Biz spreads fitness message

Catherine Cameron left a six-figure job to spread the word about getting in shape in an approachable, common sense way.

The certified group fitness instructor and former personal trainer has always incorporated high-intensity workouts and teaching into her life. But when her daughter and daughter’s friends hit the teen years — a time when Cameron says girls in particular fall off the fitness bandwagon — the mother of two decided to leave her role as the executive director of a foundation helping teen girls and embark on her own fitness enterprise.

The York Mills Road and Leslie Street area resident is only a few months into her new venture, Everfit (www.everfit.ca), which offers in-school and camp programs for kids as well as teen and adult outdoor fitness programs. But so far she’s teaching 14 classes a week and has waiting lists for some of her kid and teen fall programs.

While fitness gurus do take Cameron’s classes, Cameron says her common sense approach attracts people who may not be the sports stars of the bunch — people who are overweight; people who are discouraged by high-intensity workouts; people who have been injured by more strenuous workout regimes.

In keeping with the common sense attitude, many classes, like Cameron’s Walkfit programs, entail walking in the great outdoors in Sunnybrook Park. But don’t let the walking part fool you. The classes incorporate lunges, squats, hill climbs, weights and more.

“We sell people on the walking part as it sounds easy,” Cameron jokes.

The Nordic walking class in particular is great for women, she adds, as it involves walking with specialized poles to develop arm muscles, which aren’t easy to tone. Plus you engage your abdominal muscles 1,800 times for every mile you walk, she says.

“It’s one of the best low impact workouts you can get.”

People may look at you funny as you pole down the street, she admits, but it’s a concern she no longer has.

Now she does Nordic walking all around the streets in her community, poles and all.

There have been surprising successes. The Sunday morning Hikefit outdoor program for kids in grades 5 through 7 was so successful when she launched this spring that there’s already a waiting list for the fall class.

The program is also expanding to include kids in grades 3 and 4.

And for Cameron’s teen daughter who partially inspired the idea for the business in the first place?

Cameron says she rolled her eyes when she heard of the hiking program. Now she’s its biggest advocate.

“She tried it and loved it and was the first person to say, ‘I can’t wait for the fall class’”.


About this article:

By: Kelly Gadzala
Posted: Aug 10 2010 1:18 pm
Filed in: Business
Edition: Toronto
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