Margot Harvie will never take another workout or dog walk for granted. Debilitated
by complications from shingles, Margot, 55, has been on a slow road to recovery for
the past two years since being diagnosed with the painful viral infection.
Shingles produced a rash on her face, throbbing behind and in her eyes and nerve
pain that persisted and kept her essentially bed-ridden for months. After countless
treatments and medications, she experienced instant relief in a Botox-based
injection targeting specific peripheral nerves administered by an anaesthesiologist
two weeks before Christmas.
The easing of her symptoms opened a window for Margot, 55, to get active again.
She had started while she was still in pain, taking her Corgi, Stella, out for daily dog
walks, but Margot knew she required more.
She called Sandra Bueckert at One on One Personal Fitness. A client since 2011,
Margot returned to the boutique Calgary gym to rebuild the muscle that had wasted
away during sedentary days, to find what her illness had stripped away.
“I came back to Sandra and said we have to work out while I’m feeling better,” says
Margot. “I had lost 37 pounds — I was in too much pain to eat and had no appetite.”
Margot is a Registered Nurse and Director of Collaborative Learning & Education at
the Health Quality Council of Alberta. She has not been able to work for the better
part of two years, but she knew what she had to do to take care of her own well-
“Exercise helps with depression and pain. Until I got my dog, I just couldn’t bring
myself to exercise. I couldn’t do it for myself but I could do it for the dog,” she says.
Margot’s history with One On One goes back almost a decade. She had seen Sandra
on TV talking about how she refused to train somebody who would not eat. “I
thought: ‘There’s a person who has a lot of integrity and won’t support unhealthy
behaviour,’ ” says Margot. “She and I just clicked. Getting healthy again and strong
was important to me.”
Sandra was overjoyed to see Margot come back to the gym in January. “It’s like a
cloud has been lifted from over Margot’s head,” Sandra says. “When we tried to
work in the past – she would often have to stop because of the pain in her head
–chronic pain changed her personality.”
Margot’s current program involves high repetition exercises with light weights that
are key to slowly building strength and aerobic fitness. The schedule has Margot at
One On One twice a week. She also works with a kinesiologist and occupational
therapist in the health system twice a week.
“A trainer has to draw on a lot of compassion and be very flexible and creative with
someone like Margot,” says Sandra. “She’s weak and not eating well. She’s had
tremendous psychological and physical hurdles to overcome. We have to take baby
steps to lay a foundation and build her up gradually. Watching how she recovers is
important before we plan the next steps.”
Margot is living a life full of gratitude and is hopeful her health can be restored in
“I might have to have injections every couple months but I can live with that,” she
says. “I really value my health and the ability to be active and not stuck inside. I miss
work with every cell of my being. I love what I do and I can hardly wait to get back
One On One can help her get there.