Fitness Insider

Founder of Our Magazine on @skatingPj Podcast

PJ Kwong

March 14, 2016

PJ Kwong

The Inside Edge is where I take you behind-the-scenes of the @SkatingPj Podcast. This week it’s all about becoming the best you can be.

I first met Signe Ronka while she was still a skater. What I remember most is her talent, speed and energy on the ice. This is a young woman who competed internationally for Canada including at the 2003 World Junior Figure Skating Championships with the same drive, discipline and determination that defines her life today. After her skating career and university education, she started down the fitness road to help other skaters improve their strength and conditioning.

I had no idea what I was in for when Signe agreed to be interviewed at her Flexafit studio in the Cherry Beach area of Toronto. Signe is an impressive entrepreneur with several different ventures on the go including the travelling Figure Skater Bootcamp program, which goes to various clubs and locations across the city as well as on the road. The Figure Skater Bootcamp program is aimed at helping skaters prevent injuries through strength training. It has been met with huge enthusiasm and success.

As if she didn’t have enough things to fill her time, Signe turned her attention to publishing a magazine devoted to figure skating fitness. Aptly named the Figure Skater Fitness Magazine, it is a quarterly publication which follows a skater’s training cycle. The next issue is due April 4th and subscription information can be found at this link: Figure Skater Fitness Magazine Subscription.

What I appreciated most in this conversation was Signe’s candour and her optimism that I could do a ‘plank’. Not even close, but I was willing to try. When you are coached by someone who believes in you, anything is possible. Signe Ronka – or as I like to say “Force of Nature”.  If you want more information about Signe or her programs, check them out on social media.

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January 2016 In-Season Issue Release

Signe Ronka

RELEASED TODAY- JANUARY 2016 IN-SEASON ISSUE!

What is In-Season?

In sport specific fitness training, there are four periods of training (pre-season, in-season, off-season and post season).  This issue covers the In-Season time frame as skaters are in the middle of competitions.  This magazine will feature everything skaters need to know about fitness, nutrition, injury prevention, mental training, and glamour in order to get ready for competitions.  

Also featured will be Patritick Chan- 3 time World medalist and Olympic Silver medalist. 

The Ultimate Training Plan of a Champion- Patrick Chan reveals secrets to his fitness training, nutrition and mental training. He provides amazing tips and advice to young skaters for this competition season.

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Announcement

We are excited to announce that Figure Skater Fitness Magazine will be collaborating with Edea Skates to promote Injury Prevention.

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Ronka Makes Injury Prevention Her Mission

Lois Elfman, special to icenetwork.com

Article by Lois Elfman, special to icenetwork.com

Signe Ronka's career included notable accomplishments like qualifying for the Junior Grand Prix (JGP) Final and competing at the world junior championships. But because of injuries, the former Canadian competitor never was able to reach her full potential.

After retiring from competitive skating following the 2006 Canadian Championships, Ronka attended the University of Toronto (Trinity College), earning a degree in psychology, political science and bioethics. She also became a certified strength and conditioning specialist and a certified personal trainer. When her heart led her back to skating, she made it her mission to help skaters avoid the pitfalls she endured.

"I'm really passionate about figure skating, so I started coaching," said Ronka, who spent two years after college working as a technology consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers. "I started getting really into the fitness industry. I noticed there were lots of gaps where I was interested to help build the fitness side of skating. So, I got into researching sport-specific training and I started a program called Figure Skater Bootcamp in 2010.

"We are doing workshops all over Canada," she continued. "I noticed a lot of these skating clubs, they don't have a lot of information about fitness training. When I come there, they're so excited to have this kind of opportunity."

Last week, Ronka, 27, launched Figure Skater Fitness, a digital magazine intended to help skaters incorporate off-ice exercises and a fitness regimen into their routines so has to help them avoid injury. It also delves into nutrition and psychology.

"I want this to be the kind of ultimate place where people can go to get the content that they need about what it takes to train off the ice," Ronka said.

Word of the magazine has spread; Ronka has received interest from writers with related expertise in Canada and the U.S. Each quarterly edition will have a theme and spotlight based on the time of year of publication (preseason, in-season etc.).

"When I went to school, I had a different path in mind, and then my life kind of turned around after I started the Figure Skating Bootcamp," Ronka said. "I released a DVD that sold all over the world. That made me realize there really is a need for figure skating fitness, sport-specific training. I decided to change my path."

Given skating's demands on the body, Ronka said there are off-ice exercises for skaters of all levels.

"Once they have the proper technique off the ice, in terms of the squat technique and the lunges and all the basic foundations of fitness, then we will go into more sport-specific training," she said. "They build a foundation from the start."

As for her own training, she said she works out 5-6 days a week, using her own Bootcamp warmup. She doesn't have a lot of time for skating but can still land triple toe loop and double axel.

"Before I give any exercise to the skaters, I will always do it myself," she said.

Ronka also coaches at the Granite Club in North York, Ontario, and the East York Skating Club in East York, Ontario.

"You can really see when the skater is dedicated to the sport and to fitness, and what that transformation can look like," Ronka said. "In the magazine, I want to be able to give people who are not available to come here the opportunity to practice some of these exercises.

"This issue that we just released has four different circuits of exercises," she added. "I want kids to be able to practice these things at home and have the guidance and proper technique built into it with the descriptions."

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