Health and performance, particularly under extreme conditions, are personal and professional obsessions.
As a scientist and performance physiologist, I have dedicated my career to exploring and researching human limits and making that science understandable and actionable. I served as a tenured Associate Professor of Kinesiology at the University of Toronto. I am currently a scientist in Translational Medicine at the Hospital for Sick Children, where my research is focused on improving outcomes in children with chronic diseases via physical activity. As part of my academic life I’ve published over 60 papers in scientific journals and raised over $1 million for research. I have worked as the Director of Sport Science for the Canadian Sport Centre where I acted as a physiologist for more than 200 international level athletes.
As much as knowledge creation has been a big part of my life, making science actionable is equally important for me. I have written 3 bestselling books - Superbodies, The Ripple Effect, and The Focus Effect. I love public speaking and I have presented to audiences all over the world at events such as TEDx and The Titan Summit, sharing the stage with Richard Branson, Steve Wozniak and Deepak Chopra. Perhaps the most fun I’ve ever had professionally was as the sport science analyst and host of the Gemini Award winning Superbodies series for CTV at the 2010 and 2012 Olympics.
I am the CEO and founder of Wells Performance, a global consulting firm on a mission to elevate how we live our lives at work and in life. I have worked with some of the highest-performing individuals on the planet, including Olympic and world champions and elite organizations including General Electric, BMO, Deloitte, KPMG, BMW, Audi, Sysco Foods, YPO and Air Canada. I am also committed to inspiring children and young adults, working with school boards and independent schools around the world.
I love exploring the limits of human potential by participating in endurance sports and expeditions. I have participated in the gruelling Nanisivik Marathon 600 miles north of the Arctic Circle, Ironman Canada and the Tour D’Afrique which, at 11,000 km, is the longest cycling race in the world. I’m a travel and expedition adventurer who has journeyed through every imaginable terrain and condition in over 50 countries around the world.
How did this all come about?
I broke my neck at fifteen years of age and have profoundly appreciated the fragility of life – and the importance of human health – ever since.
When I was 15, I was on Canada’s National Youth Swim Team and I went to Florida with my club for a training camp. On a morning off my friends and I went to the beach to bodysurf before a meet. I caught a great wave but it lifted me up and dropped me on my head and I broke and dislocated several vertebrae in my neck.
In a weird way, that accident inspired the future scientist within. I began to explore everything I could about sleep, nutrition, exercise and mindset.
After three months in traction and undergoing neurosurgery to repair my spine, I decided that I wanted to try to swim again. I got back in the pool and with the help of my teammates, coaches and my physio I was able to race at Olympic Trials and all through university.
To learn more about the human body and its limits and potential, I took Kinesiology for my undergraduate degree, then earned a Masters in exercise physiology, and a PhD in respiratory physiology. I completed one post-doctoral fellowship in respiratory medicine at Sick Kids Hospital and a second in biomedical engineering at Toronto General Hospital.
Those experiences led to me working with Olympic athletes, travelling the world, commentating the 2010 and 2012 Olympics, a speaking career, publishing three best-selling books and most launching a human performance consulting firm.
The rest is history—or should we say, the future!