Health and wellness: Tips from three RBC Olympians

July 20, 2021 | Investment, tax and lifestyle perspectives from RBC Wealth Management Services


RBC athletes Amanda Rummery, Justin Kripps and Mandy Bujold share their insights on physical activity, mental well-being, overcoming obstacles, staying motivated and setting goals.

amanda rummery

Meet Amanda Rummery
Sport: Para-Athletics
Community: Edmonton, AB


Amanda has been part of para-athletics in Edmonton since 2017. After her left arm was paralyzed in an ATV accident in 2015, she found the sport of para track and field. In August 2018, she had her paralyzed arm amputated and now competes with her “nub.” The year following her amputation surgery, Amanda was able to meet her goal of breaking the Canadian record in the 100m, 200m and 400m events. She also received the 2019 Athletics Alberta Para Athlete of the Year award.

Competitive achievements

  • 2019 Canadian Track & Field Championships – Gold (100m, 200m, 400m)
  • 2019 Parapan American Games – 6th place (400m), 9th place (100m and 200m)
  • 2019 WPA World Para Championships
  • Canadian record holder in the 100m, 200m and 400m

amanda rummery running competition

Photo courtesy of the Canadian Paralympic Committee and Amanda Rummery.

Wealth Management Canada (WMC): Over the course of the pandemic, with so many changes to routines and the challenges people have faced, can you share any strategies that you’ve used to stay motivated?

Amanda Rummery (AR): Overall through these times, I’ve managed to stay motivated by reminding myself of my purpose. I hold myself accountable by thinking of what I want to achieve, how I’m going to reach my goals and the bigger picture of why I got involved with para-athletics. Ever since losing my arm in 2015, sport has been my outlet, and I want to continue to be a source of inspiration for others to live an active lifestyle.

WMC: In sport and in life, what’s the importance of goal setting and how can it function as an empowering tool?

AR: Goal setting has always been important to me because it’s how I motivate myself. During gruelling training sessions, I stay committed by telling myself I can’t quit because I have a target time in my mind that I need to run in order to make it to the Tokyo 2021 Paralympics. I also set smaller attainable goals that I celebrate when I achieve them because they all contribute to my bigger overarching goal. When I achieve those smaller goals (hitting a certain time in a practice), it gives me the self-confidence I need to keep going.

During setbacks and challenges, I think it’s important to not give up and instead practice grit. The ability to have passion and perseverance over the long-run amidst setbacks truly tests how badly you want to reach your goal. From losing my arm to having multiple surgeries over the years, my mindset has always been “No excuses.” You have the option to either crumble in the face of challenges or rise above and come out stronger on the other end.

WMC: What tips can you offer for maintaining healthy dietary habits, especially while many have been or continue to spend more time at home? 

AR: My key to maintaining healthy dietary habits is everything in moderation. If you want to treat yourself to some sweets every now and then, do it! But don’t feel bad about it. Truly enjoy it.

Since I’ve spent so much more time at home over this past year, it’s been hard to not over-indulge in snacks. Thankfully, there are so many healthy snack options out there. I have taken up baking, and I like to find fun and healthy recipes online. My other rule is no cellphones, laptops or TV while eating. I think it’s important to always eat at the kitchen table as well.

WMC: As an elite athlete and a role model, what message do you have for Canadians, kids and adults alike?

AR: When I first got involved with track and field, my goal was to inspire a little kid with a disability to be physically active. However, as the years went on, I realized it’s often able-bodied individuals who need the extra motivation to overcome difficulties. I believe everyone deserves the benefits of living a healthy and active lifestyle. When Canadians see me running in the community, I want them to be inspired to get active! Don’t allow excuses to dictate your life, and instead use them as a motivator. I found sport at the lowest point in my life, and I am forever thankful for that. 

Amanda’s favourite…

Quote or saying: “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”

amanda rummery

Meet Justin Kripps
Sport: Bobsleigh
Community: Calgary, AB


Justin Kripps won Olympic Gold in Bobsleigh at the 2018 Olympics after a career season where he claimed two Crystal Globes by finishing as the #1 driver in the world in the two-man and combined rankings. Originally from the Big Island of Hawaii, some of Justin’s favourite activities in the offseason are golfing, mountain biking, fly fishing and surfing, as well as searching for the perfect cup of coffee and travelling to new places.

Competitive achievements

  • 2019 World Championship – Silver & Bronze
  • 2018 Olympic Games – Gold
  • 2018 Crystal Globe – #1 ranking (2-man and combined)
  • 2017 World Championship – Silver
  • Start Record Holder – Altenberg, Germany & Park City, Utah, USA
  • Track & World Speed Record Holder – Whistler, BC (2-man)

Photo courtesy of Viesturs Lacis and Justin Kripps.

Wealth Management Canada (WMC): When considering wellness as a whole, how do you emphasize or balance physical, nutritional and mental health?

Justin Kripps (JK): Finding a balance has been really important, in my life and my career. I realized as an athlete, there’s so much priority placed on the physical element that the other elements of wellness can become neglected, especially mental, in my experience. 

Through my Olympic experiences, I saw that the gap between athletes at that level, physically, is extremely small and yet still remains the huge focus. Where the pressure is really high and where thoughts of how much sacrifice has been made start to creep in, it’s often not the most dominant physical athlete who wins — it’s the one who manages to keep calm and focused and perform at their best. 

That realization shifted my mindset to take a bit of pressure off the physical aspect and create a more balanced life with a focus on mental performance and well-being, and in short: being happy. That led me to standing on the line in the 2018 Olympics, under the most pressure I’ve ever experienced, with a calm mind thinking only that I’m ready, and happy to be here.

WMC: What are some strategies you use to stay motivated and maintain a positive mindset?

JK: I have a daily meditation routine that I find helps greatly with mood and motivation. I usually end that with just acknowledging to myself something I’m grateful for. When I struggle for motivation during hard training or long stretches on the road, I remind myself why I’m doing this, and why I love it. I focus on those feelings, kind of to take a step back and see the whole forest rather than just the trees right in front of me. Any plan to do something extraordinary is going to take a high level of struggle and discipline. It can be easy to forget that when you’re in the struggling phase, but if you can remember the plan and why you started it, that’s usually all it takes to turn your mood around and find motivation to push through.

WMC: During the pandemic, there have been so many challenges or stressors to face. As a seasoned athlete, you’re likely no stranger to overcoming obstacles. How do you approach challenges?

JK: In sports, challenges and obstacles are an opportunity to separate yourself and grow as an athlete. Those are things I’m usually excited to tackle, to figure out a solution and power through it. The pandemic has created a lot of challenges and obstacles that people can’t overcome on their own — it’s been a heartbreaking time in that sense. My strategy for any obstacle is to look inward and figure out how it affects my goals and my team. From there, we find a solution together. It’s been wonderful and uplifting to see, for the most part, Canadians leaning on each other and coming together to get through these challenging times together as a community. I think that’s really important for any type of obstacle faced in life.

WMC: What are your thoughts about the importance of regular physical activity and maintaining an active lifestyle and how that contributes to mental health overall?

JK: I definitely think being active regularly has vast wellness benefits. When I’m out doing an activity away from my daily grind, it clears my head.

I enjoy those activities almost exclusively for mental well-being at this point. In the future when I’m not actively competing anymore, I’ll be staying active with sports that promote my mental well-being as well as those for my physical well-being. For example, I find golf is a great activity that mostly provides me with mental benefits, while mountain biking is more physical for me.

Justin’s favourite…

Energy-boosting meal: For a big training day, I always start with oatmeal, with collagen protein mixed in, a big scoop of peanut butter, a banana and a square of dark chocolate on top!

mandy bujold

Meet Mandy Bujold
Sport: Boxing
Community: Kitchener, ON

Mandy Bujold is a Canadian amateur boxer whose career was launched following a successful 2006 season where she claimed the Canadian National Championship and Boxer of the Year titles. During the Toronto 2015 Pan American Games, Mandy successfully defended her title and became the only female boxer in history to win two Pan American Games titles. She took home a Gold medal at the 2016 Continental Olympic Qualifier, securing one of only two spots available for the continent in her weight division for the Olympic Games in Rio.

Competitive achievements

  • 2016 Olympic Games – 5th place
  • 2014 Commonwealth Games – Bronze
  • 2015 & 2011 Pan American Games – Gold
  • 3-time Continental Champion
  • 11-time Canadian National Champion

mandy bujold boxing competition

Photo courtesy of Virgil Barrow and Mandy Bujold.

Wealth Management Canada (WMC): When it comes to different facets of wellness, such as physical, nutritional, mental and social, what are your thoughts on how to find balance or make each a priority?

Mandy Bujold (MB): I believe it comes down to making your wellness a priority and planning accordingly. Take some time each week to set out some goals for yourself. These goals could be physical, mental or nutritional, or a combination. Once you have a goal, it’s time to think about setting out a plan (the action) for how you’ll achieve these goals. Make sure the goals are realistic and attainable. As you go through the week and check off your goals each day, that will give you the confidence to continue towards your wellness goals. I believe it’s important to write things down and have a method of tracking your process.

WMC: With busy schedules or such drastic changes to routines throughout the pandemic, for some, physical activity can fall by the wayside. What small steps can people take to introduce more activity into their daily lives, and how can that help boost wellness in other areas as well?

MB: It’s easy to forget about physical activity when you have a busy schedule — we all do it at times. I find that the best thing to do in these circumstances is to schedule the activity into your planner the same as you would any other meeting. Make yourself a priority and know that you’re investing in yourself in these moments. If you can’t schedule a full workout in the day, you can try to take small breaks between your busy schedule to do something active. Even if you take five minutes two or three times a day, this is better than not doing anything at all. With the pandemic and many gyms being closed to in-person training at various points, we’ve had to become more creative with our workouts. Many gyms now offer virtual workouts, and YouTube and social media also offer lots of ideas for things you can incorporate into your home workout. Once you get into the routine, it will get easier!

WMC: As an athlete and specifically in your sport, sleep and proper rest and recovery are especially important. What do you do to ensure it’s a priority in your overall routine?

MB: Proper rest and recovery is important for everyone. We all feel better when we’ve had a good night’s sleep or a day to relax or do something we truly enjoy. I also make sleep a priority because I know this helps with muscle recovery. I set out a time that allows me to get the right amount of sleep and make sure that I stick to that schedule each day. Before I had my daughter Kate, I would try to take a short nap each day, but as most parents know, this is not always possible with young children. Knowing that I can’t always get the recovery I need during the day, juggling being a mom, training and working gives me the extra motivation to make sure that I make my nighttime sleep a priority.

WMC: As a leader in your sport and a recognized Woman of Influence by the Waterloo Region (Ontario), what’s your message for others about setting goals, perseverance and determination?

MB: Focus on the process and not the outcome. This is something I learned very early on in my career, and it’s helped me a lot. Too often we set a goal and are fixated on it when we really need to be thinking about the process and how we’re going to get there. What are the small things that we’re going to do each day that will get us closer to our goals? We also need to take time to evaluate and see what’s working and what’s not, and make adjustments accordingly. We often learn more from our failures or losses than we do from our wins. Take the time to evaluate these as opportunities to learn and grow.

Mandy’s favourite…

Stress-reducing activity: Listening to relaxing music or taking time to journal.

RBC’s Support of the Olympic Games and Olympians

RBC has been a proud supporter of the Olympic Games for over seven decades, with a long-standing commitment to helping amateur athletes work towards and reach their goals. This support takes place through a range of initiatives, such as RBC Training Ground and the RBC Olympians program. RBC’s Olympic programs focus on everything from up-and-coming talent and their exposure to sport to competing on the Olympic stage.

The RBC Olympians program is a national initiative that provides support to Canadian athletes, both during their pursuits in international competition and as they transition into life after sport. Since its inception in 2002, there have been hundreds of Olympian and Paralympian athletes who have taken part in this program, and there are currently 55 elite Canadian athletes on the 2019–2021 RBC Olympians roster.

Find out more about the RBC Olympians program and RBC Training Ground.

Note: Please keep in mind that this article includes general recommendations only. Prior to beginning any new exercise, nutrition or wellness regimen, it’s important to consult with your doctor or health professional.

This document has been prepared for use by the RBC Wealth Management member companies, RBC Dominion Securities Inc.*, RBC Phillips, Hager & North Investment Counsel Inc., RBC Global Asset Management Inc., Royal Trust Corporation of Canada and The Royal Trust Company (collectively, the “Companies”) and their affiliate, Royal Mutual Funds Inc. (RMFI). *Member – Canada Investor Protection Fund. Each of the Companies, RMFI and Royal Bank of Canada are separate corporate entities which are affiliates. “RBC advisor” refers to Private Bankers who are employees of Royal Bank of Canada and licenced representatives of RMFI, Investment Counsellors who are employees of RBC Phillips, Hager & North Investment Counsel Inc. and the private client division of RBC Global Asset Management Inc., Senior Trust Advisors and Trust Officers who are employees of The Royal Trust Company or Royal Trust Corporation of Canada, or Investment Advisors who are employees of RBC Dominion Securities Inc. In Quebec, financial planning services are provided by RMFI which is licenced as a financial services firm in that province. In the rest of Canada, financial planning services are available through RMFI, Royal Trust Corporation of Canada, The Royal Trust Company, or RBC Dominion Securities Inc. Estate and trust services are provided by Royal Trust Corporation of Canada and The Royal Trust Company. If specific products or services are not offered by one of the Companies, clients may request a referral to another RBC partner. The strategies, advice and technical content in this publication are provided for the general guidance and benefit of our clients, based on information believed to be accurate and complete, but neither the Companies, RMFI, nor Royal Bank of Canada, nor any of its affiliates nor any other person can guarantee accuracy or completeness. This publication is not intended as nor does it constitute tax or legal advice. Readers should consult a qualified legal, tax or other professional advisor when planning to implement a strategy. This will ensure that their individual circumstances have been considered properly and that action is taken on the latest available information. Interest rates, market conditions, tax rules, and other investment factors are subject to change. This information is not investment advice and should only be used in conjunction with a discussion with your RBC advisor. None of the Companies, RMFI, Royal Bank of Canada nor any of its affiliates nor any other person accepts any liability whatsoever for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of this report or the information contained herein. In certain branch locations, one or more of the Companies may carry on business from premises shared with other Royal Bank of Canada affiliates. Notwithstanding this fact, each of the Companies is a separate business and personal information and confidential information relating to client accounts can only be disclosed to other RBC affiliates if required to service your needs, by law or with your consent. Under the RBC Code of Conduct, RBC Privacy Principles and RBC Conflict of Interest Policy confidential information may not be shared between RBC affiliates without a valid reason.

®/ TM Trademark(s) of Royal Bank of Canada. RBC Wealth Management is a registered trademark of Royal Bank of Canada. Used under licence. © 2021 Royal Bank of Canada. All rights reserved. Printed in Canada.