Why she’s a 2019 Top 40 Under 40: She creates a space for people who feel shut out of traditional fitness centres.
Zita Dube-Lockhart says she was “raised to be an opera singer,” but her life took another path when she gave birth to her son, Sam. “He was different from the get-go,” she says. At age three-and-a-half, Sam was diagnosed with autism. Soon after, Dube-Lockhart realized she was neurodiverse, too.
“I always knew I was weird,” she says. “I just started putting language to it with Sam.”
The realization gave her a newfound appreciation for the here and now.
“We spend so much of our lives thinking about who we’re supposed to become,” she says. “When Sam was born, I realized I had to stop thinking about who I was going to be in the future, and start thinking about who I am right now.”
Sam also helped Dube-Lockhart rediscover the joy of play and of moving her body. She earned a Personal Fitness Trainer diploma at NAIT, got involved with Autism Edmonton and created DiversiFit, a fitness program for autistic children and their caregivers.
In October 2018, she co-founded Generate Fitness, a west Edmonton gym catering to marginalized people including those with low incomes, disabilities, chronic illnesses — and the queer community.
Dube-Lockhart describes the emotional release that classes such as Generate’s pound fitness sessions bring.
“It’s really loud music and you hit the floor with drumsticks, and it’s bad-ass. You get a 55-year-old woman who’s been told her whole life to be quiet and we say, ‘No, we want you to make noise, we want you to take up space.’ There are a lot of tears. We have a lot of Kleenex boxes everywhere.”
Her musical background still makes regular appearances.
“I still sing all the time. Not a lot of opera, but a lot of AC/DC,” she says. “They can’t shut me up.”
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This article appears in the November 2019 issue of Avenue Edmonton.