Busy Women Stay Active:

How to Make Friends at the Gym, featuring Lindsay Hamilton, a firefighter, busy mom, and CrossFit athlete that shares her tips on living an active lifestyle and being social at the gym.

How Busy People Stay Active, featuring Jessie Bicks, a busy mom, entrepreneur, and personal trainer sharing her tips on how to stay active while running Jessie Bicks Fitness.

If you lead an active lifestyle and would like to be photographed by Julie Whelan Photography, contact us to book your photo session now.

Click here if you’d like more information on the services of Michelle G Fitness.

About Julie Whelan

Julie Whelan, professional photographer of over fifteen years, has had the opportunity to shoot all over the globe--from capturing portraits in Vanuatu to shooting off rooftops in Maui to photographing products in Calgary. She now finds herself in Ontario photographing outdoor adventures and the active lifestyles of athletic individuals and athletes in competition & training. Julie has also worked with professional athletes such as Don Cherry, Darryl Sittler, and Roberto Alomar. When not behind the lens, Julie likes to unwind with a good book or spending time in the garden.

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