Interview With Alpine Skier & Model Ania Morton Interviewed By Ben Tatar of CriticalBench.com - March 2008
Critical Bench: It's Ben Tatar and I am here with extreme Alpine skiing athlete, fitness model and all around great person, Ania Morton! Ania, you were a professional athlete in Alpine skiing? Tell us about that!
Ania Morton: I'm a former Professional athlete in Alpine skiing, having started at the age of 3 in Banff Alberta, it was kind of the holy grail to be on the national team having come from "the town" of skiing. It was a great honor to be considered one of the best in the country.
Critical Bench: Then at the height of your career, you were in a tragic accident! Tell us about your skiing accident and how it effected you both physically and mentally!
Ania Morton: Unfortunately at the height of my career it ended suddenly at our National Championships when I severely broke my leg. It took me two years to relearn how to walk and I still have no feeling in most of my left foot due to the nerve damage that was caused. You do a lot of soul searching when you go from being such an elite athlete to not being able to know how to walk. You battle a lot of demons and go through some serious depression and wonder how you will make it through to the other side. It was probably one of the toughest things I have ever had to overcome, and was a very dark time for me. I think that one of the reasons I love fitness so much, is because I know what it's like to be at both ends of the spectrum. I can understand how frustrating it is to start from a rehab level but I also know when I can push beyond pain instead of using it as an excuse to make some serious gains. I find it easier to relate to clients that I train because no matter what point they are at in their fitness.... I've been there at some point in my own road to recovery.
Critical Bench: Which do you like better skiing or modeling? What other activities do you like to do?
Ania Morton: I used to do some modeling but ended up choosing skiing instead... you can't have strong skier legs, and be considered a model...At least not back in those days. I enjoy all sorts of sports and am always up for a challenge. I spend most of my time training clients and also doing massage. When I'm not working, you can usually find me heading off to the Caribbean for some fun in the sun. I love the water and think that I should have been a surfer instead of a skier sometimes, as I have no tolerance for the cold anymore. After my leg got to a semi good place... I took off and lived in the Dominican for over 6 months and wanted nothing to do with skiing or hear anything about skiing. I took up wind surfing and Kite surfing and had a blast trying to put it all behind me.
I'm addicted to music, and couldn't live without it. I use it in every aspect of my life and have found it to be a constant in anything I am doing. I think my Ipod has 7000 songs on it or something crazy. I use to use it to drowned out the world whenever I needed to get into "the Zone" for skiing and now I find that good music can get me through any workout in the gym no matter how tired I'm feeling. I can't live without my tunes!
Critical Bench: Very cool, you're a very hardcore and well rounded- balanced person! Ania, give us 5 highlights of your fitness/skiing career thus far?
Ania Morton: My 5 highlights:
1. Racing world cup races with the best in the world
2. Traveling the world, skiing at every possible destination there is
3. Helping others achieve their fitness goals and dreams and knowing that I can make a difference in their lives
4. Rehabilitating myself back to an elite fitness level and sharing my story with the world
5. All of the people that I have met and who have helped me along the way
Critical Bench: Excellent Ania. Your story has truly been inspirational! Ania, what do you think separates the champs from the chumps?
Ania Morton: I think it all comes down to having HEART!! There's people that will always talk about doing things, and there's people that will actually DO things. If you want something bad enough, than there is nothing that can stop you; and THAT'S what separates the champs from the chumps!
Critical Bench: Great advice Ania! What was the best and worst advice that you ever got?
Ania Morton: The best advice I ever got was to never sacrifice myself in life. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that you can't meet someone and share your life with them, but you have to be happy and content with yourself, before you can be content with someone else. You should never have to change who you are, people should love you for you!
The worst advice I ever got was that settling was okay! There's a difference between being content and being complacent and I refuse to settle for anything less than the best. There's nothing wrong with wanting more in life and for yourself. Wanting the best doesn't make you shallow or materialistic!
Critical Bench: Very deep. Speaking of shallow people, do you have any funny stories about fake people? haha! What is your advice for fake people?
Ania Morton: Just take responsibility for your OWN actions, in your OWN life. Don't use other's as your scape goat... Grow the F#@& up!!
Critical Bench: Ania what body parts get the most compliments or do you enjoy training the most. Favorite exercises?
Ania Morton: I would probably have to say my hamstrings and ass... only because I have always had very strong legs and a skier bum and their not going anywhere so I might as well embrace them and love them.
I love doing single straight legged Dead lifts standing on an upside down bosu. I love the strain and pull you get in the hamstrings doing dead lifts, nothing else hammers them and makes them hurt the way these do.
Critical Bench: When a fitness model like you walks into different places, how do people usually respond? What has been the funniest and most outrageous responses you have received to your model looks?
Ania Morton: My friends will tell you all sorts of stories but to sum it all up, let's just say that I was recently flying home from the Caribbean and while I was in Miami, a well known rap artist (who will remain anonymous) offered to fly me to Jamaica for their next gig but instead flew me home first class and hooked me up with tickets to any concert at any venue when they tour Canada in the upcoming months. I've also had married actors show me photos of their children all night and then proposition me to go back with them to their hotel rooms... real classy!!
Critical Bench: Ania, are you physcially attracted to the pro bodybuilders? Do you find them unattractive, or do you mostly find them amazing to just look at?
Ania Morton: As lame as it sounds, I find myself drawn to someone with a sense of humor and great personality, so having a rock hard body is just an added bonus to me. I'm attracted to ALL men! Ha Ha
Critical Bench: What are your turn ons in the opposite sex (list one internal and external)?
Ania Morton: I love a guy to be aggressive and passionate but not cocky. There's nothing wrong with knowing what you want and going after it - but don't confuse that with arrogance!
Critical Bench: Would you like to show off your physique and pose for playboy?
Ania Morton: I would definitely do playboy!!! I find their pictures to be art rather than nudity. Playboy has had some of the most intriguing and beautiful pictures of females to ever hit news stands. They capture the essence and beauty of today's woman.
Critical Bench: Ania, what is your favorite thing about your personality?
Ania Morton: Most people love my sense of humor, it's very dry and I'm very sassy. I grew up on the road and I preferred to hang out with guys rather than girls. Girls are too much drama! I'm not the kind of girl to get offended when someone tells a sexist joke... I'll just tell you one better. You have to be able to laugh at yourself.
Critical Bench: Bring it.. Ania! What are your favorite sexist jokes?
Ania Morton: Men are like parking stalls.... All the good ones are taken, and the rest are handicapped!!
What do you call the useless piece of skin at the end of a man's penis? His body!!
I told you not to get me started on these things...
Critical Bench: Okay, I hear ya ;) Ania, tell us about your training routine and diet!
Ania Morton: My training routine consists of a weight workout 4-5 days a week and 4 cardio sessions of a minimum of 30min. I tend to do Back and Bi's/ Chest and Tri's/ Legs/shoulders and a full body day. I throw in Abs almost daily with all of them depending on time. I tend to keep my reps up around 15 as I find that I build muscle really easily and quickly due to my skiing days. By keeping the reps up high, I find I can still stay looking lean without the bulk.
In terms of diet; I eat 6 small sized meals a day approximately every three hours. I start my days off with protein pancakes and or egg whites or oatmeal. If I'm in a pinch, I may make a protein shake and take it on the go. I tend to snack on a handful of almonds or a small can of flavored tuna, veggies etc. I try to eat protein with every meal and for dinner I stick to lean protein with some veggies. As a treat I love to sip on Jone's soda with splenda; it curbs any desire I have to cheat without feeling guilty.
Critical Bench: What's your favorite health food and cheat food?
Ania Morton: My favorite health food... hmmmm, I love all food, especially steak done on a BBQ with some grilled asparagus. I'm an Alberta girl all the way, I love my Alberta beef!! As for cheating - that's an easy one, chocolate, ice cream or cheese!!
Critical Bench: What is your favorite fitness event during the year?
Ania Morton: I'd have to say Olympia all the way. I love the Olympia Fitness and Figure but to see the Body Builders is still mind blowing to this day for me!!
Critical Bench: I hope to put you in my Olympia report someday! What is your favorite sport and team?
Ania Morton: My favorite sport is skiing... obviously! I love to watch it and remember the down hills as if I were still skiing them and to cheer on my former teammates. Therefore, my favorite team would be the Canadian Alpine Ski Team.
Critical Bench: What has been your favorite fitness moment?
Ania Morton: When I was still skiing, we had some of the best trainers in the world pushing us to our limits. It's amazing what the human body can endure and where you can take yourself physically when given the proper tools, motivation and drive to do it. I would push myself to the point of breakdown, and complete fatigue and exhaustion. To push yourself farther than you ever thought possible is truly rewarding.
Critical Bench: Ania, in your skiing journey thus far what has been your favorite, craziest, most emotional, and what moment has changed your life the most?
Ania Morton: My favorite moment is hard to break down into one single moment. I would have to say my favorite moment would be coming through the finish line and looking back at the board and seeing the number 1 beside your name and listening to the crowd, knowing that you just won the race!! That moment is surreal.
Craziest moment would have to be training with the Men's Austrian downhill team on the day that they are about to race the legendary Kitzbuhel, Hahnenkamm downhill course. For those of you that don't know what Kitzbuhel is, it's like the super bowl of ski racing. So there I am, in the presence of some of the all-time greatest skiers in the world like Herman Maier, Fritz Stroble and Christian Mayer, training with them. Then I watched the race from the athlete's section with 60 000 other spectators cheering on their favorites. You can't begin to explain the energy that you feel at the Hahnenkamm.. it is unlike anything else in ski racing. A fellow former Canadian ski team member holds the World Downhill Speed Record for skiing in Kitzbuhel clocked at 97 miles per hour.
The most emotional moment would have to be winning my world cup spot in downhill for the next year. I worked so hard that year and it put everything into perspective. I knew I could compete with the best in the world and things were finally coming together, mind, body and soul.
The crash probably changed my life the most... To go from being an elite athlete, to not being able to walk in a matter of seconds, is definitely devastating. I dealt with a lot of depression and confusion during that time not knowing if I would ever be able to ski again. I had to relearn how to walk due to the nerve damage and it was a long, slow and lonely road that I traveled alone. I shut everyone out and did my best to deal with my new reality by myself. Going through something like that, you really learn a lot about yourself and realize how strong the human spirit is to bring yourself out of depression like that. I definitely don't take simple things like walking, for granted anymore!
Critical Bench: What has skiing and fitness taught you about life?
Ania Morton: Skiing and fitness have both taught me a lot about myself and my limits. I never thought that I was capable of a lot of the boundaries I broke in both things. I never thought that the human body could survive such mental and physical anguish and demand. I truly have learned that you can do anything you put your mind to, as well as overcome your biggest fears and failures, if you surround yourself with those that you love.
Critical Bench: WOW, even with these injuries and all else, you stay extreme and put it all out there on the line. Ania, what drives you to be so motivated?
Ania Morton: I guess when you find yourself as vulnerable and helpless as I felt when I broke my leg, you really learn to push yourself beyond your limits. I know from coming out of my injury, that I can now conquer any kind of physical task that is put in front of me. If you can go down a mountain at 100Km/hr... than you have to be hardcore in everything that you do to keep that adrenaline going in your everyday life!
Critical Bench: I love your attitude!! Ania, before you ski down a mountain at 100km what goes through your mind? What goes on in your mind when you're skiing down at 100km and what goes through your mind after you're finished skiing at 100km?
Ania Morton: The feeling you get in those start gates before racing downhill is unlike any rush you have ever felt before. It's like the best adrenaline rush you have ever felt in your life. Everything goes silent and all you can hear is the rush of the wind through your helmet and this state of euphoria!! It's unbelievable really, something I try to find in everything else I do, because it is THAT unique. It's like the build up to it is just as explosive and mind blowing as the finish... kind of like an ------ Ahhh you know what I mean... lol
Critical Bench: When was the last time you cried?
Ania Morton: The last time I cried was when I was leaving the Caribbean and saying goodbye to my parents. I'm very close to them and only get to see them a couple of times a year and I find that very difficult. I'm extremely close to them and it breaks my heart to not be able to see them on a daily basis.
Critical Bench: It's great you have parents who you are so close to!! What previous moment of your life do you miss the most?
Ania Morton: I miss traveling the world with my fellow athletes and competing on a world platform. I miss going over 100 km an hour on skis. Nothing compares to the adrenaline rush you feel going down those downhill courses.
Critical Bench: What is your ideal vacation and your ultimate dream life?
Ania Morton: My ideal vacation is going somewhere hot and tropical, where I can dive and relax and bake in the sun... I live for the Caribbean and the turquoise waters.
My ultimate dream would be to live somewhere tropical, overlooking the ocean with a boat instead of a car. I find such peace being on the water that I could spend everyday out there. Spending time with those I love and giving back to all those that helped me succeed in life.
Critical Bench: Enlightening! Outside of weight training and skiing, what physical activities do you like to do?
Ania Morton: I do every sport imaginable. I love wind surfing, kite surfing, biking, tennis, ultimate, volleyball - you name it. But be prepared to have your ass kicked, cuz losing isn't an option for me. I'm always out to be competitive and win!
Critical Bench: I'll challenge you! haha. Ania, would you like to be a WWE Diva. Or better, yet, how about being an ECW wrestler!
Ania Morton: LOL I'd be a WWE Diva without having to try, those girls have nothing on me!! LOL
Critical Bench: If you could go up against anyone at WrestleMania who would your opponent be and what kind of match would it be?
Ania Morton: I would have to say Kelly Kelly, and my reason for that would be pretty damn obvious..... Have you seen how freakin hot she is!! Who wouldn't want to see two hot blondes wrestling around in a ring for fun?
Critical Bench: Ania, what kind of car do you drive?
Ania Morton: I drive a Titanium colored Mazda 3- I know, it's not very exciting, but my next car is going to be a 350Z convertible in blue!!
Critical Bench: What are your pet peeves?
Ania Morton: One of my all time pet peeves are people that take advantage of my generosity; Take and take and take, but never give back or appreciate it. Appreciate generosity and be thankful - don't expect it like it's owed to you or something!! I HATE people that don't take responsibility for their own actions and who point fingers at other people to blame. You learn who your true friends are pretty quick in life. I'm a great judge of character and can read people extremely well. I just don't have time for people who are fake!
Critical Bench: What makes you happy?
Ania Morton: What makes me happy is being around those I love and care about. Family and friends are what's most important in life. I wake up every morning feeling happy, because I am a firm believer that the first 15 minutes in the morning, sets the tone for the entire day. If you wake up feeling great, your day has a better chance of staying that way throughout!!
Critical Bench: Who is your hero?
Ania Morton: I'd have to say my Dad! He always took risks and pushed me to be the best I could be. He supported me as a professional athlete and came to as many races as he could. He is an incredible husband, father, entrepreneur and so much more. He worked his whole life, took chances and risks when others told him he was crazy. He was always ahead of the game in business and new ideas. He essentially allowed himself to retire in his early 50's and live on a tropical island overlooking the ocean, with the person he loves... sounds perfect to me!
Critical Bench: How would you raise your kids?
Ania Morton: With discipline, compassion and respect for others. I can't stand the way parents these days would rather be friends with their kids than actually parent them properly. Seriously, kids these days have NO respect for others, and shouldn't be sitting at home playing Grand Theft Auto when they're only 7 years old!!
Critical Bench: What was the most fun thing you've ever done before?
Ania Morton: Nothing beats traveling the world skiing with your friends and visiting pretty much all of the mountain ranges the world has to offer! We had so much fun growing up on the road with friends who shared the same dreams and aspirations that you did. The memories I have from that time in my life will last forever!
I also spent 3 months in the Turks and Caicos Islands. While I was there, friends of mine took me out on their private dive boat and we followed the whales towards the Dominican and swam alongside them. That is something that was surreal and unbelievable for a girl who grew up in the mountains.
Critical Bench: If you had kids how many would you want to have?
Ania Morton: I am the youngest of three and loved it, so I would like to have three kids.
Critical Bench: What's the worst pick up line you've ever heard?
Ania Morton: Someone once asked me if I worked for UPS, because they saw me checking out their package!! Too fucking funny!!
Critical Bench: What's your favorite quote or motto to live by?
Ania Morton: I honestly love the quote... "It's not sweat... It's your fat cells crying!!!"
"It's never too late, to be what you could have been!"
Critical Bench: Awesome quotes! If you could be in any type of movie what type would it be?
Ania Morton: I absolutely love horror movies... so I would have to say that I would love to be in a horror movie or a great suspense thriller. I love watching them by myself in the dark and think it would be interesting and fun to be a part of one and then watch how the music and the editing create the final fear.
Critical Bench: What is your favorite kind of animal and if you could be any kind of animal what kind would you be?
Ania Morton: My favorite type of animal would have to be my dog Kona!! He is the ONLY animal for me. I never thought that I would be a dog person but my dog honestly has the best personality of any dog I have ever met!! He is a Toy Yorkie-Poo! If I could be an animal, I would have to say I would be a Cheetah... I am intrigued by them and their native Africa.
Critical Bench: What are your fears and what is your weakness?
Ania Morton: My fears would be looking back on my life knowing that I could have done more to be happy. I don't want to have any regrets when I'm lying on my death bed. I want to know that I did EVERYTHING I ever wanted to do and more. I'm just starting to figure out what it means to live life for myself and that no one else can complete me - because YOU should complete yourself. My weakness would have to be living my life for other people instead of myself. I stopped taking the lead in life and let others tell me what was right for me. I'm just starting to get that back and it's such an empowering feeling!!
Critical Bench: Do you have any good luck symbols ?
Ania Morton: My number in sports used to always be the #2... It was always a lucky bib for me in skiing.
Critical Bench: How do you cope with stress?
Ania Morton: I tend to think that I can deal with everything on my own and I rarely ask for help when I should. I have a hard time showing weakness and vulnerability to others. You would never really know from the outside, if I was stressed or in need of help.
Critical Bench: What was the last book you read?
Ania Morton: Boom, Bust, and Echo by David Frost
Core Performance by Mark Verstegen
Critical Bench: Do you consider yourself a risk taker? (or what was the biggest risk you ever took?)
Ania Morton: I am definitely a risk taker... I would say that flying down the mountain on skis going over 100 km an hour would be considered a risk to most people. Since my accident and breaking my leg, I try to take a little more risk with things everyday.. but there's always a little voice in my head that reminds me of it.
Critical Bench: Do you get along with your parents?
Ania Morton: Absolutely 100%!! They are the best parents in the world and I am so thankful to have them. They taught my brother, sister and me that family comes first, and when others let you down, your family will always come through for you!
Critical Bench: Ania when everything is all said and done how do you want to be remembered?
Ania Morton: I only want to be remembered as someone that was passionate about life. Someone that lived everyday to it's fullest and wasn't afraid to take risks and live on the edge. Someone who learnt from her mistakes and tried to help others as best she could. Someone who had NO REGRETS!!
Don't hate me cuz I'm beautiful!! You can be blonde and still have a brain!! LOL LOL
Critical Bench: Ania, it's been a pleasure talking to you! What a success story you are! In closing, is there anyone who you would like to thank?
Ania Morton: My family and friends for all their support, and anyone who told me I couldn't make it..... cause it only made me want it more!!