Dancers Who Lift: Bill Ewanick



A funny and awkward situation that seems to be more frequent for me at this point now that I’ve been dancing for nearly 10 years and traveling across the US for events, is meeting dancers in person that are in YouTube videos I have memorized from top to bottom. It’s especially awkward when that video was from 2013 and you meet the person like 6 years later and became Facebook friends with them 3 years prior. You can’t be like “Hey man! Remember that aerial you pulled off during the Medium round of the Canadian Showcase at CSC 2013…that was sick!!”


I didn’t do that when I first met Bill Ewanick, who dances in Ottawa, Canada, but I sure as hell thought it when we first interacted in person LOL! I don’t really have a better introduction about him, just that funny story that occurred in my head. Bill and I talk strongman lifting and share random and funny exercise-related things. My favorite but least favorite is this troll job here with this video, which I’ll explain the significance of at a later time. Enjoy reading about the dance and lifting adventures of Bill Ewanick.


Years dancing: 15 (in September)

 Years resistance training: 7

 So I lift AND dance fast!

 What are all the dance related activities that you do in your scene (locally, nationally, internationally)

In my local scene of Ottawa I coordinate the DJs for the weekly dance at the Ottawa Swing Dance Society. I am also a team member and coach of various projects with Side Street Swing, one of the local dance schools. Every year, I DJ and coordinate DJs for O-Town Showdown (which is awesome and you should all come!). I train regularly with Shannon MacGillivray and we compete all over when we can. It’s been a very fun and fulfilling dance partnership! Lastly, I wrote an article a while back about the more marginalized musicians in the history of swing.


Fitness accomplishment you’re most proud of: 


I deadlifted a car for the first time in competition!


What are your favorite exercises to do?

A lot of them! Movement in general I find enjoyable.

Top one is definitely squats. There’s something very primal about squatting. The feeling of going for a personal best, walking out a weight heavier than you ever have before. It feels like your legs are shaking uncontrollably, and a voice in your head is just screaming “THIS IS TOO HEAVY. YOU CAN’T DO THIS”. And then you take a deep breath and do it anyway. It’s scary because you can actually get hurt, even with a good spot.


Deadlifts are also king. There’s nothing like holding onto a heavy ass weight in your hands. We’re all about numbers, so deadlifts are great since it’s usually the largest. I don’t find them scary at all, since you can always drop the bar if it isn’t working out. It’s just fun!! Plus, I can say I deadlifted a car, so that’s pretty cool.


Otherwise the sport of strongman/strongwoman has a lot of fun exercises. Heavy farmer’s walks are great for conditioning and grip. Sandbag carries are a real testament to your grit. And circus dumbbell just looks so cool. 


What got you into resistance training and Why?

 Wanted to get into better shape for partner dancing. I like having plans, so going to the gym and doing whatever didn’t appeal to me. I knew of powerlifting and strongman from seeing it on YouTube and they seemed like fun. I looked up powerlifting programs (Starting Strength) and started there.

 Funniest workout story?

Can’t think of anything specific. We’re usually trying dumb exercises and other horrible conditioning stuff just because it sounds fun. I also once tried to do the Shim Sham while holding onto 130lbs in each hand for a Lindy Bout promo

 What are the differences you’ve noticed in your day to day life and dance life since you’ve been resistance training?


I’ve discovered how much fun it is being strong. Aerials aren’t easier, I still need good technique, but the margin for error is much greater. It has been a challenge keeping up cardio endurance with all the extra weight I’ve gained. I’ve had to plan a lot more hill sprints than I might otherwise if I wasn’t a dancer.


What piece of advice or encouragement do you have for those who are interested in resistance training but are apprehensive?

 See if you can find a lifting-focused gym, and see if they offer coaching. I train with Hyperforce Athletics and I’m much stronger than I would be otherwise without them pushing me. Getting someone to coach you through the lifts at first is really helpful to get your confidence up. Most people serious about the iron game are really excited to share it, so you should find lots of people will want to help you if you just ask. Once you’ve got the basics without hurting yourself, keep to an established program and work hard for at least six months before trying to modify. Consistent work on a mediocre program is much better than no work with the perfect program.

If you’re having trouble getting started, start with the smallest habit you can create. Every morning get up and put on your workout clothes. Then start going to the gym just for 15 minutes. Then for 30. As long as it takes to get into a habit. Willpower won’t save you, only discipline will.

It’s very important to seek out people stronger/better than you at your goals and train with them. It will really push you to work hard and succeed.


 I hope you enjoyed getting to know about Bill as a dancer and as a lifter. There are still plenty more dancers that will be introduced in this series, let me know if you’d like to have more series like this but regarding a different subject. Also, if you’d like me to explain the significance to Mambo #5 and why that is a troll move.

Thank you for reading, and thank you to all of the dancers who have been active on my like page on Facebook . If you have any questions, feel free to comment here or message me through the Lindy Fitness page on Facebook. If you’re interested in seeing how fitness coaching can work for you, email me at Thank you again for reading, and looking forward to next time.


Client Stories: Evan Borst

I’ve been training with Shelby via his online services since August 2018. I was at approximately 24% body fat when I started training with Shelby.  Almost a year later I’m at 17.9% and consistently in the teens.

This was the metric I was most interested in when I started my time with Shelby so it’s the most exciting thing for me. My biggest surprise was how my approach to diet has changed.  I initially came to Shelby for programming help with my resistance training.  Understand I was paying a little attention to my diet when I started, but over time it’s really been something that’s become as important as my lifting.  With Shelby’s guidance I’ve been able to gradually adjust elements of my diet to help me see progress toward my goals without giving up my love of food. I’d refer Shelby – and have – to people for many reasons.  His online consultation is convenient for me as we can touch base as necessary and he’s flexible with our scheduling.

Shelby consistently keeps my programming fresh so I don’t get bored or plateau.  He doesn’t just give me the lifts/sets/reps info but makes sure I understand why we’re doing them at that time, helping me get more invested in the program.  He works with my schedule – I’m not told I need to commit 2 hours a day, five days a week in the gym.  I tell him the time I July 2019have to give and he helps me make the most of it.  When I have minor injuries he quickly and easily helps me adjust my programming so as to let me get the most out of the work without exacerbating any injuries.  His consultation on my diet has had a profound effect on me – I’m not one that had done much with my diet before (other than eat a lot) and Shelby has helped me make powerful adjustments gradually in a way I can understand and easily work with. Shelby has earned my trust as my trainer.  He is consistently honest, straightforward, supportive of my goals and responsive to my concerns.  I came to him motivated to do work, and he gave me the tools to succeed.  Additionally, I feel like I get a great bargain for the depth of knowledge demonstrated and level of support provided.  All of this, and Shelby and I live a few states apart.  I’ve lost weight, lost fat, gained muscle, gained confidence, and feel like I’m in the best shape of my life after a year of training with Shelby.  I look forward to many more.


Client Stories: Stes Henri

My name is Stes and I started running in September 2017. I could barely run for a minute at a time but I decided that I wanted to run a half marathon. I had no idea where to start. I originally tried relying on the internet for advice and training plans but there is a lot of incorrect information out there.  I knew I needed to get some help from someone with experience and knowledge or I would probably end up injuring myself. I have friends that have had success working with Shelby so I contacted him about being my e-Coach. I was blown away by how much he was able to do for me from a distance. He wrote me personalized plans for dynamic stretches, my runs, strength training, and recovery. Every week, I could also count on emails from him that included video tutorials and even nutrition articles. 


I am pleased that after months of hard work, I completed my first half marathon in April 2018.  I went from barely being able to run at all to 13.1 miles at a time in just 7 months. I can’t imagine getting that far without Shelby’s help and I’m so thankful for his e-Coach service. I don’t know what’s next but I’m confident that I will succeed with Shelby on my team.

Client Stories: Anne Jones

My name is Anne Jones and I’ve been training with Shelby for 12 weeks now. During that time I’ve lost 25 pounds, several inches, and 3.2% body fat. He has helped me to become strong and improve my cardio ability and stamina. Besides being a pleasure to work with, he has helped by sending me various fitness and nutrition articles and helped me increase my intake of proteins for a better macronutrient ratio. He has been able to modify my training and help me continue my fitness progress despite an outside knee injury and a mild shoulder/thoracic spine strain. Shelby has been keenly able to challenge me without  causing me too much pain or running me into the ground, which has helped me progress rather than giving up and quitting. I greatly appreciate his genuine concern for me and his ability to modify my exercises in both individual and group settings (like boot camp). I highly recommend him and am grateful to have him as my trainer!

Trainer Note: Anne is a prime example of what consistency can do for you. She remained consistent and persistent to the plan that she had set out for herself and would always consult me to find ways to adjust it to whatever life threw at her with her schedule. While at YouFit Anne won 2 fitness challenges to get herself a free membership for a year. Even without me guiding her this year after leaving YouFit in February to train independently Anne won another challenge sticking to the strategy that we had laid out.

If you’re interested in seeing how fitness coaching can work for you like it did for Anne, email me at or message me via my facebook page. Thank you again for reading, and looking forward to next time.

Client Stories: Donna Simon

I have been a member at Youfit since August, 2015. During that time, I have been working with a trainer to get into shape and lose weight. I am a 56 year old woman, and losing and/or maintaining my weight is challenging. In my fifties, I put on about 25 extra pounds. For the last year, I have been working out with my trainer, Shelby. He is very knowledgeable, personable, and receptive to my concerns. He pushes me to be the best I can be. In the time that I have been working with him, I have grown stronger, more self-assured, and thinner. I have recommended him to my family and friends as an excellent trainer.

Trainer Note: Donna was really big into doing step aerobics and was extremely concerned with resistance training. Over time she started enjoying it and having the most enjoyable celebrations when she completed something she felt that she couldn’t do. I’ll never forget the day when she pressed 60 pounds over her head for 3 complete sets of 8 reps. When she put the bar down after the set she looked over at me with just the most ecstatic look in her eyes and said “I did it!!!” That moment will always stick with me.

If you’re interested in seeing how fitness coaching can work for you like it did for Donna, email me at or message me via my facebook page. Thank you again for reading, and looking forward to next time.

Client Stories: Rita Callens

I started my weight loss journey in July of 2015. I started at 208 pounds. I joined You Fit in September of 2015 and started working with Shelby Johnson in April 2016. I am now at 170 pounds, and have gone from a size 18 to a size 12. I liked my first trainer, but Shelby took me to another level.
Shelby understands how to challenge me without overwhelming me. Because of him, I completed my very first boot camp. I have become much more comfortable in the gym and even tried a Swing Dance class !
My goal is to get to my goal weight AND become stronger so that I can grow older as healthy as possible. What I appreciate most about Shelby is his knowledge, his patience and his encouragement. I highly recommend him !

Trainer Note: Rita is still training with me today currently at Mekuly’s Gym in  Garland, TX. Rita of my many clients over the years is still the only one who has seen me both in the gym and in the classroom. I look forward to my sessions with Rita because she just has the loveliest personality and tells the best stories regarding her too dogs.

If you’re interested in seeing how fitness coaching can work for you like it did for Rita, email me at or message me via my facebook page. Thank you again for reading, and looking forward to next time.

Client Stories: Abigail Santos

Elias Pink Shirt


Training with Shelby has been a great positive experience because I was able to transform my body and gain the confidence I was lacking. I learned a lot about my body and challenging myself to push my limits was one of the hardest yet rewarding experience I have been through. The rewarding part was seeing results such as losing weight and gain muscle. My clothing fits better and I feel like a new confident person. Changing my eating habits was challenging at the beginning because I loved eating out during the week however, with Shelby’s guidance I was able to adjust and discipline myself to the point where I started to meal prep every week and knew exactly what to eat. I’m still a work in progress and will continue this journey to live a healthy fit life.

Trainer note: Abigail was such a fun client to work with regardless if she had a great day or a rough one she came into our sessions excited to work. I really enjoyed how open she was to new information and how she’d make the decisions on her own to go the extra mile towards her goals. I’ll always remember the moment when we discovered that she had lost 10 pounds in one month after we sat down together and adjusted her diet and she started to consistently do early morning cardio before work.

If you’re interested in seeing how fitness coaching can work for you like it did for Abigail, email me at or message me via my facebook page. Thank you again for reading, and looking forward to next time.