Lataisha Maynard is one of the most powerful women in the Comox Valley.
She has her daughter to thank for that.
Maynard owns Feral Strength Training in Comox.
Had it not been for the birth of her daughter, she may have never reached the successes she now enjoys.
“I got into weight training shortly after my kiddo was born,” said Maynard. “About a year went by and I got postpartum depression really bad. So I ended up just putting her in the basket and going for a walk one day. The next day we went a little farther, and then a little farther again. Then one day we went past a gym and I took a peek inside and there were a bunch of people having a lot of fun. So I thought ‘What about joining?’ I just joined. That was around 2015.
“I didn’t do any serious weight training for the first two years. I was just doing cardio and working my way through the machines.”
What started as a therapeutic process quickly became more than that.
She eventually was hired at the gym - VI Fitness, in Campbell River. She worked there until the time the company went bankrupt.
“All the locations on the Island shut down, and I was out of a job, and I really missed fitness, the environment, seeing everyone every day… so I thought ‘Why don’t I become a trainer?’ I decided to become a certified personal trainer, and that way I can work in any gym that I want. I will have job security and I will be able to help people at the same time.”
Maynard acquired her personal certified trainer accreditation through ACE (American Council on Exercise), then continued her education by acquiring a sports fitness nutrition certification, as well as an orthopedic exercise certificate.
“It just kind of spiralled,” she said, adding that she is not done with the education process. “There is always learning to be done in this industry. There are so many different strength sports out there, and I want to learn it all.”
Maynard moved to the Comox Valley five years ago, and has since opened Feral Strength Training.
She said she wants to share the joy and empowerment she feels by helping others do the same.
“It’s amazing how strong and powerful it makes you feel. I want others to maximize their potential as well. I want people to be able to look at me as an example and say ‘Wow, she got herself off the couch, from postpartum depression - I can do that too.’
“Fitness is for every age. There is a category for everybody, and I want to make it more accessible for everybody. There are a lot of cool competitions around here and it would be sweet to see some more athletes on the Island.”
Her facility in Comox has everything a person needs for strongman training.
“I’ve got a keg, I’ve got a couple of strongman logs I made myself. I have a yoke, some Atlas stones, so yeah - I just have my clients over here and we practise with all these awkward heavy things.”
When Maynard is not training at her own facility, she works as a group trainer at BodyNetix.
“Mondays and Thursday I teach the total strength there, which is a fusion of strongman and powerlifting,” she said
In addition to learning and teaching, Maynard finds the time to compete.
She is among B.C.’s strongest women, having recently won strongman competitions in Kelowna and Kamloops.
Maynard also holds a Canadian record.
“I hit a national record in deadlift in December of 2022 at a competition in Duncan - 419 pounds,” she said. “My dream is to be a strongman pro one day and get to compete at nationals, or at OSG, which is Official Strongman Games. But I am definitely going to be Canada’s strongest woman.”
Maynard said she would not be able to afford the time away from work to compete if not for her sponsor, Resolute Strength Wear.
“They are a huge help and very active in the community.”
She is encouraged by the number of women she sees getting involved in the sport.
“Strongman is seen as a male-dominated sport, and slowly a few girls have joined and we have seen success… it seems like every year we see more people.”
Maynard said the best is yet to come.
“Big things are coming. Check my social media.
For more information, visit feralstrengthtraining.ca