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Winning at LIIT

By | Movement

By Nike Charles, BSc, PTS

When I gave birth to my first child in 2005, I was looking at different options on how to lose weight. It happened to be around the time that HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts were becoming increasingly popular. So I spent 20-40 minutes doing HIIT workouts three times a week. I ended up losing 60 lbs. in six months! It was a game changer. I found something where I didn’t have to spend hours in the gym, but could still burn a crazy number of calories. I now try to incorporate HIIT into my group and private fitness classes as much as I can.

HIIT continues to be one of the most effective training styles used by individuals, personal trainers, and in group fitness programs all over the world. It can be incorporated in a spin class, using a rowing machine, using weights (like dumbbells or kettlebells), or by simply exercising without any equipment at all.

There’s a stigma that HIIT is all about cardio, but it also helps to add muscle and eliminate stubborn fat. The base formula is the harder you work (the higher the intensity) = the higher your oxygen intake = the higher the number of calories you burn. The combination of short bursts of high intensity exercises of 20-90 seconds with rest periods of 10-60 seconds in between help burn more calories both during your workout, but even better, for a period of time after your workout is complete.

For most good things, there’s always a “but” not far behind. As efficient as HIIT is, most of the exercises are usually high impact and include a variety of jumping. This can cause wear and tear on the body, leading to injuries in the muscles and joints. The general rule is “everything in moderation”. That also goes for HIIT. Using my background in Kinesiology and personal training, I have modified HIIT in my classes and training to minimize the risk for external pounding or jarring on the joints. This makes my classes more accessible to clients of all different levels, providing everyone the benefits of boosting their endurance and increasing fat loss. Clients get to grow at their own pace and choose the level their body can manage that day.

The modifications I’ve incorporated include low impact exercises or LIIT (Low Intensity Interval Training), which has been proven to have a positive effect on clients. Don’t underestimate the acronym. These exercises can still achieve a high calorie burn workout. Examples of low impact exercises I use include the inchworm, modified power jacks, mountain climbers, skaters, and knee drives. Clients often associate low impact training as a “light day”, which is far from the truth. You can still reap the fat-burning, metabolism-boosting benefits of a HIIT workout with low impact exercises. If the intensity of your work-to-rest ratio is right, and the intensity of your workout is high enough, you can burn an equal number of calories. Just keep moving!

I believe part of the responsibility about being a personal trainer is to bring all possible solutions and methods to our clients, educating them and breaking stigmas. This includes meeting them where they are and leading them through their own path of progress, not to perfection.

With the holidays around the corner, I’ve included a quick 20-minute LIIT workout you can share with your clients or try for yourself.

Instructions: Do each exercise listed below, performing each move at maximum intensity for 45 seconds and follow with 15 seconds of rest by stepping side-to-side or walking around the room to catch your breath. Complete four total rounds.


  1. Start with feet hip-width apart, hands at sides.
  2. Hinge forward from your hips and place palms on the mat, bending knees as needed to reach hands to the floor.
  3. Walk hands forward to a plank position, shoulders above wrists.
  4. Walk hands back to feet and hinge from hips back up to stand.

Modified Standing Jacks

  1. Stand straight with feet together, hands at sides.
  2. Step to the right and bring both hands above the head.
  3. Bring right leg in, lower arms and return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat with the left leg, alternating sides.

Modified Mountain Climbers

  1. Start in a plank position, shoulders above wrists.
  2. Step left knee in towards chest then step it back.
  3. Repeat with right knee, alternating back and forth.


  1. Start with feet hip-width apart, hands at your sides.
  2. Step back with left leg into a diagonal lunge.
  3. For added momentum, swing left arm in front of front knee.
  4. Come back to start position, repeating on the other side.


  1. Start with feet hip-width apart, toes pointed forward.
  2. Keep weight in heels and hinge at the hips, bend the knees, and sit down and back, keep head and chest up.
  3. Push through heels to come back to the start position.

About Nike Charles, BSc, PTS

Adenike (Nike) Charles is the owner of JUST2SWEAT studio where faith and fitness transform lives! She holds a BSc in Kinesiology and a Minor in Sports Medicine and is a canfitpro PTS. Nike thrives on seeing people living healthy and active lives. Connect with her @just2sweat on all social media platforms.

We’re Closed

By | Business

Once again, many Fitness Clubs and Studios across Canada are being forced to close their doors.  The solitary unknown is, for how long?  This past Spring, when doors closed to flatten the curve and the spread of the virus, no one knew that it would be several months before they would reopen or the residual effects of the member’s confidence returning to a previously familiar space.

During the closures, gyms responded as expected, with temporary layoffs to immediately reduce expenses or face the risk of a permanent closure.  Thousands of fitness professionals and professionals working in the Fitness Industry across Canada were impacted by these decisions, including but not limited to Fitness Instructors and Personal Trainers, leaving many asking, “What do we do now?”.

The response to this question led to the sweeping emergence of Virtual Fitness and start of several new fitness businesses.  Fitness professionals started launching their brands online utilizing the many video streaming platforms.  Questions about the best microphones, audio plug-ins, royalty-free music, liability insurance for online training were some of the top inquiries we received at canfitpro.  Opposite to the rise of virtual training were trainers that refused to go online.  The idea of training online went against their values and beliefs as their practice was centered around the safety and effectiveness of in-person training.

With Summer approaching and benefits of the great outdoors, both groups would look ahead to taking their practice to parks, fields, and backyards, frankly anywhere to see their clients again and build community.  This was refreshing, but it was also very brief.

In comes the second-wave.  The rising case counts and growing concern for public health has led to the second mass closure and gyms are at risk of survival.

This time can be your time!

With doors closed, Fitness Professionals are again taking matters into their own hands, launching their individual Fitness Businesses once again.  What may have been a considered a temporary solution for instructors and trainers may become a permanent future.  With thousands of certified professional members that need to make a living for themselves, canfitpro has partnered with a number of companies that offer services and products to help.  Our newest partner OWNR, is a third-party business designed to make it easy and affordable for you to start, manage, and grow your business.

OWNR helps new businesses get registered using a full-service approach including name search, registration, and further support with logo design, brand materials, website design, and more with the use of technology and seamless customer service.  To learn more, visit our partner page.

Check out other canfitpro Partners that can help your fitness business success:

How many times have you talked yourself out of starting your own fitness business?  How many times have you started and gave up too soon?  Remember, every successful fitness business started somewhere with something, and that something was belief in oneself.  So, the next time you ask yourself why someone would decide to choose you, remind yourself, WHY NOT YOU?

You have what it takes to become an owner, so no more waiting.  The doors on the club may say ‘We’re Closed’, but yours is ‘Now Open’!

Robert Robinson
Diversity & Inclusion Committee, Chair
Manager, B2B Sales & Strategic Partnerships


About Robert Robinson

Robert Robinson is the Manager of B2B Sales & Strategic Partnerships at canfitpro and a certified Personal Training Specialist for over 7 years. He led the revision of the current edition of canfitpro’s Personal Training Specialist program and now oversees the B2B Business Unit. Robert is an experienced sales professional with over 15 years in the financial and fitness industry. His personal focus is to enlighten others about making individual and collective choices for positive change.

Business Member Spotlight: Gleevie

By | Business

What type of business are you?

Gleevie brings customers joy and accessibility while keeping an environmentally friendly mindset with innovative products.

Tell us about your business?

Glee/ Vie
Glee meaning joy, vie meaning life.
Gleevie’s reusable collection (silicone food storage bag and collapsible coffee cups) and portable blenders bring you joy and accessibility while keeping an environmentally friendly mindset.

How long have you been in the industry?

We rebranded and launched our signature product, Blen2Go Portable Blender, in October 2019, and since then our business is booming with clients' love and support.

What attracted you to the fitness industry?

We've always loved staying healthy and active, which has helped us stay motivated. However, as entrepreneurs, we often at times find it hard to keep everything on track; work, fitness, healthy diet, family, etc. Therefore, we wanted to create something that's easier and more convenient while pursuing a healthy and active lifestyle.

 What has been your greatest challenge as a business owner/operator and how did you overcome it?

The greatest challenge we've encountered was getting visibility while all the in-person events were canceled due to COVID-19. Blen2Go always does super well at in-person events since customers can personally experience the functions and the power of the blender. As such the close down has hit our business very hard. We had to adapt and come up with creative strategies that would showcase our blenders to our customers, regardless they are on the go or staying at home. What we did was create various fun recipes by using Blen2Go, and consistently showed up on social media and engaged with our customers and audience. Showing our customers how to stay healthy while staying at home with Blen2Go, and how to use it to make multiple fun recipes was definitely a life saver to our business during this challenging time.

What do you hope your buyers achieve within your product/service?

With Gleevie products, we hope our clients could feel as though having, and maintaining a productive and healthy lifestyle is not as hard as it may seems. It can be accessible and easy!

Tell us your greatest memory/highlight in your career?

The moment when our clients told us that our products have made their life so much easier and healthier with a bright smile.

How long have you attended canfitpro events?

2020 actually is our first year attending a canfitpro event. We are really looking forward to connect with the canfitpro audience via the virtual trade show.

What is the percentage of Canadian business you currently have?

Around 65% of our clients are based in Canada.

How do you plan to grow your Canadian business in the next 12-24 months?

We plan to attend virtual trade shows in Canada to connect with potential clients. We will also connect with more Canadian gym-goers and fitness lovers, and share our products with them. Next, we will provide our Canadian community with products with great value for the holiday season. Last, we will show up consistently on social media, and maintain relationship with our Canadian customers.

Visit our website!

How To Get Your Studio Profitable And Growing Again During COVID-19

By | Business

By Sean Greeley, NPE Founder & CEO

We’ve been through arguably the most damaging period of the fitness industry’s history. Studios and gyms have lost many clients and a lot of revenue. Everyone’s trying to figure out what to do next.

You may be questioning:

  • Am I going to lose money?
  • Will my clients ever come back?
  • Will I just burn cash?
  • Is it even worth it to try and rebuild my business?

The answer is YES… you CAN re-engineer a more profitable, high cash-flow fitness business.

But to do that you’ll need to reassess your business… and be willing to make changes. These changes might be small, or might require complete overhaul of everything in your business.

The fact is there IS still tremendous demand for fitness services in the market. People still want to lose weight, get stronger, look better, get out of pain, and more. And they’re willing to pay for support to solve their problems and achieve their goals.

It’s the way we deliver value to the client through our services offerings, how the business model is engineered to make a profit, and how you go to market with finding and signing up new clients that must evolve.

Let’s explore each of these further….

How does your business deliver value to the client?

We measure value with an equation: Value = Client Experience + Relationships + Results

When you deliver great value to clients, price no longer becomes an issue. Because clients aren’t buying on price, they are paying for the great value they receive.

Client experience refers to the experience someone has at every ‘touch point’ with your business.  What is their experience when they call you on the phone, walk in through your doors, interact with your team? All of these things (and more) contribute to their experience of doing business with you.

Relationships are also extremely important to clients. When they feel part of a community, connected to your team, to you, and have friends that they look forward to seeing, they receive something invaluable.

Results are about the transformation. That usually involves not just a physical transformation of some kind, but a mental and emotional one too. Fitness impacts every area of our life when it comes to our health, relationships, career and more. The more results we get, the more that spills over into every area of our lives.

All those add up to the value you provide your client. And they will pay premium prices for that value, which in turn means more profits for you.  

How is your business model engineered to make a profit?

Whether you want to serve clients online or offline, or through private, semi-private, or group delivery of services, there are lots of ways to make money and run a profitable business.

Profit is engineered by managing the numbers that drive your model. There are 7 questions you need to answer to start engineering more success:

1. What’s your model? Group, semi-private, private.

2. What’s your pricing and packaging? Program, commitment level, sessions per  week, and weekly investment. This can be complicated and it’s important to get support in making decisions in this area of your business.

3. What are your gross profit margins? You need about 60-85%, depending on  your model.

4. What are your income goals? How much do you want to earn? Not just take  home pay, but consider the amount of profit that you’ll be required to reinvest in the business for continued growth and success.

5. What are your expenses? You need to know your cost structure, and the relationships between fixed and variable expenses.

6. What’s your average client value? How much money does each client bring in?

7. How many NET clients do you need to hit your goals? This is your most important number you need to know and focus on to succeed.

You can’t track seven numbers in your head at the same time.

But you can focus on ONE NUMBER (such as NET CLIENTS) that when you hit it… ensures your business works as planned and you achieve all your financial goals.

How will your business find and sign up new clients right now?

Think strategically. You don’t want to just “promote” your services with free trials or discounts. Instead, get clear on your ideal client. Get clear on the messaging and offer that will actually solve their problems. Educate prospects on how to solve a problem with content marketing. And inspire them with success stories.

Next, master your sales system so you’ll know how to communicate with your ideal client in an effective way. We teach the 7-step AUTO-CLOSER® Sales System that shows you how to lead conversations with prospects in a way that uncovers their needs and inspires them to commit to their goals.

Finally, you need to get some easy and inexpensive wins to drive in the right clients with:

  • Networking (online & offline)
  • Content marketing (education + offers)
  • Public Speaking
  • Referrals
  • Bring a Friend Campaigns
  • Advertising (online & offline)
  • Partnerships (local business alliances)
  • What else?

These strategies will start driving in the right clients you can help, with an upgraded business model that delivers more profits and cash flow.


Yes, the fitness industry has been through the wringer, but you can rebuild and grow a highly profitable fitness business with the right strategies, plan, and action steps.

The first key is to increase the value you deliver to your clients. Next, re-engineer your business model by answering the 7 questions to improve profitability.

Finally, stop discounting and using promos. Instead, think strategically about finding and signing up new clients – while also focusing on quick wins to get clients in the door right away.

No matter what disruptions have occurred in the fitness industry, people need your help now more than ever.

Deliver the value they need, engineer a profitable business model, and get a sales and marketing plan in place to attract great clients and help more people achieve their goals.

About Sean Greeley

Sean Greeley, Founder and CEO of NPE, has an unrelenting passion for empowering fitness business owners to grow their business and create the life they want. Since 2006, NPE has helped over 45,000+ fitness professionals and studio owners to grow their business, take home more money, and have the time freedom to enjoy it.

To learn more about finding your Thrive Zone and the steps you need to take next, register for a free eCourse “Your Fitness Business Model 2.0: Increase Your Studio/Gym Revenue After COVID-19: A step-by-step guide to delivering more value to clients, upgrading your business model, and increasing your profits & cash flow”. Go to:

La Coalition Nationale Des Salles D’entrainements Adopte Des Mesures Extraordinaires

By | Business


La sécurité, et la santé mentale et physique sont une priorité absolue ;

la survie de cette industrie de 4 milliards de dollars, mise sous une pression économique sans précédent, est remise en question
sans un appui gouvernemental adéquat.

« Les Canadiens risquent fort de voir disparaitre plusieurs établissements d’entrainement physique de leur voisinage. »

EDMONTON, Alb., 20 octobre 2020 – La principale priorité de plus de 6000 établissements de conditionnement physique du Canada est de faire en sorte que tous les Canadiens profitent d’un environnement hautement sécuritaire pour se concentrer sur leur santé physique et mentale pendant cette période pandémique sans précédent.

Le Conseil canadien de l’industrie du conditionnement physique (CCICP) s’est engagé à satisfaire, voire à surpasser les directives émises par le gouvernement et les autorités sanitaires qui se sont avérées efficaces pour réduire les risques de transmission du virus. Le CCICP s’est également engagé à collaborer avec les fonctionnaires de la santé publique et du gouvernement pour établir les consignes et les règles visant à mettre en priorité la santé et la sécurité.

« Nous connaissons les effets positifs de l’exercice sur la santé physique, psychologique et sociale des gens, et nous sommes engagés à fournir des solutions sécuritaires, nous dit Scott Wilderman, président du CCICP, nous souhaitons travailler à titre de partenaire actif avec les autorités gouvernementales et sanitaires et les aider à prendre des décisions factuelles pour protéger nos membres et nos employés, et nous permettre de garder nos portes ouvertes. »

« Nous accueillons à nouveau un nombre croissant de personnes dans nos établissements, mais nous avons désespérément besoin du soutien gouvernemental pour assurer notre viabilité dans ce nouveau contexte de restrictions et de fermetures ponctuelles. »

Les établissements de conditionnement physique canadiens génèrent des revenus annuels de près de 4 milliards de dollars et emploient des dizaines de milliers de personnes. Le CCICP représente toutes les classes d’établissement, des plus grands réseaux — Énergie Cardio, GoodLife Fitness, Orangetheory Fitness, MOVATI Athletic, GYMVMT, Trevor Linden Club 16, etc. — aux milliers de studios et clubs indépendants qui luttent également pour survivre dans un contexte de restrictions de capacité, de fermetures ponctuelles, et de menaces de fermetures futures.

« En tant que propriétaire d’une petite entreprise, la fermeture du printemps a contribué à disséminer nos moyens financiers, dit Jeff Ardron, président directeur général du Fitness Unlimited Athletic Club à Maple Ridge en Colombie-Britannique, nous avons pu rouvrir, mais ce ne sont pas toutes les salles d’entrainement et tous les studios qui ont eu la même chance. Nous avons obtenu l’appui de nos membres, mais si nous devions fermer une seconde fois, je ne suis pas certain de ce qui adviendrait. »

« Actuellement, la plupart des établissements opèrent à environ 60 pour cent de leurs revenus d’avant-Covid, dit Wilderman, du coup, ils ont investi d’importantes sommes pour se procurer des équipements de protection individuelle, des produits de nettoyage et de désinfection, et pour former leur personnel, et c’est sans compter les autres dépenses liées aux mesures de protection des employés et des membres. Les Canadiens risquent fort de voir disparaitre plusieurs établissements d’entrainement physique de leur voisinage. »

Parallèlement à l’industrie du conditionnement physique, les entreprises connexes telles que vendeurs et fournisseurs de vêtements d’entrainement, d’équipement, de suppléments alimentaires, les entreprises d’entretien ménager, et les propriétaires ou sociétés immobilières, etc. ont toutes été durement touchées.

Depuis les fermetures imposées dans le cadre du confinement du printemps dernier, le CCICP a travaillé en étroite collaboration avec ses filiales provinciales pour fournir des directives et des normes conformes à celles émises par la santé publique. Ces efforts ont permis aux établissements de rouvrir avec prudence et de manière responsable l’été dernier et de poursuivre leurs activités.

Les établissements membres du CCICP sont reconnus pour exploiter des entreprises sécuritaires et pour leur respect infaillible des consignes. Parmi ces dernières, les membres du CCICP se sont engagés à :

  • Augmenter la fréquence et la rigueur du nettoyage ;
  • Mettre à la disposition du personnel et des membres une plus grande variété de produits de nettoyage et de désinfection de qualité supérieure ;
  • Offrir la possibilité de réserver une plage horaire pour son entrainement ou de faire des entrainements de durée limitée, ce qui simplifie également le suivi de contacts ;
  • Utiliser les services de surveillants ou « d’ambassadeurs de conformité » qui voient à ce que les membres et le personnel respectent les normes de sécurité renforcées ;
  • Prévoir suffisamment d’espace entre les appareils et l’équipement en ayant recours à diverses méthodes de marquage au sol pour assurer une distanciation physique appropriée ;
  • Rendre obligatoire l’utilisation efficace des protocoles en lien à l’ÉPI ;

Les protocoles adoptés par les membres du CCICP garantissent que l’industrie est prête à appuyer les individus dans leur démarche santé de la meilleure façon qui soit ; le Dr Sharkawy, spécialiste canadien en maladies infectieuses, basé à Toronto en Ontario, a affirmé que « Les établissements de conditionnement physique peuvent jouer un rôle crucial contre le stress, et dans le maintien d’une bonne santé en temps de pandémie… » (Twitter @SharkawyMD)

Depuis leur réouverture initiale post-confinement, les établissements de conditionnement physique canadiens cumulent plus de 20 millions d’entrainements. L’une des clés du succès de l’industrie est sa capacité unique de contrôler et faire le suivi de qui s’entraine dans ses clubs et ses studios. Grâce à la lecture numérique des cartes de membres, d’applications mobiles et de surveillance en personne, les installations sont en mesure de gérer activement la distanciation physique à même leurs établissements. Si une exposition au virus était suspectée, les exploitants de l’établissement pourraient alerter toute personne pouvant être affectée plus rapidement et avec plus d’exactitude que le pourrait une entreprise de toute autre nature.

« Les exploitants des salles d’entrainement de l’Ontario et du Québec travaillent jour et nuit pour maintenir la confiance de leurs membres, employés, et des autorités sanitaires, dit Wilderman, c’est malheureux que, contrairement à toute autre industrie, quelques incidents isolés aient attiré une attention disproportionnée lorsque les normes et les protocoles n’ont pas été respectés — par les membres ou les exploitants. Des milliers d’établissements de conditionnement physique ont repris leurs activités de façon sécuritaire, ont accueilli les membres, et sont prêts à faire face à une nouvelle vague de la COVID-19, le cas échéant. »

« Nous continuerons de travailler ensemble pour protéger nos employés, nos membres et nos communautés et d’offrir l’environnement le plus sécuritaire possible.  Il est de l’intérêt de tout un chacun de faire en sorte que nous soyons tous en sécurité, en bonne condition physique, et mentalement sains. »

À propos du CCICP

Le Conseil canadien de l’industrie du conditionnement physique (CCICP) est l’association professionnelle sans but lucratif qui représente la voix des exploitants d’établissements de conditionnement physique du Canada. Représentant plus de 6 000 établissements, avec plus de 6 millions de membres à travers le pays, le CCICP poursuit un programme législatif dans l’espoir d’améliorer l’industrie du conditionnement physique pour les consommateurs et les exploitants. Le CCICP vise la collaboration de l’industrie et du gouvernement pour améliorer la santé et le niveau d’activité physique des Canadiens.

Pour plus de renseignements, ou pour planifier une entrevue avec un exploitant d’établissement de conditionnement physique :

Trisha Sarker, directrice générale, Conseil Canadien de l’industrie du conditionnement physique (CCICP), 780-908-1710

Positivity and Focus in 2020

By | Business

2020 has been a wild ride for the fitness industry. This year will go down in the history books. We’ve experienced a wide range of emotions, from fear as the pandemic began to surge in Canada with limited science available, to shock when we closed studio doors due to public health orders.

What I settled on was positivity. No amount of dwelling and worrying is going to change the fact that we are facing an unprecedented situation in our industry, that is out of our control. We cannot control the science nor can we argue with the public health officials who are tasked with keeping an entire population safe. What we can control is how our members experience Oxygen during this time.

So, with a positive mindset, we have focused on our membership, keeping them engaged in fitness and health through a virtual experience with Oxygen.

Our Virtual Studio option has also created a secondary revenue stream for studios as well as a new lead generating process that allows new potential members to get confident with our wide range of classes before experiencing them in studio, with the FAR Infrared heat.

While it has been challenging learning to change a business model quickly and having everyone adapt to the changes at a rapid rate to meet the needs of all the consumers, the pandemic has given us the opportunity to refocus on our roots. It’s given us some time for pause, to think of the future and prepare for it with meaning and purpose. Our continued interest in new franchise opportunities indicates that prospective studio owners are looking towards their future, and exploring how studio ownership can improve their lifestyle while making a positive impact on health & wellness in their communities..

Studios that have opened this year are opening at half capacity and we’ve had to make adjustments regionally, based on current public health orders of a region. Each region has its unique set of challenges, and our team has been dedicated to crafting opening plans and supporting the opening of each studio individually, with creativity and new ideas.

One thing that has remained constant and will continue to be a constant, is our dedication to our member and staff health. It’s been a top priority to keep our studios clean, and keeping the flow of traffic in and out of our studios safe for everyone during this time. This commitment has become part of our brand culture in a short period of time. While we look towards the end of the restrictions and a COVID- free world, we continue to focus on staying positive and adapting.

Photo features Jen Hamilton CEO of Oxygen Yoga & Fitness, , Melissa Hansens, Operations Manager, Sean and Sherry Bannerman, Owners of Oxygen Yoga & Fitness North Oshawa.

About Jen Hamilton

Jen Hamilton, CEO of Oxygen Yoga & Fitness, has been a dynamic and compelling leader in the fitness industry for over 18 years. Jen’s creativity and vibrant personality is the driving force behind Oxygen’s culture, strength, and continued growth. Her innovation and inventive style created the yoga fusion model that has set Oxygen Yoga & Fitness apart as the industry leader it is today. Jen has been nominated for the RBC Women’s Entrepreneur of the year in Canada (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018) and the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the year award (2008, 2016) and Oxygen Yoga & Fitness has received the Canadian Franchisee’s choice award multiple years in a row, just to name a few. By understanding that being open and vulnerable to feedback, and diversity of thought are essential to the growth of any organization, Jen continues to focus on building the Oxygen brand by surrounding herself with a team that is constantly brainstorming and implementing new ideas to keep things fresh and exciting for the ever-expanding membership base.

National Coalition Of Fitness Clubs Taking Measures to Support COVID-Weary Fit Pros

By | Business


Safety, and mental and physical health are top priorities;

$4-billion industry under intense economic pressure, at risk without adequate government support;

“Canadians are in real danger of losing many of their neighborhood gyms and boutique studios”

EDMONTON, AB, October 20, 2020 – Keeping everyone in Canada as safe as possible and focused on their physical and mental health during an unprecedented pandemic is the guiding priority of more than 6,000 fitness clubs, gyms, and studios from coast-to-coast.

Fitness Industry Council of Canada (FIC) has committed to meeting or exceeding government and health authority guidelines that have been proven to be effective at minimizing risk and virus transmission. FIC has also committed to working collaboratively with health and government officials to develop guidelines and regulations that prioritize health and safety.

“We know the positive impact exercise has on the physical, psychological, and social health of people, and are committed to providing safe solutions,” said Scott Wildeman, President, FIC. “We want to work as an active partner with government and healthcare officials and help them make evidence-based decisions to protect our members and employees — and keep our doors open.”

“We’re welcoming back increasing numbers of people in our gyms and studios, but we also desperately need government support to ensure we remain sustainable in this new normal of restrictions and shutdowns.”

Canadian fitness facilities generate nearly $4 billion in revenue annually and employ tens of thousands of people. FIC represents all levels of facilities, from the largest chains – GoodLife Fitness, Orangetheory Fitness, MOVATI Athletic, Énergie Cardio, GYMVMT, Trevor Linden Club 16, etc. – to the thousands of smaller, independent studios and gyms that are also struggling to survive amid capacity restrictions, rolling closures and threats of future shutdowns.

“As a small business owner, the shutdown in the spring stretched finances about as far as they could possibly go,” said Jeff Ardron, President and GM of Fitness Unlimited Athletic Club in Maple Ridge, B.C. “We were able to reopen, but not all gyms and studios were as lucky. We have received a lot of support from our members, but if another closure were to happen, I’m not sure what the outcome would be.”

“Most fitness facilities are operating at approximately 60 per cent of the pre-pandemic revenues,” said Wildeman. “At the same time, they’ve made significant investments in additional personal protective equipment, cleaning and sanitizing equipment, staff training, in addition to other measures to protect their employees and members. Canadians are in real danger of losing many of their neighborhood gyms and boutique studios.”

In association to the fitness club industry, businesses that depend on this industry such as vendors, suppliers, fitness apparel, supplement industry, cleaning companies, landlords/real estate companies, etc. have all been harshly affected.

Since the pandemic closed fitness facilities in the spring, FIC has worked closely with its provincial divisions to provide public-health-approved guidelines and standards. These efforts allowed fitness facilities to reopen carefully and responsibly in the summer, and to continue ongoing operations.

FIC member facilities are known to operate safe businesses and follow a strict set of guidelines. Among the guidelines, FIC members have committed to:

  • Increase cleaning frequency and intensity
  • Provide greater availability of hospital-grade and cleaning and disinfecting supplies
  • Provide pre-book and/or time limited workouts (which also ensures contact tracing)
  • Employ monitor and/or “compliance ambassadors” who ensure members and staff are following the enhanced safety standards
  • Include adequate spacing of all equipment and marking/blocking on gyms floors to ensure proper distancing
  • Mandate effective PPE usage protocols

The protocols followed by FIC members ensure that the industry is ready to support individuals in the best way possible when it comes to their wellbeing. Dr. Sharkawy, a Canadian Infectious Disease Specialist from Toronto, ON, states that “Gyms, fitness studios can play a vital role in combatting stress, maintaining health during a pandemic…” (via Twitter @SharkawyMD).

To date, Canadian fitness clubs, gyms and studios have accommodated more than 20-million workouts since gyms and studios initially reopened after the nationwide spring shutdown. A critical key to its success is the industry’s unparalleled ability to control and track who is working out in their clubs and studios. Using electronic card swipes, mobile apps and in-person monitoring, facilities are actively managing the social distancing and traffic flow within their facilities. If a suspected exposure is identified, fitness operators can alert anyone potentially impacted more quickly and more accurately than other businesses.

“Ontario gyms are working around the clock to maintain the trust of our members, our employees and public health officials,” said Wildeman. “It’s unfortunate that, like other industries, a few isolated incidents have garnered disproportionate attention where standards and protocols were not followed — by members or operators. Thousands of fitness facilities have reopened safely, welcomed members back and are well prepared for any additional waves of COVID-19.”

“We’re going to continue to work together to protect our employees, members and communities and offer the safest environments we can. It’s in all our interests to keep everyone safe, physically fit and mentally healthy.”

About FIC

Fitness Industry Council of Canada (FIC) is the not-for profit trade association that represents the voice of fitness facility operators across Canada. Representing more than 6,000 facilities with more than six-million members nationwide, FIC pursues a legislative agenda in the hope of bettering the fitness industry for both consumers and operators. FIC aims to work with both industry and government to improve the health and physical activity levels of Canadians.

For more information, or to arrange an interview at a fitness facility:

Trisha Sarker, Executive Director, Fitness Industry Council of Canada (FIC), 780-908-1710

canfitpro 2020 Virtual Series: October

By | Business

We hope you continued to enjoy the first-ever canfitpro 2020 Virtual Series! Thank you for riding with us to make the October event a success! We hope your experience with us was positive and successful, as we couldn’t have done it without you.

Please remember to check your email to fill out a post-event survey to help increase their effectiveness in the future.

Take a look at some of the event highlight photos:


What you missed...

  • OPENING KEYNOTE: THINK Yourself CONFIDENT: Find Confidence & Clarity to Make Money living Your Purpose with Nathalie Plamondon-Thomas
  • PROFIT MINDSET & BUSINESS STRATEGY for Studio Owners with Sean Greely
  • KEISER: RUSH with Sergio Velasco

What's coming in November

Muscle & Mindset: Creating Group Online Programming for Today’s Women
With Lisa Mastracchio
Sat. Nov. 14 | 9:45 AM EST

Experience a 'Muscle and Mindset' workout and walk away with tips, tools, and strategies to help you create your very own successful group online training program.

Your Walk is Whack!

With Kennedy Lodato & Jason Persaud
Sat. Nov. 14 | 11:45 AM EST

Delve into the detective science of failed Biomechanics and the global implications of ambulation on all of those systems and how they impact your fitness and health.

Transform Yourself into a Kick Ass Version of You
With Maureen (Mo) Hagan & Nathalie Plamondon-Thomas
Sat. Nov. 14 | 1:15 PM EST

Learn from the STYLE-L.I.S.T. assessment tool what your personality style is, what are your strengths, weaknesses and how to transform into a kickass version of yourself.


Cocoon Fitness Pod®

DTS Fitness Education

Fitness Industry Council of Canada

Fitness Marketing Group

Functional Movement Systems



GoodLife Fitness

Human Kinetics Canada


Life Fitness

Matrix Fitness Canada

Mobility Tape

Muscle Activation Techniques®

New Era Grafix


One Day to Wellness


Pelvienne Wellness Inc.

Pliteq Inc.

PLUS FIT Accessories


Power WearHouse Inc.

Productive Fitness




Trainer Plus



VTMN Packs


STRONG Nation™

We hope to see you back in November for our last Virtual Series event of 2020, with incredible learning opportunities from world-class presenters!

Register for the November sessions!

Thank you again and hope to see you soon!


Photo credit: Dawn Bowman Photography

New Times, New Strategies

By | Healthy Living

By Kathleen Trotter, PTS

It is a new world, one filled with ZOOM, facemasks, heightened anxiety, home gyms… oh, and did I mention anxiety?

The conundrum is this: although our new normal has made “health” feel almost impossible, it also has made healthy living an absolute must—a non-negotiable. Exercising regularly, getting adequate sleep, and maintaining a nutritious diet not only supports immune and cardiovascular health, but these habits assist in the management of depression and anxiety, and improve everything from mood to energy, to mental focus. Plus, I know that when I “control what I can control” (exercise, nutrition, etc.) I feel more able to navigate what life throws at me. Maintaining my healthy habits gives me a semblance of control, a much-needed feeling in this new crazy world.

Instead of trying to use solutions that may—or may not—have worked pre-pandemic, find new and innovative ways to reach your health and fitness goals. Acknowledge that our world has changed, then adapt your strategies to the new reality.

New Strategies

In terms of exercise…

Try the “plug and play” solution

The plug and play solution is a tailored list of exercise options based on time and accessibility. Decide what activities you could realistically do in five minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, etc. When you find yourself with a chunk of “found” time, instead of wasting that block of time on social media or wondering what you should do, look at the list and go.

Think of the plug and play list as “exercise snacking.” Sure, you might not be able to prioritize an hour workout—a full “exercise meal”—but you can always fit in 5 or 10 minutes. Ten minutes of exercise a day is 70 minutes a week, and 70 minutes a week is better than zero minutes. All motion adds up.

Create the list in advance. Why? When you have to stop and think about what exercise to do, all too often you will end up doing nothing. The cognitive load of deciding is one thing too many. The list will help you take the guesswork out of fitness. That way you can make the best of all free moments.

How do you decide what goes on your plug and play list? Think about what you find fun, what is safe, what is realistic, and what can be done in the specific amounts of time you have.

Make it FUN… maybe get your family involved

Find things you enjoy, or at least that you don’t hate. This pandemic is hard enough; it might not be the time to make yourself suffer through exercise that you despise. Put on some music and dance around! Jump rope outside. Play semi-active games with your kids such as hide and seek—these types of games may not be a workout, but they require more activity than watching TV.

Make “dates” with your family to do online workouts, or to go for “fitventures.” Every Sunday I try out a different park around Toronto. My dog, Olive, loves it. I get time with my partner, James. We get our steps. Wins all around!

Consider a family challenge! Be creative. Base the parameters of the challenge on the number and age of your kids and their interests. Maybe each family member counts how many steps they take throughout the day. Everyone has to get creative to accrue steps — “forget” things upstairs, play active video games, pace on conference calls, etc. Or try a family pushup or squat challenge. The winner gets to pick family movie night or have their favourite meal delivered.

In terms of nutrition…

Procrastinate intelligently

Learn to delay your gratification. The next time you desire something that you know your future self will not be proud of, tell yourself you can have it, but not now. Delay the indulgence. Tell yourself you can have the treat tomorrow, or after you play a fun game or get going on a project. Future you will typically forget about the craving altogether!

Only bring food into the house that you want your future self—or your future family—to consume!

Control your nutritional environment; be vigilant about what comes into your house! Make your grocery list or order your groceries when you are feeling satiated and relatively calm—that is, when your rational brain is in charge. Then, don’t allow your emotional self to change that list.

The main takeaway is this: your workouts don’t have to be perfect, but they do have to happen. Think consistency—think daily, non-negotiable motion! Your food choices don’t have to be perfect, but they do have to be conscious. Stop mindlessly snacking. Control your nutrition environment. Unhealthy food in your cupboards will eventually be consumed by you or someone you love. Equally, healthy food will eventually be consumed by you or someone you love. If you don’t bring it into your house, you can’t eat it!

About Kathleen Trotter

Kathleen Trotter holds a masters in Exercise Science, is the author of two books including the new book Your Fittest Future Self, and is a Personal trainer, Nutritionist, Pilates Specialist and Life Coach. Visit her at

Twitter: @FITbyKathleenT

Instagram: @fitbykathleent

Facebook:  FIT by Kathleen Trotter

Exercise Prescription for Mental Health

By | Healthy Living

By Igor Klibanov

As a fitness professional, you undoubtedly know how prevalent mental health issues are, and you may even work with people who have them. However, there’s very little specific information on how to make it better (other than “exercise is good for you”) and any improvements that come are simply a side effect of exercise. But what if there was a direct way to exercise specifically for improvement of mental health issues? That’s exactly what we’ll cover in this article.

If your clients have noticed that they:

  • Have lost pleasure in activities that they really used to enjoy
  • Aren’t taking care of themselves as much
  • Are neglecting certain relationships
  • Performing worse at their work than they used to

Then this article is for you.

We’ll discuss the exercise prescription for mental health issues. I use that word, “prescription” very precisely. After all, when a doctor prescribes a medication, there’s a lot of precision behind it. S/he tells you:

  • The name of the medication
  • The dose
  • Whether you should take it with food, or away from food
  • Whether you should take it in the morning, or the evening

But, when the doctor recommends exercise, well, the recommendation is vague. You don’t know exactly how to do it. You need the exercise prescription for different conditions:

  • The type: cardio, strength training, or stretching
  • The frequency: how many days per week. It’s not always a “more is better” type of scenario. With some things there’s a “sweet spot”.
  • The duration: how long you exercise for, or how many sets and reps
  • The intensity: at what percent of your maximal effort do you exercise?

Cardio vs. Strength Training

Although the occasional study finds that cardio is more effective, most studies find no difference in effectiveness between cardio and strength training.

In one study, researchers divided participants into two groups:

Group 1 did cardio, three times per week, for one hour, at an intensity of 80% of their maximal heart rate.

Group 2 did strength training, three times per week for one hour. They did 10 exercises, in a circuit format, making sure their heart rate did not rise above 50-60% of their estimated maximum.

Group 3 was the control group. They did not exercise.

Both groups one and two had similar improvements in mental health (as judged by their depression score). After the study, around 80% of the people in groups one and two no longer met the diagnostic criteria for depression. But only 17% of the people in group three no longer met the diagnostic criteria for depression.

In another study, participants with mental health issues, whose average age was 71, participated in high-intensity strength training and, after 10 weeks, those who were in the exercise group had a 54% improvement in their mental health.


How many days per week is better – one, three, five? Or is it like medications, where if you don’t take it for one day, the effect completely goes away, in which case, you need to take it every day, seven days per week?

That’s what this study tried to answer. In here, researchers divided participants into five groups:

  • Group 1: control group (stretching)
  • Group 2: burned 7 kcal/kg/week, across 3 days
  • Group 3: burned 7 kcal/kg/week, across 5 days
  • Group 4: burned 17.5 kcal/kg/week, across 3 days
  • Group 5: burned 17.5 kcal/kg/week, across 5 days

In this case, there was no difference between the two groups that burned 7 kcal/kg/week, and the group that didn’t exercise at all. None of those three groups saw much of an improvement in mental health. However, both groups that exercised at 17.5 kcal/kg/week saw reductions in symptoms of mental illness that were similar to each other. After 12 weeks of following this program, the reduction in mental illness symptoms was about 47%.

From this preliminary evidence, it seems like there’s not much of a difference between three times per week, and five times per week, as long as you cross a certain energy expenditure threshold. Is there a greater effect for even greater calorie expenditures? Maybe. But, as far as I know, that research has not yet been done yet.


So, now that we know the type (cardio and strength training are about even), the frequency (not much of a difference between three and five times per week), what’s the intensity required to reduce mental health issues? Should you take it easy? Or should you really push?

That’s what this study tried to find out.

Researchers divided participants into three groups:

Group 1 was a control group (they didn’t exercise)

Group 2 did strength training at 80% of their maximum weight, three times per week for eight weeks.

Group 3 did the exact same exercises, repetitions, and frequency as group 2, but they did it with only 20% of their maximum weight.

The results:

  • 21% of the people in group 1 had a reduction in their mental health issues after eight weeks. Without exercise. Without medication. Without psychotherapy. It just happened.
  • 61% of the people in group 2 had a reduction in their mental health issues after eight weeks.
  • 28% of the people in group 3 had a reduction in their mental health issues after eight weeks

What’s our conclusion? High intensity (over 75% of your maximum) is superior to low intensity when it comes to mental health improvement. This study looked at strength training, but other studies saw the same effect for cardio.


Is this a case of “more is better”, or is this a case of “just right”? Unfortunately, this variable hasn’t been as well studied as frequency, intensity, and type. However, one preliminary study concluded that duration and intensity are much less important than frequency.

In terms of weeks/months, although small, transient reductions are seen with just a single exercise session. To see large, consistent, long-term reductions, you should exercise for at least 9 weeks, according to this study.

Exercise vs. Medications

And now, the million-dollar question: how do medications compare to exercise when it comes to mental health improvement?

One meta-analysis (a study of several studies), from the journal Frontiers in Pharmacology looked at this question in very significant detail and found that exercise is equally effective to medications in the treatment of mental health issues. And, when the two are combined, the medications work even better.

How Exercise Work on Mental Health?

It’s nice to know what works, but “why” does exercise help relieve mental health issues? What are the mechanisms involved?

Reason #1: Endorphins

When you exercise at a high intensity, it’s physically uncomfortable. You’re out of breath and your muscles are burning. Your body doesn’t like that, so it releases “pain-blocking” chemicals called “endorphins.” It makes sense why the high intensity is required for mental health improvement. It has to be uncomfortable enough to trigger the release of endorphins. Low intensity is too comfortable for endorphin release. It blocks physical pain, but along with that, it helps emotional pain, as is seen in mental illness.

Reason #2: Self Efficacy Hypothesis

Often, a person who suffers from mental health issues has the feeling like their life is out of control. Things are happening to them and they are helpless against circumstances. Exercise gives you a sense of control. You know that if you go for an intense 20-minute workout, you’ll feel better. And who controls when you work out? You do! Who controls how long you work out? You do! Who controls how hard you work out? You do!

Reason #3: Distraction

Sometimes exercise just works because you’re focused on how hard you’re breathing and how much your muscles are burning. You are able to forget whatever is stressing you out.

Reason #4: Sleep Improvement

It’s very well-known that people who exercise usually sleep better. People who sleep better have better moods.

Reason #5: Serotonin

Serotonin is the “happy chemical” and when it’s released you feel content and relaxed. Exercise helps increase serotonin in the brain.

About Igor Klibanov

Igor Klibanov is the author of five books on fitness and nutrition, including The Mental Health Prescription, as well as the CEO of one of Toronto’s premier personal training companies, Fitness Solutions Plus. He was selected as one of the top five personal trainers in Toronto by the Metro News newspaper, and has performed approximately 400 speaking engagements, many of which have been to some of Canada’s largest corporations (including RBC, IBM, Intact Insurance, and others).

Additionally, he has multiple programs for personal trainers to enhance their skills and is a regular speaker at various personal training conferences.