Sherrie Smith has worked more than a dozen jobs that never made her happy. But after finding her passion for nutrition and wellness, Smith settled on a physical training job that gives her the chance to change others’ lives in a unique way.

Smith has been a photographer, a florist, a nanny, worked in a coffee shop and has owned her own cleaning company. Yet, none seemed to be the right fit.

“Nothing has been as satisfying as helping people realize their potential and changing lives,” said Smith.

The turning point for Smith was when she was working at a holistic clinic as a reflexologist and a holistic nutritionist, where physical training went hand and hand with the work she was doing at the clinic.

“Throughout my adulthood, I’ve had many different careers and paths and then kind of walked into health and wellness,” says Smith.

She is currently working at Built Strong Athletics in Okotoks as both a manager and a trainer. Her clients range from seven to 80 years old.

“We pride ourselves in our philosophy that athletes and clients need to be trained from the ground up. They need to be safe and shown how their bodies work and what they’re capable of before they’re pushed into movements and actions that they might not be ready for,” says Smith.  

Built Strong is an industrial and edgy looking place with turf space and normal lifting equipment, yet Smith says it feels welcoming and laid back because everyone is with a trainer at all times.

Sherrie Weights WEB

Since Smith discovered her passion for physical training, she has become both a trainer and manager at Built Strong Athletics in Okotoks. Photo by Brooklyn Palin. 

“We’re not a membership-based gym where we allow clients to just come in on their own. Everyone works with a trainer and is safe while they do it,” says Smith.

On the first day, Smith goes through an assessment process where she looks at basic motions and forms to see what program would be best suited for a client and the training goes from there.

Smith’s business partner at Built Strong, Jill Matthews, said that Smith has always been dedicated and motivated to do her best.

“She is an extremely hard worker, but I have watched her fall in love with this industry and be amazing at what she does now.”

Smith says the best part of her job is when she can feel she has had an effect of changing someone’s life no matter the age of the client.

“For myself, it’s satisfying that I get to see people improve.”

Smith’s goal is to let individuals see what they can do in the gym with some help and motivation.

“It’s amazing getting to see a child learn what their muscles are capable of and it’s really great seeing an older woman who’s trying to lose weight realize that it’s some simple shifts in their lifestyle,” she says.

Tracey Foley has been a client with Smith since the beginning and believes Smith is in the business for the people she can help.

“She is passionate about helping people become healthier and a better version of themselves. She truly cares about helping and motivating people to [maintain] a healthier lifestyle,” she says.

Sherrie Client WEB

Tracey Foley (right) a long-time client of Smith (left), says Smith truly cares about the well-being of her clients. Photo by Brooklyn Palin.  

Other gyms focus on one main goal for a client, but at Built Strong, Smith says success is a broader scale of continuously being motivated and having smaller achievements to reach bigger ones.

“I think it’s about setting little goals and helping people achieve them constantly along the way and that [it] is always attainable,” said Smith.

Although Smith has earned her education with certifications of a CAN-fit pro, functional movement, as well as being able to work with youth and seniors, she looks forward to learning even more about fitness.

“Knowledge in this industry changes constantly because new science improves, or we learn new things about the body,” she says.

The comfortable atmosphere at Built Strong is where Smith wants to stay. 

“I can’t see myself wanting to leave. I love working with the athletes, I love working with my clients, and it’s truly a dream job.”

Edited by: Kaeliegh Allan |

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