March Athlete Story- Marie-Ève Gagné

CrossFit West Regionals 2016

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

When I was young as I was passionate about space exploration. In fact, I dreamt to go to Mars! So I spent the first part of my life studying to potentially become an astronaut. I obtained a B.Sc. from McGill in Physics & Atmospheric Sciences and then pursued a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Physics at the University of Toronto. My Ph.D. thesis was focused on improving the landing success of spacecrafts on Mars and Venus! I was very fortunate to work for the Canadian Space Agency for 6 years during my studies. After graduation, I turned down an offer to be a research scientist on a mission to Mars as I knew my calling was somewhere else and I had decided to move to Vancouver Island to live with my fiancé.

What motivates you to stay healthy?

During my 20s, while I was pursuing my graduate studies at the University of Toronto, I was constantly tired, I felt weak, I suffered from debilitating mental fogginess, and I struggled with insomnia and anxiety. I was fortunate enough to find the help of an integrative medicine practitioner that taught me the healing power of foods and natural supplementation. It turns out I was suffering from hormonal imbalances, adrenal fatigue in particular, as well as digestives problems, like leaky gut among others.

What is your occupation? What inspired you to pick this profession?

During this long journey to regain my vitality and reach optimal health, I discovered a passion for nutrition and supplementation. So I soon as I moved to Vancouver Island, I started studying nutrition towards obtaining my certification as a holistic nutritionist. During that time, I worked as a research associate in climate science at the University of Victoria, which gave me the opportunity to pursue this new-found passion of mine and start my nutrition coaching practice alongside. In March of last year, my practice was going well enough that I needed to make a decision: quit my promising career as a scientist and concentrate my efforts in my nutrition and lifestyle coaching business ReNu Wellness.

The mission with ReNu Wellness is to help people RE(store) their NU(trition) to a healthy state and RE(cover) from hormonal imbalances to reach optimal WELLNESS through nutrition and lifestyle strategies. I am fulfilling my strong desire of helping people live their life to their fullest, which starts with a healthy body and mind! It is truly rewarding to me to be able to coach people to become healthier!

What is something that you have done recently to help others?

Since January, I have been leading the nutrition and lifestyle aspects of two New Years' challenges, the Taranis Nutrition & Lifestyle Challenges at Taranis Athletics and the Forge Transformation Challenge at Forge Training. The goal of these two challenges is to implement healthy nutrition and lifestyle habits that would lead to improved body composition and increased wellness.

Within the scope of benefiting our community, I have also been giving Nutrition Topics seminars at Rise Health on diverse subjects like increasing energy, getting rid of sugar cravings, learning to do a meal prep session and addressing food sensitivities. The goal is to educate as many people at once on these subjects so that they take more control of their health.

Can you tell us a little bit about your athletic background/what sports or type of fitness you do?

I was always active while growing up, trying different sports like dancing, figure skating, gymnastics, soccer, tennis, ... Then later on during my university studies, I simply went to the gym and attended fitness classes for convenience and for lack of time, until I switch my focus to run long distances.

Then, in 2011, I was introduced to Crossfit by my running coach, and I loved the sport instantly! (and quit running right away!?) I am driven by challenges and Crossfit never ceases to be challenging. A year and a half after starting Crossfit I competed in the Crossfit Games Canada West Regionals with a team and I loved the experience. I trained competitively for the following 5 seasons and it was a great experience that challenged me physically and mentally.

I have now been training in powerlifting for the last 4 months and have just recently competed in my first powerlifting meet, the BC Winter Open and have lifted a total that qualifies for Nationals, so that will my focus for a little while. I keep up with training Crossfit-style gymnastics alongside powerlifting and aim to attend one Crossfit class a week (just don't tell my coach!). I also recently resumed practicing yoga, discovering the yoga hour style, as I enjoy how it benefits my body and my mind.

Do you have a life-changing experience related to your athletic background/experience that shaped your future self or future direction?

Starting Crossfit totally changed my perception of fitness and what it means to be fit as a woman. The training put behind to compete in Crossfit changed my body in so many ways, and I am proud of my strength, endurance, and agility. I am doing things now like lifting twice my body weight and executing muscle ups that are fun and exciting. The most amazing thing is that my body composition improved - I am more muscular and leaner than before - without ever focusing on this aspect! Most importantly, joining the Crossfit community, and the then-strong paleo diet movement alongside it, unlocked a deep passion for fitness and health that made me rethink my career and reorient myself to work in health and wellness.

What would you say to someone who is trying to start living a healthier lifestyle?

It's not rocket science! (see what I did there?!) Nourishing your body adequately with whole foods, moving your body through exercise and regular movements, and taking time to relax and be present daily. It's simple, but there is no other way around it. Eat well, move often, and meditate daily!

What do you think the world needs most at this time in history?

The world needs more nourishment from the foods they eat. There are too many processed foods devoid of nutrients and too many people are detached from the need to eat to provide energy for the body rather than eating to satisfy hunger.

Do you set goals? Will you share those goals with us?

Yes, I set goals! I have recently started to follow the methodology advanced by Danielle Laporte to set goals according to your Core Desire Feelings. The premise is simple: "How do you want to fell?" and once you have determined how you want to feel each and every day in your life, the question becomes: "What will you do to feel the way you want to feel?". Then, the goals become the Core Desires Feelings and the actions that you undertake each and every day are driven by these Core Desire Feelings.

For example, I want to feel free and for me, that translates into implementing systems and procedures so that my business runs effectively and I want to eventually work 4-day weeks. I am not there yet! Still trying to take one full day off per week!? But that is one of my goals! But daily, feeling free translates into taking Monday morning off if I worked during the weekend, or going to yoga in the middle of the day. It makes me feel free!

What are 5 quick facts that your best friend would use to introduce you?

My best friend would say that I am a (now former!) rocket scientist, and add "really, no joke!" I am a real geek, like I am a hardcore Star Wars fan, but also am social and love to have fun and try crazy adventures, like chasing tornadoes, backpacking in Asia, climbing an active volcano, and not only doing but competing in CrossFit (for some, it looks crazy!). Oh, and I am obsessed with coffee! I take elaborate steps to make my morning coffee perfect and I go lengths to find the perfect coffee spot when traveling.

What is your favourite Fit Balm product, and why?

I use the Hand Repair Balm on my hands every night before going to bed as I tend to have dry hands and the constant use of chalk in the gym makes it worst! So it is part of my bedtime ritual. If if I rip my hands in a workout, I would use it daily on the spots to speed up healing, and I particularly like that it absorbs quickly is not too greasy. I also use the Hand Sanitizer constantly because, once again, my hands tend to be dry and soap strips the oils from your skin, especially the ones provided in public washrooms. And I love the Chocolate Mint Lip Balm! It smells so good and it takes care of my dry lips!

Favourite… if you can list just one!

Podcast Channel? Impact Theory - I am a little obsessed with their motivational, empowering, and inspirational content!

Book or Author? Dan Brown - a real genius! I love the mix of science, history, and geography in his thrillers

Movie? ALL of the Star Wars movies? Except the first, and maybe the second episode... if I had to choose, The Empire Strikes Back

Snack Food? Boom Chica Pop popcorn - I have it almost every night!

Article of clothing? My heated vest! It's a lifesaver!

Quote? Consistency trumps perfection

Athlete? Dan Bailey! Just so talented, charming, and entertaining!


For more information on Marie-Ève and her businesses you can find her at or or on Instagram @renuwellness 

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published