The Strength Lab

The Strength Lab - Building the Best Personal Training in Ottawa

All my life I've been on a journey.  A fitness journey that has taken me around the world a few times and back again.  It's been full of ups and downs, but the one thing that has always prevailed is my love of strength and fitness.  This is why I created The Strength Lab.

If you prefer to watch a short clip, try this out for size.

When I was younger fitness was all about aesthetics.  It started out in High School where I got into a bad peer group and developed an eating disorder to try and be someone I was not.  Not smart, but I don't discount this as part of my overall philosophy.  If someone says they were born with enough common sense and wisdom when they're 15 or 16, I'd call them an idiot.  At any rate  I was super underweight and nearly dead at the time.  See that picture below, that's me with my first vehicle.  I was a senior in High School when that was taken.  It was a rough few years leading up to that time.

In High School I played football, ran track (the 800m is the best race ever), snowboarded in the winter, dabbled in basketball (although I really sucked at basketball) and even played a bit of baseball.  By the time I went to college I was a mediocre athlete, but never anything to really write home about.  I simply loved the training, the build up to a big event.  I enjoyed the competition, but competing with myself was more important.

Although back then I didn't even realize what good training and nutrition really looked like...I was pretty lost.  Where I really wanted to be was on the cover of some of the magazines, but for the life of me I couldn't figure out how they did it.  I was applying the principles (or so I thought) and trying to eat as little as humanly possible to get leaner and build muscle.  Little did I realize that I was going about everything the wrong way!

It was in those college years that the big turn-around happened.  I got even more absorbed into fitness and bodybuilding.  I researched and learned everything I could gleam from coaches, magazines, the internet, wherever I could find information I sought it out.  I re-learned how to train and started bodybuilding and turned my life around with the help of some good coaches and friends.  I ended up with a degree in Exercise Science, got several certifications and never looked back.

Why The Strength Lab?

We all know that fitness should be part of a healthy lifestyle, but somewhere along the way we lose interest.  We lose our way.  We get jobs, get married, have kids and then the focus from where our goals used to be shifts.  It happens to almost everyone at some point or another.  It just happened to me early on in life.

At the Lab we're focused on getting people back to where they were before "life" happened or perhaps even better than the present, we don't discriminate.  Wherever point A is for you (that's right now), we want to make it better and more enthusiastic point B by the time we're done.  The only thing you'll eventually realize is that there really isn't an end to this scenario.  You may be done with a training session, a cycle of strength, or a pain in the arse cycle of conditioning, but we're never done, "we just take recreational breaks" from working out and training to allow ourselves to recover.

What Do We Train

So the goals now are different, but the principles still haven't changed from back when you were young.  Lift weights, work movements, drink water, do some cardio, eat better or like Dan John would say, "eat like an adult", limit the overly fun stuff, drinking and the like, and be consistent with your efforts.

Some of us have never done this type of thing and are like, well, I used to do (insert whatever trick you used to follow) and I looked great.  My usual advice to this scenario is, "well, how's that working for you now?"

Generally there's a long silent, stare after this statement.  It isn't working anymore, so let's not focus on what used to work, let's figure out what's going to work NOW!

That's pretty much it.

We focus on the things that truly matter, strength, mobility, conditioning and appropriate levels of motivation that keep you wired and hungry for more.


And whatever the individual goal is that you're trying to accomplish, the training and nutrition are built to reflect that goal set.  That's what I love about personal training and coaching is that you can accomplish so much from just focusing a bit more effort here and taking away a bit of this and that.  But it's all just slightly different for each individual.

Not by much, but just a few tweaks here and there that make the most difference.  Focus on the little things and make everyday count.  Get better over time and be consistent in your efforts.

So until we meet again, this is a small blurb about me and The Strength Lab.  I hope you'll find some of the information I put up here useful and purposeful in your everyday training and life.

Strength and Mobility = Freedom





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Jess Howland

Jesse "Captain Smash" Howland is the owner of SMASH’s Strength Lab, which offers targeted personal training to reach a variety of fitness and physique goals. A natural bodybuilder, competitive powerlifter, certified personal trainer, and nutrition coach, Jesse is often the go-to resource for personal training Ottawa. He studied Exercise Science at Oregon State University and even trained at the world famous Gold's Gym. He's a former US Army Captain with the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, a former blog writer at Veterans Fitness Career College, and former Chief Executive Officer at U.S. Army Forces Command (FORSCOM). His workouts and personal training are army-inspired to help reach your weightloss, athletic, or physique goals.