What? I heard you were in a movie?!!

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For those of you that have continued to follow me, you already know the answer to that. But for those of you that I have lost contact with over the last couple of years, I will fill you in.

Yes, I was in a movie. I was actually in two!

Weeks before I went to the World Championships in Jonkoping, Sweden in 2016, I was offered a stunt actor role in a movie about females MMA fighters called “Chokehold” shooting here in Calgary. And of course I said "YES".

I came back after a disappointing experience in Jonkoping (it a long story so I won’t go into it here) and was on set for the first time the very next next day. My first experience in the world of film and television was an interesting one. I had so much fun being a part of the creative process, utilizing the ninja skills I have developed over the last several years and doing something WAY outside of my comfort zone. 

And it got me thinking. Hmmmmmm maybe there is something in this for me? How often do opportunities like this just fall in your lap?

The answer is "not often.” 

I started to do my research of what it takes to be a performer in Alberta. I met with actors, stunt performers, stunt coordinators, producers, casting directors and agents and asked them every question I could possibly think of. I started networking, submitting for roles (as I didn’t have an agent yet) and taking classes. The recurring theme was, “Yes there is work here but you need to hustle and you need to have talent AND don’t quit your day job!”

To that I said, “Challenge accepted.”

On the COLD set of Extremity.

On the COLD set of Extremity.

Hustle hustle hustle and shortly after that I landed a role in a horror movie being shot up in Edmonton called “Extremity”. This film was an absolute blast to be a part of. The cast was small, the conditions were extreme (it Edmonton in March) and we all became close friends. This film premiered in Los Angeles in September 2018 at the Chinese 6 Theatre and I was lucky enough to get down there for the premiere.

The Cast of “Extremity” with Director Anthony DiBlasi.

The Cast of “Extremity” with Director Anthony DiBlasi.

I continued to train Muay Thai and MMA while I was experimenting in the performer role, but training was wearing on me. I wasn’t getting opportunities to fight anywhere and I was starting to go a little crazy because of it. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen but I had a sneaking suspicion that performing was a clear next step. I began booking stunt performer gigs here and there (after lots of hustling, networking and training) and really enjoyed the physical nature of the work. I started to phase out of martial arts training (for the time being) and started training in Parkour and weapons to round out my skill set.

Then a friend of mine saw a posting for a performer role in the Vancouver Opera’s production of Turnadot and encouraged me to apply. So I did, and I got it! I spent 6 weeks in Vancouver rehearsing and performing in front of sold out crowds. What an incredible experience! I fell in love with the Opera during this performance. I mean who wouldn’t! I can’t tell you how incredible the sound is when you are standing center stage and the entire chorus is singing straight to you, about you! #goosebumps

It was here I realized part of the reason I loved fighting was because I was able to showcase a version of myself, on a stage/ring, in front of a live audience. I clearly remember stepping out that stage in front of the sold out theatre as The Executioner and saying to myself “yup – this is home”.

After my Operatic experience I decided to enrol in a full time acting school here in Calgary. Although I was booking roles, I really had not idea what I was doing and felt I was in over my head. So true to form, I went all in. My goal is to become an incredible actor and I know I can’t get there on my own. I needed good training, good people around me and a program that teaches me everything.

So, the question is – what does all this have to do with ATTK fitness? A lot actually.

Dolly Parton said “Find out who you are and do it on purpose.” Well, lets just say, through this experience I finally found out who I am.

And its time to do it on purpose.

This is the new ATTK fitness motto. The more grounded one become in who they are, the more they are aware of what serves them and what ADDS to their health and happiness.

My goal NOW through working with my cleints is to facilitate the discovery of who they really are, help them to build a healthy relationship with their body and to create a space where they can have fun like they did when they were children. Gone are the days of concentrating on athletic performance and metrics. Instead, uncovering who my cleints are and pushing them to “do that on purpose” is the new regime. Don’t get me wrong - you are still going to get your butt kicked, increase your fitness and accomplish your goals…you are just going to get there in a way that it authentic to you.

I am also committing to introduce you AND encourage you to step out of your comfort zone through a series of events we will be hosting over the next year. I will be pulling from the different areas of training I have taken since you last saw me…wether that be new ways to move, new ways to think, new ways to communicate or new ways to support yourself.

I got here through trying something new, and delving into the world of the actor. And the more training I take as an actor, the more layers peel away and the more authentic I become, and the more I can help people like you.

Tough Momma Tessa - The Update

In the past few years the Burnett house has been a busy one! On August 26, 2017 we welcomed home our baby girl, Isla Ann Burnett. Pregnancy was an exciting and interesting time for me. It was so neat to see my body transform from athlete to mom. I had a very uneventful pregnancy with the normal symptoms of heart burn and morning sickness, and a new-found appreciation for all those mothers out there. I had a gruelling 21-hour labor, but it was all worth it in the end and our hearts could not be more full.

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Isla has been such a wonderful baby. She sleeps really well and is an “easy” baby, from what I have been told. It’s been so amazing watching her grow these past 15 months. She brings so much love and light to our lives. I love being a mom!

Through this journey I have gained a new passion in working with pre and post-natal women. I myself have finally returned to running after a 2-year break. This was really hard for me, because running is my other passion. I have learned so much about my body through this journey and how different it is, working out while pregnant and post-partum. One of the biggest lessons I have learned is to take it SLOW. Your body goes through SOOOOO much change and stress during both pregnancy and post-partum, that adding exercise into the mix is not always a good idea. The biggest piece of advice I would give a post-partum mom is to relax and enjoy your baby. You have lots of time to get back in shape you don’t need to rush into it. When you do start back, it is very important to make sure you are doing exercises that are helping you heal instead making things worse. For me that was NO RUNNING! I also suggest see a pelvic floor physio!!

One exercise I found that helped me was Belly Breaths with Belly Button Pull Downs. I could plunk Isla down beside me at home and get them done quite easily. During pregnancy all those rippling six pack abs you once had get all stretched out and lazy. This exercise helps bring everything back in and activate those deep core muscles again.

I finally now feel back to my normal self and it’s been 15 months!! It’s a long journey. But I learned to accept it and enjoy it!

Tessa (and Isla) with the Calgary International Track Club

Tessa (and Isla) with the Calgary International Track Club

Being a mom takes up most of my time these days. Like I said earlier, I have a new-found respect for all those moms out there, especially single parents! (I don’t know what I would do without Wilson). I have started back working in the gym with my lovely clients after a short 3-month maternity leave. I have also been coaching once a week with Calgary International Track Club. Sometimes you will see Isla in tow with me at track practice (like the picture) with all the kids doting over her. I spend the rest of the time taking Isla everywhere and letting her discover the world around her.