Attendee Spotlight: Moshe Schwartz | Lean In Canada

Tell us a bit about what you do, and what do you enjoy most about it?

I am a mobile personal trainer with Fitness on the Go: I train people in their homes, at their office, or anywhere else they want! Many people associate personal training with losing weight, or gaining muscle, but it is so much more. It can help build confidence, make you more productive at work, and help you increase your energy so you can spend quality time with family and friends. What I enjoy most about training is learning about the individual. Everyone has a story to tell and it is amazing to hear about the accomplishments people have, the challenges they face, and seeing  how these challenges are overcome.

How does your workplace promote an inclusive environment?

Fitness on the Go is the epitome of an inclusive environment. It is both amazing and sad for me to see how so many people feel like they don’t fully belong, either in their professional lives or social circles.

A big part of Fitness on the Go is creating an environment that is free of judgment, where a person  can feel completely safe and accepted as they are. There is no boss to please, or external expectations that need to be met. It is strictly about your own well being, and meeting the expectations that you create for yourself.

The fact that Fitness on the Go comes to you is another layer of inclusiveness. People who ordinarily wouldn’t have time to get to the gym can exercise wherever it is most convenient!

What attracted you to Lean In Canada?

I read the book Lean In last year on the recommendation of one of the group’s members and I was blown away by how much I related to the themes, specifically as a personal trainer. In fitness, you have to be accountable for your health- like the cliché says, “the inches don’t lie”- if you are doing the work, your body will change for the better. It can be unfair at times, as some people have a harder time gaining muscle, or losing fat, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done. It just means you need to work a little harder than everyone else. It is the same with your career: if you ( a man or woman) aren’t where you want to be , the first place you need to look is the mirror, to see if there is anything more you can do to lean in.  It is true, that it might be harder for you then for someone else to climb the corporate ladder, because of factors that are unfair such as nepotism, chance, or even possibly gender or race- but all of these things are out of your control. When you are able to take control of your health or career in spite of the challenges you face, it is all the more empowering.

What was one thing that most resonated with you today (at our last event)?

The last event I attended was Katie Telford at the AGO.  I used to work in marketing, and there is a tendency in the corporate world to think that you are at the mercy of the executive staff. What Katie Telford reminded me is that you can cause change from any level in your organization, by creating your own opportunities.

If you were to recommend Lean In Canada to anyone, what would you say?

Life is much easier when you are not alone. Whether you identify as a certain gender, orientation, race, religion, or any other cultural group, it is good to have a community around you that can guide and support you along the way. Lean In gives a tremendous feeling of community that even I can feel, as a male member.

How are you leaning in?

To me Leaning In is about making the most of opportunities in every area of life. You don’t have to work ten hours a day on something for it to have an impact. Every day I try to Lean In at work and at home, by doing at least one thing that makes me a better trainer, husband and father. A few small changes each day makes a big difference over time. This is a philosophy I try to practice myself, and a philosophy I try to instill in all my clients with Fitness on the Go.

Why do you think it is important for men to ‘Lean In’?

We are living in a time when traditional gender roles are becoming obsolete, and households require two incomes to survive. It’s not realistic anymore for men or women to limit themselves to any specific roles, professionally or domestically. I remember a night several years ago when my wife was in medical school and I knew that she wasn’t coming home until 11pm. I was getting hungry at about 8pm and I remember telling myself “you had better learn how to cook or you might starve to death”.   In a fast paced world, the question is no longer “what is the man’s job and the woman’s job?”, but rather “what needs to be done and who has time to do it?”

Name one notable woman (or women) you think deserves a shout out or career recognition – and what would you like us to know about her?

A big time shout out goes to my wife, who I see as the ultimate feminist. I think that feminism is about doing what you want to do, regardless of whether or not it adheres to traditionally “male” or “female” roles. My wife worked extremely hard to get where she is today in her career, as any doctor can attest. But she also loves being a mom, taking care of our children as much as she can- she is the clear leader in our home! While it takes a tremendous amount of time and energy to be great both as a doctor and a mother, my wife has made it a priority to do both and is a huge success.

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