Recently I have become fascinated and fully inspired by Kitchener, Ontario’s first integrated fitness, yoga and hockey training centre.
I must admit, I did not originally come across Active Souls Project because of their impressive gym program, but rather they came to my attention because of their excellent social media presence. Their Facebook page, Twitter account @ActiveSoulsPro, and Instagram posts inspire me and make me smile each and every time I see them, which fortunately is often.
As someone who pays attention to and writes for social media (read my blog post (At least) 5 Easy Social Media Tips and Tools for Beginners), I have to say their active use of social media gives a great example of posting engaging content. I LOVE seeing what they are doing, and delight in their use of fun & positive videos, and great hashtags. Seriously. Check out their hashtags.
Excellent use of social media aside, I love everything that this inclusive gym stands for. With groups having names such as: TeenFit, GirlzGoneStrong, KidzGoneStrong, as well as facilitating Special Olympics powerlifting, strength and conditioning training, classes in yoga, and lifting clubs for both guys and gals – this gym has something for everyone.
And by everyone, they mean everyone.
Their mission: “To grow and nurture an integrated healthy and fit community through education and support”, and their “no bull code of conduct” is as follows:
- " Absolutely NO bullying of any kind is tolerated in our facility
- We are a completely integrated facility and believe EVERY ABILITY has the right to attain our services, participate in our programs and belong under our roof. If you do not agree, we will not judge you however this is not the right facility for you
- We work hard for you and we expect the same in return. We will not waste your time so please do not waste ours. Show up ready to try, prepared to listen, wanting to learn and work hard. #RESPECT"
It is clear – right from the start – that this gym is an inclusive one.
They believe that “fitness is more than physical well-being”. They see it as “an outlet that works to improve daily living skills, harvest positive social interactions and teach critical life skills, for an overall improvement in quality of life”.
And that is why they have attracted some pretty awesome athletes.
Thankfully, in Canada, Active Souls Project is not the only gym with this philosophy. Flux School of Human Movement in Regina, Saskatchewan is another such space.
As the name suggests, this award-winning school is “dedicated to the study, practice and research of human movement”, and “strives to create a collective body that is open to tackling new movement challenges - bodies and minds that are both adaptable and resilient”.
Now those are the kind of gyms I can get behind – even if I can’t get my behind into the gym!
More information inclusive fitness:
4 Tips for Training Special Populations, by Erin Billowits,