canfitpro Official Magazine | January/February 2024

Page 1

January/February 2024
















January/February 2024


Chief Operating Officer Maureen Hagan


Director of Operations Michael O’Neil

46 Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Trends Shaping the Fitness Industry

Director of Business Growth Robert Robinson

Charting a path forward to revolutionize workouts, wellness, and spaces with DEI initiatives

Managing Editor Erin Andersen



Graphic Designer Imran Mahmood,


Certification Experience Manager Daniela Goode Thomas,

Creating an approach to active aging with a multifaceted wellness model

Senior Account Manager, B2B Sales Bill Loker,


Member Experience Manager Fatima Sunga,



Fitness Advisory Panel 2024/2025 Dr. Paul Bedford Milad Emadi Dr. Joel Kerr Dr. Ken Kinakin Dr. Paul Oh Marie-Eve Ricard

To Subscribe canfitpro Magazine is published six times per year by Canadian Fitness Professionals Inc. New Professional Memberships with canfitpro are $120 per year (plus GST/HST) and renewals are $98 per year (plus GST/ HST) and include a subscription to the magazine. For more information, please contact Member Services at ext. 301.



canfitpro’s Health & Fitness Trends Report

20 Personal Training Trends for 2024

Pushing boundaries and redefining the future of fitness with a comprehensive and integrated approach to personal fitness training

24 Group Fitness Trends for 2024

Effectiveness, inclusivity, and holistic wellbeing converge to shape the collective pursuit of health and fitness

A multifaceted approach to nutrition in shaping dietary paradigms and consumer choices

canfitpro is a division of Canadian Fitness Professionals Inc. Canada Post Canadian Publications Mail Sales Product Agreement No. 40783518 - Return Postage Guaranteed

52 What Effect Is AI Having on Personal Training?

A look at the opportunities and threats provided by AI and where we can find balance with this technology NUTRITION


Help clients break up with processed foods MIND BODY

28 Nutrition Trends for 2024

Feedback or to contribute to canfitpro Magazine please contact: canfitpro Magazine 110-225 Select Ave. Toronto, ON M1X 0B5 416-493-3515 Toll Free 1-800-667-5622 Fax (416) 493-1756 Contact for questions regarding membership, conferences, and Canadian fitness resources.

Holistic healing to nurture overall well-being and promote lasting vitality and resilience

62 STRESS RESILIENCY AND ITS IMPACT ON MENTAL WELL-BEING Useful tips to reset the nervous system










5 tasks to take you from overwhelmed to overjoyed






canfitpro January/February 2024


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Meet Alicia Gal, finalist for 2023 canfitpro Fitness Instructor Specialist of the Year Please give us a summary of your fitness career journey. I have been coaching athletes and people of all levels for 25 years. I ran a soccer association for 3000+ children and I am a certified fire fighter. I have coached house league right through to university level in multiple sports, winning a national silver and bronze medal. I have recently mastered virtual coaching and at home modifications (thank you COVID). I have coached senior citizen rehabilitation just to help make everyday life a little bit easier and have taken the challenge of subbing ballet barre and dance when needed 6 canfitpro January/February 2024

(not my expertise!). Upon graduation, I will be certified in universality and inclusive design, which has amplified my ability to coach accessible fitness. I coach five days a week anywhere from three to six hours in a row, from stretching to spin. I eat on the go and workout to get places. I am almost a doctor in human mobility and artificial intelligence, helping make the world a better place by designing an automated performance coach for para-athletes. Fitness is my life and who I am. It may be a career journey for some, but for

me, it is just what I do every day all day and I love it. Where would you like your career path to take you? Honestly, my career path has taken me further than I ever thought it would. I am a national level biomechanics coach and a world leader in human mobility. I am not sure there is anything more I need, let alone deserve, from my career. I genuinely love what I do and if this is the epitome of my coaching career, I am quite content with the humbling lifetime honours I have already received. I do look forward to the surprise and

unknown of the future, for you never know what crazy adventure is waiting for you just around the corner.

hours of sporadic work ever will. Seeing my physical change has made it easier to sell this point to my peeps.

What types of transformations have you made in the last year and how has it changed your fitness business? I made a major lifestyle transition in the past year, and it absolutely amplified my fitness professional business. It all started with the 15-Minute Challenge and one of my favourite people in the entire world … bro-ski. Trying to prove a little goes a long way, that staircases have steps for a reason, and that small consistencies DO add up to getting you to your goals … we started the 15-Minute skills and fitness challenge for 10 weeks last summer, to gain a bonus 10 hours of challenging work. From there, we both saw incredible results and continued our little challenges throughout the year … pushing each other past our mental quit limit all while learning to love the “I want to die” workout feeling. “Working harder not longer” has become my new coaching philosophy this year. Literally putting my money where my mouth is and proving that 15-minutes of pure dedicated challenging work every day will get you farther than one to two

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received? “Trust the process.” This was our rebuilding philosophy for men’s soccer and has now become a key belief in my life. It takes a lot of guts to adopt and trust things happen for a reason, especially if they are not at all what you had been aiming for. It is easy to be happy and driven when you get everything you want … it is extremely hard to push through and stay positive when you get nothing at all of what you hoped and dreamed of. Now that you have reached this point in your career, what piece of advice would you give your younger self? “You were right all along! Ignore the haters and trust YOUR process!” I truly was a pioneer 25 years ago using unique and rare sport style training methods taught to me. All my haters have since been proven wrong by the explosion of creativity and growth in weightlifting and athletic training over the past two decades. Haters are

spawned from jealousy and their only wish is to see you torn down. Haters are also people who do absolutely nothing! So, who are they to give any advice at all.? Just ignore them and keep doing you because you obviously know your correct direction. Why did you decide to nominate yourself for the Fitness Professional of the Year Award? My fellow spin instructor and boss both encouraged me to apply. They both said I should have applied years ago. I truly never even thought about applying let alone if I was even worthy enough to attempt for such an award. COVID changed a lot of people and I have seen a much more grateful and thankful clientele over the past few years. It truly was my people and their constant ‘day stopping’ gratification that finally convinced me to apply and see what happens. While completing the application, I realized I was worthy enough and did contribute more than enough to qualify for such a humbling lifetime honour. So here we are today, me “trusting the process” and canfitpro “believing in me” by naming me a top three finalist.




canfitpro January/February 2024




canfitpro is looking for industry leaders and educators to join our team and certify the next generation of fitness professionals. Why Become a PRO TRAINER: ☑ You are passionate about health and fitness and want to share that passion by educating others. ☑ You are an experienced fitness professional and it’s time to take the next step in your career. ☑ You want to mentor others and ensure a strong legacy for our industry.

canfitpro is actively recruiting PRO TRAINERS in the following locations and programs: • Winnipeg (PTS & FIS)

• Vancouver (PTS)

• Newfoundland (PTS & CPR)

• Niagara/Grimsby/

• Thunder Bay (PTS) • Regina (PTS & CPR)

St.Catherines (CPR & PTS) • London (CPR)



Industry experts from across the country share the benefits of becoming a canfitpro PRO TRAINER

Mehran Emadi PTS Ottawa, ON

Marie-Eve Ricard FIS, CPR Shawinigan, QC

Tyler Weiland PTS, CPR Saskatoon, SK

Despite completing my master’s degree in civil engineering, I decided to pursue my passion and become a personal trainer 12 years ago and I can say with confidence, I never looked back. I realized right from the beginning that becoming successful in this industry goes beyond a certification and having a job. It requires consistent improvement to elevate the client experience through continued education and practicing skills.

Être une PRO FORMATRICE pour canfitpro représente bien plus qu’un simple titre professionnel; c’est le partage d’une passion et un engagement envers l’excellence dans le domaine du conditionnement physique. J’aime partager mon expertise avec la relève et les professionnels de l’industrie. Pour moi, être PRO FORMATRICE depuis plus d’un an signifie non seulement maîtriser les techniques et les méthodologies, mais aussi avoir la capacité de les transmettre de manière engageante et motivante. C’est l’art de guider, de motiver et d’inspirer les autres à atteindre leurs objectifs de carrière. En tant que leader au sein de la communauté canfitpro, j’apprécie grandir parmi les meilleurs et apprendre à être une meilleure professionnelle à chaque jour. L’industrie du conditionnement physique évolue et c’est un immense plaisir de prendre part à cette évolution et d’y contribuer. Être PRO FORMATRICE pour canfitpro c’est l’opportunité d’avoir un impact concret dans l’industrie et de contribuer de manière significative.

I have been in the fitness industry for 10 years and a canfitpro PRO TRAINER for one year. I became a PRO TRAINER because I have a passion for fitness and wanted to help others follow their dreams. I love being an educator. Teaching and learning with others who have the same passion and drive as I do has helped to further my desire to consistently improve myself and my business.

I have facilitated multiple PTS courses filled with talented individuals. Throughout this time, I have witnessed how supportive the canfitpro team has been, ensuring a great learning experience for all participants. The course materials are tailored to the success of future personal trainers. I am extremely excited to continue my partnership with canfitpro and grateful to be part of this leading organization.

Being a PRO TRAINER has allowed me to connect with like-minded individuals and opened doors to further my career. This has also given me the opportunity to be an influential member of the fitness community. I highly recommend becoming a PRO TRAINER to anyone who is looking to further their career as a personal trainer and an educator.



BENJAMIN SIONG What does this award represent to you? What an absolute privilege to receive the 2023 Delegate’s Choice International Presenter of the Year Award from canfitpro!

For me, this recognition acknowledges the importance of consistency and self-belief. Seeing the esteemed speakers at canfitpro from whom I have learnt from, now become my peers on an international stage is truly an honour. How did you evolve your practice and become specialized in athletic performance and optimal nutrition? Three words: Learn, Apply, Repeat. I have always attended courses, seminars, and lectures with the aim to learn – to come away with something that I could implement immediately. I believe in repeating courses multiple times as we often only get 30% of the information the first time around. Whenever I learned something new – whether it was a training strategy or a nutrition protocol, I would research it, try it on myself, and eventually with clients. While studies and 10 canfitpro January/February 2024

research are important, the value of experience and anecdotal evidence is also invaluable. A lot of my success as a performance and body composition coach can be attributed to learning from my mistakes and observations.

What is the biggest mistake you have made and how have you learned from it? The biggest lesson I have learned is that the more you give, the more you get back. In the earlier part of my career, I was protective and selfish of the information I had learned, especially since I had spent so much time and money on courses. I was working as a contractor amongst 40 other trainers and did not want to share my knowledge, believing this would cause me to lose my point of difference. However, this only led to hostility and insecurity. Since making the choice to actively share my knowledge and mentor, I had, in fact, gained much more personal and business opportunities.

What advice can you give other fitness professionals looking to specialize and grow their careers in the fitness industry? Make time to learn, but also make an effort to apply. You can be the most knowledgeable trainer, but ineffective in your application and you will not see results. Similarly, you can be highly practical and focus on building your sessions but have no desire to learn nor apply updated information - that too will see your results plateau. As a trainer/coach, you are defined by the results you create – learn, apply, repeat. What is one of your favourite quotes that inspires you the most? Something I always tell my students: “You are only as effective as the questions you ask.” If you want the answers, start asking the right questions. @benperformancecoach, @learnasp LearnASP Learn Australian Strength Performance

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16 canfitpro January/February 2024

2023, garnered insights from over 65,000 fitness professionals and business owners across Canada. Utilizing Dynamics 365 Marketing, the survey predicts trends with a margin of error of +/- 2%. With insights from over 1,000 fitness professionals, this year’s canfitpro Health & Fitness Trends Survey reflects a paradigm shift towards holistic well-being, emphasizing active aging, mental health, and novel approaches to fitness. This special canfitpro issue serves as a comprehensive guide, offering

insights into the latest projections for the Top 10 Health & Fitness trends in Canada. It delves into the main trends within three primary disciplines: Group Fitness, Nutrition, and Personal Training. The valuable information and data presented herein are indispensable tools for fitness professionals, owners, and operators seeking to make strategic business decisions, guiding them in allocating resources and fostering professional development. By dissecting trends across these key disciplines, this data enables a subtle understanding of emerging themes, facilitating a

holistic perspective on the evolving landscape of health and fitness. The predictions for 2024 have been carefully curated with input from esteemed industry experts, underscoring canfitpro’s appreciation for the invaluable contributions made by these leaders in shaping the future trajectory of the Canadian fitness industry. According to Wellness Consultant and Educator Debbie Bellenger, the industry trends are shifting as consumers’ needs change. This is wonderful to see and presents a remarkable opportunity for fitness professionals to expand their skill sets. One great action item for club owners, directors and managers going into 2024 would be to complete an audit of programs and services to see if you are offering classes and programs in the top four categories on the trends list, says Bellenger. The resounding theme of active aging takes center stage in 2024 as older adults and younger generations alike acknowledge the pivotal role of fitness across the lifespan. Both Gen Z and Baby Boomers are actively committing to the pursuit of lifelong mobility, preventive healthcare, and an elevated quality of life. This signifies a profound shift in perspective—one that embraces fitness not merely as a physical pursuit but as a holistic practice of self-care, nurturing physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing.


Functional fitness, a perennial favorite,




1 Active Aging / Older Adult Programs


Functional Fitness

(bodyweight training, core-central, balance-stability training, primal movement training)

4 Mental Health & Stress Management Programs


Active Recovery & Regeneration


Group Fitness Classes/Programs


Personal Training

8 Mind Body Programs (Pilates, Yoga, Tai Chi etc.)



(education, learning, research, self-study, training)

10 Online Personal Training/ Fitness Classes/ Wellness Coaching

Meal Planning/ Preparation, Food Preferences, Fasting, Nutrition Programs

will continue to make waves in 2024. This approach focuses on bodyweight exercises designed to enhance stability, balance, and core strength for everyday movements. Fitness enthusiasts are increasingly aware of the impact of functional exercises on the enjoyment of daily activities and overall quality of life, leading to its consistent presence on the trends list. Mental health, mindfulness, and stress reduction take precedence as Canadians turn to fitness for more than just physical gains. The fitness industry is witnessing a transformation canfitpro January/February 2024



in coaching approaches, with trainers emphasizing the role of fitness in building confidence, enhancing the mind-body connection, and reducing stress. Additional training in mindfulness and mental well-being is becoming a staple for fitness professionals aiming to support their clients comprehensively.

14% 13% 13% 12% 11% 8% WOMEN



Santino Pompeo, Divisional Manager of Personal Training at GoodLife Fitness believes more people are aware now that recovery-focused training and technology can help you feel better, with less soreness, faster


Active recovery and regeneration emerge as vital components of the fitness landscape in 2024. While the past has seen fitness enthusiasts pushing their limits, there is a growing acknowledgment of the importance of recovery. Gyms and studios are adapting to this trend by offering specialized equipment and regenerative programming, responding to the increased demand for recovery facilities. Recovery Rooms, equipped with foam rollers, massage


guns, cryotherapy, hot yoga, and guided stretching, are becoming integral to fitness routines.

recovery, and better performance and mobility. Fitness enthusiasts and recreational gym members alike are benefitting from rest days, active recovery workouts, foam rolling, and massage as part of their balanced fitness programs. In fact, Recovery Rooms are among the most popular amenities at GoodLife Fitness clubs. Group fitness classes maintain their popularity, but 2024 sees a surge in interest for unique and customized formats. Fitness professionals report High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)/ Tabata classes, myofascial stretching, tai-chi, and dance-inspired group fitness programs are gaining traction. The move towards more specialized

18 canfitpro January/February 2024

classes that combine effective training techniques with and without equipment along with inspiring music and atmosphere foster a sense of community and experiences, even adventure. As we usher in 2024, the Canadian fitness industry stands poised to embrace a new era—one that celebrates active aging, prioritizes mental well-being, and encourages unique and personalized fitness experiences. canfitpro’s Health &

package. Considering the overarching trends spotlighting mental health and active recovery/regeneration, Paul is

Human Kinetics (HK), navigates the intersection of academic research and industry trends, including the invaluable insights from canfitpro’s annual Global Conference & Tradeshow. Year after year, HK’s Managing Director, Jake Rondot, closely observes the lineup of presenters and the array of topics at the conference and relies on canfitpro’s Health & Fitness Trends Report to discern future content publishing needs that will significantly contribute to the overarching



SELF-EMPLOYED/ INDEPENDENT Fitness Trends Report for 2024 not only illuminates the path for fitness professionals but also acts as a guiding light for every facet of the fitness industry, steering both seasoned experts and individual enthusiasts toward a more holistic and gratifying approach to health and fitness. In doing so, these trends have the transformative power to impact lives across generations, ushering in an era where fitness and wellbeing seamlessly intertwine into a singular, shared journey. Paul Galloro, canfitpro’s distinguished 2023 Fitness Instructor Specialist of the Year, sees great benefit in curating hybrid experiences that offer participants a multifaceted and well-balanced




committed to seamlessly integrating these elements into his High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) classes. His approach involves infusing a touch of Low-Intensity Interval Training (LIIT) strategically into mind-body classes, thereby not only counterbalancing the intensity but also enhancing the holistic well-being of participants. In this newfound landscape, the prospects to carve out meaningful careers within the vibrant profession of the fitness industry shine brightly, signaling individuals to embrace a future marked by both personal wellness and professional fulfillment. canfitpro’s education partner,

demands of the physical activity sector. All ten of these trends are topics that can be found in most recent and/or upcoming releases, and many have multiple books covering diverse sub-topics of them. canfitpro aspires to deliver accessible learning experiences to a global audience, making fitness and mental health a part of personal wellness for everyone. canfitpro provides inclusive learning experiences on a global scale, aiming to integrate fitness and mental health into the fabric of personal wellness for individuals worldwide. As active members of canfitpro, the responsibility lies with each of us to absorb, apply, and leverage the wisdom and insights from this year’s annual trends report. Armed with this knowledge, let us collectively champion the charge with courage and credibility, forging ahead into this new era of fitness united and empowered.

Maureen “Mo” Hagan Chief Operating Officer

canfitpro January/February 2024




PERSONAL TRAINING CONTINUES TO BE A STRONG TREND, COMING IN AT #6 IN THE TOP 10 OVERALL HEALTH & FITNESS TRENDS FOR 2024, AS THE PROFESSION BECOMES EVEN MORE ACCESSIBLE ONLINE, IN HEALTH CLUBS, IN THE HOME, AND ON WORK SITES. In this era, personal training continues to lean into the foundations and time efficient workouts but also transcends the conventional boundaries by embracing holistic health approaches and a deep understanding of individualized needs. As we navigate the fitness landscape of 2024, functional fitness, express workouts, and a holistic integration of physical and mental well-being take the top three spots. The role of personal trainers extends beyond the gym, encompassing online platforms, group dynamics, and innovative methodologies to inspire and guide clients toward their unique fitness goals. Join us to find out what industry leaders have to say about the most sought-after areas of focus for clients, and exciting opportunities for personal trainers, as the industry continues to push boundaries and redefine the future of fitness. Paula Bartis, VP Product Led Growth for ABC Trainerize at ABC Fitness, discusses how thrilled she is to see personal training continue to grow in popularity as individuals seek more personalized and targeted solutions to their goals. Bartis says this demonstrates the versatility of trainers who deliver programming, analyze the data, and track progress, but they also offer the motivation and accountability that most clients need to keep at it. Additionally, online personal training is just that much more accessible, affordable, and most importantly, engaging now more than ever. ABC Trainerize is proud to support canfitpro fitness professionals with an app to provide personal training and member engagement services so they can continue to support their clients.












1. Functional Fitness Fitness is functional. This trend has not changed over the last eight years, remaining in the top five from 2016-2023. The continued dominance of functional fitness lies in its highly effective workouts that are low tech, use small tools, free weights, and bodyweight training to improve essential balance, coordination, muscular strength, and endurance to improve activities of daily life. Peter Twist, Director of Education at Twist University, says that as





(e.g., foam rolling, stretching, massage, cryotherapy)



(combining in-person and virtual training sessions)





an educator he will double down on the functional fitness focus by opening a Fascial Lines cert course and a Functional Physique cert course, to help more trainers reach a premium ability level in the art of their craft. Funk Roberts, CEO and Founder of Funk Roberts Fitness Inc, shares that functional fitness is key for him, especially with men over 40. The workouts and programming he develops will be geared to the foundational movement patterns that will be important canfitpro January/February 2024


for transferring into everyday life activities, building muscle and strength, decreasing chances of injuries and overall physical wellbeing. Gabriel Hardy, Executive Director of FIC, says he is excited to announce that his organization signed up to become the first HYROX training center in Quebec province, aligning with the rapidly growing global trend in functional fitness. To cater to this new development, he explains how they are adapting their programming and classes to incorporate a stronger ‘Cardio’ element into their CrossFit sessions, responding to current trends that emphasize more bodyweight exercises, core strengthening, and primal movements. 2. Express Workouts Express workouts encourage participants to perform multiple exercises at a fast pace to generate maximum results. This is an effective approach for people on a tight schedule – perfect for midday or after work. Providing the ultimate convenience, an express workout typically lasts anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes. Erin Phelan, Owner of Erin Phelan FITFAM, Director of Communications for FIC and Marketing and Communications Specialist for Matrix Fitness Canada, discusses how she tapped into this trend with the launch of her Exercise Snacks and Express Workouts in June 2023. Phelan finds her clients like the 15–20-minute workouts, and she is planning programming for this year where her clients can stack together various short programs into longer workouts. Kim Lavender, Vice President of Group Experience, GoodLife 22 canfitpro January/February 2024

Award winner, Owner of Farmgirl Fitness, comments that her mental health support and mindfulness classes such as forest bathing and outdoor stretch classes have really taken off this past year. In her fitness business she plans to lean into these even more in 2024.

Fitness, agrees that a shorter, more intense workout can be just as effective as a longer one. She says you can use heavier weights and fewer reps, target multiple muscle groups with each movement or try a Tabata workout to push yourself a bit harder when time is limited. 3. Mental Health & Stress Management Programs The focus on mental health and stress resiliency in fitness industry trends emerged in 2021 after a year of the pandemic took its toll on the well-being of Canadians with an increased sedentary lifestyle that aggravated mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, and substance abuse. It changed our long-term understanding of what exercise is for - it is not just about weight loss and physical fitness anymore. The John W. Brick Foundation has provided incredible research that provides a body of evidence that shows physical activity can help mental health. Check out the article Stress Resiliency and Its Impact on Mental Well-Being by Lisa Greenbaum on page 62 of this issue. Jessie Thomas, 2023 Women Who Influence Sharon Mann Inspiration

Peter Twist, Director of Education at Twist University, says that for his clients he will be combining the top 10 trends by taking them into the rainforest and mountain trails, combining walk and talk therapy for mental health and champion mindset, along with sets of functional physical drills. Lynne Brick, President of Brick Bodies Fitness and Co-founder of John W. Brick Mental Health Foundation says mental well-being is top of mind. She shares that according to Euromonitor’s report the number one reason people of all ages and stages of life join a gym is for their mental well-being. As an example of how she is using this trend in her business, Brick discusses how Brick Bodies offers Meditation and Breathwork classes to reduce stress and anxiety and recently opened their Recover Lounge which includes Therabody anti-gravity chairs with vibration and meditation, cryo-massage loungers, hydromassage loungers, and infrared sauna suites with Vitamin C infused showers. Lisa Greenbaum, Founder of Sangha Yoga Collective, advocates for continuing to emphasize the need to build in meditation and recovery, and to educate on the importance of stress resiliency and nervous system regulation for our overall health and wellness. Greenbaum says that while all her workshops and trainings are based under this lens, it is Yoga for

Wellness, her 45-hour certification that highlights this most closely, including using our yoga practice to manage our mental well-being and chronic pain. Greenbaum is excited to announce that this coming March will be its follow up three-day training module, Therapeutic Yoga in Practice. Blake MacDonald, President of Orangetheory Fitness Canada, shares that Orangetheory Fitness will continue to strategically emphasize the importance of communicating holistic fitness. MacDonald is of the opinion that recognizing that well-being extends beyond physical exercise, the marketing approach will highlight the ripple effect that adopting a holistic approach to fitness can have on individuals’ lives. In 2024, the fitness landscape will continue to evolve with a blend of traditional practices and innovative

approaches. Group Personal Training emerges as a dominant trend, combining the camaraderie of group dynamics with personalized coaching, allowing individuals to achieve their fitness goals in a supportive, social environment. Following closely behind this, Nutrition Coaching gains traction, emphasizing the symbiotic relationship between exercise and dietary habits, providing tailored nutritional guidance for optimal health outcomes (check out the Nutrition trends for 2024 in this issue). Concurrently, there is a growing emphasis on Mindful Exercise and Meditation, recognizing the profound impact of mental wellbeing on physical performance. This holistic approach integrates mindfulness techniques into exercise programming, promoting inner peace, awareness, and focus. Furthermore, Recovery and Regeneration techniques such as foam rolling, stretching, massage, and cryotherapy become indispensable components, aiding in muscle recovery, injury prevention, and overall rejuvenation.

Empower your passion for helping others by becoming a certified Personal Training Specialist. Elevate your skills with education from renowned fitness experts and canfitpro's PRO TRAINERS.

The Hybrid Training Model is here to stay, offering flexibility by melding in-person and virtual training sessions, catering to diverse schedules and preferences. Sport-Specific Training Workouts also flourish, catering to athletes and enthusiasts seeking specialized routines tailored to particular disciplines, hobbies, and goals. Lastly, Outdoor Workouts come back around in popularity, harnessing nature’s backdrop to invigorate fitness regimes, emphasizing fresh air, natural terrain challenges, and a revitalizing connection with the environment. Collectively, these trends underscore a comprehensive, integrated approach to fitness in 2024, catering to individual needs, preferences, and holistic well-being. They also provide personal trainers and coaches with a fresh perspective on what they can learn, adopt, and implement to fuel their passion and succeed in transforming lives.


as low as


canfitpro January/February 2024




WELCOME TO THE DYNAMIC WORLD OF GROUP FITNESS TRAINING IN 2024. THIS YEAR MARKS A TRANSFORMATIVE PERIOD IN THE REALM OF COLLECTIVE FITNESS ENDEAVORS, WITH TRENDS THAT NOT ONLY CATER TO DIVERSE DEMOGRAPHICS BUT ALSO ACKNOWLEDGE THE UNIQUE NEEDS AND ASPIRATIONS OF INDIVIDUALS ON THEIR FITNESS JOURNEY. From specialized classes designed for active aging (also #1 in top 10 Health & Fitness Trends), emphasizing mobility and functional fitness for all four generations (Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, Gen Z), to the enduring appeal of strength training that transcends age and fitness levels, group fitness in 2024 is a tapestry of tailored experiences. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)/Tabata classes continue to hold on (#1 in 2022 and #10 in 2023), reflecting an ongoing desire for time-efficient, resultsdriven workouts. As we delve into the diverse trends shaping group fitness, it becomes clear that this year is all about specialized programming to cultivate engaging, effective, and personalized workout experiences, and nurturing overall wellbeing through dynamic training modalities. Let us explore the top trends shaping the future of communal wellness endeavors in 2024. Maureen (Mo) Hagan, Chief Operating Officer at canfitpro and a certified group fitness instructor with 40 years of experience, enthusiastically highlights the shifts occurring in group fitness. Hagan emphasizes the pivotal moment where group fitness is evolving, urging instructors and personal trainers to refine and diversify their skill sets. This strategic approach, she believes, will empower both parties to skillfully meet the evolving demands of consumers. Hagan asserts that certified fitness professionals, regardless of their teaching or training specializations, must wholeheartedly embrace these emerging trends to remain relevant. She sees a wealth of choices in















7 8 9

(e.g., yoga, tai chi, pilates, meditation)

(e.g., stretching/fascial stretch/myofascial release)



CORE CONDITIONING CLASSES programming and demographics that promise to captivate and fuel the passion of instructors and trainers not just for the present year but for years to come. Moreover, Hagan indicates that the expanding landscape not only provides increased opportunities for not only group fitness instructors but also opens doors for personal trainers looking to explore the dynamic realm of group training. The surge in interest for specialized classes catering to active aging, mobility, functional fitness, strength training, and recovery aligns perfectly with the diverse needs of all four generations. Personal trainers, armed with their skills and expertise, are well-positioned


(low intensity interval training) to create personalized workout experiences tailored to individual preferences. In Hagan’s vision, advanced training prepares both instructors and personal trainers to address the unique needs of individuals, offering equal opportunities for both groups to venture into group fitness training or further expand their skill sets. It is a promising landscape where expertise meets demand, fostering a vibrant and evolving fitness industry for those ready to embrace the future. 1. Active Aging/Older Adult Classes The trend of active aging/older adult programming moves from canfitpro January/February 2024


#2 in 2023 to #1 in 2024 and supports the pivotal shift in societal perspectives, championing the notion that advancing years can be synonymous with vitality, engagement, and well-being. Rather than viewing aging as a period of inevitable decline, this paradigm emphasizes proactive measures—like regular exercise, mental stimulation, and social interaction— to optimize health and quality of life. Embracing active aging not only benefits individual health outcomes but also contributes to broader societal goals of promoting inclusivity, longevity, and holistic wellness across the lifespan. Colin Milner, CEO/Founder of International Society of Active Aging, says the Baby Boomer and Gen X generations have come of age and the fitness industry, as well as society at large, is now paying attention. This group wants to live better for longer, and many of them have the financial means to do so. Milner adds that this trend reflects how, with over 50% of the adult population over 50, this overlooked opportunity is now front and center. Following up on this, Gabriel Hardy, Executive Director of FIC, provides further insight into the dimensions of active aging, which he says is a concept that now extends to individuals aged 40 and above, who understand that investing in their health today is a key strategy for preventing illness in the future. This approach is about gaining more knowledge, applying more science, and offering more professional services. Trevor Pickett, canfitpro PRO TRAINER, 2023 canfitpro Personal Training Specialist of the Year, and the founder of Offbeat Fitness does not think it is any coincidence that Active Aging/Older Adult classes and programming both appear at #1 on both the overall Top 10 Health & Fitness Trends as well as Group Fitness Trends and that Functional Fitness took the #1 spot 26 canfitpro January/February 2024

results faster than solo workouts. Furthermore, the structured routines ensure proper technique, minimizing injury risks. As society emphasizes holistic well-being, these classes not only sculpt bodies but also cultivate mental resilience and self-confidence, making them a staple in the 2024 fitness landscape. on Personal Training Trends. Picket believes efforts should be made to incorporate more programs that can be done from home with clients’ specific movement needs taken into consideration, hence the prominence of these trends. Curtis Christopherson, Founder & CEO of WRKOUT, explains that in the new year he will be launching a focus around longevity, coinciding with the Active Aging trend. He will be introducing a marketing campaign called “Live Longer. Live Stronger.” Christopherson also believes that with the strong trend toward Active Recovery and Regeneration (#4 in Health & Fitness Trends, #7 in Personal Training Trends, and #9 in Group Fitness Trends) this will be a campaign that really emphasizes the need to prioritize this important aspect of fitness. 2. Strength Training Classes Strength training group fitness classes have continued their upward trajectory due to their multifaceted benefits and factors like advancements in fitness technology integrating with group workouts, personalized group training experiences tailored to individual needs, innovative class formats combining strength training with other modalities like HIIT or mobility work, and a growing awareness of the holistic benefits of strength training beyond just muscle building. These classes combine the motivation of group dynamics with expert-led instruction, fostering a sense of community and accountability, often pushing individuals to surpass personal limits, achieving

The rising demand for strength training and active aging will have a significant impact in Canada, remarks Nasser Obeid, President of Johnson Health Tech Canada, as fitness facilities respond to their customers’ needs and wants. Obeid says this will include relooking at the member experience many facilities are currently offering; ensuring they provide versatile and spaceefficient equipment to meet the demand for dynamic body-focused workouts. Sherri McMillan, CEO of Northwest Personal Training, says that as consumers recognize the critical importance of preserving and growing muscle to overall health and functional aging, she is seeing an increasing demand for group strength classes. Not everyone can afford 1-on-1 training so her clients appreciate a small group format where they can access classes led by a personal training coach at a fraction of the cost of private training. McMillan’s classes focus on heavier lifting using a variety of strength training tools with class sizes small enough to enable the trainer to adjust, modify and monitor technique. These formats provide some level of personalization and customization while still providing the benefits of group camaraderie and costeffective coaching. 3. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)/Tabata Classes High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and Tabata remain at the forefront of fitness trends (#1 in 2022 and #9 in 2023). Their adaptability to various exercises and minimal time commitment appeals to individuals

seeking efficient workouts amidst busy schedules. The blend of short, intense bursts followed by brief recovery periods optimizes calorie burn, cardiovascular health, and metabolic rate. As research underscores their benefits, these modalities continue to dominate group fitness schedules in 2024. Jen Hamilton, CEO of Oxygen Yoga & Fitness, is best known for offering a diverse range of classes, including speciality programming done in FAR Infrared heated studios. Hamilton discusses how her yoga fusion blend showcases the trends for group fitness and strength training to create a wellrounded approach to fitness. Group fitness at Oxygen Yoga & Fitness provides a sense of community and builds camaraderie, motivating individuals to stay consistent with their workouts. Incorporating strength training to enhance overall health, while high-intensity intervals boost

cardiovascular fitness. This holistic approach at Oxygen Yoga & Fitness studios reflects the importance of addressing various facets of exercise for optimal wellbeing. The group fitness landscape continues to adapt with a blend of personalization and community building trends. Mind-body classes have gained momentum, reflecting the growing emphasis on holistic health and stress management. These sessions prioritize mental clarity, flexibility, and core strength, catering to individuals seeking inner balance amidst hectic lifestyles and the uncertainty of real-world events/issues. Core conditioning classes remain pivotal, focusing on strengthening the body’s foundational muscles to enhance stability and posture. Concurrently, circuit and bootcamp training persist as popular choices, combining cardiovascular and strength exercises in high-intensity intervals to maximize calorie burn and

Unlock the art of leading captivating workout sessions with the canfitpro Fitness Instructor Specialist Course. From bootcamp and dance to step, martial arts, and traditional group fitness, discover how to elevate ev every class.

muscle endurance. Cardio classes maintain their relevance, offering dynamic workouts that elevate heart rates and improve cardiovascular health. Dance-style fitness classes inject fun and rhythm into workouts, appealing to those eager to combine fitness with expression and music. Additionally, the rising interest in recovery and regeneration, as seen across all trend lists, includes classes in stretching, fascial stretch, and myofascial release techniques, which promote muscle recovery, flexibility, and injury prevention. Lastly, LIIT (Low Intensity Interval Training) emerges as an alternative to high-intensity workouts, providing effective yet gentler intervals that prioritize safety and sustainability for diverse fitness levels. Overall, 2024 highlights a comprehensive approach to group fitness, catering to varied preferences while emphasizing holistic wellbeing and individualized training modalities.


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AS WE NAVIGATE 2024, SEVERAL EMERGING TRENDS ARE SET TO INVIGORATE OUR APPROACH TO NUTRITION FOR WELLNESS. A prominent focus emerges with a heightened emphasis on Nutrition for Aging Well (Active Aging/Older Adults programming is the #1 focus in both Health & Fitness and Group Fitness Trends), spotlighting dietary strategies tailored to promote longevity, vitality, and cognitive agility in older populations. Alongside this, Mindful Eating and Behavioral Nutrition are gaining substantial traction, encompassing a holistic understanding of the psychological, emotional, and environmental factors influencing our food decisions. Furthermore, as consumers become increasingly discerning about the quality and origin of their food, the Whole Foods movement is experiencing an extraordinary surge. This entails a shift toward foods that are free from preservatives, additives, and synthetic chemicals, emphasizing natural, unprocessed, and nutrientdense alternatives. Collectively, these trends herald a holistic and personalized approach to nutrition, intertwining science, mindfulness, and ethical consumption in 2024’s dietary landscape. Tosca Reno, New York Times Bestselling author, coach, and founder of the Eat Clean™ revolution, applauds the news that eating clean continues to support all nutrition trends arising in 2024. Reno discusses how nutritionally dense, well sourced, and properly prepared foods have always been our original medicine. However, she sees a focus on creating personalized nutrition plans using clean foods to support specific wellness goals, particularly in gut and brain health. Reno advises that anchoring foods for these plans will include protein, plenty of plants, especially leafy greens, foods rating high on the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) scale, and fermented foods. Think Super Gut yogurt, squid ink, and anthocyanins. 1. Nutrition for Aging Well Nutrition for aging well transcends








(preservative, additive, chemical-free)




MEAL PREP AND COOKING WORKSHOPS mere calorie counting; it delves deep into understanding gut health, anti-inflammatory foods, and dietary patterns that bolster cognitive function and mitigate age-related ailments. This tailored approach emphasizes nutrientdense foods rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and essential vitamins and minerals to support cognitive function, bone health, and immune resilience as well as recognizing the significance of protein intake to preserve muscle mass and strength, mitigating age-related frailty. This trend encapsulates a holistic dietary paradigm, promoting physical vigor, mental clarity, and overall well-










FOCUS ON DIGESTIVE HEALTH AND MICROBIOME BALANCE being from young to old. Colin Milner, Founder/CEO at International Society of Active Aging, believes that this indicates the paradigm has shifted from mere fitness to a broader emphasis on overall health. He adds that a recent report from Edward Jones and Age Wave highlights the evolving definition of healthy aging, underscoring the ability to engage in desired activities at one’s own convenience, and enabling your clients and members to achieve this is THE bottom line. Funk Roberts, CEO and Founder Funk Roberts Fitness Inc, is canfitpro January/February 2024


extremely happy that nutrition is a top focus in 2024 as he considers this the biggest struggle for most people. With the rise in chronic health issues like diabetes, cancer, dementia, etc., Roberts says, nutrition should be at the forefront of any fitness, health, and wellness program. For instance, Roberts specifically created a nutrition system to support male clients over 40 in this area. Dr. Joey Shulman, DC and Registered Nutritionist, says her approach is to educate and teach on metabolic health (blood sugar balance) with aging. Dr, Shulman says this is significant because metabolic health is health. According to Dr. Shulman, maintaining healthy blood sugar control takes education. She advises that as we age, we tend to be more insulin resistant which can lead to a variety of disease processes and weight gain. In Dr. Shulman’s experience, simple metabolic techniques can be a game changer for prevention and aging well.

proper timing of foods.

processed) food.

Bianca Cordeiro, RD and 2023 canfitpro Delegates’ Choice New Presenter of the Year winner, believes that it is encouraging that people are starting to care more about the intricacies of healthy eating! Cordeiro observes that behaviour change is complex and has little to do with willpower. Instead, Cordeiro says that bringing awareness to how your mind/ body responds to food using mindfulness at mealtimes can be super helpful for a healthy relationship with food. With mindful eating and behavioural nutrition being a trend for 2024, Cordeiro is ecstatic to work on this with her clients.

Dr. Shulman’s advice is to practice daily and consistent detox steps. Dr. Shulman says that detoxing is not just a trend - it has become a necessary part of our daily lives due to our constant exposure to chemicals and endocrine disruptors. Dr. Shulman adds that eating organic when you can (e.g., the clean 15 vs. the dirty dozen), getting off screens, avoiding plastics, using clean beauty and home products, getting outside, focusing on your microbiome, liver and lymphatics - these are some beginning simple steps to lower your toxic load. With autoimmune disease and cancer rates rising, Dr. Shulman says this is more prevalent today than ever before.

2. Mindful Eating & Behavioural Nutrition Mindful eating encourages individuals to cultivate a heightened awareness of their eating habits, fostering a deeper connection with food and promoting a more intuitive approach to consumption. Complementing this is the growing field of Behavioral Nutrition, which investigates how our behaviors, routines, and surroundings shape dietary choices, paving the way for personalized interventions that resonate with individual lifestyles and preferences.

3. Whole Foods The whole foods trend is booming and underscores a preference for natural, unprocessed, and nutrientrich options. Beyond nutritional benefits, this trend champions environmental stewardship, supporting organic farming practices and reducing ecological footprints. The gravitation towards whole foods signifies a collective embrace of authenticity, healthconsciousness, and sustainability, shaping dietary preferences and paradigms in contemporary food culture.

Again, Dr. Shulman comments upon how many of her clients first present in sympathetic nervous system response (e.g., fight or flight). Dr. Shulman finds that mindfulness comes with slowing down, stopping the rush, putting away the screens. With her clients, once proper steps are taken to switch into parasympathetic (the rest, digest and repair response), Dr. Shulman says her clients can focus on mindful eating and the

Carol Harrison, RD, says health and wellness are a mega trend, making it such an exciting and opportune time to be in the business of promoting optimal health. canfitpro’s top trends align extremely well with everything she sees forecasted in nutrition trends. Harrison believes the biggest health gains will come from showing people how to swap ultraprocessed food with nourishing, delicious whole (and minimally

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More emphasis on nutrition is being fully embraced in the fitness and wellness industry. Personalized Nutrition Plans harness technology and genomics to tailor eating plans to individual needs and health goals. Concurrently, Meal Prep and Cooking Workshops empower individuals with skills to optimize nutrition amidst busy lifestyles. The trend towards Holistic Nutrition and Health ConditionSpecific Diets offers tailored dietary interventions for specific health conditions, promoting overall wellbeing. Gender-specific nutritional needs gain prominence with Nutrition for Men’s Health/ Women’s Health, recognizing distinct requirements. Additionally, Food/Nutrition Economics explores socio-economic factors influencing food choices and accessibility. Addressing individual sensitivities, Food Sensitivity and Elimination Diets guide dietary modifications for enhanced health. Lastly, an increased focus on Digestive Health and Microbiome Balance highlights the vital link between gut health and overall wellbeing, emphasizing dietary strategies like probiotics and dietary fibers. Together, these trends highlight a nuanced, holistic, and individualized approach to nutrition in 2024 which is reflected in our canfitpro ASPIRES Nutrition event happening March 1, 2024!


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Empower your clients in nutrition choices with the canfitpro Healthy Eating & Weight Loss program. Gain valuable coaching skills to make better choices and guide others towards a healthier, longer life with the Healthy Eating and Weight Loss Coach certification.

CONTRIBUTORS TO THE CANFITPRO HEALTH & FITNESS TRENDS REPORT 2024 We extend our deepest gratitude to all the dedicated contributors who played an instrumental role in shaping the canfitpro 2024 Fitness Trends Report. Their passion, expertise, and commitment to the health and fitness industry have been invaluable in creating a comprehensive and insightful resource that will undoubtedly guide and inspire professionals in the field. We appreciate the time, knowledge, and effort they have invested in this collaborative endeavor, and we are excited to showcase the collective wisdom of our esteemed contributors. Together, we are shaping the future of fitness!

Ayanna Lee-Rivears Founder/CEO, Socacize Fitness

Colin Milner CEO/Founder, International Society of Active Aging

Bianca Cordeiro Registered Dietician, canfitpro 2023 Delegates’ Choice New Presenter of the Year

Curtis Christopherson Founder/CEO, WRKOUT

Blake MacDonald President of Orangetheory Fitness Canada

Damali Fraiser Lift Off Strength & Wellness

Carol Harrison Registered Dietician

Debbie Bellenger Health & Wellness Consultant and Educator

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Erin Phelan Owner of Erin Phelan FITFAM, Director of Communications for FIC, Marketing & Communications Specialist for Matrix Fitness Canada

Funk Roberts Founder/CEO, Funk Roberts Fitness Inc

Gabriel Hardy Executive Director, FIC

Jennifer Hamilton CEO of Oxygen Yoga & Fitness

Lynne Brick President of Brick Bodies, Cofounder of John W. Brick Mental Health Foundation

Jake Rondot Managing Director, Human Kinetics Nasser Obeid President, Johnson Health Tech Canada

Jessie Thomas Owner of Farmgirl Fitness, Women Who Influence 2023 Sharon Mann Inspiration Award Paul Galloro Paul Galloro Wellness, canfitpro 2023 Fitness Instructor Specialist of the Year

Santino Pompeo Divisional Manager of Personal Training, GoodLife Fitness

Sherri McMillan Owner, Northwest Personal Training

Terence Boateng Registered Dietician, CS Nutrition

Dr. Joey Shulman DC, Registered Nutritionist Tosca Reno Founder, Eat Clean™ Paula Bartis VP Product Led Growth for ABC Trainerize at ABC Fitness Kim Lavender VP Group Experience, GoodLife Fitness

Peter Twist Director of Education, Twist University

Trevor Pickett Founder of Offbeat Fitness, canfitpro PRO TRAINER and 2023 Personal Training Specialist of the Year

Lisa Greenbaum Founder, Sangha Yoga Collective canfitpro January/February 2024


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Health & Fitness Trends By Generation THE IMPACT ON THE FITNESS INDUSTRY AND YOUR BUSINESS By Erin Phelan

Fitness Industry Council of Canada (FIC), the not-for-profit association of the Canadian fitness industry, has been busy preparing for 2024 by keeping a finger on the pulse not only of the trends, but of the different demographics that use our facilities. “There isn’t one-size-fits all approach to fitness, and each generation who comes to your facility will be looking for something specific and unique,” says Gabriel Hardy, Executive Director of FIC. “For years, we have said to our members – Find your ‘why’ - now, we are telling our members to dig deep. Find the why of your members, and you will have members for life.”

1. Active Aging/Older Adult Programs Active aging is not just about seniors. Boomers and Generation X are all focused on aging well, living, and moving in their body in healthy ways, preventing chronic illness and improving mental health. Interestingly, “We learned from our FIC webinar this year that boomers were the first demographic to truly return to the gym post COVID,” says Hardy. “They take their health and wellness seriously and are motivated by community. Boomers are also interested in recovery and wellness as add-ons to their gym experience.”

Here, the leaders of FIC offer insight into five of canfitpro’s 2024 top health and fitness trends and how they will impact the fitness industry.

Consider creating older-adult specific classes, social experiences in the gym, and getting personal trainers educated in training older adult populations.

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“Boomers are also the cohort that will spend on personal training,” says Hardy. “In one study, 80% of personal training revenue came from Gen X and Boomers. The Boomers will be loyal if you create meaningful experiences for them in your gym.” Functional fitness, another big trend, is at the core of active aging, says Sara Hodson, CEO of LIVE WELL Exercise Clinic and President of FIC. She says we have a huge opportunity with older populations. “Encourage new members showing up at your door that it is never too late to start again. Grandparents want to be able to get down on the floor and play with their grandkids. As fitness professionals, we are in an incredible position to help them do that.”

2. Functional Fitness This is a trend that has been on trend for the last decade, says Carl Ulmer, Treasurer of FIC and partner in Club 16 Trevor Linden Fitness, but seems to have hit hyperdrive speed with the younger generations. “They are coming into our facilities and doing workouts they see on Tik Tok and Instagram (which, incidentally, has over 3.6 million posts with the hashtag #functionalfitness). Also, Generation Z is much savvier about their workouts, what they want to get out of their time in the gym, and how their body moves.” Evolution hits this aspect of the fitness industry also with HYROX gaining increased attraction as a new sport. “From 600 participants at their first UK event two years ago to 12,000 last event, we clearly see a trend starting and a big interest for this type a fitness approach” says Hardy. Our Executive director is also the owner of Tonic Gym in Quebec City, and he is adapting his gym programming to cater to more functional movement and recovery. “We are responding to trends with a stronger cardio element, more body weight exercise, and primal movements,” says Hardy. 3. Mental Health & Stress Management Programs Health and wellness needs have moved way beyond the physical gains of the workout, says Nathalie Lacombe, Vice-President of FIC, and members are coming to our facilities for health span, recovery, stress management, and much more. “The global wellness market is worth 4.4 trillion dollars and is expected to reach $7 trillion by 2025.” “Our stress hormones, including cortisol and norepinephrine, decrease during exercise and our happiness hormones, including dopamine and serotonin, increase. Helping our clients create routines of consistent physical activity is beneficial for their mental health. Help them focus on frequency in 2024, more than intensity,” says Lacombe.

And do not forget an important demographic in your gym - Millennials, who are often balancing work and family and trying to squeeze in their workouts. Make their lives easier by offering easy check-ins, babysitting services in your gym if you can, and express workouts. According to US data firm Murphy Research, 68% of millennials are engaged with fitness, and use fitness apps weekly. Many want to have both in-person and digital workouts, so consider that in your programming.

“…GENERATION Z IS MUCH SAVVIER ABOUT THEIR WORKOUTS, WHAT THEY WANT TO GET OUT OF THEIR TIME IN THE GYM, AND HOW THEIR BODY MOVES.” 4. Active Recovery and Regeneration These are the buzzwords of 2024 whether it is a recovery zone in the gym, or recovery classes. Recovery as a training concept and principle is not new - the concept of new muscle regenerating after we work it is familiar to every personal trainer. But recovery is also a mindset, and one we as fitness professionals are poised to take a leadership role in helping Canadians embrace whole-person wellness in 2024. According to one recent survey from the American Psychology Association, the collective experience of COVID-19 has had lingering traumatic effects with higher levels of chronic disease and higher diagnosis of mental illness. All generations will embrace recovery offerings - whether it is a morning seniors Tai Chi for social, physical, and mental health, candlelit yoga for busy parents, or recovery stations with massage guns and recovery chairs. Make it as important as your cardio or strength and watch your member satisfaction rise.

5. Group Fitness Classes/Programs From HIIT to strength, from flow to spin, FIC is helping their members to shine with one of the biggest trends group fitness. “We have seen not only the importance of social connection, but how it improves our health and helps our members stay accountable. You find a new community in the gym, and group fitness is at the heart! We see fitness clubs creating experiences not only in the group fitness or cycling studio, but out on the gym floor, too” says Hardy. “Our members are craving connection, and we are here to give this to them.” “The most important trend for 2024 is physical activity for health,” says Hardy. “The FIC continues to lobby the government on behalf of physical activity tax credits. We have submitted a budget proposal, continuing our efforts to revise line 33099 of the income tax form. We continue to make the case for gym memberships - that Canadians should be able to include their membership as a medical expense. We have straightforward evidence that physical activity reduces the cost of chronic health conditions and improves mental health. FIC is also lobbying separately for physical tax credits for seniors. Our mission is to support the Canadian fitness industry to become the strongest it has ever been in 2024.”

Erin Phelan is an award-winning fitness trainer and the owner of the Erin Phelan FitFam, a fitness community with daily virtual and live group training classes. She is also the marketing and communications specialist for Matrix Fitness Canada, and the communications director for the Fitness Industry Council of Canada.

canfitpro January/February 2024



As we wrap up another year, the Canadian fitness industry stands as a testament to resilience and prosperity. In the face of economic challenges, the fitness landscape in Canada is thriving, boasting unprecedented success. Gym, health, and fitness clubs have collectively generated an impressive $4.6 billion in revenue, defying expectations.

alone. This phenomenal achievement is attributed to the forward-thinking Canadian fitness businesses that have embraced technological advancements. Through the implementation of cutting-edge tools, such as state-of-the-art mobile apps and sophisticated reporting systems, these entrepreneurs are propelling their operations to new heights.

The most remarkable aspect is the industry’s extraordinary growth, with a staggering 13.7% surge in 2023

Central to this success is the strategic adoption of comprehensive software solutions like WellnessLiving,

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empowering fitness businesses to reach their goals in the new year. This all-in-one platform has become indispensable for studios with the right tools to propel growth, support their communities, and boost revenue. Every studio has a unique story to tell, with a journey of passion and dedication. Today, we dive into the inspiring journey of the Cristini brothers.

Steve and Chris Cristini are the coowners and head coaches of Cristini Athletics, an upscale, family-run fitness training and CrossFit gym that thrives on making a difference. With two 5,000+ square foot locations in Markham and East Woodbridge, Ontario, Cristini Athletics has forged a unique fitness experience. It is one that is high-intensity, results-oriented, and, most importantly, welcomes every member as an extension of the family.

Over the years, they tried different methods and platforms to manage their business. But as their business grew, these solutions could not keep pace with their growth. That is when Cristini Athletics discovered a pivotal addition to their fitness family: WellnessLiving. Not only did Cristini Athletics save money, but they were so impressed by the functionality and simplicity of WellnessLiving’s platform and how it surpassed what competitors had to offer.

Ready to start your year right? Here are the top three tools that are helping Cristini Athletics significantly improve member engagement and retention. 1. Mobile Client App In the age where everyone is inseparable from their phones, a business app is indispensable for client interaction. This is where WellnessLiving’s Achieve Client App comes into play.

canfitpro January/February 2024


Eighty-two percent of WellnessLiving customers who offer a custom branded app, like Cristini Athletics, see a boost in retention, coupled with an average revenue increase of 22%. How? Chris explains, “It might seem like a simple thing, but it adds a whole new level of professionalism. Showcasing our logo and colors sets us apart from other studios. Plus, it’s easy for members to book classes, make purchases, and update their billing and credit card information. Additionally, the app’s review system allows us to strengthen our reputation, online presence, and address client concerns proactively.” 2. Client Transformation Tracking Research shows that 76% of clients expect a personalized experience based on their individual data. In response to this evolving landscape, Cristini Athletics has seamlessly integrated WellnessLiving’s transformation tracking tool into their operations. This sophisticated tool empowers them to meticulously monitor key fitness metrics, including body fat percentage, muscle gain, heart rate, and other vital factors that paint a comprehensive picture of each client’s progress. “With the transformation log, it’s remarkably simple to hold clients accountable,” says Chris. “This level of detail allows us to motivate our members, celebrate their achievements, identify areas for improvement, and personalize their experience to get them back on track if they’ve fallen behind.” The implementation of this transformative tool marks a pivotal shift in how Cristini Athletics engages with their clients. Beyond the immediate benefits of increased motivation and personalized attention, the tool 40 canfitpro January/February 2024

plays a crucial role in fostering long-term success. The result is a more proactive and engaged fitness community, demonstrating the tangible impact of leveraging data-driven solutions in enhancing the overall fitness experience. This strategic approach not only celebrates current achievements but also lays the foundation for sustained progress, supporting clients on their journey to lasting health and wellness.

STREAMLINE BOOKINGS, ELEVATE CLIENT EXPERIENCES, AND EMPOWER YOUR BUSINESS TO SURPASS GROWTH GOALS IN 2024. 3. Metrics and Retention Campaigns Ensuring financial clarity is paramount for the success of any fitness business. WellnessLiving’s advanced dashboards and reporting system offer the Cristini brothers a panoramic view of their business, not only preparing them for tax time but also equipping them to forecast and strategize for the upcoming year. This comprehensive tool provides immediate insights into crucial data such as lead information, attendance records, membership renewals, sales promotions, and overall revenue. According to Chris, “The custom dashboard is a game changer for us, offering a comprehensive overview of all the critical information we need to make informed decisions. This insight empowers us to stay one step ahead in our marketing, engagement, and retention strategies.” Armed with this information and leveraging WellnessLiving’s

robust marketing suite, studios and gyms can craft effective winback campaigns, trigger targeted communications, and seamlessly re-engage members and nurture new clients. This process fosters deeper connections and drives sustainable growth, positioning your fitness business for an exceptional and prosperous year ahead. Let’s Crush Your 2024 Growth Goals Together The New Year is here, and with it comes many new clients eager to achieve their fitness goals. Are you ready to attract, convert, and retain more clients? Stories from gyms like the Cristini brothers remind us that success in the fitness industry is possible with the right tools and support. It is not too late to transform your fitness studio or gym with WellnessLiving’s all-in-one solution. Streamline bookings, elevate client experiences, and empower your business to surpass growth goals in 2024. Now is the perfect time to shape your future success. Explore how WellnessLiving, the number one value-driven software, can streamline operations and boost revenue by up to 57%. Book a demo today and get 50% off your first three months when you subscribe to our Business Plan.

Len Fridman is the CEO and co-founder of WellnessLiving — an all-inone business management platform trusted by over 20 million users and thousands of entrepreneurs. Len shares tools and resources to empower fitness business owners to attract, convert, and retain more clients.



Solutions Designed to Support your Business Becoming a Business Member is FREE Exclusive discounts and exclusive access for events Level up to a Gold membership to unlock additional business benefits Receive unique discount codes for you and your staff to stay certified, learn, and network Sign up as a recognized Host Facility for courses - and recruit top talent

Contact us today to sign up canfitpro January/February 2024


Trends Predict The Future EQUIPMENT AND PROGRAMMING TO MEET THE TRENDS AND REACH MEMBERS IN NEW WAYS It is of no surprise to us at Johnson Health Tech / Matrix Fitness Canada that active aging, group fitness, and recovery top the list of trends, as well as the whole-person approach to fitness and a focus on mental health. As the world’s fastest growing commercial fitness manufacturer, and 42 canfitpro January/February 2024

one of the world’s leading fitness equipment suppliers, our development teams have been preparing for these trends – not only in the design of our world-class equipment, but in programming that will help fitness professionals such as canfitpro personal trainers and group fitness

instructors reach their members in new and exciting ways. Active Aging The research connecting physical activity with longevity is undisputable. As we gracefully journey through life, it becomes increasingly important to

You might want to sit down for this! Introducing the Johnson Synca MC-J6950

Johnson Health Tech is proud to introduce the Johnson Synca MC-J6950 to the Canadian market. A truly commercial massage chair and the ultimate recovery experience. Made with easy to wipe clean, non-porous materials, this unique product offers 250 individual motors and eight easy-to-use settings ranging from Shiatsu to Wellness, providing the user with incredible benefits in only ten minutes. With regular use of the Johnson Synca MC-J6950, your clients can: • Reduce stress and anxiety and introduce recovery as a practice: Pressure applied by the chair’s rollers, in circular and smoothing motions, helps the body to release endorphins, naturally improving mood, restore balance and assist in calming the nervous system. • Improve blood circulation and reduce blood pressure: The Johnson Synca MC-J950 helps release deep muscles tension and promotes enhanced blood circulation throughout the body. • Enhance flexibility, mobility and range of motion: The Johnson Synca MC-J6950’s ability to stretch, knead and manipulate the muscles can lead to improved flexibility and range of motion, making it an ideal tool for athletes and those recovering from injury. • Pain Relief: Settings offer benefits like deep tissue massage, which can help alleviate specific areas of discomfort and pain, treat sore muscles and release knots. • Improve Sleep: Regular users of the Johnson Synca MC-J6950 can fall asleep faster and achieve deeper sleep, leading to greater overall health benefits. The Johnson Synca MC-J6950 can be added to any health, fitness, and wellness space. Since 2019, this product has been sold into more than 1,500 high volume commercial locations and has been re-developed and upgraded to meet the needs of the market. The Johnson Synca MC-J6950 is your solution for recovery and rejuvenation.

For pricing, and to speak with a member of our sales team contact:

Johnson Health Tech Canada Headquarters 10401, Ray-Lawson Blvd Montreal, Quebec H1J 1M3 1 800 JHT CANADA | canfitpro January/February 2024


prioritize our health and well-being. For our active aging populations, this means maintaining strength and mobility, and continuing to live independent lives. We developed our Go Series line of equipment with this in mind: designed with user-friendly interfaces, the Go Series ensures that anyone can confidently navigate and operate the equipment, adjust it easily, and with a low starting weight it allows individuals, whether just starting out, or coming back from injury, to start gradually and build strength at their own pace. Matrix Fitness Canada is proud to be a leader in the active aging market as we prioritize our vision of contributing to human health. For active aging, we predict a strong narrative taking shape in 2024, regarding how we age with mobility, strength, flexibility and to prevent chronic health conditions and improve brain health. Active aging is not a trend - it is a call to action not only for Canada, but around the world. This is why Johnson Health Tech / Matrix Fitness is ready with equipment specifically designed for active aging, and why we will continue to develop equipment and programs with active aging as a focus. Group Fitness Group fitness is back, and we have exciting products and programs that will delight and inspire members. This January, we are excited to launch our next generation of Connexus to the Canadian market – where function meets flexibility. We see this as a huge opportunity to help gyms, trainers, and group fitness instructors create community and engagement with their members and provide opportunities to sweat together in the studio or on the gym floor! We are excited to see our Connected Solutions platforms in many facilities across Canada – this is our digital solution that responds to the rising demand for more technology-driven workouts, where clubs can actively engage with their members. As a global company, we see the trends 44 canfitpro January/February 2024

from Asia and Europe – traditionally well in advance of North America – and we know that technology is a huge driver in member engagement. We are ready to support our partners with this, and we see technology as a tool we can leverage to help Canadians live a healthier life. Recovery Recovery is a trend that will impact us all in 2024. Recovery is more than just rest days from the gym – it should now be considered as essential as cardiovascular, strength, and mobility training. Johnson Health Tech / Matrix Fitness Canada is proud to launch the Synca J6950 Commercial Massage Chair to the Canadian market - a massage / recovery chair with more than 250 motors and unique massage points that, within ten minutes, can stimulate blood circulation, release tension in muscles, and induce deep relaxation. These chairs are now in gyms, hospitals, physiotherapy / chiropractic offices as well as retirement communities, and the results are astounding. A Final Word on Motivation Motivation is a word we love at Matrix – everyone can start a fitness journey. How do you keep it going?

At a time when we are focused on contributing to global human health, we are extremely interested in intrinsic and extrinsic motivation tools, and how these can contribute to advancing our global mission of contributing to human health. It is an exciting time for the health and fitness industries, and we are happy to share what we know with not only our customers, but with all Canadians. We salute all canfitpro fitness professionals and leaders who are improving the health of millions of Canadians every day.

In 2001, Johnson Health Tech launched Matrix to bring premium fitness equipment to the marketplace. Fueled by cross-cultural collaboration, today Matrix offers a complete line of cardio, strength, and group training equipment for health clubs, luxury resorts, and collegiate athletic teams, plus club-quality equipment reimagined for the home. Matrix is the proud sponsor of the Fitness Industry Council of Canada.



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DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION TRENDS SHAPING THE FITNESS INDUSTRY CHARTING A PATH FORWARD TO REVOLUTIONIZE WORKOUTS, WELLNESS, AND SPACES WITH DEI INITIATIVES Over recent years, the fitness industry has increasingly prioritized diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, recognizing the importance of creating inclusive spaces for all individuals. This evolution has been evident in marketing campaigns featuring diverse body types, genders, ethnicities, and abilities, reflecting a broader spectrum of fitness enthusiasts. Fitness

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professionals and organizations have also emphasized accessible facilities, inclusive language, and training programs tailored to diverse populations. In 2024, this trajectory is expected to continue with a focus on intersectionality, acknowledging overlapping identities and experiences. Ultimately, the future of fitness is envisioned as a

truly inclusive industry that celebrates diversity in all its forms, fostering healthier communities worldwide. Join us as we share insights and feedback from a few of our fitness experts below. Over the past year, how have you seen fitness professionals or facilities evolve to promote a more

inclusive environment for members and clients? Have you observed any specific initiatives that you liked or disliked that have been tried, and why? Ayanna Lee-Rivears Socacize® Fitness Over the past year, the fitness industry has shown remarkable strides in creating a more inclusive environment for its members and clients. One notable evolution has been the increased focus on diversity in marketing campaigns, displaying a broader spectrum of body types, ethnicities, and abilities. Facilities and professionals have been incorporating more diverse and culturally inclusive workout programs and classes, catering to various preferences and backgrounds. I particularly appreciated initiatives that involved community engagement, offering free or subsidized fitness programs in underserved areas, thus breaking down financial barriers to access. Conversely, some initiatives fell short due to a lack of authentic representation or tokenism, where diversity seemed forced or superficial, rather than a genuine commitment to inclusivity. What additional insights can you share to help fitness professionals and facilities be more aware of the need to think about diversity, equity, and inclusion in their practice?

Damali Fraiser Lift Off Strength & Wellness

amplify the work of thought leaders of marginalized communities.

The number of people who feel intimidated in gym space is not reducing: • 64% worry about being judged • 70% feel self-conscious about their appearance • 43% find gym equipment confusing • 35% find crowded gyms a source of anxiety

Terence Boateng CS Nutrition

Gym anxiety is real. How intentional we are about DEI can change the experience of many people who want to go to the gym but do not see themselves reflected or accounted for in fitness spaces. What advice can you share with fitness professionals and operators that are eager to learn more about diversity, equity, and inclusion? Damali Fraiser Lift Off Strength & Wellness Every year, fitness professionals prioritize continuing education. I encourage you to consider investing in educators who teach from a social justice lens of diversity, equity, inclusion, justice, and belonging. Taking a course about inclusion is good but putting inclusive practices into your education is better. This includes the books you read, the courses you take, mentorship, and the people you follow on social media. Diversify your feed and

First, fitness professionals need to understand where health disparities come from. In addition to race and ethnic differences, these disparities can also occur based on gender, sexual orientation, age, disability, socioeconomic status, and geographic location. We need to think of programming that targets the demographics of people who may be less inclined to join an exercise program. A classic example of this is women’s only classes which allow for women who are uncomfortable exercising around men (for personal, cultural, or religious reasons) to still get a chance to exercise. Depending on the population a fitness professional serves, marketing classes overtly to distinct groups can help increase the exercise rates of that group. Additional examples include seniors’ classes and dance-based classes. Exercise professionals should explore their own implicit bias. I recommend taking ACE’s course, Taking Action with ACE: Practicing Equity, Diversity and Inclusion as a Health and Exercise Professional, which provides actionable steps you can apply every day to address DEI and strengthen your communication with people of diverse backgrounds.

canfitpro January/February 2024







the nation’s disposable income is in their hands. That is three out of every four dollars! Adding to this, 50% of the adult population is over 50, and this overlooked opportunity is now front and center.

This is extremely exciting for our industry but also predictable. The Baby Boomer and Gen X generations have come of age, so to speak, and the industry, as well as society at large, is now paying attention.

The pivotal question emerging is a simple one: Are you prepared to adapt your approach to cater to this demographic? Do you have the environment, staff, equipment, expertise, marketing strategies, and policies to entice and serve this consumer base effectively?

These generations want to live better for longer, and many of them have the financial means to do so; 75% of

The paradigm has shifted from mere fitness to a broader emphasis on overall health. A recent report

48 canfitpro January/February 2024

from Edward Jones and Age Wave highlights the evolving definition of healthy aging, underscoring the ability to engage in desired activities with preferred individuals at one’s own convenience. Enabling your clients and members to achieve this is THE bottom line. Our role as fitness professionals is straightforward; we must align with fulfilling society’s new brand promise, a task that, while not overly challenging, requires effective messaging. This entails creating a narrative that allows individuals to envision themselves seamlessly integrated into our communities, centers, or facilities. Critical to


this vision is the recruitment of staff possessing qualities such as empathy, active listening, effective communication, and motivational skills. Moreover, these individuals should comprehend the unique challenges associated with working with an older population. Rather than fixating on specialized resources, the emphasis should shift towards providing accessible equipment and environments that accommodate the diverse needs of individuals across age groups. Pew Research Center’s move away from generational definitions underscores the idea that capabilities and interests can transcend age brackets.

Therefore, prioritizing inclusive fitness equipment and diverse program offerings that cater to a wide range of ages and abilities may prove more beneficial in attracting and serving your clientele effectively. For fitness professionals and organizations seeking to serve this demographic successfully, it is imperative that both the built environment and the services offered align with and embrace a multifaceted wellness model. This entails a more significant commitment and integration than what may have been traditionally practiced. But the return on this investment is not in doubt.

Colin Milner, with 41 years in the fitness industry, founded the active-aging industry in North America and is CEO of the International Council on Active Aging. He is a leading expert on older adult health and wellness, has authored over 300 articles, and has been recognized by the World Economic Forum for his innovative work. Milner’s expertise has been sought out by organization ranging from Apple and the White House to the World Health Organization and the Olympics.

canfitpro January/February 2024






Photo Credit: Robbie Simmons



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The need for effective recovery and rejuvenation strategies has never been more important. Many fitness enthusiasts and athletes are turning to alternative therapies to enhance their recovery process. Osteopathic Manual Therapy (OMT) emerges as a holistic approach that not only benefits adults but extends

its gentle touch to children, fostering well-being for the entire family and building the foundation from an early age. Understanding OMT Osteopathic Manual Practitioners focus on the interrelated structural and functional system of the body

by removing mechanical restrictions found in our joints, muscles, ligaments, visceral organs, or fascia. The body is then in turn able to self-regulate and promote healing. One of the main benefits of OMT is enhancing recovery from exerciserelated injuries. Athletes often experience muscle imbalances, joint restrictions, and misalignments due to the repetitive nature of their training. OMT targets these issues, helping to release fascial restrictions, improve range of motion and expedite the healing process by increasing blood flow and enhancing the removal of metabolic waste products from the muscles. The increased circulation facilitates nutrient delivery to the tissues, promoting a speedier recovery process. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals recovering from strains, sprains, or even more chronic conditions like tendonitis or adhesive capsulitis. OMT and the Central Nervous System OMT is based on the concept of somatic dysfunction, which refers to impaired or altered function of related components of the somatic system. The central nervous system (CNS) is integral to the perception and modulation of pain and proprioception. Practitioners assess and address somatic dysfunction, recognizing its neurological underpinnings and considering the CNS’s role in regulating muscle tone, joint function, and sensory feedback. OMT practitioners may perform palpation, special orthopedic testing, and neurological examinations to assess a patient’s musculoskeletal and neurological status. This involves evaluating reflexes, muscle length/ strength test, coordination, and other neurological signs. These findings help guide the treatment approach. Craniosacral Therapy and the Autonomic Nervous System Craniosacral Therapy (CST) was developed by osteopathic physician Dr. John Upledger in the 1970s. He expanded upon the cranial osteopathy principles introduced by osteopath

William Sutherland in the early 1900s. Therefore, CST shares historical and philosophical roots with osteopathic medicine. OMT practitioners often incorporate CST techniques into their practice as part of a comprehensive treatment plan, emphasizing a holistic approach to health and wellness, gentle techniques, and the importance of addressing imbalances within the body’s systems. CST is thought to influence the autonomic nervous system, which consists of the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches. It involves gentle manipulation of the skull, spine, and sacrum to release restrictions in the cranial motion, promoting optimal cerebrospinal fluid flow. By reducing tension in the craniosacral system, CST may help balance the autonomic nervous system, leading to increased vagal tone. Higher vagal tone is associated with better regulation of bodily functions —crucial for athletes seeking peak performance. Pediatric OMT: Building the Foundation Pediatric OMT may be beneficial for infants suffering from conditions such as plagiocephaly, ankyloglossia, torticollis, musculoskeletal conditions which include issues related to posture, gait, and alignment, as well as injuries sustained during sports or play. By identifying and addressing these concerns early on, OMT helps ensure that children develop a solid foundation for physical activities, growth and prevent long-term complications. While not a primary treatment for neurodevelopmental disorders, OMT may be used as a complementary approach to support children with conditions such as cerebral palsy or developmental delays. It aims to improve overall function and enhance the child’s quality of life. Children often experience growth spurts, during which they may be more susceptible to musculoskeletal discomfort. OMT provides relief during these periods by addressing issues related to rapid growth, helping children adapt to changes in

their bodies and reducing the risk of growing pains affecting their sports involvement. Conclusion In pursuit of a healthier and more balanced lifestyle and as co-owner of Bodies by Diego Fitness, offering paramedical services and personal training all under one roof has become a game-changer. These hands-on practices not only provide physical relief but also contribute to mental well-being, offering a holistic approach to recovery and regeneration. As we prioritize self-care in the quest for optimal health, these therapies stand out as valuable tools in promoting lasting vitality and resilience. Consider embracing the healing touch of OMT to unlock a new level of well-being and vitality for you, your family, and your clients .

Tahmina Hotak, Co-founder of Bodies by Diego Fitness, brings over a decade of expertise as a Certified Personal Trainer with a passion for transforming lives through fitness, she is also a skilled Osteopathic Manual Practitioner (OMP) and a registered Massage Therapist specializing in pediatrics. Her integrated approach to wellness and commitment to health is reflected in the vibrant community she’s built, awarding her the Platinum winner Readers’ Choice 2023 as the best OMP.

canfitpro January/February 2024





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But a large contingent of critics have focused on an anticipated effect on the fitness industry at the expense of the bigger context: trust in professional writing.

In that context, the use of artificial intelligence can be seen as a boon not only to health and fitness but to the future of publishing by simply fostering the trust afforded by transparency and the ethical responsibility to disclose the use of synthetic authorship. If trends are anything to go by, personal training is poised to thrive in 2024 and beyond thanks in part to technological innovations, improved access to information, and finely tuned programming optimized by AI. As such, personal training placed comfortably in canfitpro’s Top 10 Health & Fitness Trends, as the profession is already getting a boost from machine learning and intelligent apps. As any good reporter can attest, proper coverage involves input from both sides, so I asked AI to weigh in on the threats and opportunities facing personal training as a profession. Here is what it said after pondering it for a bit over two seconds: OPPORTUNITIES: 1. Enhanced Efficiency and Scalability: AI can automate certain tasks, allowing personal trainers to focus more on personalized coaching rather than administrative duties. This efficiency could potentially enable trainers to manage more clients or spend additional time on client-centric needs.

driven guidance to their clients. 4. Virtual Training Opportunities: AI facilitates the creation of virtual training experiences, enabling trainers to reach a broader audience globally, breaking geographical barriers and providing services to individuals who might not have access to inperson training.


Embrace Technology as an Aid, Not a Replacement: Use AI as a tool to enhance rather than replace the personal touch in training. Blend technology with personalized coaching to offer a unique experience that AI alone cannot replicate.


Continuous Learning and Adaptation: Stay updated with AI advancements and incorporate new technologies into your practice. Continuous learning and adaptation will ensure that trainers remain relevant and competitive in the evolving landscape.


Focus on Human Interaction and Emotional Support: Emphasize the human connection, emotional support, and motivation that AI cannot replicate. Providing encouragement, accountability, and understanding to clients remains a critical aspect of successful training.


Maintain Ethical Standards: Prioritize data privacy and ethical practices when collecting and using client data. Building and maintaining trust is crucial for the long-term success of a personal training business.

THREATS: 1. Competition from AI-Powered Apps: AI-driven fitness apps and platforms might pose a threat by offering highly personalized and affordable fitness solutions directly to consumers. These apps can potentially reduce the demand for in-person trainers. 2. Job Displacement: As AI evolves, there might be concerns about the displacement of some tasks traditionally performed by personal trainers. Tasks such as routine fitness assessments and basic exercise guidance might become more automated, affecting the demand for entry-level trainers. 3. Depersonalization of Training: Over-reliance on AI may lead to a less personal and human-centric approach to fitness training. Clients might miss the personal connection and motivation that come with inperson coaching.

2. Improved Personalization: AI enables trainers to offer highly personalized workout plans and nutritional guidance based on individual data, enhancing the overall quality of service. This level of customization can attract more clients seeking tailored fitness solutions.

4. Data Privacy and Ethical Concerns: Collecting and utilizing personal data for fitness training purposes raises concerns about data privacy and ethics. Trainers must ensure the responsible and ethical use of client data to maintain trust and integrity within the profession.

3. Access to Advanced Tools: AI-powered technologies provide access to innovative tools, such as wearable devices and data analytics, allowing trainers to offer more comprehensive and data-

FINDING BALANCE: To navigate these opportunities and threats, personal fitness trainers can adopt strategies that leverage AI while maintaining a human-centric approach:

While AI offers promising opportunities for personal fitness trainers, it is essential to strike a balance between leveraging technology and preserving the personalized, human-centric aspects that define successful personal training relationships. When it comes to PT apps, it is clear they can help or hinder the personal training profession. They can vastly increase productivity while introducing safety risks. They can help create more content faster, while risking reducing the value of the custom-fit personalized training that clients have come to expect. Ultimately, they can take the profession to the next stage, but does this innovation pose a risk to the relevance of personal training? To help answer that question, I turned canfitpro January/February 2024


to the top AI tool in the business, ChatGPT 4.0, whose real-time Internet access means that it can deliver intelligent answers based on current results, in addition to purely analytical answers like its predecessor. I found its insights fascinating: 1. FitnessAI: It is like a digital assistant for trainers, making their workout plans smarter and more tailored for each client. 2. Tempo AI Home Gym: This cool tool turns trainers into virtual pros, offering gym-like classes and form checks right from home. 3. Aaptiv Coach: Trainers can jazz up their fitness plans with this app, blending AI smarts with their individualized touch for top-notch workouts. 4. FitBod: It is like having a workout wizard sidekick for trainers, creating perfect exercise recipes for every client’s unique taste. 5. Fitness Ally: Think of it as a trainer’s pocket coach, giving realtime pep talks and tips to clients during home workouts. 6. Freeletics: It is a trainer’s digital twin, designing ever-evolving bodyweight routines that keep clients pumped and progressing. 7. Vi Trainer: This app turns trainers

into running gurus, offering clients on-the-go coaching and cheers to hit their stride. 8. Whoop: It is a health detective for trainers, uncovering deep recovery insights to keep clients fit, fresh, and injury-free. 9. Artifit: This app is like a trainer’s eagle eye, using phone cameras to fine-tune clients’ moves for topnotch workouts. 10. Exer: Imagine trainers having X-ray vision to spot and fix workout mistakes in real-time, making every move count. These apps are like superpowers for trainers, helping them offer more fun, personalized, and effective training experiences! Far from fearing for the resilience of the profession, I found the prospects of personal training invigorating. I even ended up having an insightful discussion with the chatbot about trends and opportunities for today’s personal trainers to make the most of AI: 1. AI-enhanced workout plans: more detailed and researched in a fraction of the time. 2. Real-time performance tracking with apps and automatic reviews. 3. Virtual personal training augmenting – not replacing – the

human relationship. 4. Enhanced nutritional guidance and personalized meal planning. 5. Predictive analysis for injury prevention and risk management. 6. Behavioral coaching and motivation to supplement the pure gym experience. I was fascinated by the last two and encourage you to explore the full list further, with Bing, CoPilot, or any of the above AI Chatbots and top 10 apps. The future of fitness is looking seriously cool, thanks to technological innovations. But while AI is awesome, let us not forget about keeping our data safe and being responsible with how we use it: so be sure to refrain from oversharing your own or any client’s personal data, names and other elements that could pose a privacy risk. Get ready to rock your sessions and fitness business like never before. With AI by your side, 2024 and beyond are going to be a blast! Claudiu Popa, PTS, enjoys sharing knowledge accumulated over 30 years of strength training and fitness conditioning. Claudiu is the founder of Workout Smart and can be reached in confidence at

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FOR OPTIMAL PHYSICAL AND MENTAL HEALTH, WE KNOW CANADIANS SHOULD BE EATING MAINLY WHOLE AND MINIMALLY PROCESSED FOODS, BUT THAT IS NOT THE CASE. HERE IS WHY THAT IS A CONCERN AND HOW WE CAN STEER PEOPLE TO A WHOLE FOODS-BASED DIET. The reality is that our diets contain far too many ultra-processed foods, which are typically low in nutrients and high in calories, refined carbs, sugar, salt, and additives like flavours, colours, and preservatives. According to the Canadian Community Health 58 canfitpro January/February 2024

Survey on nutrition, we get nearly half of our calories (46%) from massproduced food and drink products. Many foods we eat are processed in some way. The ingredients in ultraprocessed foods, however, undergo many modifications on their way to becoming products such as breakfast cereals, frozen pizza, crackers, chips, candy, packaged cookies, muffins, energy bars, flavoured yogurt, processed meats, boxed macaroni and cheese, soft drinks, and fast food. These products are popular because they are appetizing, quick, and convenient. With their elevated

levels of added fats and refined carbs, they are designed for “hyper palatability”—which makes it that much harder for people to cut back. Researchers are even investigating whether these products are addictive. A recent analysis of two systematic reviews (including 281 studies from 36 countries) concluded that 14% of adults and 12% of children have an addiction to ultra-processed foods. Ultra-processed foods are associated with adverse health outcomes According to a literature review published in the journal Nutrients in 2020, high consumption of ultra-

processed foods has been linked to numerous health issues: “Among adults, these included overweight, obesity and cardio-metabolic risks; cancer, type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases; irritable bowel syndrome, depression and frailty conditions; and all-cause mortality.” The WHO recently reported that higher consumption of ultraprocessed food is associated with an increased risk of cancer and cardiometabolic multimorbidity, in what it is calling a “groundbreaking study” based on a quarter of a million men and women in seven European countries. Emerging research shows that our bodies seem to react differently to ultra-processed foods compared with similar, less processed foods. In a study published in 2019, for example, researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the United States looked at whether eating ultraprocessed foods affected energy intake and, by extension, weight gain. The researchers randomly divided the study participants (10 men and 10 women) into two groups. They received an ultra-processed or unprocessed diet for 14 days, then switched to the other diet for 14 days. “Meals were designed to be matched for presented calories, energy density, macronutrients, sugar, sodium, and fiber,” the researchers wrote in the journal Cell Metabolism. Both groups could eat as much as they wanted. The result? When participants were on the ultra-processed diet, they consumed about 500 more calories per day (from carbohydrates and fat) than when they ate the unprocessed diet, and they gained weight. While on the unprocessed diet, they lost weight. The researchers concluded, “Limiting consumption of ultra-processed foods may be an effective strategy for obesity prevention and treatment.”

60 canfitpro January/February 2024

They could not yet explain why the diet of ultra-processed foods led to higher calorie intake. What they hoped to learn, by matching the nutritional variables in the presented meals of the two diets, was whether “other aspects” besides the nutrient content of ultra-processed foods contribute to excess energy intake. “Had the experimental diets used in our study allowed for greater differences in sugar, fat, and sodium content more typical of differences between ultra-processed versus unprocessed diets, we may have observed larger differences in energy intake,” the researchers wrote. What this means: The impact of ultraprocessed foods on weight gain or weight loss could be greater than seen in the study, which was already substantial.

AN UNNECESSARY DEBATE OVER ANIMAL VERSUS PLANT FOODS IS DISTRACTING US FROM WHAT REALLY MATTERS: THE DEGREE OF PROCESSING. Making room for whole foods: What should you cut out? Plant-based eating dominates nutrition news—and rightly so, as many people will benefit from eating more vegetables, fruit, intact whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. But what should come off our plates to make room? The knee-jerk response is often animal-sourced foods such as beef, dairy, pork, and chicken. But in their whole and least processed forms, these foods are rich in vitamins, minerals, and protein, and they contain a modest number of calories. In contrast, ultra-processed foods tend to be high in calories, fat, salt, and sugar, and are often low in key nutrients (except for fortified ultra-processed foods). It is worth noting that in the NIH study, animal foods such as grilled chicken and beef tender roast were part of the unprocessed food diet, on which participants lost weight.

Yet, the first impulse for many people looking to cut calories or fat intake is to eat less meat rather than less highly processed food. Three ways to eat more whole and minimally processed foods Canadians often reach for ultraprocessed foods because they are convenient. Encourage your clients to make whole foods the easier choice with these strategies. 1. Cook once, eat twice. Batch cooking saves time, and it takes just a bit of planning. Prepare extra portions and refrigerate or freeze them. Try: big-batch beef and bean chili or a veggie-packed lentil soup. 2. Prep healthy ingredients in advance. If you have nutritious proteins, veggies/fruit, and whole grains ready in your fridge, freezer, and pantry, it is easy to make a quick soup, smoothie, nourish bowl, salad or grab-and-go snack. Try: canned fish, pumpkin seeds, leftover steak, roasted veggies, frozen berries, hard-cooked eggs, big batch of cooked ground beef, cooked grains like barley, farro or oatmeal. 3. Post a list of easy weeknight dinners on the fridge. When you are “hangry” or tempted to eat out, this list will remind you of quick options you can make. Try: veggie frittata and sweet potato fries, trout and veggie sheet pan dinner, or steak-veggie kebabs and a bag of store-bought salad mix.

Carol Harrison is a registered dietician who loves her daily workouts! She has a food nutrition communications company in Toronto. For more recipes, healthy hacks, or article suggestions, connect with Carol on IG @ CarolHarrison.RD

canfitpro January/February 2024






STRESS RESILIENCY AND ITS IMPACT ON MENTAL WELLBEING WHETHER WE “FEEL STRESSED” OR NOT, MOST OF US ARE PLACING MULTIPLE DEMANDS ON OURSELVES THAT ARE AFFECTING OUR STRESS RESILIENCY. We may have full class and training schedules, overloading us physically with not enough recovery time. We may have careers in other industries, teach or train on the side and take care of our families in between. We may be building our own businesses where we are always thinking about new ways of doing things or hustling for more clients. And then, add this to the global landscape, general worries for the future, and the continued healing from our past. The thing is stress resiliency is not based on just mental stress or physical stress, but all the things we do on a regular basis that add up, one on top of the other without adequate rest and/or fuel in between. Stress resiliency is measured by our 62 canfitpro January/February 2024

ability to easily toggle between the parasympathetic nervous system (rest/digest) and the sympathetic nervous system (fight/flight). It is our ability to get up and go or react when we need and our ability to come back to a state of rest when the activity has passed. This is also measured by how easily it is to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night. Both parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems are part of our autonomic nervous system, which means they are automatic functions for survival. Our heart continually beating is part of this same system.

maybe longer, but eventually your supporting leg will get increasingly tired and sore, you might start to get a bit cranky because of it, you might snap at someone over something that generally would not bother you. Imagine spending every day like this. This is what happens when stress resiliency is low. We are stuck in our fight/flight system, our whole being feels tightly wound. Digestion, sleep, and our immune system is compromised, and experiences of anxiety and depression are more common. All of these are signs to show us it is time to slow down.

Essentially, stress resiliency is compromised when we are continually asking ourselves to do more with less, ultimately causing a disregulation to our nervous system. This is so often a slow burn. We do not even realize we have been pushing ourselves a little too much until it is too late. Imagine standing on one leg all day. It would not even register for the first few minutes,


USEFUL TIPS TO RESET THE NERVOUS SYSTEM By Lisa Greenbaum our life, but we also need to recognize that life is made up of peaks and valleys, easy and more challenging times, and without building in resources to support you through these times it can have dire effects on your mental wellness. The challenge is that we become so wrapped up in everything we are doing and must do, we do not even know how to make that happen. The light at the end of the tunnel does not even exist. Burnout has already set in and the only thing you know how to do is keep going (survive). I know, I have been there. Of course, you want to take a holiday or a day off. You want to run away from your responsibilities or cut down on your classes or clients but that just cannot happen right now. So how are we going to reset the nervous system among all this? Here are some tips I have used and continue to use: Educate yourself. Learn more about why regulating your nervous system is important and understand the stress

response. Knowledge is power and a great motivator. Start a meditation practice. Insight Timer is a free app with thousands of diverse ways to practice, including guided meditations on processing stress, breath work, and music. Search for my name and you will find a few I have posted as well. Ten minutes a day can go a long way. Prioritize. Not everything must be done immediately. What are the three things you must do today, rather than trying to follow your never ending “to do list?” Build in a little self-care. Can you take a hot bath or an extra-long shower occasionally or call (as in speak to, not text) a good friend or family member who always makes you feel good? Play your favourite song or band during your commute. Stay hydrated, limit caffeine. Maybe this is something you are already good with, but every now and then we

do need a check in. Obviously, exercise and nutrition are paramount, but you are a fitness professional, so you already know that. At the same time, I have known too many people (me included) who learn the hard way that it is not always enough. We work in an incredible industry that gives us so much back. Let us make sure we are checking in with ourselves and not just with our clients when it comes to stress resiliency, so that the longevity and passion we have for our careers continues for a lifetime. Lisa Greenbaum, E-RYT 500 + C-IAYT is the founder of Sangha Yoga Collective, a trauma informed and philosophy first Yoga Education School offering 200 + 300-hr YTT certifications across Canada. Lisa is an awardwinning presenter and change maker with 20+ years of industry experience.

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64 canfitpro January/February 2024

A NEW YEAR BRINGS EXCITEMENT TO EXPAND YOUR BUSINESS BY ADDING NEW OFFERINGS, INCORPORATING BETTER TECHNOLOGY, AND EXPANDING PROCEDURES. However, adding to your daily routine only works if you have items to remove. Otherwise, the new and exciting destroys the tried and true, or the business-saving idea never comes to fruition due to the lack of time.

audience, independent of external platforms. Blogging allows search engines to find your website quickly while enticing people to leave social media to journey to your website (where your store should be located). Finally, do not forget that you should be an active community member; meeting and networking with people in real life can bring you clients faster than a doom scroll ever will.

In the words of Patti Digh, “Sometimes our stop-doing list needs to be bigger than our to-do list.”


The feeling of overwhelm is a common struggle, especially for those of us who find it challenging to say “no.” However, the good news is that being overwhelmed is normal and unnecessary. In this article, I will guide you through five crucial tasks to stop doing in 2024, paving the way for a life without constant overwhelm and reclaiming joy.

By diversifying communication through email lists, optimizing website visibility with blogging, and actively engaging with your community in real life, you not only fortify your online presence but also foster meaningful connections that extend beyond the confines of social media, ultimately contributing to the sustained growth and success of your business.

Stop Trying to Offer It All to Everyone All at Once While it is admirable to want to cater to everyone by offering the full buffet, it is an impossible feat. Embrace the idea that not everyone needs your flavour, and you do not have to offer every type of support, and that is perfectly fine. Identify your target audience and tailor your offerings to cater to their needs. Focus on programs, classes, and sessions that bring you joy while addressing your audience’s pain points. Remember, letting go of clients and offerings that do not align with your vision is okay.

Stop Manually Following Up With Leads Technology can be a powerful ally in managing your business efficiently. Invest time in setting up automated systems within your email service. Create drip campaigns to nurture new clients, abandoned cart emails for your store, and even thoughtful messages for those who unsubscribe. Automating these processes saves time and ensures consistent and timely follow-ups.

Finding your niche allows you to cultivate a community that resonates with your unique offerings. By focusing on your strengths and passions, you provide better services and reclaim your time and energy. Stop Focusing Only on Social Media While social media is a valuable tool, it is essential to diversify your communication channels. Building an email list provides a direct line to your

Automating follow-ups not only streamlines your workflow but also enhances client engagement. Personalize automated messages to maintain a human touch, making your clients feel valued and connected. Stop Creation Overload Creating valuable content is essential but does not have to be a constant struggle. Repurpose and recycle your best work to maximize its impact. If you have developed an outstanding workout or training plan, find multiple ways to share it. Whether through

an email series, blog posts, or social media, one piece of content can serve multiple purposes. Repurposing content saves time and allows you to reach a broader audience. Leverage different formats and platforms to share your expertise, establishing yourself as an authority in your field. Stop Forcing It If the tasks do not bring you joy, it is time to reassess. Delegate responsibilities by hiring a social media manager, partnering with other professionals, or finding an online manager to oversee systems. Acknowledge that asking for help is a strength, not a weakness, and focus on the aspects of your business that truly bring you happiness. Recognizing your limitations and seeking assistance is pivotal to achieving sustainable success. By building a supportive network and delegating tasks, you free up mental space and energy to focus on what you love most – creating a positive impact through your work. Embrace these five tasks and witness the transformation as you create space for joy, purpose, and a more sustainable approach to your business in 2024. Remember, the power to live without constant overwhelm lies in your daily intentional choices.

Jessica H. Maurer, FIT4MOM Director of Operations & Product, crafts innovative learning experiences for fitness professionals nationwide, including digital certifications and leadership courses. As a global fitness business consultant, Jessica elevates professionals and brands through education, development, and brand awareness. She is a sought-after presenter, with certifications and workshops at IDEA World, SCW Mania, canfitpro, AsiaFit, FitnessFest, and beyond.

canfitpro January/February 2024


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