Business Spotlight: onlythestrong

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What type of business are you in?

onlythestrong is a Personal Training & Fitness Education organization with two locations in Toronto and Etobicoke.

Tell us about your business?

The common saying ‘only the strong’ is generally understood as a reference to physical strength. This could not be further from the truth in our business. We have structured our focus around education of both our clients and our students in order to empower them to continue to grow and evolve in whatever way they choose in the industry.

Our Personal Training programs are designed to focus on the teachables as we believe the key reason why people ‘quit’ is a lack of why. Therefore, we have constructed our programming to give clients educational takeaways about their personal fitness each and every session. In addition, our courses are designed for students to bridge their understanding of fitness education by challenging and improving their depth of knowledge in ways they never considered. Thus, when we reference ‘strength’ at our organization we are speaking about wealth of knowledge. The more you have, the stronger you are and only the strong survive.

How long have you been in the industry?

I have been in the industry for over 10 years.

What attracted you to the fitness industry?

My attraction to the fitness industry began as I transitioned from professional sports. I recognized soon after beginning my first job in the industry that there were definite gaps in the way we interacted with clients at a professional level as well as what we taught as core concepts for new Personal Trainers. After earning my way through my first few years I finally opened my own business with the unique design of being client friendly and completely transparent for the new fitness professional. We have seen nothing but growth ever since.

What has been your greatest challenge as a business owner/operator and how did you overcome it?

The greatest challenge in our organization is the narrative. Not changing it, challenging it. So much of the fitness industry (as is the same in many others) is created by influence. We are told where to work. We are told what constitutes good work. Told what we should learn and where we should learn it from. All of these things are driven by a narrative constructed by mass marketing or big box agenda.

I strongly believe that if you want any opportunity you can make it happen for yourself regardless of any of the variables presented to you. In fact, I would suggest the conventional way is conventional for a reason and the true value of this industry is doing what you want, not what you are told you should want. At onlythestrong we have created a ‘think tank’ approach that has challenged the narrative by providing Personal Training & Fitness Education that is cost effective and forward thinking so there are no barriers to entry and zero dips in quality. We have created a market in a void formally untouched and because of this our clients and students continue to thrive in their fitness and their careers. As I said the narrative still exists and I like that. What we are doing is showing you that there isn’t only ‘one way’. Consumer choice is paramount.

What do you hope your buyers achieve within your product/service?

I hope that anyone who interacts with onlythestrong is able to see that our organization provides a dynamic revitalization of what it means to be a client. In addition, I hope that our students are able to appreciate the importance of their role as a mentor and recognize the value of their contribution to our industry. Heightened awareness is how we create quality. Regardless of how you interact with onlythestrong, my hope is that we are able to create an environment for you to thrive whether you are a person or a professional.

Tell us your greatest memory/highlight in your career?

The greatest highlight of my career was getting up one day and walking away from a job that was paying me 100k+ with zero plan of action. That moment made me. It allowed me to finally live the way I wanted to and made me realize that everything I created after that point was solely the construction of the universe as I saw it. This allowed me to take who I was as a person and turn it into a product. Obviously it is clear the decision paid off. For anyone else who may have the desire, always remember to bet on yourself. You will never lose.

How long have you attended canfitpro events?

I’ve been attending canfitpro events for 15 years.

What is the percentage of Canadian business you currently have?

I currently have 100% of Canadian business.

How do you plan to grow your Canadian business in the next 12-24 months?

Getting back to what we do best. Service, service, service. We have survived on service and will continue to make that our focus as Canadians deserve better. We look forward to the future of fitness and welcome all of those looking for a change. Whether it is in-person, online or in-home, our team will be the solution for years to come.


Visit our website, find us on Instagram or email us for more information.

How To Motivate and Inspire Others When You Feel Stuck?

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By Nathalie Plamondon-Thomas

The global pandemic bombarded the fitness industry with bad news after bad news. It is expected that your brain gets in what I call prefrontal cortex overload. Fear is taking over. How are you supposed to motivate and inspire others when you personally feel stuck? Do you feel like powerful emotions are having the best of you? Do you feel overwhelmed sometimes or angry, sad, afraid? Your clients look up to you for motivation and inspiration. You practically have written the book on confidence. So why is it that these emotions seem to have the upper hand? Why do they linger and keep us stuck?

How long should a powerful emotion last?

The full course of a powerful emotion is between 30 and 90 seconds. When you experience fear, or any other powerful emotion, you go through one loop and then you exit the loop so that you can move on with your life. The unconscious mind comes to the rescue. It removes the emotion from your prefrontal cortex and moves it at the back of your brain. You have surely witnessed that with children. They’re super happy. A second later, they are going through a full temper tantrum. A moment later, then they’re happy again. Emotions should not last for more than 30 to 90 seconds. So why do people get stuck for months at a time in an emotion cycle? Why are we still upset at the guy that cut us off on the highway, three hours after we arrived at work? Why do we maintain our state of negative emotion and don’t exit the loop like we used to do when we were children?

Here is how fear and other powerful emotions are generated inside your brain.

The prefrontal cortex of your brain creates all emotions equally. The brain does not know the difference between overwhelm and excited. If you decide that the emotion you are feeling is anxiety, your brain will send 1400 chemicals (including cortisol) in your body to pollute it, to slow you down, which will make you feel deprived of energy. However, if you decide that it’s excitement, then your brain will send very different type of chemical in your bloodstream. Dopamine, endorphin, oxytocin or serotonin are feel-good chemicals that will be released in your bloodstream when experiencing a positive emotion. The specific type of chemical released will depend on multiple factors, i.e. if there’s people around you, if you’re moving or not, etc.

So how do we “decide” that what we are experiencing is a positive emotion?

I like to explain how powerful emotions work with using the analogy of a delivery truck. When a powerful emotion enters your prefrontal cortex, it’s like you have a delivery truck in your driveway bringing you a package. The only thing the delivery guy wants to do is for you to open the door of your house so that he can give you the package and be on his way. The “package” represents a positive learning. Something that will make you grow. This parcel is like a gift that you should be excited to receive. Unfortunately, we are usually not very welcoming when it comes to powerful emotions like anger, fear, hurt, etc. Instead of opening the door to receive our gift, we ignore it. We are sometimes in front of co-workers or clients, so we keep on smiling and we pretend the truck isn’t there. We get home and the kids ask us: “Are you okay mommy?” and we answer: “Yes, mommy is fine!” with a huge pretend-smile. By not letting the delivery guy in, we postpone the delivery.

Unlike real life, the truck doesn’t leave the driveway. It stays there and idles until we open the door. Fear stays in the pre-frontal cortex. We keep going through life and The Show Must Go On, right? Sometimes, another truck drives in with another package that we ignore again. We don’t have time for these deliveries. Soon, our whole driveway is blocked with trucks and we feel stuck. We can no longer walk around them. There are too many trucks, too many unopened packages.

It seems that the pandemic has brought us many gifts. Many unexpected packages. There may still be many trucks waiting for us to accept to open the door and discover our positive learning.

If you feel there are a few delivery trucks in your driveway, get excited instead of overwhelm: “Oh, I’m receiving a parcel.” Enter your 30-second loop and go from “Oh no, what’s happening? I am uncomfortable!” to immediately remembering the delivery truck and repeat to yourself: “Okay, if I am feeling this way, it must be that I am receiving a gift. This is awesome. I’m going to grow.” Who doesn’t like gifts? Right? Ask yourself: “What is it that I’m going to learn? How will that make me grow? What am I going to become better at? What could be the silver lining?”

Remember that in order for the delivery truck to leave your driveway, you need to open the door and open the parcel. Receive the package. Take a moment to sit back and breathe and be excited about what you will learn.

You can now go through your life with more confidence because you know how emotions work and you know out to get out of the emotional loop whenever you feel stuck. Find the positive learning and the truck will leave your driveway.

Understanding powerful emotions is one of the 15 keys to finding confidence that I present in the course THINK Yourself® CONFIDENT. If you want to learn more about confidence, check out the course here:

canfitpro members get 50% off THINK Yourself® ACADEMY online courses.

Email Marketing 101: Increase Your Business With Emails (Part 2)

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In part 1 of our email marketing series, we went over the basic understanding of an email as well as the types of emails you can send. Read Part 1 of our Email Marketing 101 series.

In part 2, we’ll conclude by telling you about the best times to send emails, what key metrics to look for, best practices and which email platforms you can use to send emails.


Your customers and audience will tell you when they’d like to receive your emails simply by looking at your analytics (see below).

However, the general rule of thumb is to send an email earlier in the day – between 4 am – 6 am.

This ensures that people who like to read emails get it in the morning. If your customers check their inboxes in the afternoon or evening, it will also be waiting for them.

If you want to be certain that you’re sending it at the best time, you can either test different times (e.g. morning, afternoon and evening). You can also change your email client settings to automatically send the email at the best time based on their inboxes.


You want to know that your hard work is paying off. Optimizing and testing your emails will ensure that you can continue to improve the messaging for your audience. Although every email client is different, there are some things that you should watch for.

Pick one or two metrics to watch for a few weeks to get comfortable before moving on to the others.

Open rate – This indicates how many people opened your email. If you have a high open rate, it could mean you have a great subject line or people know you, the sender.

Clicks – This shows how many times people clicked on links in your emails.

Click-through rate (CTR) – The CTR of your emails is more detailed than just counting clicks. Simply, this means the percent of people who clicked on the links in your email. If you’re not sure which metrics to track first, start with CTR as it is one of the most – if not the most – important metrics. This gives you direct insight on how many people on your mailing list are engaging with your content.

Unsubscribes – Unsubscribes shows you how many people unsubscribed from your mailing list after receiving an email. If you sent an email and immediately saw a lot of people unsubscribe, it could mean that they didn’t like what you sent them.


Here are some best practices to build your emails.

Consistency – Try to send your emails on a consistent basis. Weekly or monthly newsletters are a great way to do this as people will come to expect your emails on a particular day.

Don’t send too many emails – Unless you have a really good reason to send an email to the same list every day, don’t do it. Where you can, try to segment your audiences based on different interests to make the emails more targeted and relevant to each audience.

Make sure you have permission to use images – If you’re going to use images or photos of your clients, make sure they’re OK with you using them. Alternatively, stock photos are a great way to convey your message.

Some great paid websites for stock images are iStock, Adobe Stock and Stock Photo Secrets. There are also plenty of free stock photo websites like Pixabay, Pexels and Unsplash, but you’re limited in the choice.

Include your social links in the footer – If you have active social channels, put them in the footer of your emails. This will help widen your social media audience and give your followers another way to stay in touch with your business.


There are a lot of email platforms available on the market, each with their own pros and cons. Most email platforms will charge you based on the number of contacts you have in your email database, so the bigger your database, the higher your fees.

Some email platforms which are less costly include Constant Contact, MailChimp and Get Response. Full marketing automation systems like Marketo and Hubspot also have email functions, but are more expensive.

Whatever email platform you choose, make sure you get familiar with all its features.

No matter what kinds of emails you send, make sure to be consistent and deliver what your audience wants to hear. Don’t be afraid to test different parts of the email, whether it’s subject lines, colours, or CTAs.

With the right email strategy, your fitness business can attract new customers, build trust and engagement, and help your business grow.


Staying Motivated and Inspired in the Now Normal

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When ‘social’ distancing becomes an ever growing term not only in our everyday lives but the ways in which we lead group fitness classes, it can be easy to lose momentum and motivation, or just not feel inspired. As humans, we crave human connection, we want to feel a sense of belonging. As group fitness instructors, one of our jobs is to lead safe and effective classes where we can deliver not only the ‘workout’ but the magic behind it all.  The ‘feel good’ reward of connecting students, helping them relieve stress and feel part of something bigger. It’s what keeps us going and gets us up and ready to teach each day. The pandemic has provided us challenges, but our POUND® Pro community has adapted creatively and kept their students rocking in more ways than we could have imagined.

We believe the key to keeping your students motivated, encouraged, and inspired during the new year and the new normal is to give a little more kindness, love and opportunities to share:

  • Be there for them. Whether you lead virtual classes or not, reach out to your students by phone, email, or social media to check in on them. Going beyond the class and truly being there for our students, showing them we care, treating them as family, will deepen those moments and not only lead to forever students but create relationships that will be lifelong. We believe mental health is just as important as physical health and for us to be there for our students, we need to focus on our mental state. Looking for ways to reset? Here some tips for a mental health reset.
  • Spotlight a student on social media. This could be a post or even a story. Not only will this help build those bonds and human connection, it will keep your students engaged with you and your classes. Maybe it’s tagging them on social media, giving reasons why you love having them in class and having them respond with a reason why they love it. They feel seen, like they still belong, and loved. Building those relationships will encourage students to keep coming back!
  • Provide a safe and secure environment. At POUND® we honor imperfection and celebrate NOISE. During these days, honor the feelings of your students. Give them a place where they can release some emotion while feeling safe, secure, and included. Maybe this is a virtual class, maybe this is during your intro or creating a separate time to share.
  • Create some incentives or fun community challenges. We just finished our annual 12 Days of POUND, our engaging marketing campaigns are ways for us to give back to them, stay motivated, while giving away some fun prizes. It’s important to remember to keep your students accountable by providing them incentives to move each day.
  • Be the example. It’s okay to feel and honor emotions, while also staying positive in-person and virtually, on social media platforms. When we sit back and see the good that is coming out of this year, the additional virtual connections gained, we can begin to see what is truly important to us. Choosing to highlight the positives will go a long way to keeping students inspired and ready to stay on path.

POUND® has transformed its training and class opportunities to support virtual fitness instruction in this new ‘socially distanced’ time.

  • Virtual Trainings: POUND® now delivers the same training and experience as we would with in-person, virtually. Which takes away the need for travel and lets new Pros from all over the globe to certify with ease. Using a video conference platform to deliver content while maintaining connection and engagement in a virtual environment, these training experiences can be done in one or two day options from absolutely anywhere. We’ve witnessed incredible connections being made with new Pros from all over the world, who meet in training and become family as they go on to share the magic of POUND®. To find out more on our virtual training offerings, click HERE.
  • Virtual Classes: For our Pros to continue to feel successful and to offer classes to their students, we have given them the opportunity to lead virtual classes. We’ve created meaningful content including  additional education and resources within our online education platform, the Label. If you’re an instructor that is getting started, here are 5 Simple Ways to Set Up a Virtual Studio.
  • Virtual Master Classes, Workshops, and E-Courses: For our Pros to truly lead with success and for their students to continue to feel like rockstars, we’ve added additional learning opportunities in the form of virtual courses and workshops, as well as on-demand E-courses. Topics range from how to lead and promote virtual classes to ways in which to elevate your cueing both verbally and visually. We’ve also provided free master classes as a way to learn and grow from our ICON team.
  • POUND Backstage: Backstage is an online platform and app, offering our community Rockout Workouts, on demand. There are 25+ videos with unlimited access to workouts including; full jam sessions, intervals, and targeted quickies! The music is different from our in-person or virtual classes which helps differentiate and create an at home unique experience – and a reason to do both!


Amy Ward is not only one of POUND®’s badass ICONs but she also works at POUND® HQ as the Pro Success Manager, dedicating her time to building relationships with Pros and helping them take their career and skills to the next level. Amy’s heart beats for not only POUND®, but for the people it has brought to her.


POUND® is a workout revolution and lifestyle brand that aims to change minds before bodies and use beat and alternative movement to launch people to new heights of self-worth, happiness, and human connection. AKA, release their INNER ROCKSTARS.

Turning workouts into fitness concerts and music into movement, POUND® uses Ripstix®, lightly weighted exercise drumsticks to transform drumming into a sweat dripping, full-body workout. Designed for all fitness levels, POUND® provides the perfect atmosphere for letting loose, getting energized, toning up and rockin’ out!

What started as two stix and an idea in Los Angeles, California is now a global fitness family of over 25k+ POUND Pros transforming lives in every corner of the world. You will find our instructors leading over 400,000 participants per week in over 100 countries.

FOLLOW US: @pounfit + @amywardfit