A female fitness enthusiast from Pembroke is hoping the local community will rally and support her as she vies for the title of Ms. Health and Fitness in an online competition.
Raised in the Petawawa and Pembroke area, Terri Burdan is a registered nurse at the Pembroke Regional Hospital where she has worked for 16 years. She is a single mom to her seven-year-old son Rowan, is active in local sporting events and is one of the contestants from around the world vying for the title of Ms. Health and Fitness. Should Burdan go on to win, she would receive $20,000 in cash, appear on the cover of Muscle and Fitness HERS magazine and receive sponsorship from Magnum Neutriceuticals.
“The contest popped up on my Instagram feed one night while I was scrolling and I thought what the heck, what do I have to lose?” Burdan told the Observer explaining that she then proceeded to register for the competition.
“My hopes for the contest are obviously to win but even being accepted into the worldwide contest has been an honourable experience. If I did win, holy wow, I would be smiling from ear to ear, my heart would be filled with so much joy, my thoughts would be filled with gratitude,” Burdan said.
The contest, which is conducted in rounds, opens April 26 and runs until the end of June. Contestants move on to the next round based on the number of public votes cast for them via links on Facebook, Instagram and directly through the web link.
“Support from the community could possibly give me the edge I need to move through the five rounds of voting. Every vote gets me closer to reaching my goal of becoming Ms. Health and Fitness 2022. I’m competing against women worldwide who may have a huge following of friends and family to support them along their way so gathering as much support and as many votes for me is the most important thing that could help change my life forever,” she said.
Burdan has been an active member at the Pembroke Fitness Centre in the Best Western for the past 10 years and before that at Phaze 1 Fitness since it opened in 1999. She played on a women’s softball team and in mixed leagues in Petawawa and Laurentian Valley since 2003 and tackled the Mud Run fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society held at Wilderness Tours in 2020. She has attended Yoga in the Park at the Pembroke Waterfront, supported the Walk for Sschizophrenia for several years and kept up her training regime with a virtual personal trainer when gyms closed because of COVID.
Juggling fitness, a career and being a mom is no easy task but part of her secret is early to bed, early to rise.
“I’m usually up before the sun in order to get some quiet time for gratitude and coffee. I like to do my workout in the morning so it’s out of the way. I find by giving myself time in the morning I’m better able to give myself to all life’s circumstances that the day may bring. I’m lucky to have a job that is Monday to Friday, 8:30 to 4:30, which gives me some added routine to my weeks. I’m in bed and sleeping soundly by 10 p.m. I eat 5x a day, healthy fresh foods that are high in protein and micronutrients. This fuels my body and helps me stay alert and on point,” Burdan said.
A life of health and fitness was not always her jam. For her it began in her last year of high school at General Panet in Petawawa in 1999. At the time she weighed 250 pounds and was suffering heartburn, gallbladder problems, fatigue and depression. She decided to start taking her health more seriously and made some changes which ultimately allowed her to shed 100 pounds. More difficulties were in store, however, as in 2005 she started noticing a pain in her left hip and a change in flexibility. An x-ray revealed moderate osteoarthritis, suspected to be from a birth defect of hip dysplasia.
“I was devastated. I knew the disease would progressively get worse and it did. By 2013, the year I was graduating from the Ottawa University Bachelor of Science Nursing program, I could hardly walk. I was walking with a cane, I’d had multiple shots of cortisone, and was going for monthly physio appointments just to maintain as much function in the joint as possible,” Burdan said.
In September 2016 she underwent a major surgery called a hip resurfacing. Recovery went well but her leg was weak from so many years of compensation, she said.
“I could no longer run. I hadn’t played ball in over two years, but I wasn’t in pain anymore and I was determined to do all those things again. I started another slow journey which brought me to where I am today.”
You can vote for Terri Burdan beginning on April 26, beginning at 1 p.m. at https://mshealthandfitness.com/2022/terri-burd