We’re continuing our blog series getting to know the CSCM team better. Today we’re chatting with Janelle Vincent, CSCM Sport Dietitian.
Where are you from?
Janelle: Winnipeg, MB. I grew up in the south St. Vital area.
Can you tell us about growing up French?
Janelle: My first language is French. I went to French elementary school and the only French high school in the city at the time. I did my first year of university at St. Boniface College before switching over to English, which was a massive transition. I had to learn how to learn in English. I would translate everything in French in my head for the first full year. And to this day, if I’m counting in my head, I still count in French. I don’t think I’m as bad now, but French is backwards. Like, instead of being like the blue cat, it’s the cat blue. Or toilet paper, I call it paper toilets because that’s how you say it in French! So people can tell I’m French based on closing the light or shutting the light. I still don’t know which one is correct because in French it’s different.
Tell us a bit more about yourself?
Janelle: I love spending time outside being active. I love gardening. I love growing flowers. I love spending time in the yard, even just reading outside. I actually love reading. In the summer I will golf or go kayaking. I love spending time in the Whiteshell going hiking. In the winter, I’ll go cross country skiing. I like snowshoeing as well. Being outside and being active is a big part of my outside-of-work life.
I really like traveling. I don’t travel much but I really enjoy it. Hawaii is definitely my happy place. It’s like a family vacation spot, so I’ve been there a few times with the whole family which is nice.
What’s your personal sport journey?
Janelle: I started running in grade nine- I joined the track team for conditioning for badminton. That was the only purpose of joining the track team. And then I quit badminton to keep running. I focused mostly on track and cross country through high school. I did play soccer, outdoor and indoor soccer, but I wasn’t that good. I mean, the whole hand eye coordination and an implement just didn’t work for me. And then I took a couple years off after high school and then joined the track team on campus as a walk on my third year university. I went to (what back then it was called CIS) but now is the U Sports Championship, twice in cross country. And I qualified for U Sports Track and Field championship in the 3k in my last year, which was a huge accomplishment because I actually never thought that I would accomplish it.
I kept training after university with the goal to continue but slipped and fell on some ice and needed knee surgery. And then I never got back to the level of working full time and training. I just do it for fun now.
We used to run seven to 10 times a week. It was like a lot. It was amazing. I tell the athletes, especially when I work on campus where those five years go by so fast, you’re not gonna remember the wins and losses. It’s the experiences that you get to live as an athlete and the moments with your teammates on the bus or the plane. Some of my best friends now are still from those years. These are times that you’re going to remember forever.
Do you have a favourite moment from the last year?
Janelle: I got injured and I had to take exactly a year and 10 days off [from running]. The doctor said, “if you know exactly to the day, then I know this is something that was really hard for you.” So the first time I stepped back onto the treadmill after a year and 10 days, I think I cried. I’ve never taken that much time off of running since I started running in grade nine. If I’m going to remember something from the past year personally, that was like a big moment.
What drew you to working in sport?
Janelle: When I started running back in grade nine, my high school coach gave us this handout, which I still have to this day, and it was titled ‘your window of opportunity’. It was just a small article, a few paragraphs, on the importance of a recovery snack after you workout. And that’s what sparked my interest in nutrition.
After high school I decided to go into kinesiology because I knew I wanted to work in sports or with athletes in some respect. I always knew I was going into sport nutrition so I did my nutrition degree after that one.
What’s the best part of your job?
Janelle: Working with athletes. I just love it. It’s the environment. It’s working with the athletes themselves but also working with the coach. We get to work with the strength and conditioning staff, athletic therapists, physiology, sports psychology.
What are you most looking forward to in the next year?
Janelle: I think a post-pandemic Olympics is going to be really cool. We had Tokyo and Beijing, but I feel like it was still not the same. There were no spectators and you couldn’t visit the other athletes or go to the other venues or do this or do that and really experience the games. I think it’s gonna be amazing for athletes to go back and really be part of the whole experience this time.
If you could give a piece of advice to athletes, what would it be?
Janelle: Trust the process and put in the work. Going back to when I was an athlete, it was the consistency of the training and trusting the process. I did every single workout and every single strength session. I always showed up and put in the work and just trusted it. And I got way further than I ever imagined or had goals of achieving. So I think that’s a big one. Just trust the process.
Also, even small changes are moving forward. I often tell my athletes, even if it’s small changes, it’s moving forward. Versus if you jump in and leap back, then you’re further back from where you started. Especially with nutrition, if you make one change at a time, those small steps will support your moving forward.
The Canadian Sport Centre Manitoba acknowledges that our offices are situated on Treaty 1 Land, the original lands of the Anishinaabe, Cree, Ojibway-Cree, Dakota, and Dene Peoples, and on the homeland of the Métis Nation.
The Treaties made on these territories are respected by all those who work at CSCM. We acknowledge the harms and mistakes of the past that were made. In a spirit of collaboration and reconciliation, we dedicate ourselves to continually move forward in partnership with Indigenous communities for ongoing education and learning.
We understand that acknowledging this truth, though important, is only a small part in cultivating the strong relationships we strive to build and maintain with Indigenous communities. We continue to work towards this, with particular attention being paid to the sport specific calls to action #87-91 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
We recognize we are not the first to live on this land, and thank these Nations for allowing us access to their land and water.