Steve Hackett on the Freedom to Say No

Steve Hackett on the Freedom to Say No


At The Good Stuff, we believe that the foundation for a great life is freedom. We also know that finding freedom day-to-day can be tough – we wouldn’t exist if it was easy. We have chosen a few of our favourite smoothie drinkers to share with us how they keep their busy lives in check and learned that balance is the key to having more freedom in your life.

A year ago, personal trainer Steve Hackett was doing everything he could to get his personal training business off the ground. He was running around to different gyms, teaching different classes and working with clients at all times of the day.

It was exhausting and he was ready to throw in the towel – or Canadian flag – and head back to Australia after three years of living in Canada. Instead, he decided to get back to basics and simplify his hectic schedule.

We sat down with Steve at Movement 108 to find out how saying no, taking care of himself and focusing on nourishing his body, helped him find the freedom to be himself.

How do you define balance?

I think it's learning to say no and listening to your body and mind. I now recognize when I need to pull back or make a change. In this industry, it's very easy to say yes and that leads to a bit of an implosion.

What was your implosion like?

I definitely hit a breaking point about a year ago. I think it was just realizing what I wanted out of life, which I wasn’t getting. I sat down with Aaron (owner of Movement 108) and I told him I was going back to Australia. He challenged me to make some changes before I left.

What did you change?

One of the biggest changes I made was working at Movement 108 exclusively. I also said no to training large groups of people and people that I didn’t connect with, and stopped going to social obligations that didn’t light me up.

We met with Steve at local studio, Movement 108 (and in the midst of Movember)

What was it about Movement 108 that appealed to you?

The older I get the more I realize that I actually really enjoy doing group activities and Movement 108 is such a community-based facility. It’s a second home for a lot of people, including myself.

I also felt really aligned with their approach to fitness, which focuses on foundations like mobility, strength and mindfulness, rather than getting totally crushed. Somebody might roll up with their parents to do a class and they can participate because it’s very attainable to be successful on their own level. It's not just about how much your butt hurts next day.

How did changing your diet change your life?

I had a chat with my mom who told me to stop worrying about saving money and to fuel myself with the best food I can. She said I’d be such a better human for it and sure enough, it just changed things. I started to feel good about what I was eating, which lead to me working out more, which improved my whole mindset. One thing just rolled into another. 

I started to feel good about what I was eating, which lead to me working out more, which improved my whole mindset.

I use The Good Stuff smoothies as an in-between meal and especially after a workout. I find it super handy because it just shows up at my house frozen and I can whip one up on days where I need a bit more nutrition.

I also love cooking and making myself meals while listening to podcasts – I suck at reading. I have to be pretty extroverted at work, teaching 10 classes per week as well as training people individually, so when I'm at home I don't want to have to talk. It helps me recharge, which I don’t think I knew how to do a year ago.

What advice would you give someone looking to make changes in their life?

There's only so long you can go through life not being in alignment. I'm a bit more clear about what I want and what I offer people, which has created a more balanced life for me.

Try Steve’s favourite smoothie: the Afternoon Delight.


Credit: Abby Wiseman from Small Batch Vancouver for the story.