Friday, July 8, 2016
4 years ago, I made the move to a storefront in the Kingston Road Village. My entire family helped me build the studio into something amazing. I loved it. It was worth all the hard work. Some days I worked 14 hours... but, it did not seem like hard work. I was building something and I was thriving. I was working with no budget for marketing, but what I was doing was working. The ladies that came through the doors loved it and kept coming back... my vision was coming to life.
I spent the next 4 years building a community. A safe place for moms to bring their kids throughout the day and a place for women of all ages and stages to start their journey of health and fitness in a social, safe and welcoming environment. I built a lot of friendships and watched a lot of friendships grow in the studio. Even on the days that I was tired and stressed, as soon as the ladies walked into the studio, it all became easier. They helped me through the day more than they will ever know.
The fitness world comes in waves... we all know how busy the gyms get in January and by February they are near empty again... then they fill up again in the spring as people realize they are not comfortable hanging out on the beach in their winter bodies... then, they empty out again in the summer. I cannot really blame anyone for this in Canada... we have 2-3 months of awesome weather each year, if we are lucky... why spend that time indoors at a fitness studio? Trust me, I get it. Then there is the fall surge again when the kids go back to school and the parents find some time for themselves again... or when the cottages are locked up for the season and people have their weekends in the city again... which is quickly followed by the mid-November mass-exodus... between work functions and family celebrations, membership drops dramatically from mid-November to the first week of January. So, no matter how hard I worked and how much family time I gave up, I felt like I was always battling to get people in the studio. The times when the classes were empty and clients postponed workouts for another day started to drain me. As much as I understood why the clients were not there, it was getting more and more difficult to justify being away from my family during these times. The problem was, I could not just lock up and go home... even if no one was there… I needed to be there. I needed to offer the class to the 1 participant that was still motivated to workout and keep in shape, even if it was the perfect day to sit on a patio and enjoy a drink. That 1 participant is why I love what I do. When you find that client that understands all the benefits to staying fit (and is willing to give up an hour on the patio to make it happen), it makes it all worth it.
I had poured my heart and soul into the studio. I did everything I could to build the client base and keep them happy. I added classes that were requested. I brought in instructors that I knew would fit in perfectly with the community I had built. I did everything in my abilities to make sure Beaches Fitness was a community fitness studio that put the clients first. I loved it.
So, why did I pack up and move back to my in-home studio? Well, because as much as I love fitness and working with so many amazing people... I love my family more. Most of you know that I have 2 growing little ladies. The fitness world does not work well with a family schedule and I found myself missing out on too many family opportunities. Before I started to resent the studio for it, I made the difficult decision to close the doors and downsize back to my in-home studio. It was not an easy decision, but as soon as I made it, I felt a huge weight lift off my shoulders.
I have spent the spring focusing on my family and I have not been this happy in a very long time. I am still working with my personal training clients, but my schedule is more flexible and I have been able to find the work / life balance again. It is something we should all strive for.
I am very proud of what I built over the past 4 years. I love the community and the friendships that have grown at 862 Kingston Rd. I hope all of my ladies have continued with their training and have found a studio that works for them. I miss them all so much, but this was a change I need to make. The great thing is I am pretty sure most of them understood that and fully supported my decision. I was surrounded by so many great women that I consider friends; I am very lucky.
In the very near future, I will be offering daytime classes again. I will be sending out some more information about that soon, but that is not what this post is about. This post is about finding a way to pursue your career and / or passions (which, if you are lucky, can be both) while still finding a way to spend quality time with your family.
I am excited for the little things... going camping for 9 days and not worrying if my clients can reach me... no charging my blackberry each night to quickly check emails. I am excited to be able to take a day off to go to Canada's Wonderland with my husband... and not feeling guilty that the studio will be closed all day because I am being selfish. I am excited that if a client needs to come a little earlier or later than planned, I can easily make that happen and not worry about 10 other things going on at the studio at the same time. I am excited for the nights when I do train until 9pm at night, that my girls can come down and see my in the studio and I can still get good night kisses. All these little things remind me that I made the right choice.
I have also spent a lot of time over the past few months finding myself again. Anyone that has seen me in the school yard or on the street as has seen some of the changes (mainly the pink and blue hair)... but, there have been a lot of internal changes as well. I am taking more time for myself. I am showing my girls that it is important to be selfish sometimes. It is not a bad thing to put you first sometimes. My girls come first most of the time... but sometimes, it is nice just to worry about me (while they are happy and safe with my parents at the cottage... not too shabby for them either). I am exploring my options for the future... school is definitely in my future... finding my passion is definitely in my future... adventure is definitely in my future... so many doors have opened since I closed the doors of the studio.
So, I hope you all understand why I made the decision to close the studio. I have the opportunity to continue training and working with my clients while spending more time with my family. It is not easy to balance work and family in our society. I hope you all take any opportunity you are given to find this balance. It is worth every minute and every time I get a kiss goodnight, I am reminded of that.