Doris Ward, our May 2020 Trainer of the Month, is mind-body fitness professional and wellness educator that is dedicated to ongoing education, community involvement, customer service excellence and improving the industry for others. In 2014, she opened For the Love of Fitness PEI in Cornwall, Prince Edward Island, CA, and in the last three years has expanded her business from personal training to add fitness coaching, life coaching, yoga and Pilates classes, workshops, speaking engagements and learn-to-run programs. Since then, her mission has been to provide superior quality fitness services and wellness options that inspire and educate her clients to live healthier and more fulfilled lives.
Studio/Business Name: For the Love of Fitness PEI
One of Canada’s Top Fitness Trainers 2020 (IMPACT Magazine)
One of Canada’s Top Health and Fitness Influencers 2020 (Optimyz Magazine)
Fitness Professional of the Year Finalist 2019 (Canfitpro)
One of Canada’s Top Health and Fitness Influencers 2019 (Optimyz Magazine)
Personal Training Specialist of the Year 2018 (Canfitpro)
Female Road Runner of the year 2018 (PEI Road Runners Club)
What inspired you to start your business?
I have worked in the fitness industry since 2003 and have always had a strong entrepreneurial spirit. When I moved provinces and started at a new location again, I knew it was the perfect time to open my business. For years I had wanted to and had let fear of the unknown and doubts get in the way, but I finally did it and haven’t looked back! I love being a business owner and building my career in this exciting industry.
What is one hard lesson you’ve learned in business you believe has been most valuable?
Listen more, judge less. Practice responding to my clients rather than reacting. Take time to respond to them by allowing them to fully express themselves in their own way in their own time. Letting go of judgement with myself and others is a daily practice I work on that I find quite helpful even though it’s challenging. It’s helpful to give myself permission to not be perfect as a trainer, to know that I am always doing my best and to teach my clients also that their best is always enough. To always know that when you bring your best with what you are working with that day, that will always be enough. This helps to bring about positive change to break down the walls of perfectionism and the feelings of “not good enough,” which is a common feeling in the fitness world. When we can break down these barriers, we can allow ourselves personal growth on our own terms and have a gentler approach to learning and how we view our progress.
If I asked one of your clients why they choose you over other places/gyms/trainers, what would they likely say?
These are two quotes from clients of mine:
“Doris is many things to me and more than what I have hired her for! She is positive, encouraging, kind, knowledgeable, but most importantly caring. She cares how you are, how you're doing, how you're feeling and with this information she strives to make every session with her a personal success for her client. I've learned so much from Doris in the past few years. Whether I'm moving forward in my fitness journey, maintaining, or even struggling to get back to my "fitness happy place" (we know it happens to the best of us!), I know Doris will be there to provide the tools and support I need.”
“You are one of the most professional people I have had the pleasure of dealing with. You are a champion for the health and wellness of your clients and a caring and active advocate for local island charities and fundraisers. Being in business is tough and you work extremely hard to deliver your message with clarity, superior knowledge and respect. Your commitment to making people feel and be their best self will see you shine. I just hope others recognize the enormity of what your positive impact can have on their lives.”
Name one or two ways you are trying to raise the bar in the industry?
My choice of words.. If we want people to stick with exercise, we need to remove shame and intimidation from the equation. An easy and cost-free step that we can take to make our fitness spaces healthier, inclusive, and more inspiring is through the power of our words. The guidance I provide through language can be just as important as the movement I offer. As fitness professionals we have a captive audience — we speak to tens to hundreds of people a day who look up to us and are inspired by us. The messages I spread affect not only clients but the diet culture in general. It’s key we move together, out of acceptance and inspiration, not out of shame and negativity.