Every Body STRONGER Fitness Studio, Calgary, AB
Every Body STRONGER isn’t your average fitness studio. Located in Calgary, AB., the team at Every Body STRONGER works with you to uncover the most effective ways to add regular physical activity into your busy life. Whether that’s moving around outside, in your home, or at the gym.
Before COVID-19 struck Calgary and shuttered in-person fitness, Every Body STRONGER was a thriving personal training operation, serving more than 50 clients through a 5000 sq. ft. training studio. They had a team of trainers and practicum students, a strong sense of community, steady growth and plans to aggressively expand their operation.
Every Body STRONGER worked hard to find its groove during the pandemic, with virtual meetups and outdoor sessions to keep the community together. When the restrictions eased off, Geoff Starling, director of Every Body STRONGER, started to collect and set up gym equipment in his garage to help bring the community back together.
Even after gyms reopened, clients expressed how much they liked the garage setting, leading Every Body STRONGER to make the permanent change. The garage underwent a total renovation, acquiring enough equipment to be a viable training facility for existing clients and new ones. In the spring of 2021, the Every Body STRONGER Iron Shed was born!
The team at Every Body STRONGER realized that serving their clients and community didn’t require them to expand in square footage, but instead offer a unique sense of community that their clients craved.
“Winning this award is particularly powerful as we received it by committing to who we serve and how we serve them. We have such a spectacular community of strong folks of all shapes, sizes, colours, abilities and identities. It is a privilege to support them and fortify that fitness is about people above all else, and tough times bring out the best in them. Our business would not exist without our people.”
Geoff Starling, director
F45 Training Calgary Downtown Fitness Studio, Calgary, AB
F45 Training is a global fitness community specializing in innovative, high-intensity group workouts that are fast, fun, and results-driven.
Niki Still is the owner of F45 Training Calgary Downtown, the first F45 studio to open in Calgary. Her business was thriving before COVID-19 disrupted the fitness industry and forced her to close her doors. Through countless lockdowns and vandalism, Niki and her team knew they would have to dig deep, but that they had to be there for the community.
F45 Training Calgary Downtown went online, offering great workouts, plus a free weekly workout to the public. The team made sure to stay present in the community, creating groups through social media, making Instagram stories and TikTok videos – whatever it took to continue to encourage and support people.
Niki and the team took it one step further, organizing the F45 Track Movement Makes Miracles charity event in support of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation, donating 100 per cent of proceeds raised to the Centre for Children & Adolescent Mental Health.
The community came together, with 18 F45 studios from Calgary and the surrounding area joining the event.
“Winning this award provides a sense of being seen and recognized for all the efforts myself and the team have made in an incredibly challenging time. It is very touching to be recognized, and we are excited to continue forward supporting our Calgary Downtown community. Thank you so much for this award!”
Niki Still, studio owner
Fit Integrated (formerly Fit in 30) Fitness Studio, Vancouver, BC
As a multidisciplinary company, Fit Integrated facilitates health and wellness in a flexible and professional environment. Whether you are experienced or just beginning your journey to health and wellness, they are committed to helping everyone elevate their health.
Although there were many hardships due to the pandemic, Fit Integrated used the lockdown to remodel the business and rebrand.
Back in 2018, Fit Integrated had already fully integrated online training, taking away some of the stress when the pandemic closed its doors. With the pandemic, the online platform went from 5 per cent of the business to 75 per cent.
With their “train safe” model, the trainers at Fit Integrated were able to safely return to the gym, resulting in zero COVID-19 traces or cases. However, when the building that Fit Integrated was located in sold due to pandemic-related financial stress, they were faced with another challenge.
It was the goal of the team to innovate the business and expand their services with the relocation. They expanded from a 1500 sq. ft. studio to a 5000 sq. ft. facility and were able to introduce physiotherapy, registered massage therapy and active exercise therapy.
Fit Integrated was conceptualized during the pandemic and was forged through challenging times. The pandemic created an opportunity to provide a place of healing through an integrated fitness approach, allowing the team to be closer to the community than ever before.
“Winning this award validated my core belief in my business and strengthened my commitment to the fitness industry, a journey I started 20 years ago,” said Jesse Benson, the owner of Fit Integrated. “In the words of Winston Churchill, “Success is not final; failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts,” and I’m going to keep going and inspiring.”
Jesse Benson, owner
Function Health Club Fitness Club, Vancouver, BC
Function Health Club is a health and wellness business with a location in downtown Vancouver and Port Coquitlam, focusing on functional fitness. They help people build a foundation of good health and fitness practices within an approachable, fun and supportive community environment.
When fitness businesses were required to suspend on-site services in March of 2020, the team at Function Health Club was determined. Within 48 hours of the closure, they were entirely online, offering virtual group fitness classes as well as a free community workout on Sundays. They loaned equipment to members and created home programming.
The team launched virtual coffee time and check-in chats as an opportunity to connect with members and offer support.
Functional Health Club had a primary internal goal of ensuring the job security of their 15 coaches, which they were successful in doing.
After an unexpected need to relocate from their downtown location, Function Health Club had just eight weeks to find a new space. They didn’t give up hope. Intending to open a new facility already in mind, they accelerated their plans, securing permits, renovations, moving equipment and the membership base.
Through the struggles, the team persevered and accomplished their goal a year ahead of schedule.
“We are honoured to be the recipients of the Business Resilience Award from IMPACT Magazine for our continued work to create a safe place for our team and members to thrive over the last two years! The fitness industry is one of the most impacted industries due to COVID restrictions and being recognized for the determination and fight we have made to come through it all gives our team something to remind us of what we have actually achieved!
From day 1, we set out to make sure our members and coaches had what they needed to both physically and emotionally take on all the challenges, ups and downs and in between over the last few years.
This comes as a result of our dedication to empower those on our team and who we serve to take charge of their lives and health, no matter what they are facing.”
Caroline Mundell, founder, CEO
Hot Booty Ballet Dance Studio, Montreal, QC
Hot Booty Ballet™ is a new, dynamic program that’s proven to give you a full-body workout and a perky posterior! Created by celebrity trainer Suaad Ghadban, Hot Booty Ballet™ builds on traditional ballet conditioning principles that shape, sculpt and stretch your muscles and help you look and feel amazing.
Suaad Ghadban has been in the fitness industry for more than 20 years. A few years ago, Suaad started an online studio for Hot Booty Ballet instructors and members, and when COVID-19 hit, business skyrocketed.
Already having an online community, they were able to accommodate the needs of their members and offer the entire platform for free to doctors, nurses and health care workers around the world.
Suaad was also able to help fellow instructors and peers get online, working with fitness/dance studios and different brands to help get them set up virtually. The team even went as far as travelling to Mexico to film content for several online fitness platforms that couldn’t go into production.
COVID-19 gave the company no choice but to innovate and evolve, which is exactly what it did. From 12 hours of personal training and group fitness classes online a day to showcasing online conferences to working with Boks Kids to help keep youth healthy and fit at home, there was never a dull day for Suaad and Hot Booty Ballet.
“Thank you kindly for this acknowledgement of Hot Booty Ballet. I feel very encouraged by this recognition and am happy to win the 2022 Health, Fitness & Sports Industry Business Resilience Awards. Thank you for this praise; everyone has been extremely kind & supportive.
Personally, it means that members are loving the Hot Booty Ballet program, and it’s also recognition that I am on the right path, following my WHY: helping people feel good from the inside out in their bodies.”
Suaad Ghadban, founder
Innovative Fitness Franchise Corp. Fitness Clubs, Vancouver, BC
Innovative Fitness Franchise Corp. is a leader in coaching, personal training and lifestyle management. By providing best-in-class coaching and training 100% structured and tailored to your body, your goals, and your schedule, Innovative Fitness optimizes your health.
To lead the way towards flattening the curve, on Sunday, March 15, the doors to all of the Innovative Fitness (IF) studios were voluntarily closed.
With their tagline, “What IF you could?” in mind, the team decided that they could pivot their business to survive.
They launched a virtual training school and educated employees on how to deliver the same high-quality level of personal training online.
By the end of March, IF launched its client-facing virtual training software, which had already been under development before the pandemic. As an unintended consequence of the pandemic, this paved the way for IF to launch their new platform sooner, retain almost 200 personal trainers and keep nearly all team members employed.
The team at IF offered support to others in the industry, sharing safety policies and procedures and contributing to the Fitness Industry Council of Canada’s protocols.
The team at IF didn’t let the pandemic slow them down, and they continued to advance their technology, launching WRKOUT: a marketplace for trainers to run their business and for clients who prefer virtual training.
“After a few very difficult years for everyone, no matter how the world changes our industry continues to inspire healthier choices. And since clients tell us they genuinely look forward to coming back to their one-on-one training sessions, this is the clearest indicator that we’re providing a meaningful path to overall wellness at Innovative Fitness locations across Canada. We are honoured to be recognized by IMPACT Magazine for our resiliency and staying power.”
Curtis Christopherson, owner
Kettlebell Kickboxing Canada Online Fitness, Regina, SK
Kettlebell Kickboxing has grown from one of the most popular, sold-out classes in NYC to a world-class home fitness and instructor community. The Canadian region has grown the KBKB Canada Brand into a structured class program while launching its first flagship location KBKB Studio.
Kettlebell Kickboxing Canada (KBKB Canada) started in 2017 with clear goals to certify trainers across the country. As the program grew, founder Jodi Barrett had a goal in mind – to build a flagship location.
When Jodi launched KBKB Canada, she believed that an online platform should be part of her business model, something that helped her when news of the lockdown hit. Within 48 hours, KBKB Canada was fully functional online with clients and trainers across Canada.
With Zoom video calls before and after workouts, everyone was able to stay connected. With such a quick pivot, clients were able to keep control of their training and support their mental health.
Although training online was going so well, Jodi still wanted to open her flagship location, and she wasn’t going to let the fear of uncertainty stop her, so in the middle of the pandemic, KBKB Studio was born.
“Receiving this award means surviving the initial stages of my business journey. When they announced it, I thought quickly to myself, “I’m still kicking!” Not going to sugar-coat it, this journey been hard, as it has for many businesses. There will always be different trials to get through, and the pandemic was just one of ours. I learned so much about connecting online and how important it is to have several moving parts to a business, so you can draw from different resources within your team.
As a kid, I watched my parents go through the drought in the 80s and BSE within the cattle industry. So, I figure that business trials are commonplace and we, like them, need faith in our purpose to help others and find solutions along the way to the problems. I am honoured to be part of an incredible group of organizations recognized and wish everyone great success in their journey as we continue to strive forward in the fitness industry to educate, support, and help enhance people’s lives. Thank you, IMPACT Magazine for doing what you do to celebrate the fitness industry.”
Jodi Barrett, CEO
Lebert Fitness, Fitness Products, Toronto, ON
Lebert Fitness strives to provide the tools, education and environment you need to be the best person you can be.
For nearly 20 years, Lebert Fitness has had to innovate and adapt to stay in business and meet its mission of helping people live better lives through fitness.
Being a small business is difficult at the best of times, competing with low-cost and inferior knock-offs and dominant companies like Amazon. With COVID-19, these difficulties were heightened.
When COVID hit, the team behind Lebert Fitness put their entire product line on the largest sale ever. Since gyms were closed, they wanted people to be able to continue to exercise in their own homes.
In a time when people were willing to pay more for home fitness equipment, Lebert Fitness felt it was their duty to give as many people as possible a chance to access their product.
With product shortages and an increase in raw material prices and shipping costs, Lebert Fitness has worked hard to ensure these increases don’t fall on the customers.
In this new world with no real precedents, Lebert Fitness continues to adapt and work to support all others in the industry who share their vision of making fitness more accessible.
“With a mission to make fitness more accessible, it’s vital that we are continually listening and adapting to the needs and goals of our clients. We preach consistency and perseverance as being the way to a healthier and fitter life, so being recognized as an organization having the capacity to recover quickly from the difficulties of the past two years and fight on for our clients is an honour.”
Marc Lebert, CFO
McDonald Wilson Dance Academy Dance Studio, Calgary, AB
McDonald-Wilson Dance Academy is Calgary’s oldest dance studio and is a generationally family-owned and operated business. They have been in the Calgary community for 50 years!
At McDonald-Wilson Dance Academy (MWDA), their goal is not to encourage students to compete with others, but instead to encourage students to compete with themselves. With this strong sense of community and support, the pandemic significantly impacted the studio’s offerings.
With the way the seasonal calendar runs, three dance seasons were drastically affected.
However, for the mental and physical well-being of their students, MWDA made it their goal to support their community. They ran live, online classes, allowing students to show up in real-time with their teachers and classmates.
MWDA provided a consistent outlet for their dancers, giving them a sense of normalcy and accountability in such uncertain times.
“Having McDonald-Wilson Dance Academy being awarded with IMPACT Magazine’s Business Resilience Award means a tremendous amount to us as a small, local business that had to navigate through unprecedented times with the world being turned upside down overnight. For our company to be recognized as successfully adapting to the rapid changes and respond to business disruptions, safeguard our families, dancers, staff and assets, while maintaining continuous business operations was no small feat.
Thank you to IMPACT Magazine for bestowing this honour on us, to all of our families and staff for their support, encouragement and confidence in our dance program over the past 50 years – and especially these recent turbulent years! We are speechless and awestruck by your generosity and look forward to continuing to have McDonald-Wilson Dance Academy the best dance education in Calgary for children. We would like to recognize all of our dedicated and passionate staff members. Each one of them have been hand-picked for their invaluable and optimal skills, love of sharing dance with children and passion for movement, and their incredible commitment to excellence shone especially bright during these past few years.
We feel blessed to have such a wonderful team, incredible students, caring families, to be a part of the beautiful City of Calgary and awarded by the prestigious national publication of Impact Magazine.
Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
Shana Eriksen, principal, owner
Micaela Fitness Online Fitness, Edmonton, AB
Michaela is a fitness trainer and bootcamp instructor with nearly 20 years of experience in the industry.
In September of 2019, Micaela launched a new website with online workouts, something she had been working on for two years. So, when the pandemic hit, she already had the tools developed to help people get fit from home.
Even with the tools, the demand for at-home workouts skyrocketed. When she launched, she had around 50 online workouts, and she had filmed approximately 500 exercise video demos. By the fall of 2020, she had more than 300 workouts and 1200 exercise video demos.
Micaela taught herself how to shoot, edit and dub all of her videos, learning how to use professional lighting and a DSLR camera to deliver to her clients.
During the pandemic, Micaela began teaching Zoom bootcamp classes, which helped keep a sense of community. With the success of her Zoom classes, Micaela decided to start a free 30-day fitness challenge to help people get through their quarantines who couldn’t afford to have professional instruction.
Expecting a few dozen people to sign-up, Micaela was shocked when over 700 people from 60 different countries joined in.
“Receiving this recognition has filled me with a huge sense of pride, and I can hear my inner voice rejoicing with an ‘I DID IT!’ We were one of the hardest impacted industries, and to stay afloat we not only had to be resilient, but we also had to learn to adapt quickly during very stressful and unknown times. While we’re all known for our physical strength, I think this has truly shown our inner strength as well. It’s been such a wild ride the last few years since moving here and re-establishing myself within a new city during a pandemic, so this recognition really means a lot to me as I continue to grow my business and reputation here.”
Micaela Whitworth, personal trainer
ONYX FIT Fitness Club, Milton, ON
ONYX Fit offers diverse, motivating classes and personal training. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced fitness enthusiast, they have something for everyone.
COVID-19 caused Onyx Fit, a bustling fitness centre, to go quiet. A 5000 sq. ft. facility seeing more than 600 members a week shut its doors on March 15, 2020. By March 17, they were online, ready to stream fitness classes. However, their large team shrunk to just one – owner Lori-Ann McLeod.
Lori-Ann worked seven days a week, completely alone for five months, juggling Wi-Fi issues, frozen screens and power outages.
Once the restrictions eased, Lori-Ann was able to bring back some of her staff and hold back-to-back classes to accommodate as many members as possible, all while continuing to stream classes for those who were not comfortable being in person yet.
For close to a year, this is how Onyx Fit operated, and when the landlord unexpectedly gave them just two months to vacate their space, they fired back. Lori-Ann found a space that would work for Onyx Fit. The space needed full renovations, but she kept virtual classes running all while moving facilities.
“The last few years have been unbelievably tough for the fitness industry, and it was tough to watch some of my colleagues crumble. I know how hard I worked to stay afloat even though some days the stress was so overwhelming, and I wasn’t sure I would pull through. Winning this award really means a lot to me on so many different levels. It solidifies strength and is a true testament to my hard work and resilience.
Our communities matter. Health and wellness matter. The years and years of hard work building a business that helps people be better humans matter. It truly means that if you hold on and dig deep you can overcome almost anything. The human spirit is an amazing thing.”
Lori-Ann McLeod, owner
Personal Peak Endurance Coaching Ltd. Coaching, Calgary, AB
Personal Peak Endurance Coaching is a husband and wife team offering runners comprehensive coaching packages designed by certified exercise physiologist, Travis Schiller-Brown. At Personal Peak Endurance Coaching the goal is to create, teach and support athletes.
Ashley Schiller-Brown, founder of Personal Peak Endurance Coaching, understands that the thrill of competition is what truly motivates an athlete, so when the pandemic forced the cancellation of races, she knew she had to act fast.
Ashley and her husband, Travis, decided that if endurance athletes needed competition, they would create one – for free.
With no prior experience as race directors and only a handful of volunteers, Personal Peak Endurance launched the Quarantine Backyard Ultra in April 2020. In two weeks, they pulled together a race with over 2,400 runners from 65 countries.
The event garnered international media attention, with over 500,000 viewers watching the race online for 63 hours. What’s more, entrants raised over $117,000 for 57 charities.
Personal Peak Endurance Coaching went on to organize other free races, including the four-event Summer Race Series and the 6-month-long MTU Showdown.
“Winning this award means so much to everyone here at Personal Peak! Having our team and our coaches recognized for all they have done over the past few years is really special. COVID was really hard on our industry as a whole, and because of this, so much work has gone on behind-the-scenes at Personal Peak these past couple of years to adapt and pivot through the new landscape. Our team’s ability to not only survive but to excel in this environment was truly impressive. We really couldn’t have done this without our team, and we are so grateful to have their hard work recognized with this award!”
Ashley Schiller-Brown, BHSc, founder
Sweat and Tonic Fitness Studio, Toronto, ON
Not only does Sweat and Tonic have a fantastic fitness studio, offering yoga, HIIT and ride, all taught by some of Toronto’s best trainers, but you’ll also find a bar, café and lounge space to cool down after you’re done breaking a sweat.
Sweat and Tonic (S&T) opened their 16,000+ sq. ft. facility to the public in November of 2019. Just 155 days later, they were shut down by COVID-19.
Despite being a new business, they remained resilient and innovative, determined to stay involved in the community. Four weeks after closing, S&T launched Sweat on Demand, a virtual library of 50+ HIIT, yoga and ride videos.
Once outdoor gatherings were permitted, S&T ran Sweat in the Park classes and Sweat in the Snow classes when winter hit. These classes evolved to Sweat on the Roof, an outdoor studio on the rooftop of the CF Toronto Eaton Centre.
When they were able to reopen, S&T brought their services to five different platforms: in-studio, Sweat Live, Sweat on Demand, Sweat in the Park and Sweat on the Roof. Pre-pandemic, S&T was running 150 classes a week; they’ve since reached more than 225 classes across all platforms, all while remaining invested in their community. They have participated in community programs, made charitable donations and supported local organizations like Sunnybrook Next Generation, One Tree Planted and many more. Not only that, but they have made the Sweat on Demand subscription free for healthcare workers worldwide.
“One of our core values and motto at Sweat & Tonic is ‘Stronger Together’, and since opening our doors in November 2019, it has always been our goal to create a fitness and wellness experience for sweat addicts to challenge their minds and bodies within a community that grows, succeeds, and celebrates together.
The past couple of years have no doubt been challenging for a lot of us. Throughout it all, our team remained resilient – from opening a fitness and wellness hub unlike any other in Toronto, to launching our virtual platform within the first month of the pandemic shutdown, to creating Sweat on the Roof, our one-of-a-kind outdoor fitness studio on the rooftop of the CF Eaton Centre, to upgrading our in-studio experience to ensure the safest, most comfortable workout environment possible – all while remaining invested in our community through charitable donations and fundraisers for local organizations like Sunnybrook Next Generation, Elimin8hate, the Canadian Cancer Society, and Sick Kids. And despite the devastation caused by the pandemic, we are so proud of our team for supporting each other, both then and now, with almost full retention.
We persevered, coming together time and time again and investing tremendous effort, time, and energy into tackling every challenge that came our way with the utmost care and attention to ensure we could continue to provide for our guests, our team members, and our community.
To be recognized for resilience has incredible meaning for our team who has worked so hard over the past two years and is a real testament to our motto – that we truly are stronger together!”
Angie Wong, marketing manager
Synapse Health & Fitness Health Club, Calgary, AB
With a focus on education and prevention, the specialists at Synapse Health & Fitness work hard to help you learn and improve the way you move.
Synapse Health & Fitness began in 2018 as a start-up business offering a “health over wealth” concept. The team consists of health professionals looking to truly make a difference in their clients’ lives, which is why they offer free Movement Assessments to everyone in the community. The idea is that whether they are the solution or not, they want to help people get connected to wellness solutions.
COVID-19 was difficult for Synapse Health & Fitness. Despite adapting to develop more of a virtual presence, it was challenging for the team to help their clients to the full ability that they both wanted and needed.
Despite the financial hardships of surviving the pandemic, Synapse Health & Fitness decided to expand their space to make their services even more accessible to the community, intending to help as many people as they can.
“From a personal perspective, this award has shown the strength of our team and our ability to pivot and come together in desperate times. But winning the Business Resiliency Award confirms that the changes we are making in people’s lives are substantial and life-altering. To have a membership base that supported us not only through the pandemic and numerous shut downs, but helps us dust off and thrive post-pandemic, speaks volumes. We have always held our client-care as the backbone of our business, and it is truly showing in today’s changing world. This award is for the resiliency of our business, but I think it more reflects the strength and support of our clients.”
-Chad Halford, owner
Urban Athlete Fitness Club, Calgary, AB
Urban Athlete is a fitness studio in Calgary, offering classes, personal training, weight and cardio training, and bootcamp to members.
The pandemic, although a challenging time for all, allowed businesses like Urban Athlete to pivot. The day after they were forced to shut the doors, Urban Athlete ran their first ever virtual class.
Their fast action pivot was so seamless that they were able to keep a good chunk of their members engaged, in return allowing them to keep their staff and instructors employed.
From that point on, Urban Athlete continued to run virtual classes, even when they were allowed to open again. They also introduced a hybrid model, running online and in-person classes at the same time. Urban Athlete also made an outdoor gym, buying new squat racks and rearranging their equipment so clients could work out outside.
Urban Athlete also rented out their equipment to members, so they could stay active at home, and their trainers were able to make a smooth adjustment to virtual training with many clients.
No matter the challenges that the team at Urban Athlete faced, they didn’t stop. They worked incredibly hard for their members and each other, determined to show support and make it through the difficult times.
“We are very honoured to receive the Resilience Award! We know that the last few years have been difficult for everyone and the pandemic has left very few unscathed. This award shows testament to not only our staff for all the hard work and passion they have put into Urban Athlete, but also our members who pivoted with us through all the ups and downs. We truly would not be here without our members & staff that saw us through. We are looking forward to many more years ahead!”
Karly Johnson-Renman, owner