Coach Profile: Danielle Marks
As an Albertan, Danielle grew up leaning heavy and hard into winter sports. Her parents strapped Danielle into her first pair of skates at the age of three and challenged her physical literacy early by also putting a stick in her hands. She played competitive ringette and hockey for 18 years and unknowingly began developing her formal and informal leadership style by acting in role of team captain for many of those years. She liked motivating people and celebrating with them as we all leaned in to do our best at that young age. Though the sport shifted as she grew up, her drive didn't. Badminton, x-country running, swimming, volleyball, soccer - you name it she was on the team. Throughout her formative years, she dabbled in almost every sport that was available. She loved learning new skills and adapting her body to the flow of the game.
Always wanting to try new things, Danielle completed her first triathlon race at the age of 18 - a 70.3 distance. She finished strong, and this accomplishment is what fueled her as she began thinking seriously about her future and her career. She wanted to train harder and smarter to become the best athlete that she could be and wanted to do the same for others as well. She signed up for formal coaching with Trisutto and improved fast. She saw results like she had never dreamed winning races or placing on the podium. She also began to pay attention to the style of coaching she was receiving and reflected on what was working for her and what she would change when one day she was in the driver's seat. During this fast-paced, goal-oriented time in her life, she trained hard all over North America at various camps and grew exponentially into her physical prowess. What she had neglected, however, was her mental prowess. Over the next 3 years, she learned a lot about herself as she straddled the priorities of balancing physical health and mental health. She learned first-hand what it means to live with a mental illness (depression, suicidal thoughts and anxiety). She decided to study why it happens, neurological stress pathways, and how nutrition all play important factors. Now on the other side, navigating these priorities as a science - being intentional about what you do and why you do it - is the method of success that she lives and shares every day. She thought, “maybe if excise is supposed to make you feel better and it doesn’t, maybe you need a different kind of movement…” Maybe if the foods you're eating aren't making you feel good maybe there's a way to measure what foods make you feel better. She delved deep into studying neurology and how pain is initiated in the mind. She studied nutrition and used herself as an example of her success. Within a month of this change she’s depression and anxiety free and off all medications. She now helps her athletes and clients with any kind of pain that they may be experiencing from IT band inflammation, to sciatica, to migraines, to herniated discs and as well as mental illnesses. If you can train the BRAIN the body will respond accordingly.
Danielle knew from a young age that her career had to be fitness related. What she didn't expect was for sport to influence her life in leadership and knowledge the way that it has. Leaning in so that she could help herself has offered insights that she is so motivated to share with others. And excitingly, those she works with feel the results of this approach. It's smart and it works if longevity in the sport is what interests you. She looks forward to learning about your journey with health and fitness so that we can continue on the path of physical and mental health together with Big Gear Squad.