One local fitness facility is celebrating its 10th anniversary with a trophy for its mantel. Movimento Fitness is the St. Albert Chamber of Commerce’s 2020 recipient as Outstanding Business 1-9 Employees.
“We were honoured to win the award. Even in the process of doing an interview, we noticed there were some great names and we are always honoured to be nominated alongside these great businesses,” said owner Kim Sparks.
Though not privy to the judging process, Jennifer McCurdy, outgoing president and CEO of the St. Albert Chamber of Commerce, shared comments a judge made.
“Movimento has drive and passion. They’re so energetic and believe in what they do. My understanding is that is what made them stand out as well as their commitment to the community,” McCurdy said.
Despite a three-month COVID shutdown that created an economic nightmare for huge numbers of small businesses, McCurdy noted the fitness centre was resourceful and nimbly pivoted to a virtual format offering coaching sessions and nutritional information.
A marketing specialist, Sparks founded Movimento Fitness in 2010 along with her husband, Juan Medrano, a long-time fitness coach.
“My husband really started it. He came from a training background and worked in a big box gym. He wanted to create lasting change that goes beyond a drop-in at the gym. He wanted to make real change – support regular men and women improve their fitness, and make real change in their lives,” Sparks said.
In their first year, the duo began their journey offering outdoor training sessions at Red Willow Park. The next year, they operated through Dynamyx Gymnastics. Once they’d built a steady clientele, they rented a bay at Riel Park and have since grown to a three-bay facility.
Movimento’s success with the 40-plus crowd is based on unique semi-private training said Sparks.
“We get to know our members on a personal level and we know their personal goals. Everything we create is customized training. They have the ability to connect with other members, but everything is tailored to their needs and goals. They work with a coach – never on their own, and people love this.”
During the first two weeks of the COVID’s challenging closure, the couple worked hard to provide support through a membership online site. Using Zoom, Movimento offered interactive group sessions and individualized one-on-one coaching.
“During COVID, it was easy to fall off. We were able to keep a huge number focused and positive when everything in the world was going crazy.”
Clients responded in different ways.
“Some people were eager and excited. Other members hadn’t experienced online training and weren’t sure what to do. Some didn’t have home equipment and weren’t sure about participating. We suggested using things around the house – chairs or filling milk jugs with water for weights. And we tailor-made programs for people. But connecting was a huge motivating factor to keep people focused.”
In addition to physical and social support, Movimento also provided nutritional guidelines and healthy recipes.
“We also try to teach good eating habits over the long term. It’s about developing healthy choices. Most of us know we should be moving our bodies and eating right. It’s not just about fitness and nutrition. It’s about accountability and continuing even when life gets hard. We at Movimento build support so it becomes a lifestyle change.”
This is Movimento’s second Chamber award. Previously, it was awarded the St. Albert Chamber of Commerce 2016 Small Business Award of Distinction.