BACK STORY: MJ has been leading people to move - dance, fitness, yoga - for over 25 years. Alongside, she spent 30 years on stage and set as a (now retired) actor, who continues to work as a choreographer for film & tv. As an entrepreneur, MJ founded FITPOP Dance (TM), Dynamic Retreats, Seventh Stage Theatre, and co-founded LaRouge Entertainment. MJ also lead program development, teacher trainings, and retreats for various fitness companies in Canada, the US, Carribean, and Central America. Relevant awards: 2023 Impact Fitness Instructor of the Year; 2018 & 2019 Canfitpro Fitness Professional of the Year Finalist; 2012 & 2014 Broadway World Toronto Best Choreography. MJ has appeared as a Fitness Expert on CBC Radio, BNN Bloomberg, NBC Dr OZ, CTV Your Morning, CP24, Breakfast Television and more. Certifications: Canadian Federation of Coaches, American Council of Exercise, canfitpro, and Aerobics & Fitness Association of America (all Group Fitness & PT), YTT 500 and more. MA in Drama Studies from University of Toronto, HBA in Theatre from UofT/Sheridan, Minors in Religion & Politics from UofT.
WHAT GIVES YOU SOUL: "Empowering people through movement. I believe your pain can be converted to power by positively empowering yourself and others. This has largely been my life’s work through mentorship and collaboration in this business and in the arts. My son Samuel and husband Dan are the heart and soul that empower me."
WHAT’S YOUR FUEL: "Moving bodies to music! I’ll gladly honky tonk to bad country, head bang to trashy 80s rock, twerk to hip-hop, twinkle my toes to Tchaikovsky… Dance is my easiest access to joy. I’m also fuelled by great story telling in all forms, be it book, film, play or someone telling me theirs."
BACK STORY: Lauren views exercise as a practice of care and community. It has never taken one consistent form throughout her life, but rather, has changed as she's grown. Her motto is, “Try everything at least once!”, and following it has provided her with a wealth of positive experiences. She is always looking for a new adventure, and that is what brought her to SOUL FUEL. Her previous work experience in training, teaching, and coordination, have taught her that success comes from collaboration and a welcoming environment. This is what she strive to bring to every new experience.
WHAT GIVES YOU SOUL: "I love stories, in all capacities. I find life between pages, on stages and movie screens, and even through conversations with people around me. In addition, I have found meditation and yoga to be essential. No matter where I am, I always set aside time to meditate and do a short flow, every day."
WHAT’S YOUR FUEL: "Interacting with others, whether it be a quick hello or a good chat, always makes my day! Being around others and doing something positive is what motivates me. And coffee, lots of coffee!"
BACK STORY: Magz has been teaching fitness classes for over a decade, everything from HIIT, Spin, TRX, Boocamps, Lifting and now Yoga: movement is her jam. She has a BA in History, but Fitness is her true vocation and calling. Certifications: Canfitpro (PT Specialist), TRX, Yoga Alliance and more. Certified Plant-Based Nutritionist.
WHAT GIVES YOU SOUL: "Plant based food/fuel has led me into a new passion towards healthy eating and lifestyle. But travel, the ocean and nature have my soul - I love being under water and I love diving."
WHAT’S YOUR FUEL: "Exercise, movement, getting strong physically and mentally. This should be accessible to everyone and enjoyable for everyone! I’m fuelled by empowering people to feel the immense benefits of movement and strength that I’ve felt in the studio and in life."
BACK STORY: Steve has been teaching fitness classes full-time for 10 years. Certifications range from dance to kick boxing and from aqua to HIIT (and a whole bunch in between). He has had the pleasure of presenting at fitness conferences both in Canada and US. Steve also spent some years as a Master Trainer for an aqua program, was featured in instructional fitness DVDs and programs, and was a contestant on CBC's 'Canada's Ultimate Challenge'.
WHAT GIVES YOU SOUL: "Aside from fitness, the 2 things I love are Doritos and white wine. Classy and affordable and a little faux bougie. I also don’t mind creating some fierce lip sync content on my social media. Actually, creativity in any form excites me, from choreography to costume making with household items."
WHAT'S YOUR FUEL: "I lead everything I do in my life with the principle that ‘we must be the change we wish to see in the world.’ I believe that as humans we are called to leave the world a little bit better than we found it."
BACK STORY: Chelle grew up dancing competitively and started the dance program at an energetic school in Brampton. She has a History and Drama degree from McMaster and her education degree from OISE. She gets to be on stage every day teaching school age kiddies how to love themselves, work together and find a passion in life through her dance program. Chelle is a certified canfitpro instructor, YTT200 yoga instructor, POUND and Generation POUND instructor. She loves teaching the Dance AQ through York University to help teachers bring the love and creativity of dance to their programs.
WHAT GIVES YOU SOUL: "I am the mom of two incredible boys with the sweetest husband and all three of them fill my soul with laughter, love and adventure. Being active outside brings me joy and a makes me feel powerful. I live my life by my Mama's motto "Move your feet and your mind will follow".
WHAT’S YOUR FUEL: "Building a sense of community through movement is my passion for life. We are all superstars and I make it my mission to show kiddies and adults I work with that they were born to shine."
BACK STORY: Eight years ago as a career-chef with a passion for personal fitness, Jacob stumbled into a heated ashtanga yoga class. Invigorated by the practice, he was thrown into a whole new world of possibilities. Two years later he gave up his catering business and went to Goa, India to take his Yoga teacher training and he hasn’t looked back since! Since then he's gone from an Ido Portal movement training seminary’s in upstate New York, to practicing Muay Thai on a remote Thai Island. In the last 7 years he's been teaching yoga, mobility and personal/group fitness all over the GTA, and am working to become a qualified physiotherapist.
WHAT GIVES YOU SOUL: "I love to give people the same ‘A-ha!’ Moments in their movement practice that I constantly achieve in my own practice. I love seeing people have epiphanies during their practice as we find the interconnectedness between mind and body. I want to help people heal their bodies through movement and find empowerment through strength."
WHAT'S YOUR FUEL: "Movement is my life! Everything from strength training to mixed martial arts to yin yoga. Beyond that, I’m passionate about plant-based cooking, live music (if it ever exists again:), rescuing stray dogs and reading anarchist philosophy."
BACK STORY: Wanda grew up performing in plays and dance groups around the world with the Toronto Slovak Dancers and rhythmic gymnastics. In her late teens she also coached rhythmic gymnastics. She later went to the University of Toronto and completed a biophysics degree and later a business degree and became a Certified Financial Manager. However, she always knew she would go back to a career in fitness and seven years ago "retired" from finance and started that career. She teaches HIIT classes and all levels of strength training, as well many forms of dance fitness. Although she loves the high energy classes, she has also moved into providing safe strength training for older adults and those completely new to any form of exercise. Certifications: CanFitPro, Strong Nation, Zumba (Basic, Gold, Step, Sentao, Aqua)
WHAT GIVES YOU SOUL: "Mountains!!! I never feel more alive and intune with myself as I do on a mountain. I love to travel and most of my vacations entail ultra running trail races or multi day hikes. Last summer I did a solo trek of Killarney. I speak multi languages and love engaging with international racers at events worldwide. Such as Portugal, Lavaredo 125km ultra in Cortina d'Ampenzzo in Italy, Mont Blanc 101km traversing Italy, Switzerland and France, Mozart 100 in Salzburg, New Zealand and hopefully more to come."
WHAT'S YOUR FUEL: "Encouraging and empowering those around me to fully express themselves through movement and body awareness. When a participant does something they never thought they could, the sense of accomplishment and elation they feel is unparalleled and spreads to all aspects of their life. It's a beautiful thing to be a part of and witness."
BACK STORY: Since 1999, Dione has been teaching group fitness classes in the GTA and internationally. She's known for her infectious and contagious fiery energy, while demonstrating excellence in teaching technique that comes from an investment in education, training, and years of experience. Awards include: 2021 IMPACT Magazine Canada’s Top Fitness Instructor Award, 2019 canfitpro New Presenter of the Year, 2017 canfitpro Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's been featured in Sway Magazine, Metro News, Breakfast Television, SNAP Magazine, canfitpro Magazine, CP24, Toronto Star, City TV, Rogers TV and more.
WHAT GIVES YOU SOUL: "I get it from MY MAMA! 😉 Seriously…what moves me each day is constantly remembering how finite our lives are. I don’t ever take a day, minute or second for granted. I’m unapologetic about living my life OUT LOUD and squeezing out every bit of juiciness I can get whether I’m reading a new book, discovering a new nook in the city via bike or on a run, wine tasting, salsa dancing or enjoying some natural herbs, I marinate and embrace each moment, while not sweating the small stuff."
WHAT'S YOUR FUEL: "Meditation is the key to elevation, and I do it every day. Not only do I feed my mind and spirit, but I also invest in my temple by properly nourishing it and engaging in activities such as running, cycling and dancing my bootaaay off! And YES, I drink WINE and love it!"
BACK STORY: Kim's first love has always been dance. She attended Ryerson University for the dance program and graduated from Randolph College Triple Threat program. She worked as a professional dancer for about a decade and along the way got into acting. She adores film and tv and had the pleasure of acting for several years before her in movement lead her to a fitness career. Certifications: canfitpro, prenatal/ postnatal and Diastasis recti and pelvic floor exercise recovery specialist.
WHAT GIVES YOU SOUL: "Empowering other's through movement. It fills my heart with joy when I see people come into their own through movement. I am grateful and honoured to be part of people's fitness and dance journey's. Building communities where people feel honoured, respected and welcome. Helping people uncover and unleash their strength and love for their bodies. Since becoming a mother myself it has become my passion to help mama's have an empowered birth and recovery. I also love understanding how movement works and the science of it. I am big on empowering people with the understanding of movement, function and proper form."
WHAT'S YOUR FUEL: "Family. I love being with those I love! Laughing till I am crying. Enjoying all the precious little everyday moments especially with my daughter. Sun on my face. Any music with soul makes me want to dance. Spontaneous dance parties. Feeling sexy. Creating communities where everywhere is welcomed, invited and encouraged to thrive. Chocolate, definitely chocolate."
BACK STORY: Emily's first love was running - she lived, breathed and fuelled for running for the better part of 25 years; she did yoga, Pilates and strength training to improve her running. In her late 30s, she was sidelined by chronic pain and injury. In that time, and over the course of experiencing her body change in pregnancy, she came to Pilates in a much bigger way. Getting certified as a Pilates instructor and Personal Trainer helped her understand the true importance of cross training, injury prevention, and core strength for day to day living. She was recently certified in pre/post natal fitness, and this helps her tailor my classes and PT sessions for clients who are pregnant and returning to fitness from pregnancy.
WHAT GIVES YOU SOUL: "My happy place is in the middle of the lake at my cottage, on a paddle board or in my rowing skiff; breathing in the fresh air and detached from the rest of the world. I treasure the gift of mind-body connection; now in my 40s, I can finally say that I'm getting better at talking to and listening to my body. I trust my intuition and do my best to let it guide me."
WHAT'S YOUR FUEL: "People! I was a school teacher and running coach for many years, I’m a mom of 3, and I love working with people. I live for my family and friends, and I love making connections - this is what fills my tank."
WHAT GIVES YOU SOUL?
"Ooh, anything that is creative really. Especially rhythm, music and dance, which you can enjoy at one of my Vintage Taps shows in the city! Spending time at the cottage with my man and being in nature always makes my heart full. Being Auntie Supreme brings me much joy- everyone needs someone in their life who they can be all sorts of silly with and to share epic adventures. Swing Dancing, daydreaming and making risotto adds a bit more soul to my days."
BACK STORY: Ghazal first stepped onto a yoga mat in an Iyengar studio in her early 20s in her hometown of Tehran, while she was a philosophy student. Yoga has since become a significant part of her life. She has completed a 500-hour Hatha and Yoga Therapy training in India, a 200-hour Vinyasa Flow training at 889 Yoga in Toronto, a 10-day Vipassana retreat in Lumbini, Nepal and a 30- hour Advanced Ashtanga training at Downward Dog Yoga Centre.
WHAT GIVES YOU SOUL: "In my classes I challenge the practitioners physically, mentally & spiritually, guiding them to find their inner light and guru through asanas, pranayama and stillness."
BACK STORY: As a dancer, Adriana was always drawn to the preparation and training of the body for movement. At 16, she joined her first gym and has been strength training ever since. She's been a professional Hawaiian and Tahitian dancer for over 12 years and loves all types of Latin Dancing. She encountered some challenges along her journey which birthed a deeper fascination with heath compelling her to hours of research. Fascination turned into passion and she decided to get my personal training certification through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Just call her a “Fitness Freak”!
WHAT GIVES YOU SOUL: "I’m a creative soul and that gives me SOUL! I love dancing, acting, writing and connecting with people. Putting a smile on someone’s face really lights me up! If I can be a part of encouraging someone to feel more free, strong or empowered in their body or mind, that is such a gift to my heart. I believe that we can overcome insurmountable odds and I love being a cheerleader for others on their journey toward greater health & fitness."
WHATS YOUR FUEL: "If there’s a beat, you’ll see me dancing! Dancing (& music) is JOY to me and probably my greatest source of fuel although it comes in other forms too: Good quality, nourishing foods - Traveling & experiencing other places & cultures - Being by the ocean - Spending time with family/friends/nature - Meditation & being alive in the present moment."
BACK STORY: Exercise has always been a big part of Jyoti's life. From teaching herself the splits to swinging on the monkey bars at school, gymnastics kickstarted her love for fitness. She started off taking rec gymnastics classes, to then competing on the trampoline team at T. Dot Tumblers, and most recently, getting certified as a gymnastics coach. When she wasn't coaching, she was playing ultimate frisbee on school teams or skiing and snowboarding with her family. During Covid, she realized how much she loved being outdoors and spent a lot of time going on fall hikes with her puppy, Simba. She has always enjoyed conditioning and strength training, and discovering the online classes at Soul Fuel helped her stay active and strong.
WHAT GIVES YOU SOUL: "My passion for graphic design and social activism gives me soul. I always find ways to integrate diversity, representation and inclusivity into the work that I do as a student and young entrepreneur. I am currently running my own graphic design business JDDESIGNS, which I will continue to grow while attending Ryerson in the fall for Graphic Communications Management."
WHAT'S YOUR FUEL: "Food and travel. Growing up as a vegetarian has inspired me to learn about nutrition, cook creative meals, and try new dishes. I am now a self-proclaimed foodie with a love for fresh, flavourful food with lots of spice! I recently travelled to Costa Rica where I hiked in the jungle, surfed on the beach, and drank lots of fresh coconuts. I love travelling to new countries and immersing myself in the culture, food, and language."
BACK STORY: Kate had a unique upbringing, splitting her childhood between Dallas, Texas, and Singapore, significantly shaping every aspect of her life today (like living in an international city like Toronto!). Fitness and sports have always been a major part of her life, throughout the moves, and transitions and continue to be a grounding practice for Kate. Now she studies Political science and Diaspora and Transnational studies at the University of Toronto, where she plans to further my education through law school eventually, hoping to positively impact the world!
WHAT GIVES YOU SOUL? "I really love to learn and am constantly learning. I'm a big believer in learning something new every day. I'm passionate about exploring, stepping outside of my comfort zone, and seeing as much of the world as possible, to gain more empathy and a better understanding of people. I think spending time with people who are different from you is essential. Yoga and mindfulness are vital to me, and I try to spend as much time in green spaces as possible, to stay present and calm through the incredible rollercoaster of life!"
WHAT GIVES YOU FUEL? "My fuel is building and fostering relationships to invite more love into my life. My family and friends are the most important aspect of my life; everything I do is TO build them up and make them proud. Additionally, maintaining a happy mind, body, and soul through exercise, meditation, reading, and spirituality brings me happiness and motivation."