Although we’ve been celebrating them for decades here at IMPACT – this is our fifth 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 Trainers 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, 2021. 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 trainers 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 Trainers 2022.
Fueled by Decathlon
Paul Anthony | 57
Industry veteran Paul Anthony takes his knowledge as a champion bodybuilder into changing his clients lives. Like many trainers, Anthony spent part of the pandemic developing a new program. It’s the fruition of 25 years of development and will be delivered virtually. “My goal is to break apart and rewire your inner world into a recharged brand new outer world,” he says.
“My beliefs and philosophies are aligned with personal training. My approach is to achieve true balance in all four quadrants: mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. This is where true happiness lies. To lack one of the four quadrants is like driving your car with one flat tire. … My goal for my clients is to always keep their tires filled up.”
Denise Beatty | 47
When she was 21, Denise Beatty thought her career had ended before it had even begun. She was hit by a truck while riding her bike and then had two car-totalling accidents the same year. “I felt depressed. I was in so much pain I couldn’t run for a very long time,” she says. “I decided then that I wanted to work with people through their entire process of healing, to be an advocate for them and be a trainer that understood injuries so I could support treatment and not make anything worse.”
“I want people to feel safe, to learn through their injuries, feel empowered in every class and session and to understand their limits and the necessary techniques and adaptations to keep them healthy and progressing.”
Curtis Howden | 38
Curtis Howden leads by example. Following a Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis in 2019, the 17-year fitness industry veteran revamped his diet and exercise routine. “The experience has reinvigorated my goal to help people overcome their limitations and thrive using exercise and diet,” he says. “Now I consider it my job not only to help people in their journey, but to lead by example in the way I deal with my own limitations.”
“Remote programming allows me to work with clients across Canada, the United States, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia. This has shown me that everyone is dealing with challenges this year and now more than ever we need to come together.”
Deanne Keller | 49
With more than 22 years of experience, Deanne Keller enjoys getting people outside for fitness training. “The value of sunshine, fresh air” and “the healing aspect of nature, being among the trees” are driving forces for Keller to get clients outside. Her goal is to make training fun and accessible and she takes a holistic whole-body approach incorporating nutritious food, daily movement, sleep hygiene, hydration and mindset. “Work at it day-by-day,” she says. “Consistency is everything. Never give up.”
“I became a fitness trainer first and foremost to be the catalyst to create lifelong lasting lifestyle changes to help inspire people to better improve themselves mentally, physically and sometimes emotionally.”
Mark McCormick | 47
A 24-year veteran of the fitness industry, Mark McCormick has continued to give back to the community. He offers by-donation virtual fitness classes, hosts a twice-weekly virtual meetup for Edmonton’s West End fitness community and speaks with a team of healthcare professionals to provide health and wellbeing support.
“I believe there’s an innate ability and desire in all of us to move our bodies and express ourselves through movement. Regardless of our differences in life, we can connect through movement and activity. It brings us together and the benefits are boundless.”
Jennifer Neil | 42
Personal Trainer, GYMVMT Calgary, AB
Jennifer Neil didn’t always want to be a personal trainer. She thought she would have a career in a field like medicine. But she chose to be a personal trainer because fitness has always supported her through life. “Growing up as an athlete it taught me grit and hard work,” she says. “Fitness has always given me a sense of true health and release.” She also loves taking clients through a transformation and being able to stick with them every step of the way.
”Train like an athlete, eat like a sports nutritionist, sleep like a baby and win like a champion.”
Melissa Rowe | 52
When Melissa Rowe realized she had to embrace becoming an online trainer at the start of the pandemic, she was scared. “I knew I needed to connect with people and work out to bang out my stress and to get us through the lockdowns,” she says. While her inner voice was “loud and judgemental,” towards herself, the personal trainer with more than three decades of experience kept showing up. Today, she works with clients both in person and online.
”Health does not look one specific way and fit does not have only one body type. … I love adapting my programs to meet my clients’ specific goals and help them find the enjoyable side of movement. I love witnessing when they see and feel progress and progress is one of the best feelings of all.”
Geoff Starling | 41
Geoff Starling uses strength training as a tool to provide people living in bodies of all sizes, ages and abilities the freedom to engage in the world the way they want to. Before the pandemic, Starling’s business had a 5,000 square-foot space and a consistent group of clients. He operated out of a temporary space for a bit, and then his garage. The feedback was great so he renovated and “completely reimagined” how he runs the business.
“My approach is that everyone deserves to feel fit, strong and capable regardless of their size, age, colour, ability or identity. I became a trainer when I saw a need within fitness for folks who wanted to become active for the first time, or the first time in a long time, to have a safe, predictable and judgment-free environment to learn how to do that.”
Ed Stiles | 54
Fitness Coordinator, Exercise Physiologist, & Personal Trainer, City of Medicine Hat’s Big Marble Go Centre Medicine Hat, AB
Ed Stiles’ love of people, connection and movement is the reason he became a fitness trainer. With 30 years experience as an exercise physiologist, Stiles has trained clients of all ages and abilities. Clients have ranged from young emerging athletes, to pro athletes, people with cancer, heart disease, new hips, disabilities and people just learning to walk again. Stiles continues to share his love of a healthy life, movement and its countless benefits with as many people as he can.
“The easiest thing to do in this industry is crush people. I prefer to meet them where they are at…. Getting to know what motivates and energizes a client, their needs and goals, further determines the path we follow.”
Micaela Whitworth | 37
Micaela Whitworth was two weeks into living in a new city when the world shut down in March 2020. “I had to rebuild a new personal training business from the ground up at the beginning of the pandemic,” she says. “To say I hustled is an understatement.” Without access to any facilities, she trained people in parks. Through a roller-coaster ride of industry shutdowns, Whitworth converted a spare room into a film studio where she creates full-length workout videos and exercise demos.
”No more comparing yourself to others. No more body shaming yourself every time you look in the mirror. No more all-or-nothing approach when it comes to exercise and diet. I want to help people find a sustainable level of fitness in their lives.”
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