Although we’ve been celebrating them for decades here at IMPACT – this is our fourth year officially recognizing Canada’s Top Fitness Instructors & Trainers. From year to year, we alternate between Top Fitness Trainers and Top Fitness Instructors. This year, we ask Canada’s Top Fitness Instructors to take a bow.
As much as it’s about honouring the Top 10 in each region in our magazine, it’s also about acknowledging and saluting the hundreds of nominees and instructors everywhere who help make our communities healthier.
Nominations have been flowing in since July, 2020. All nominees were scored on subjects such as education, certifications, years in the business, philanthropy and community service. Additional topics which included success stories and personal fitness philosophies were ‘blind-scored’ by our skilled expert panelists who spent hours reading some pretty inspiring stories. What was not part of the scoring criteria was how many social media followers one had, and there was no popularity voting.
“They are talented, inspiring and passionate about helping people live their healthiest and best lives.”
The pandemic has certainly heightened our awareness of how important our health and fitness is, and this industry has continued to give back expecting nothing in return. Fitness instructors have a wealth of education and expertise and a genuine desire to help others succeed. Thank you for your passion and dedication. After many months of anticipation we are proud to present Canada’s Top Fitness Instructors 2021.
Andrew Alcalde, 38
Hooked after joining his first group fitness class, Andrew was encouraged to become an instructor. With his certification, he went “from eager participant to an over-the-top diva” who demanded his clients call him Beyoncé. Andrew’s classes, which include a healthy dose of fun with fitness, keep clients coming back.
“I’m a born entertainer. I love the euphoria of being on stage and entertaining people. You will never get bored in my class, because when the music starts, I take on a completely different persona. The switch goes off and suddenly, a sassy drag queen takes over.”
Patricia Blanchard, 71
Group fitness instructor, Vancouver, B.C.
This Stott Pilates certified instructor has never had trouble filling her classes – something that hasn’t changed despite the ongoing pandemic. Now, Patricia offers destress, myofascial release and Pilates classes online for $7/class, and she is loving it. Via Zoom, she instructs nine classes a week, offering free and/or subsidized ones to those who need the break.
“I’m good at what I do and have great results. Having good posture, strength, flexibility will make every day more enjoyable and active. We don’t need to grow old and feeble and stooped. We can be fit, active, alive, healthy till we drop dead.”
Simon ‘Thor’ Damborg, 34
The Raincity Athletics head coach/owner focusses on building community around fitness. Simon is president of the BC Functional Fitness Sports Association and as a group fitness instructor teaches functional fitness and Olympic lifting. Raincity’s Fit Club is an approved behaviour interventionist provider which allows Simon to work with kids on the autism spectrum and at schools across the Lower Mainland where he shows that everyone can benefit from a proper fitness program.
“I believe functional fitness should be fun and accessible to athletes of any level, age and physical or mental ability. We provide two things — community and accountability.”
Louise Green, 49
Louise has dedicated her career to size-inclusive fitness since 2007. Pre-pandemic, this entrepreneur ran outdoor bootcamps, wrote her first book, Big Fit Girl, and recently released her second, Fitness for Everyone. Her online fitness app, BigFitGirl allows clients to train at their own pace and Louise also coaches a group of about 130 clients via Zoom to train for virtual races. This size 16 trainer hopes to inspire people to push past barriers to reap the rewards every one can achieve through fitness.
“I really love showing people that don’t believe fitness and athletics are possible at the body size they are at … that they can be an athlete, if given the right environment and just how life changing that can be to switch their mindset.”
Kim Harvey, 54
Kim was already a veteran fitness instructor when she helped open the first GoodLife Fitness in B.C. nearly two decades ago. She later assisted with hiring and training fitness instructors at locations across the province. These days, the avid runner and regional marketer for GoodLife, keeps herself moving and connected with her fitness community by teaching a Facebook live group that has attracted 600 members.
“Fitness has been a saviour for me. I came from a pretty crappy upbringing and got into fitness and never stopped. This is what I do. It’s who I am.”
Ella Jotie, 41
Ella is an exceptional leader who pioneered Vancouver’s boutique fitness community when she co-founded Barre Fitness which has grown to six locations in the Metro Vancouver area over the past decade. Ella has trained and mentored countless instructors and empowered the company’s all-female franchise owners and team members, helping to further her vision of creating happiness through health, one plié at a time.
“I specialize in group fitness and franchised my business because I strongly believe in the power of community. I believe that change begins on an individual level, but it amplifies through collective energy.”
Suzy Kaitman, 37
Trained as a professional ballet dancer, Suzy is a certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor, pre- & post-natal fitness specialist and studio owner. Specializing in adult ballet and fitness, Suzy created the BL Curriculum and Teaching Method and Ballet Fit, a choreographed combination of Suzy’s passion for ballet, fitness and fun.
“Ballet was my first love and then I fell in love with the fitness industry. I became a personal trainer and group fitness instructor because I developed a strong desire to help others feel good about themselves, to feel strong and beautiful regardless of their body shape or type.”
Karen Kobel, 42
Karen integrates more than three decades as a dancer with extensive fitness training into unique and inspiring movement for clients at Kahlena Movement Studio. Her workouts encourage clients to reach for the discovery of full-body awareness and deeper understanding through the mind, the body as well as their breath.
“My passion has pushed me through life and is pushing me through this pandemic. My persistence keeps me moving forward to create new classes online and to create new ways to keep our community together in a time when we so need connection.”
Daniela Tempesta, 40
Daniela’s extensive background in dance led to a successful 20-year career in the fitness industry. Her focus is on education and instructor development through courses (American Council on Exercise’s Group Fitness Course), workshops, evaluations and mentoring. Daniela encourages self-inquiry and connectedness with each other, leaving the students feeling balanced in body, mind and spirit.
“We’re workin’, while workin’ out. Much of what we do to our ‘outsides’ is an opportunity to work out what’s happening on the inside. A strong, lean body with incredible lung capacity is a beautiful ‘consequence’ of working out but most of us are dealing with personal struggles we may never tell others about. Training together provides the space to focus our energy and leave it all on the fitness floor.”
Hana Weinwurm, 41
This fitness professional with more than a quarter-century of experience has a natural talent at fusing mind, body and spirit when instructing clients. These days, due to pandemic protocols, Hana teaches yoga, Pilates and smaller total-body, low-impact classes. Group fitness allows her to enjoy a balance between having space to be creative while at the same time offering an opportunity to stick to teaching the fundamentals. She loves the energy.
“We all feed off one another. I get inspired to be more creative in my work because people are showing up to learn and collectively come together.”
Congratulations To All Nominees
Abby Malott, Adam Fitchett, Adriano Silva, Alison Fudger, Alma Ladouceur, Amy Johnston, Andrew Alcalde, Andy Drake, Anita Ivic, Anne Chaiko, Annie Lisi, Ashley Ciprick, Ashley Moore, Atley Ma, Austin Catalano, Bianca Liberatore, Bonnie Jordan, Brad Soanes, Brian Hyciek, Broden McLean, Chantelle Erickson, Chris Lemky, Chris Monfort, Christine Woodington, Cindy Johnson, Codrut Corteneau, Colin Urquhart, Corrina Anne Poss, Cresswell Hamilton, Crystal Urquhart, Dane Pedersen, Daniela Tempesta, Danielle Feinstein, David Rose, Deanne Keller, Denise Beattie, Dione Mason, Donna Cheong, Donovan Prendergast, Douglas MacGregor, Elaine Campbell, Elisa Choi, Ella Jotie, Emily Thorne, Ewa Kieras, Francis Gutierrez, Fyonna Vanderwerf, Geneviève Renaud, Gino Suarez, Greg Cooke, Greg Hetherington, Hana Weinwurn, Hanna Abergel, Heather Gardner, Heather Hartley, Heather Wilson-Phillips, Janey Brown, Janina Schmidt, Jari Love, Jason Bell, Jay Morven, Jay Vitt, Jeff Aker, Jeff Whissell, Jen Linton, Jenna Berman, Jennifer MacEwan, Jennifer Rochon, Jessica Leblanc, Jill Cody, Jim (Demetrios) Tsouris, Jimmy Hartley, Joanna Magik, Jodi Barrett, Jody Bencharski, Joel Schneider, Jomana Assaf, Jon Villani, Josef Serfaty, Joumana Omar, Judi Weaver, Julie Harrish, Julie Hodge, Jumana Assad, Jumana Omar, Kalena Morton, Kalyn Swihart, Karen Kobel, Kat Leppanen, Kaylee Bennett, Kayley Tovey, Kelsey Andries, Kennedy Lodato, Kevin Yeboah, Kim Harvey, Kim Tilander, Kim Tuttle, Kristen Adams, Kristen Snead, Kristin Dalziel, Kristina Sergi Marshall, Kristine Murphy, Kyle Savard, Lacey Snyder, Laura Flood, Lauren Zandee, Leah Brooks, Len Panchuk, Lisa Gervais, Louise Green, Lyn Housser, Lyn Veitch, Lynn Borrowman, Lysey Martin, Margaret Daniel, Margot McKinnon, Marisa Brolo, Marjorie O’Connor, Marko Matic, Matthew Taub, Meghan Lindsay, Meghan O’Connell, Meshkin Makari, Michael Panarella, Michelle Epstein, Michelle Gaulin, Michelle McGrattan, Morgan Hodge, Naomi Keane, Natalia LeCours, Natasha Flett, Nathan Bodewitz, Neil Fox, Nick Mueller, Nicole Lark, Niki Hejtmanek, Ning Guo, Norrie Zaplatynsky, Patricia Blanchard, Paul Nam, Peter Estabrooks, Peter Nazarewycz, Philipe Drougett, Rabih Majzoub, Rachel Carscadden, Rachel Hall, Rafal Matuszewski, Rhondelle Ferguson, Rhyan Pietromonaco, Rich Hill, Richelle Love, Rochelle Court, Ron McPhee, Rondelle Ferguson, Ryan Lean, Saman Munir, Sarah Hawco, Shaiful Azrin Zakaria, Sharon Lamb, Shawn Lukacsy, Simon Damborg, Stephanie King, Steve Carter, Steve Nagle, Suzy Kaitman, Talis Aurini, Tania White, Tim Borys, Tom Hoffman, Vanessa Klassen, Wendy McCormick, Zavier Boyd
More 2021 Features
- Canada’s Top Fitness Trainers – Alberta
- Canada’s Top Fitness Trainers – East
- Canada’s Top Fitness Trainers – Panel Judges
IMPACT Magazine’s 2021 Inspiration Issue
Read about our 2021 Canada’s Top Fitness Instructors – our top 30 from across Canada! Go beyond traditional thinking to optimize movement through stretching, find out about 7 DIY hacks to improve the air quality in your home, learn about taking care of your heart through proper nutrition, enjoy some of our best plant-based recipes yet, and work out with our Canada’s Top Fitness Trainers!