What type of business are you?
34 years ago, our business first focused in providing customized fitness music to the Canadian marketplace. As that grew, we expanded to include economical portable fitness equipment which then led to FMG becoming an Accredited CEC Education Provider for health and wellness professionals. We are an online business in Edmonton, AB, Canada.
Tell us about your business?
Starting out as a fitness instructor myself, my struggle was finding high energy music – back in the 80’s there wasn’t all of todays options – gasp – no I-tunes. I sourced out my own music and slowly started selling cassettes out of my pink and black cassette tote at local fitness clubs. Many will still remember my days as “The Music Lady” known for Power and Dynamix Music and our fun “Name That Tune” contests at the annual canfitpro events.
Now that I had a credible source of music, what to do now? Most classes at that time were “high impact aerobics” and I wanted to introduce new ideas and formats. I started using large elastics for resistance training – they worked but were not ideal
With that with that came sourcing out economical, portable and results driven fitness equipment to the Canadian marketplace. Our very 1st product line was the Dyna-Band Resistance Bands which then evolved to forming a partnership with Savvier Fitness and becoming their exclusive Canadian distributor of the revolutionary Bender Ball™ and Gliding Discs® created by 2 top industry professionals – Leslee Bender and Mindy Mylrea.
Education has always been a big part of our mandate – it’s not just about “selling equipment” – but reinforcing the equipment with sound educational programs to back up that product.
We started to provide specialized educational opportunities for health and wellness professionals to inspire them to assist others in leading an active and healthy lifestyle. Our 1st program was the original Bender Method of Training in 2008, followed by Bender Barre None and it exploded from there. FMG is the Canadian Arm of Barre Above®, Barre Above with Pilates Focus® and Tabata GX®! We have a strong team of Master Trainers and we believe we provide the highest standard and value of training in the many programs we offer.
And it doesn’t stop there – We are launching 2 brand new programs for both the health and wellness professional and the active adult in 2021! I Am Ageless Now™ created Leslee Bender and Mend My Back created by Laura Warf.
How long have you been in the fitness industry?
34 years and still going strong! Love what I do! I have had the most wonderful career being involved in so many different – instructor, music supplier, PRO Trainer, educator, competitive aerobic judge, tradeshow exhibitor and sponsor. Just like our industry has evolved, so has my company. Who knows what 2022 will bring!
What attracted you to the fitness industry?
I came from a government background and always loved what was then called “aerobics” classes. Classes were offered at my worksite and it was a time I looked forward to – the energy, the music, the fun and most important – the community! Loved it so much that I sourced out a local certifying agency and obtained my group exercise designation and the rest is history. From there I evolved quickly just as our industry did.
Once I started teaching, I quickly realized how much I loved what I was doing and started my first company “Bodyworks Fitness Supplies” which we later renamed The Fitness Marketing Group Inc. (FMG).
What has been your greatest challenge as a business owner/operator and how did you overcome it?
The COVID-19 pandemic definitely threw us for a loop.
- Our primary market has always been the health and wellness professional together with servicing gyms, recreational centres and studios across Canada with equipment. When gyms first started shutting down last year, it meant we lost a substantial part of our revenue stream. FMG really wasn’t really known with the general consumer and with our product lines being unique, clients require knowledge on how to properly use them for best results.
- We had to be pro-active and quickly change the focus and work with our existing fit pro clientele and find new ways to get our equipment into the hands of fitness enthusiasts. Our marketing strategy has always been very grassroots, and it was this strength that we were able to work with our long-term clients and we were able to shift direct to consumer. We were very fortunate that not once during this entire pandemic did we face any supply issues on our product lines.
Having to adapt to Virtual Tradeshows.
- Our strength has always been networking with our clients at events across Canada. Gone are the days of the live fitness conventions and tradeshows. No more super booths – we now stage a tradeshow booth in our backyard gazebo!
Going live on Zoom and other platforms was a personal challenge.
- Put me behind my tradeshow booth and I am in my element. Put me in front of a computer screen with little squares and I was terrified! Now I actually look forward to going live!
What do you hope your buyers achieve within your product/service?
Our goal is to provide innovative, effective and specialized education and training together with cost effective resources and equipment that promote the benefits of a healthy and active lifestyle for all.
Tell us your greatest highlight in your career?
That is such a hard question as I have so many wonderful memories in 34 years – where to start!
- Taking Mo Hagan and Brian Mortimer to their 1st tradeshow!
- In 2006, FMG was the 1st recipient of the canfitpro Steve Brock Vendor of the Year Award.
- In 2007 I was the 1st recipient of the canfitpro PRO TRAINER of the Year award for assisting with the establishment of the Alberta team of canfitpro PRO TRAINER
- Writing the A La Carte column for the canfitpro Newsletter
- And so important, all the wonderful colleagues I have worked with and people I have met right across Canada – who are not only clients – but are my fitness family!
How long have you attended canfitpro events?
28 years! I was at the very first event in London, ON which was then called Bodylife which then evolved into canfitpro today. I have been with canfitpro every step of the way.
How long have you attended canfitpro events?
Up until COVID-19, we were 100% a Canadian company. One advantage with this new virtual world, is that we are now slowly expanding into the US marketplace with our educational programs. There are no borders when it comes to wellness!
How do you plan to grow your Canadian business in the next 12-24 months?
Continuing to do what we do best – working directly with our network across Canada. Canadian businesses supporting one another.
“Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together”
– James Cash Penney, Founder, JC Penney
For more information and to view our products lines and educational opportunities, visit our website at www.FMGonline.ca