In honour of Hope Month TITIKA Active has partnered up with cancer survivor Mariela Burkett.
The Hope collection is dedicated to spreading awareness on the mental and emotional toll cancer takes on those impacted. Mariela shares her story to inspire other women to be proactive and take control of their health!
My name is Mariela Burkett and I am a Coach, Personal Trainer, Fitness Professional and, Athlete. I have worked in the fitness industry 11+ years. I am a Cancer Survivor and my profession helped me Kick Cancer’s A$$! Fitness became a priority for me 13 years ago when I had reached my highest weight of 202lbs and my doctor mentioned to me that I was borderline diabetic. I felt that I could help others achieve their fitness goals with my story. If I inspire one person to change their life to a healthier one, than I am more than content.
Top 5 tips that women can use to take charge of their personal health
- Go to the doctor! Get regular check-ups.
- Always listen to your body. If something feels off, it probably is.
- Be the best and healthiest YOU!
- Inspire others around you to do the same.
- Share your story. Don’t be shy! Someone will always benefit from your story.
We know you work a lot with survivors through your Survivor Bootcamp, how does fitness help survivors in the recovery process?
A stronger, healthier YOU physically and mentally will help keep your mind and body in good shape through diagnoses, the process of eliminating the disease and, recovery. Plus staying active releases endorphins and endorphins make you happy, why not use fitness as part of this process?
You’re also a huge advocate for recognizing the mental toll physical illness can have on victims – can you tell us a little bit more?
My experience with cancer is different than others. I was diagnosed at an early enough stage that I was able to have the cancerous cells removed before they spread. Because of this, I did not have to undergo any radiation or chemo.
I went to the doctor, had the diagnoses, heard the word ‘cancer’ and died that day. I experienced fear of the unknown, fear of leaving those I loved behind, especially my children. How would they live? Who would teach them life lessons? Who else would love them like me? Why? Why me? I experienced moments of anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts
Not having any side effects of treatment (ie. Hair loss, weight loss, etc.), those around me did not see my body physically deteriorating and because of this, my support was almost non –existent. I felt alone.
My purpose is to now spread awareness of the mental struggle that individuals face, even though they may not have any physical symptoms. Cancer is cancer, physical symptoms or not. We all need support. Be there!
What’s your favorite personal fitness routine? Favorite one to teach?
I love boxing! It is my favorite to coach and to participate in!
Favorite exercise: anyone who knows me, knows it’s a burpee! Why? The benefits of a full body workout in one exercise
Active wear can help or hinder you in the ring -- what do you look for in your active wear at the gym?
I look for anything that stays in place. Something that doesn’t slip or that I need to keep adjusting. It has to be comfortable and allow me to move with ease.
What’s the most rewarding aspect of working in your community? The most challenging?
Inspiring others to become the best versions of themselves, for themselves and for those around them. I love what I do and I am blessed to be doing it daily. I am inspired by members in my community every moment I am teaching. They gave me strength during my recovery process by simply being around me as my fitness family.
The most challenging aspect is learning how to not be a perfectionist. I need to learn that we all make mistakes and its okay to be human and mess up while coaching at times.
What’s your motto/mantra?
It’s YOU vs. YOU!
YOU are the only one to stand in your way!
Get out of your way and see the greatness that is truly YOU!