– Words by Angela Cowan Photography by Lia Crowe
Cardio, stretching, nutrition—it’s all important, but if there’s one thing that is truly vital to maintaining your health as you age, it’s strength training, says Alanna Driscoll, owner of Kelowna’s Evolved Strength training studio.
“Strength is your foundation. It’s what keeps you together. If you get ill, it’s your fuel for your body to get better,” she explains. “It’s just such an important foundation for everyone. Some of our clients say their life has become easier or more manageable. They’re able to pick up their grandkids without thinking about it, or load their own luggage into the overhead bin. And I have a few clients who are going through cancer treatments, and they credit their strength training with keeping them going.”
Evolved Strength uses medical-grade equipment paired with a highly efficient, professionally led 15-minute workout once or twice a week, and a top priority that focusses on health and strength. For Alanna, who worked in commercial gyms as a young adult, it was a refreshing change.
“I learned a lot in that time, but it was also very hard on me,” she says. “I felt a lot of pressure in those negative environments and I really saw how unhealthy the health industry can be.”
As she pivoted to strength training, she says, “having a stronger body and stronger bones was the mindset change I needed to make myself healthier, and get to a place where I could love myself and overcome an eating disorder that I’d struggled with for a long time,” she says.
Moving to Kelowna in 2021 turned out to be another positive change in her life.
“I wanted to be in a smaller community. Calgary was feeling too big for me,” she says. “Kelowna is the perfect size—it has the convenience of city life with a small-town feel. I love the lake and mountains. It’s a wonderful and welcoming community in many ways, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to be here.”
The 7 Sins
Whose shoes would you like to walk in?
I tend to idolize people who have lived through extraordinarily difficult circumstances and come out the other side dripping with resiliency and bravery—so it’s hard to say if I’d survive a walk in their shoes! I adore Hedy Lamarr, though. Not only was she a ravishing Hollywood femme fatale, but she was also a successful inventor. One of her most noted inventions was during the Second World War, where she worked on frequency hopping. If you don’t know what that is, just know that it’s the technology that WiFi comes from. All hail Hedy! What a bombshell—brilliant, beautiful and bold.
What is the food you could eat over and over again?
Definitely Middle Eastern food. I fell in love with the cuisine while travelling through Israel a few years ago. Everything was so fresh and intensely flavourful, but also felt very healthy and nourishing. I’ve become a bit of a self-proclaimed expert in Israeli culinary arts and can whip up a pretty tasty shakshuka or hummus.
You’re given $1 million that you have to spend
selfishly. What would you spend it on?
First, I’d take a long overdue vacation to somewhere with guaranteed culture shock. I’d also invest in some health-nerdy biohacking equipment (red-light therapy, cryotherapy, compression therapy, the list goes on…). I’m fascinated by the technology that has become available and how efficiently it can change our health. If I have any pennies to spare, they would go towards a ridiculously fancy espresso machine.
It pains me to see anything get wasted. I grew up with parents who recycled and composted long before it was cool or convenient. I refuse to put anything recyclable in the garbage and will haul it around all day to take home and rinse out. I can be a bit of a nightmare when it comes to the environment; don’t even think about idling your vehicle in front of me.
Where would you spend a long time doing nothing?
The beach. I will happily spend an entire day lounging around a body of water as long as I have a good book in hand. I have a “secret” spot on the west side that I like to head out to on hot summer days when I need some hermit time. Just me, my book, and the odd snake or deer.
What is the one thing you’re secretly proud of?
I can tell you right now that I hate this question, which probably means it’s an important answer for me to have. I’m proud of my willingness to be uncomfortable if it means there’s an opportunity to grow. I’m not one to shy away from hard conversations or conflict.
What makes your heart beat faster?
Depending on my level of anxiety, everything! Something that makes my heart absolutely full is hearing from a client how much their life has changed with the addition of strength training. Empowering people to feel confident in their body and gain back a level of independence is huge for me.