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Natalie Burge; Taking a step back to get ahead

Natalie Burge is a local Red Deer resident who has a passion for endurance sports racing. Natalie has been an active athlete since she can remember. Natalie’s fitness journey came to a peak when she started traveling the world competing in Ironman, Triathlon races, and x-terra off road triathlons. She became extremely devoted to training and competing in these events.

Natalie pushed herself harder for every new competition, with the goal to hit the podium or to beat her previous times and records. However, after years of training and competing, Natalie began to experience overuse symptoms in her body.

She began to feel soreness and tightness in her body and she knew she had to do something about it, she just wasn’t sure what to do. Natalie did not want to stop training altogether because she really enjoyed training and competing in these events; she described it as being “almost like an addiction”. In turn, Natalie made the decision to do something about her symptoms. She began doing yoga classes and slowed her training down. She began to ride her bike at an easier pace, and swam at a lower intensity, in an attempt to recover from her training and competition.

Natalie was trying to give herself a break from training in order to help herself recover and keep her body capable of competing. However, she noticed that the aches and pains were not getting any better, in fact, she felt worse than she ever had before. Because of her love for her sport, Natalie qualified and raced xterra worlds in Maui. Natalie said that "the race should have felt better as I was faster and stronger than I was at the previous years race". She ended up using every ounce of power and effort she had just to reach the finish line. She left the race feeling exhausted and emotionally drained. Unfortunately, she felt as though she couldn’t compete anymore. It took everything she had just to finish the race let alone try to win or attempt a new personal best.

Soon after, Natalie felt like she only had one option which was to stop training altogether. As someone who had trained and competed in one sport, or another for her entire life, to stop training altogether was very hard to deal with. However, in spite of everything, she knew she had to do something to help her body recover. She took the time off, and for awhile, did no training whatsoever. She felt her body begin to recover and the aches and pains began to subside.

Almost a year later, Natalie was feeling anxious to train again. Her body was feeling rested and she wanted to start training and racing again. In an attempt to motivate herself to train again, she found a bike tour in Italy and signed up.

Natalie needed fitness for this bike tour but she knew she had to do something different instead of her usual triathlon training. She knew she needed to increase her mobility, flexibility, and train her stabilizer muscles. That being established, she searched the internet and found Absolute Fitness, at the moment we were running a 6 week challenge. Natalie saw that the timing of the challenge, and the training that she was looking for, worked perfectly. Natalie signed up.

When Natalie started her training, it wasn’t easy. She had numerous muscle imbalances that affected her shoulder girdle and upper back. This prevented her from raising her arms overhead, as well as her hips were tight and painful. Natalie was feeling very frustrated with her dilemma but knew it was going to be a slow process and was more than willing to put in the work.

Natalie trained hard during the 6 week challenge and was surprised with the training, and what it did for her body. She started to feel like her body was slowly loosening up, becoming more mobile. She was able to get into new range of motions that she wasn’t able to before and also had new levels of strength. She finished the 6 week challenge with a whole new outlook on her upcoming bike tour.

Natalie successfully completed her bike tour in Italy without the struggles she was dealing with before. After her tour, Natalie was eager to continue her training, so she signed up at Absolute Fitness again with hopes of further improving her strength and mobility.

Natalie is super excited about her future as an athlete, she has been with absolute fitness for less then a year but says that training here has drastically improved her bodies performance. Natalie has seen improvement with her shoulder mobility, she can now get her arms over her head, and has even successfully completed the shoulder dislocation exercise, something she thought was impossible for her when she first signed up. With her improved mobility, she feels as if racing in an ironman triathlon is something that is achievable again. Not too long ago she was thinking that she may never be able to race again. She says it’s “like a breath of fresh air, this might be a game changer for my racing and possibly allow me to improve from where I left off”.

Natalie is proud to be a part of such a great community of like minded people, saying that the best part of absolute fitness is the people, the instruction, and the coaching. She says she has never had a moment in which she felt like she was doing something wrong and didn’t have some form of correction that improved her training. Natalie says that the staff and coaches at Absolute Fitness give attention to proper form, are always aware of limited shoulder mobility and offer alternative exercises which she is thrilled about.

Natalie says that the biggest challenge in her fitness success was her mobility. She mentioned how when she tried to fix one problem it would often move into another part of her body. When she attempted to address that problem, the first issue would resurface and cause her pain again. "It was a vicious cycle that would not fix itself without the proper attention it needed."

Natalie says that Absolute Fitness showed her that in times like these it’s ok to slow things down and take a break. It’s ok to focus on other aspects of training, such as strength and mobility to achieve balance instead of training in your comfort zone, which for Natalie was endurance and speed training. She learned that patience and dedication was what she needed to improve herself and achieve a strong, balanced, and pain free body.

Natalie says that if anyone is dealing with poor mobility, that is affecting their lives, they need to join Absolute Fitness and focus on mobility training. She says to “treat mobility training as seriously as you do your regular training, be patient, it took a long time to get the issue and it will take a long time to get rid of the issue”.

We are all very proud of all the hard work that Natalie has put in both inside and outside the gym. Natalie is a prime example of what anyone can accomplish with a little hard work and perseverance.

If you’ve got mobility issues, or specific fitness goals, you need help accomplishing, then come talk to our team, we’ll be the strong support system you need to get the goals you want. Give us a shout at 403-347-9669 or send us an email at We’ll guide you on your way to your fitness goals.

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