Fit 2 the T

Let's face it. If you're out of shape or overweight, getting fit can seem overwhelming. 

All that exercise. All that time it'll take. All that weight to lose. And don't forget your goal.  Because everyone has to have a goal, right? Well, maybe not.

Take Tara Newbigging, for example. Tara is a fitness and health professional. As strange as it might sound, she's not that big on goals. 

"In my classes with my clients, I don't use numbers. I don't focus on weight loss or hitting a goal. I just get people moving," she says.

"I try to show people it's a lifestyle. If you're active and have fun, the rest of it - like losing weight - just happens."

At 27, Tara has been active her entire life. Growing up in Guelph, Ontario, she was into basketball, volleyball and dance. But her real love was figure skating. In high school, she got into fitness and went on to get a university degree in physical health and education. 

Four years ago, Tara took a chance and moved to Yellowknife with "nothing but a lot of motivation."

At the time, fitness and health wasn't a big part of the community.  And fitness programs weren't nearly as innovative as in other parts of the country.  Tara set out to change that and opened her own business called 'Fit 2 the T.'  She started by offering a fitness class at a local gym.  Six people showed up. Now, about 300 people a week attend her classes - men, women, couples, seniors and teenagers. 

"I didn't notice how fast it was growing. I was just doing what I love and it just kinda grew behind me, kinda like putting on weight."


Tara offers something for everyone - fitness classes, personal training, group personal training (with 10 to 35 clients), morning wake up classes, zumba (which combines aerobics and dance) and outdoor fitness. All of it has helped spark changes in her community, especially among young people.

"They're more interested in getting fit and working out. They just love being active," she says. 

"I have a few kids who aren't athletes that just love my stuff. It's made them more confident and much more active in others areas like fitness rather than sports."

Last year, Tara was named one of the top three CanFitPro fitness professionals of the year. Now, she's one of eight finalists for the 2012 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award

If she wins, she'll take home $100,000 to expand her business.  Tara wants to travel to remote communities in the north, to help them build fitness programs and create awareness of what health and wellness can do. She also hopes to create an online video service, so those communities can download workouts, access information and connect - via Skype - to her classes.

"A lot of times people start and stop exercising, because they feel like they can't reach their goals," Tara says. 

"I try to get them to forget all that and inspire them to move and give it a try. It's not just about fitness, you have to be a good leader and connect with people."
For Tara, that means making everyone feel comfortable and welcome. 

"Nobody is a beginner. There are no expectations to look a certain way," she says.

"Over time, you'll reap the benefits. More energy. More drive. Better mood. Take away the labels and the numbers, and just do it."

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