Scott Thornton

Inside the Box with Scott Thornton

Scott is a retired professional hockey player who competed in the NHL with six different teams over 18 seasons in addition to representing Canada on three separate occasions. He founded a successful CrossFit gym in Collingwood, Ontario, is the co-owner/co-founder of the UG Series Inc., and is a shareholder in the Scandinave Spa in Blue Mountain where he sits on the Board as a Director. Scott is very involved in charitable work, most notably the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation where he won an the Canadian Volunteer of the Year award in 2013. With a passion for health and fitness, Scott uses his strong leadership qualities to encourage others to live a healthy and fit lifestyle.

When did you know you wanted something different? When I retired from my Professional Hockey Career, I realized quickly that something was missing in my life. I wasn’t sure if it was the physical or mental challenge of sport, or the self satisfaction you get when you perform at your best.

What keeps you motivated? It may sound cliche, but I feel like motivation is a choice we make daily. I choose to live a healthy and full lifestyle. I’m really trying to preserve my body so that I can live actively well into my later years. It’s like I’m putting in the work now, so that I can reap the rewards later.

How did you get started? I’ve always trained in gyms, preparing for sport. When I retired and had no team facility, I started training at home. This evolved over the course of about 18 months, with up to 10-12 people training with me out of my garage. I knew then, that it was time to open a facility. There was no CrossFit gym in my town, so I opened up a small space, with the goal of creating the locker room environment that I really missed since retirement.

How has your life changed since you decided you wanted something different? Since I opened up the gym in 2010, I have travelled to many different regions, trained in many different gyms, and met a ton of really good people along the way. I have started two other businesses that are direct sister companies, very much influenced by the fitness community. The best rewards though, have been the transformations of some of the gym members. I’ve watched members lose over 100 pounds, completely changing their lives for the better, and I couldn’t be more proud to be part of that in some small way.

Tell me about your nutrition. My nutrition has changed dramatically over the years. I come from a “Carb load” world of pro sport, which only works when you’re a pro athlete..lol. I’ve cut back on carbs dramatically now, eating more proteins and fats. I’ve dabbled with different diets such as Paleo, Zone, and most recently the Ketogenic diet. All of them have taught me lessons. Realistically, I eat pretty clean most of the time, but I don’t get too stressed about a cheat meal every now and then. We do have to live our lives.

What is your definition of old? There are days when i feel really old now!! Seriously though, when I was young, anyone in their 40’s would have been old to me. Now a days, there are 40 year old’s still playing in the NHL. I played until I was 38, with teammates that were 19 years old. There are some definite changes in our bodies as we age, but it is possible to limit those losses. I am inspired by guys in their 70’s still skiing, and waterskiing. That’s the kind of guy I want to be.

What do you see yourself doing in 10 years? 10 years from now, I hope to be doing the same things I’m doing now. I train at the gym so i can play hard on weekends. I ride bikes, motorcycles, ski and trail run. If I had to give any of these things up, I’d be devastated. As my kids get older, it’s even better to do these things together with them.

What do you do to stay Young? Other than being physically fit enough to act young, mentally you just have to explore like a kid. I really believe in the Buddhist “Beginner’s Mind” philosophy. It encourages you to look at things through a fresh lens everyday. Explore, be creative and don’t allow yourself to get stuck in a rut.

How old would you be if you did not know how old you are? I’d like to think I’m around 30. Those were some of my best years professionally. Right at the peak of your career. I’m definitely too beat up from playing to say any younger than that.

What were your parents doing when they were the age you are now? My Mom and Dad were both very active parents raising 4 boys. They are both in their 70’s now, and they are both very fit and active. They give me great hope and inspiration for what my next 30 years will be like.

Mark Twain wrote, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Most people eventually find out their “why” which answers why they are here. Do you know yours? If so, when did you discover it and how did that change your life? I am still looking for my Why. Ironically, having played 18 seasons of professional hockey, one would assume that I was meant to be “that hockey guy”. But now I’m not so sure. I look for ways to keep myself inspired, and in doing so, I hope to inspire others. Maybe that’s what my Why is now. I feel like I haven’t reached my potential yet. There’s something big out there waiting for me.

What is next for you? I’ve got a few projects on the go right now. My UG Series company continues to evolve going into our 6th year, and over 25 events. We just launched our Women Strong Comp, which helps raise some much needed dollars for women’s shelters across Canada. We had 5 host facilities sign up for year one from Calgary to Quebec and Ontario, which was amazing for year one. If we can get 15-20 gyms next year it would be amazing. Other than that, I’ve got some personal goals that I would like to achieve, a few motorcycle events that I’m training for, and things like that. Never stop moving, life’s too short.

Follow Scott on Instagram @thorty27.

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