One of the highlights for me at Blissdom Canada this year was meeting my fellow Whole Life Fitness Manifesto tribemates!
Health & Fitness,  Lifestyle,  Social

What do Blissdom Canada, a moose onesie and WODs have in common? Dai Manuel.

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The Moose is Loose — and His Name is Dai Manuel

If you’ve been following my blog then you’ve no doubt read about my #fit40s journey. You’ve also probably heard me talk about how the Whole Life Fitness Manifesto (WLFM) transformed my approach to daily movement and mindfulness. [In the interest of full disclosure, the meditation aspect is still a work-in-progress. And also sleep. Sleep still eludes me.]

One of the highlights for me at Blissdom Canada this year was meeting my fellow Whole Life Fitness Manifesto tribemates!
Oh, yes. The moose antlers came out for this one. OMG.

I am on what is officially Phase 4 of the WLFM, though it is only my second phase or cycle. The idea, of course, is that once you create the habit, it will be an ongoing part of your daily routine much like showering or brushing your teeth. The WLFM is the brainchild of Dai Manuel (known in inner fitness circles as Coach Moose, hence, the moose onesie) and I finally got to meet the man who has inspired so many to take charge of their fitness and wellness goals.

Fan Girl Moment

Last weekend (well, from Thursday to Sunday) I attended the Blissdom Canada conference which was held in Blue Mountain. I actually arrived on-site late Wednesday night and — as one is wont to do when released from all household and parenting duties — I hit up one of the village pubs for a draught with some friends.

When I saw Dai there I’m pretty sure I did a little jig on my way over to give him a hug hello. His smile, energy and charisma are as infectious as you might imagine from his online presence. This was my fan girl moment. But instead of feeling nervous and awkward (which I assume is how one feels when meeting a celebrity — not that I would know having never actually rubbed elbows with one except for that one time at Blissdom Canada when Jordan Knight listened to my heart beat) I felt completely at ease.

I mean, when someone has seen you at your most vulnerable — in the belly-jiggling, ass-drooping, emotionally-raw ‘before’ pictures — and can look BEYOND that to have thoughtful and meaningful conversation, it is very grounding. Instead of feeling embarrassed or awkward, I felt proud. Dai showed nothing but respect and admiration for those around him, myself included.


Throughout the weekend, I was equally as excited to meet and spend time with some of my faraway WLFM tribemates, Gillian, Aaron, Brandee, Robin and Angella with whom I have bantered back and forth since we began this journey back in July. When we finally met in person, it was like greeting old friends, such are the connections.

We christened our friendship with — what else? — an early-morning WOD the first day of the conference. And also Cards Against Humanity. And tequila. And can I just say: these people are strong and smart and inspiring and FUN.

One of the highlights for me at Blissdom Canada this year was meeting my fellow Whole Life Fitness Manifesto tribemates!
Why the mask? Mardi Gras. And also the purple had stained my face. True story.

Finding my ‘Why?’

As the conference unfolded I had several opportunities to share meals with Dai, to talk with him and even hear him speak about Finding Your ‘Why?’. If you think about it, our ‘Why?’ is what drives us — all of us — to choose the path we are on, to do in life what we are meant to do. His story is so inspiring and the message resonated greatly with me, particularly as I struggle with the need to justify what I do. At Blissdom, everyone gets it. They get me.

Much like Blissdom, we all come into the WLFM with different strengths and goals. But knowing your ‘Why?’ is what defines those goals, essentially. I feel that, even though I had already jumpstarted my fitness routine prior to the Whole Life Fitness Manifesto, I owe Dai a debt of gratitude. When I receive compliments, I don’t deflect them anymore. I don’t make excuses. I say thank-you.

Changing Lives

I know I’ve worked hard to get where I am. The blood, sweat and tears? They’re all mine. However, the community Dai has helped foster has been a driving force in the commitment to my goals. Proof positive: I got up at the butt-crack of dawn every morning of the Blissdom conference to work out. Every frickin’ morning. WOD. I’m still recovering.

Dai and the WLFM have become a household name. My husband asks me every week to forward him the workouts and just tonight I recommended Dai’s program to a client of mine at work. I can proudly say that I have not missed a single workout since I began this journey back in July. Chalk it up to determination or stubbornness but this works for me. Beyond the WLFM though, are the friendships and connections that have blossomed. Again: community.

Dai Manuel is changing lives. I will take his brand of celebrity over that of any actor or musician any day of the week.

One of the highlights for me at Blissdom Canada this year was meeting my fellow Whole Life Fitness Manifesto tribemates!
Like I said: it’s about the connections. And tequila. And random photo bomb dude. Thanks for that.

More from Erica’s #fit40sgoals on Instagram


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Erica writes with humour and heart about family, #fit40s and living life in the carpool lane. Part-time banker by day and Netflix-addicted-cake-decorator by night, Erica's in-between time is spent dreaming up ways to ruin her kids' lives. Obviously.


  • Gillian

    I LOVED meeting you in person at Blissdom! I love the little tribe we formed; seeing each of your smiling faces across the room, or in the hall was so comforting. Can I also say how freaking HOT you looked!! It is your heart that beams through, of course, but woman you are rocking it!! Congrats – I’m so glad you’re proud of you as we are!

    • Erica

      This is the part where I say ‘thank-you’ even though I’m blushing. I love that we had an instant connection. Having you all there absolutely transformed the Blissdom experience for me this year.

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