SAP Success Stories: Tracy Arnish


What is your role at SAP? Vice President, Human Resources for SAP Canada and SAP Labs North America

What was the turning point when you decided to make a change? Coming off of Christmas 2010 I was feeling run down and sluggish. Over the holidays I had spent time with my sister in-law who was training for a fitness competition. Seeing her train, along with some inspiration from a couple of colleagues at work motivated me to take the first step towards revisiting my wellness strategy.

How long have you been working on achieving your health-wellness and fitness goals?I have always been very active. Coming from a family of athletes, sports and training have been a part of my life from a very young age. However, I lived by the mantra that “I work out so that I can eat what I want”. Recently I learned that exercise only accounts for 20% of your overall weight management and that 80% is based on what you eat. This was one of many learnings I have realized over the past 12 months.

What inspires you to continue and achieve your health-wellness and fitness goals?I am motivated by a few things; first of all I have a lot more energy and my immune system has never been so strong. As well, I am motivated by the results that I have seen. I set continuous goals and monitor my progress daily to keep me on track.

What advice do you have for others who want to live a healthier lifestyle?Set small goals for yourself initially. Be realistic about what you can achieve because when you hit your goal or over achieve there is no greater motivation. If you set unrealistic initial goals there is a chance you won’t hit them and that can cause you to give up before you have really tried.

Is there a particular snack you eat to give you energy throughout your workouts?I now eat 5 – 6 small meals a day and avoid starchy carbs and sugars. I eat meals that are high in lean meats, veggies, fruit and protein. My favorite snacks are mixed nuts (26 nuts per serving to be exact) or homemade protein smoothies. It is amazing how when you cut out less healthy foods after a period of time you no longer crave them and you start to crave the stuff that is good for you. Unbelievable but true!

How does an onsite wellness facility benefit your training? I feel very fortunate to have access to an onsite wellness facility. 12 months ago when I first started my commitment to a healthier lifestyle the SAP gym was a huge enabler. I built time into my day to work out so that by the time I headed home to my family in the evening my workout was complete. Once you get home there are hundreds of distractions that get in the way of going back out to get in a workout so by building this into my regular day I could go home and focus on my family.

What are your future goals in health, wellness & training? I have always been a runner but this year I plan to get off the street and onto the trails. In May my husband and I plan to run the Iron Knee which is a 20km trail run through the North Shore mountains. Otherwise my goal is to maintain where I am at today from both a health-wellness standpoint and a fitness level. It has taken time to recognize that this type of a lifestyle takes work but I remind myself that anything worth having has to be earned.

SAP Success Stories: Christina Obry


What is your role at SAP? Senior Product Specialist

What was the turning point when you decided to make a change? For the last 5 years I have been involved in outrigger canoeing on a semi-competitive level. My favorite spot in the 6 person outrigger canoe is the 1st seat, which is also the narrowest seat. Over the years, this seat somehow became narrower and narrower to the point that the circulation in my legs was cut off if I spent more than 20 minutes in it. Hence I was no longer able to paddle in that seat. Pretending that the canoe shrank over time was no longer an option and I had to admit that I gained a fair bit of weight and that it was time for a change, if I wanted to continue racing in seat 1.

How long have you been working on achieving your health-wellness and fitness goals? I have been fairly active for most of my life, thinking that as long as I do some form of sport a couple of times a week, I can eat anything. Sadly that’s not true. It took a long time to realize, but with the beginning of the new year I finally made the switch. It has been 4 months now, I feel great and have lost over 20 lbs.

What inspires you to continue and achieve your health-wellness and fitness goals? With my recent lifestyle changes I feel better about myself, I have more energy and I am stronger than ever. In my last time trial, I reached my personal best time and most importantly I fit back into seat 1 of the outrigger canoe, just in time for the beginning of the race season. Whether it is during a practice or during a race, I expect my teammates to give their best and they expect the same from me. Having a healthier lifestyle allows me to give more to my team.

What advice do you have for others who want to live a healthier lifestyle? One of the key things for me is to make sure that I have some healthier snacks at work for mid-morning and the afternoon, so that I don’t get hungry and get tempted to go to the vending machine or get a muffin at one of the coffee shops around the office. Having said that I did not cut out sweets completely. I believe if you want to maintain a diet then you can’t restrict yourself too much; otherwise you start craving what you want and overeat it when you do allow yourself for a treat. It is all about a good balance of eating more of the healthy food and less of the not so healthy goodness. In terms of exercise, find something you enjoy and find an exercise buddy. Then it won’t feel like a chore and something you have to do. Vancouver is an amazing place to live in, the mild temperatures allow you to do many outdoor sports all year long to get outside and enjoy.

Is there a particular snack you eat to give you energy throughout your workouts? I usually don’t eat during the workouts, but make sure that I eat something like nuts about one hour before the workout. In the summer as our races are over 1.5 hours long, I usually have watered-down Gatorade with me. As for a day to day afternoon snack, I often eat half of a papaya with some Greek yoghurt. It has a sweet taste and keeps me full until dinner time.

How does an onsite wellness facility benefit your training? The onsite wellness facility is awesome, I think we are lucky to have it. Personally I have a hard time to motivate myself to go to the gym alone. I either don’t go as hard as I should or I don’t go at all. Hence I sign up for the H.I.T. (High Intensity Training) class, first of all I commit ahead of time and then don’t want to bail out, secondly, there are a bunch of people in the class and by now we know and motivate each other and thirdly, Paula, the instructor, is amazing! I’ve taken the class now twice a week for several months and I don’t think we had one class that was like the other. She always finds new ways to challenge us and to keep it interesting.

What are your future goals @ health-wellness/fitness/training? I would like to lose a few more pounds and continue to improve my strength. My team is planning on partaking in a relay race from Vernon to Penticton in September, it’s 100km race split into five sections paddled by two crews. We have done it before. It was a fun challenge and this year we like to beat our time from two years ago.

SAP Success Stories: Suzanne McFadyen

Suzanne McFadyen – CRM Business Analyst


What does it take to achieve your fitness goals? There are many elements that lead us to succeed at our personal health and wellness goals. Finding that one thing that inspires you is one of the key elements of a successful fitness journey, an emotional connection that will inspire you for the long term. My inspiration was my daughter Sophie! I began going to the gym because I did not want to be one of those Mom’s that could not keep up with my child and miss out on that quality time with my daughter.

What were my initial feelings? I have to admit my initial feeling was this place is scary. I thought I was going to die after that first day! I just kept going back and slowly increased what I was doing. Two of the best things that helped me were the circuit class and the group personal training class that led to our H.I.T. (High Intensity training).

Not only am I in better shape now – probably the best shape I have been in my life – but I have now lost 25 pounds as well. The convenience of the gym is the key; I do not have time when I get home so having it available during the work day is perfect.

I realize that I can do way more than I ever thought I could. I often think I cannot do something and I am often pleasantly surprised that I can.

It was all a bit scary to start with but I am certainly glad that I did!