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.
Fueled by Big Marble Farms and WRKOUT
Janey Brown, 34
Group fitness instructor at Fearce Academy, Toronto, ON
www.fearceacademy.com – Instagram – Facebook
Janey is a speaker, trauma-informed mindset coach, Under Armour Ambassador and Fearce Academy founder. A veteran in delivering wellness education, she has also taught movement and mindset to athletes in the NHL, Olympics and NASCAR. While Janey teaches yoga, recovery and breathwork much of her eclectic portfolio has moved from movement to the area of mental fitness.
“The reason I became a fitness instructor/mindset coach is simple: I am truly my best self when I’m helping others become their best selves. Attaching service to others to my personal aspirations is my golden rule.”
Kristin Dalziel, 31
Group fitness instructor at SoulCycle & Barry’s Bootcamp, Toronto, ON
This international fitness professional and owner of her personal training fitness brand built a career which has taken her around the world – as a fitness coach in the U.K., launching a spin studio in Switzerland and training CrossFit athletes in New York City. In Toronto now, Kristen loves leading group classes and being part of the work it takes for people to be the best version of themselves mentally and physically. Her #deathbydalziel speaks to the intensity of the work she does with clients.
“I am actually in love with the psychological change that happens when people start to take care of themselves.”
Michelle Epstein, 47
Group fitness instructor at Elle on Demand, owner of Elle Fitness studio, Toronto, ON
www.elleondemand.com – Instagram – Facebook
The founder of Elle Fitness and Social, a women-only boutique fitness studio has shifted her passion to a vibrant on-demand format. Offering hundreds of 15-, 30- and 55-minute classes, Michelle gets to continue to do what she loves despite a pandemic. Her fitness philosophy is for people to find the way they like to move and stick with it. Oh, and surrounding yourself with people who bring out your best.
“Michelle is the best friend you didn’t know you needed kicking your butt, encouraging you to push yourself to the next level and changing your fitness game forever.”
Heather Gardner, 41
Group fitness instructor, founder and owner of Kardia, Toronto, ON
www.kardiaathletica.com – Instagram – Facebook
Heather is the founder of Kardia, a boutique run, yoga, and performance-based cycling studio in the heart of Toronto’s waterfront. With her inclusive approach to active living, Heather builds community and connection while fostering fitness. In the past seven years, the studio owner has offered more than 1,300 free workouts to help build a fitness community. It worked. Pivoting during a pandemic has been tough but via Zoom and an on-demand platform the workouts continue.
“While things might look very different to eleven months ago, my community has never been stronger.”
Cindy Johnson, 42
Group fitness instructor at GoodLife Fitness, Aurora, ON
www.cindyjfit.com – Instagram – Facebook
Cindy specializes in barre and spin classes and is a wellness advocate and registered nutritionist. The veteran instructor was forced to make a dramatic shift in how she does business due to pandemic lockdowns. Transferring the principles of personal training to a group setting, she now instructs 50 to 75 clients in her live on-line classes every week.
“I believe everyone deserves to live a healthy life and to have the resources to do so. Working as a fitness instructor I’m able to make this happen by guiding people towards their goal of happy and healthy living.”
Hanna Lenskis, 41
Group fitness instructor at Harmony Fitness, Toronto, ON
Instagram – Facebook
Hanna’s approach to fitness is – keep it simple. Her classes are designed to be challenging yet suitable for all fitness levels and delivered with a thoughtfully curated playlist. Hanna frequently posts workouts on Instagram from the sunny foyer of her home and during the pandemic taught free classes to kids on Zoom.
“Fitness should be fun and not be complicated or feel like a chore. I feel that this resonates with a lot of people. I became a fitness instructor for one main reason — I wanted to motivate people and (hope) I achieve this on a daily basis.”
Dione Mason, 44
Group fitness instructor at Ryerson University, University of Toronto, Humber College, The Boulevard Club, The Adelaide Club, Toronto, ON
www.dionemason.com – Instagram – Facebook
Dione is a fitness and lifestyle coach, event producer and founder of the Toronto Carnival Run. More than 20 years into her career, she continues with the philosophy that “a strong body leads to a strong mind – therefore a strong spirit.” Known as the ‘warm-up lady,’ Dione has contributed to more than 100 charity fitness events and in 2017 became the first Black woman to receive the canfitpro Fitness Professional of the Year award.
“I love being able to see, in a relatively short time, a transformation in people’s lives, not just their body. I actually see the impact of what I do. Physically, yes, but overall in their lives. Beyond weight loss and fitting into a bikini — overall, they function better.”
Ashley Moore, 34
Group fitness instructor at Reactivate Sports Rehab Clinic and Snap Fitness Huntsville, Muskoka, ON
www.thebarbelles.com – Instagram – Facebook
This former natural pro fitness competitor runs group strength and conditioning programs for women and coaches the only female powerlifting team in her area. The Barbelles co-founder is part of a team hosting live Facebook fitness classes and sharing ongoing training and nutrition information to foster accountability and support with clients.
“My clients have achieved amazing things, including competing nationally in both powerlifting and bodybuilding, winning body transformation awards and overall becoming stronger and healthier. I have been lucky to win some awards through my clients’ achievements including Muskoka Region’s number one weight control service.”
Paul Nam, 42
Group fitness instructor, owner of TheWorkoutLoft, Toronto, ON
www.theworkoutloft.com – Instagram – Facebook
Paul built his career on a successful foray into bodybuilding and eleven years ago opened his fitness and wellness studio. As a trainer, he focusses on functional movements, full-body workouts and the belief that success lies in keeping fitness and nutrition simple. Paul likens his group fitness clients to a family of individuals who “feed off each other’s energy.” The pay-off for many is being better at their golf game and seeing improvements in their running.
Once a week, Paul indulges in a cheat meal consisting of pizza, chips and chocolate milk.
“If I can transform people lives and make a decent living from it, I call that a win-win situation. Seeing people become physically and mentally stronger makes me happy.”
Emily Thorne, 25
Group fitness instructor, Toronto, ON
www.youtube.com – Instagram
This group fitness trainer turned into a fitness YouTuber after the pandemic put an end to her busy in-person teaching schedule. Emily went online and in a few months grew from 32 subscribers to over 100,000 on YouTube doing her signature EMK HIIT Dance classes.
“I lost everything and had to move back home with my parents after being laid off my jobs at the gym and losing my PT clients. I posted a Disney-inspired workout on YouTube for something fun to do with a friend. It went viral and currently sits at over
1.5 million views.”
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 – British Columbia
- Canada’s Top Fitness Trainers – Alberta
- Canada’s Top Fitness Trainers – Panel Judges
Read this story in the digital edition of IMPACT Magazine.
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!