Bill Arnott’s Showcase Interview: Fitness Guru & Author-Adventurer Angela deJong

Okay Showcasers, let’s get ripped with Angela deJong! I feel lucky to have caught this world-travelling, mountain-summiting, fitness guru and adventure author when she’s in the country (and on the ground). Angela, welcome to the Showcase! I know you through your great books and fitness programs but let’s introduce you to the rest of the gang with your bio.

Angela deJong is a certified personal trainer, author of Reality Fitness, co-author of Polepole (“po-lay-po-lay”), author of Be Free: Mountains, Mishaps, and Miracles in Africa, and owner of Acacia Fitness ( She graduated from the University of Alberta with a degree in Kinesiology, majoring in sport performance and exercise therapy. Angela has been committed to her fitness training since 1993: marathon running, adventure racing, power lifting, fitness photo-shoots, mountain climbing, learning to swim, and generally anything that involves getting out of her comfort zone. Her love for fitness has taken her all over the world in pursuit of meeting others that share her passion, but it was Africa that stole her heart. She’s travelled solo to every country on the continent that has mountains higher than 3000 metres and summited all of them over a ten-year period. Angela lives in Edmonton, Alberta.

(Bill) There’s a lot there but tell us, what do you feel you’re known for?

(Angela) Thanks Bill. Most folks would say my love for fitness is what I’m best known for.

(Bill) And what would you say brought you here?

(Angela) In October 2018, I was on an airplane headed to Jordan. At the time, I had no desire to write a book about my personal experiences in Africa. It was a lovely stranger in the seat next to me that changed my mind with a personal story I’ll never forget. Three years later, thanks to RMB Publishing, Be Free was released with a preface dedicated to sharing how one women’s openness changed the course of my life.

(Bill) That’s a superb story. A reminder to be open as well as “be free.” Tell us, please, who’s been a role model to you?

(Angela) My humble and kind grandpa Earl. He was a wonderful role model for hard work, discipline, resilience, and selflessness.

(Bill) Wonderful traits. (Nice work, grandpa Earl). What’s your personal advice to others?

(Angela) No matter what stage of life you’re in, it’s never too late to start living it the way you want. You only have one body. Take care of it, as best as you can. Make changes in your life as easy as possible, using small incremental habit adjustments.

(Bill) That reminds me of something my dad used to say about staying healthy, “Take care of your body,” he’d say. “Where else are you going to live?” And tell us Angela, what are you currently working on?

(Angela) Currently I’m writing a weight loss cookbook to compliment my first book, Reality Fitness. I’m also working on a 1-minute handstand and the ability to communicate in Spanish without embarrassing myself too much.

(Bill) Eso es excelente! And speaking of books (and other stuff), what’s your favourite: book, album, movie, and food dish?

(Angela) Favourite book: Becoming A Supple Leopard by Kelly Starrett. Favourite album: Synchronicity, by The Police. Favourite movie: About Time. And favourite food dish: Yorkshire Pudding.

(Bill) An eclectic list; I like it. And for a trademark Showcase Quirky Question, make a choice: Country or Rock, and why?

(Angela) Country or Rock? I love both, but that’s not an answer! So, I’ll have to lean toward Rock. A Rock power ballad is hard to beat on leg day.

(Bill) Brilliant! And here I thought leg day meant KFC drumsticks in lieu of a mixed bucket (for one). Thanks, Angela, for being a wonderfully inspiring part of our Showcase. Find Angela’s book Reality Fitness: An Incremental, Achievable, & Sustainable Weight Loss Method at booksellers online, and her travelogues Be Free and Polepole at bookstores everywhere, from Rocky Mountain Books.

Bill Arnott is the bestselling author of the Gone Viking travel memoirs (Gone Viking: A Travel SagaGone Viking II: Beyond BoundariesGone Viking III: The Holy Grail) and A Season on Vancouver Island. He’s won numerous book awards and received a Fellowship at London’s Royal Geographical Society for his expeditions. When not trekking with a small pack and journal, Bill can be found on Canada’s west coast, where he lives near the sea on Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh land.