Fernie’s newest unisex fitness outlet has been gaining popularity since opening last January. With different classes, a variety of equipment, and a focus on wellness, Vitality is much more than just a gym.
Owner Amanda Markou moved to Fernie 16 years ago for the ski hill, and like many others, she never left. The idea to open up Vitality came to Markou after completing her yoga training in India in 2010 and returning home.
“When I came back to the community and started teaching yoga I had a good following and people liked my teaching style, so I thought to myself, maybe I can do something,” said Markou. “Knowing the community, knowing the need for a possible additional facility, there was a need for something, but I didn’t want to pigeonhole my business into just yoga.”
She added, “I wanted to incorporate everything so that people could pay one fee and come and do a variety of different things, so it’s not just yoga, it’s not just lifting weights and doing the gym thing.”
Vitality has a cardio room with treadmills, elliptical machines, and recumbent bikes, a spin room, as well as a studio that holds boot camp, ball core conditioning, yoga, dancercise, and TRX classes. The facility also offers personal training services.
Markou expressed how important it is for Vitality to be different from larger, chain gyms.
“It is a warm, welcoming environment. It’s intimate, I know all of my clients’ names, I’m very proud of that,” she remarked. “I don’t want you to pay and then never see you. The big franchises, that’s their ideal customer.
“We send emails out to our clients if we haven’t seen them in a week to 10 days. They get an email saying where are you, we miss you, get yourself in here, and sign up for a class. We want people to succeed and meet their fitness goals.”
It’s Markou’s own lifelong interest in fitness that keeps her motivated and passionate about Vitality. Markou believes her previous experience with social work also plays into the business. She explained, “I feel like I’m a good motivator when I’m in my classes talking to people, getting them through it.”
While things may have got off to a slow start in January, membership at Vitality has been on the rise since this fall. “Not until the weather got really bad in the fall did it start to pick up and turn around,” said Markou. “The people who have been with me since January, that I’m so grateful for, are starting to see the facility get busier. We’re getting there, it’s good.”
Now with once a month wellness workshops offered, plus the addition of pre-natal yoga classes, Vitality is continuing to grow. For more information on membership or classes, visit www.vitalityfernie.ca.