Carolyn Hancox Barr, our June 2017 PFP Trainer of the Month, has committed the better part of the last 40 years to elevating the fitness industry. She has many roles that fill her passions as fitness and health center owner, wellness coach and mentor to fitness professionals. Here is how Carolyn is raising the bar…
Bachelor of Music-University of B.C.
Diploma of Fitness Management – Capilino College University
ACE Personal Trainer
Trainer of Trainers-BC Recreation and Parks (Aquatics, Group Exercise, Weight Training)
Educator Trainer-Canadian Fitness Education Services (Group Exercise and Personal Training,
Weight Management/Health & Lifestyle Coach-HCI, ZUMBA, ZUMBA Gold, ZUMBA Toning, LaBlast Certified, BollyX Certified, 1 year of 2-year Applied Clinical Nutrition Diploma- University of Santa Fe, VIPER Certified-Twist Conditioning
Studio/Business Name: Northridge Health Performance Centre
Websites: www.northridgefitness.com, www.livewellconsulting.ca
Year started in business:
1976 started the Vancouver Fitness Industry
1996 built Northridge Health Performance Centre
Awards & Recognition:
Best of the City finalist - 14 years
Best of the City winner - 5 years
Sterling Award runner-up for Best Customer Service Business
PFP 2018 Trainer of the Year finalist
What inspired you to start your business?
Back in 1994 I had just moved to Nanaimo, British Columbia after running YM/YWCAs and City Recreation departments in Northern B.C. What I saw in the private fitness industry was appalling at the time. Fitness centers in Nanaimo were thought to be sleazy places where everyone got a different price quoted to them, drugs were rampant as were the local mafia (really!). I set out to change all that and create a truly holistic professional fitness center where clients could get many professional services in one facility and where they enjoyed a friendly, safe community environment. My 10,000-plus square foot facility overlooking the ocean opened on August 1, 1996.
What is one hard lesson you’ve learned in business you believe has been most valuable?
I opened my business because I wanted to give the community of Nanaimo a higher quality of life. I used my entire inheritance plus a $250,000 small business loan to do this and soon learned I was still undercapitalized. The financial challenges I have faced as a single small business owner have been horrific and I have learned that in order to keep the business running I needed to learn and teach how to ethically sell our product. This has continued to this day. I believe many fitness entrepreneurs get into their own business because they love fitness and love people but to stay in business we must truly learn business and marketing skills.
If I asked one of your clients why they choose you over other places/gyms/trainers, what would they likely say?
I have had so many wonderful testimonials written by many members and clients but I think this testimonial really answers that question.
It is my pleasure and, indeed, a great privilege to write a testimonial in support of Carolyn Hancox-Barr of the Northridge Health Performance Centre. Carolyn has been a true inspiration to me and to other members of the gym. Since I arrived in Nanaimo a year ago, I have felt very much at home at Northridge, thanks to Carolyn and her staff. As a very adept fitness professional, Carolyn has given me the confidence to try new things in the gym and to expand my fitness horizons. Because of her expert guidance, I have enjoyed not only increased self-assurance but also enhanced flexibility, strength and endurance. Before Carolyn’s classes I was afraid that my age would limit my ability to participate in gym activities. However, she has inspired me and not only taught me that a healthy, fit lifestyle was a possibility but also helped me make it my new reality. - Maureen Sargent
Name one or two ways you are trying to raise the bar in the industry?
1) I have believed for years that the fitness and medical industries need to work together to keep people well. I have set out to create a facility, staffed with professionals whose mission is the same. This September we are adding a physiotherapy clinic to our large list of services and I am thrilled to see us truly becoming a wellness/health and fitness center (and with a day spa for self-care).
2) Educating and mentoring group exercise instructors and personal trainers is one of my passions. I have taught the certification courses to hundreds of students in universities, recreation centers and private facilities and mentored practicums for many of those students.
3) I am passionate about the need for balanced micro and macro nutrition for true wellness and prevention of degenerative disease. I love to mentor personal trainers and budding wellness coaches both in person and online through my wellness coaching website www.livewellconsulting.ca. Through this site I have developed a training center for those who want to help others achieve healthy lifestyles, age backwards and prevent degenerative disease.