June Athlete Story- Tiffany Mentenko

Tiffany Mentenko is a strong woman, in more ways than one.  She has had a challenging, yet incredible journey so far and I am SO grateful to have her share her story with us. -Morgan Rozon

 Tiffany Mentenko

Tell us a little bit about yourself:

I have always been into fitness and sports, It was always my passion and focus to stay active. I grew up in an active family.

I have worked in the Entertainment industry as music management and PR, Publishing as a Writer, journalist and a director of custom publishing, I did Broadcasting in Radio and my entire show was about wellness both mental wellness and physical wellness, that is when I started to focus more on the industry as a career option. I left my job as director of custom publishing to move to Seattle to train as Women's Shoe Manager with the first Canadian Nordstrom store, and it was there I really recognized that I needed to live by the ocean moving forward and I love helping others and focusing on health and wellness over shoes. I quit and moved to the Island, where I have been now for 4 years in July 2018.

I attended Pacific Rim College and took a wide variety of classes and programs to expand my knowledge and practice. Allowing me to assist clients/patients in multiple ways and for a variety of concerns. I now run my own company Mentenko Wellness as a nutritionist, wellness, and fitness coach and am writing my book on grief and PTSD in the raw and another one about my health journey, and how important it is to never stop listening to yourself, and never stop being a advocate for your own health, body , mind and soul.

What motivates you to stay healthy?

I love how it makes me feel, I am not myself if I am not healthy and fit.

I don't want to ever be bedridden again and unable to move, so as long as I keep moving I will be set :)

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

I have a full-time career, but on the side I run my business "Mentenko Wellness", (you can just use my IG page or my facebook: :Mentenkowellness https://www.facebook.com/mentenkowellness/, my website is not finished yet) I am just now starting it back up after taking some time away to focus on family and my own individual health. I am now ready again to help others.  I am a Nutritionist who also does Wellness + Fitness Coaching, Personal training, Meal programs[ Food prep , Meal plans, ], weight loss, grief and trauma support and herbal medicine.

I never had a doctor who truly helped me , I had to learn to help myself and now with what I have learned personally and through my education , I am eager to pay it forward and help others who need it and want it. We aren't meant to feel like crap, or below average, so why settle? I can help you Think Great, Feel Great , Live Great and Look Great :)

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

I recently helped my Friend and roommate lose weight, build confidence, eat better and feel better. With my help, she reached her goals and now feels confident on her trip and is actually still working out well on it. She realized how beneficial it all is for her and she is thriving :)

Mentally, I am helping a friend from back home in Calgary process anticipatory grief as his mother is now dying of a terrible disease in South Africa and so helping him also spread the word about his GOFUNDme account to help get him home to see his mama one last time.

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

I have always been into fitness and sports. I did all the gym classes possible in school, was on the Volleyball, Badminton, Wrestling, Track and Field and Dance Team growing up in Junior high and High School.  In University I did recreational team sports and was one of the faces of the Rec centers promotions, events and Resident Advisor of the winning sports team during fun competitions on campus.

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

Not just one, but I have compressed as much as I can for you.

I have been through a lot of roadblocks, with car accidents, physical health issues and surgeries due to genetic diseases. I was born with polycystic Kidney disease which has affected me since I was  2 years of age. and till this day I see a specialist every 3 months for checkups and prevent in any way we can the progression of the failure. I have a issue where I don't get bad symptoms when I have infections , until its bad, I have almost died 3 times from this now as an adult in the last 5 years. Most recent scare was in 2015 where I had poly-nephritis and it went septic, making me gravely ill. I was hospitalized for 3 weeks and bedridden for a month or so. During my stay I learned, I had also gained Liver disease, which they think occurred as a domino affect of my kidneys and then my gastro issues I have had since 2011.

In 2011 it was the worst, I lost my mother to cancer and being her caregiver, daughter and best friend, I was there every day by her side, helping her and watching her slip away. I decided to go travel after as I was unable to jump back into my life and career and feel normal. During my travels to the UK, I got super sick and had weird symptoms, that forced me back to Canada earlier then I had planned. Finding out I had PTSD, Complicated Grief, Celiacs, fibromyalgia and other things they had yet to define, I was in rough shape and scared, I ended up not being able to function , my body had shut down. I was unable to sit on a chair without collapsing off of it, to take a step felt like I was lifting concrete blocks as my legs. It was so insane how suddenly my body was dysfunctional and doctors could not figure it out, dialing it down to just stress and chronic pain/fatigue. I ended up bedridden and unable to stay awake. I was unable to do anything. My doctors had told me to go on disability and tried feeding me a bunch of drugs, but I fought it, I knew there was another way, I knew I could fix this.  I knew I just needed to move and it would be better. I reached out for help and I had a family friend help me daily to get out of bed, go on walks and take me to and from appointments and it helped I was mobile again and back in the gym. Life was getting better and then my gastro system decided to act up and stop working. I had not gone to the bathroom in 3 months and my goodness was I bloated and full of toxins. Again no doctor could figure out the cause so that is what I was living with, Just being fed laxatives galore and on a liquid diet. was not until this year that I found a gastroenterologist who found a medicine to help retrain my gut lining because it was caused from my autoimmune disease not ibs.

In 2013 I found out I had a brain tumor that was suppressing my pituitary gland, and caused fluid build up in my brain. 2014 it was found that had shut down my thyroid and made me gain 30lbs within one month and a lot of it was inflammation. I moved to Victoria later that year and finally got some answers from new doctors. I found out I had Hashimotos Thyroid Disease Hypothyroidism, that started out as Hyper which is why I was unable to keep weight on and was so sick all the time and then in 2014 it got exhausted and shut down completely. We have been using Eltroxin for it and it has been helping finally 3 years it took to manage my levels it’s been a body image and self love journey for sure. I was then sent to see a specialist regarding my body and its weird symptoms , if I rested too much , I could not move, if I took breaks from the gym , I could not move. I found out I have Ehlos Danlos Syndrome and I was born with it. As patients age with this disease or have stress triggers it can become more apparent and destructive. My prescription was Lifting , movement, stability work and pain meds. They have no cure at the moment for Ehlos Danlos but are working on it and in the meantime finding things and lifestyle changes that can assist us. Lifting has saved my life in so many ways I can't even begin to describe in depth, how it has helped me.  Helped me process my PTSD and Grief, till this day its my therapy. It helps me stay alive and functional. My diet is super important to that.I have recently dialed down what causes flare ups and what helps me feel my best and I hope in my practice I can help others as well. I am so thankful I was raised as such a strong and resilient woman, and I hope by sharing this bit of my story, that I can help others be resilient and not fall victim to their diagnosis, injury , illness , state of mine or circumstance. I hope to inspire, educate and empower others.

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

Just do it, one thing at a time, and not to overwhelm their plate. Too many times patients want to do everything at once and then burn out and figure its too much work. I say start with 1 thing, maximum 3 at a time and go from there. Even if that is a extra glass of water a day, a 30 min walk or a serving of vegetables a day. Start somewhere and eventually you will be living a healthier lifestyle and much happier.

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

I think the world needs more love as cliche as that sounds, but we are all so disconnected it seems and afraid and it is so sad. I would also say we need more people voicing their truth in a productive and healthy way.

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

I set goals for sure.

1) BALANCE :) - To get extra sleep, to make more plans with friends and time for fun. Gym is fun for me but I feel it can sometimes consume all my time so learning balance is a huge goal of mine, I can be a bit of a extremest, it's the athlete in me and maybe a bit of my Romanian blood/roots. Strong ancestry which is hard to release at times.

2) To lose the fear of being bed ridden again, we need to face those fears and focus on the good and not look back.

3) have my first book released by December 2018

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

Tiff Says:

1) Strongest most diverse girl they know

2) Way too nice until you burn her then run haha

3) Personable and kind, she is always smiling its weird

4) Badass with a great ass

5) Loving and caring, treats you like family, will do anything for you


A friend responded with how she would introduce me hahaha its too funny not share:

1. Spontaneous!
2. Will say hi to your dog before saying hi to you
3. Has full conversations with gifs and memes
4. Loves marshmallows

5. Positive personality

6. Gorgeous happy fun beautiful and genuine, unless she does not get her sleep hahaha

What is your favourite Fit Balm product, and why?

RECOVERY BOX! I have tried the Hand Repair Balm, it feels so great and since I started Olympic lifting and more barbell and kettlebell movements with speed, this will help out huge with those calluses and rips.

Favourite… if you can list just one!

Podcast Channel: The Model Health Show and Sons of Richard Podcast (island based)

Book or Author: The Prophet - Kahlil Gibran

Movie: The Departed- a good blend of intensity, action, humor, good story and it excuse my language , has a complete mind fuck at the end lol

Snack Food: Protein balls my roommate makes, Cherry Blasters, GF Donut from Discovery

Article of clothing: A good pair of jeans, hard to find when you have a fitness body.

Athlete:  Brooke Ence is pretty inspiring and beautiful.

Quote: Written by Marianne Williamson

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Follow her journey here:

Instagram: @fit_with_mentenko 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mentenkowellness/


Victoria Strength Challenge - Tiff Mentenko  

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