An Exercise in Body and Soul



By: BEV SPRITZER  
Published: July 30th 2010
in News » Local

Gym owner Darren Katz

Gym owner Darren Katz has been active his entire life.

 

His grandfather was the founder of the Baycrest Fun Run, with which he was involved from a very young age. “I had been doing the 10k runs since I could walk,” Katz tells Shalom Life. “My dad was always very supportive and encouraging, and I tagged along with him on his runs.”

 

It was perhaps this early introduction to running that set the tone for Katz’s budding active lifestyle. The seeds had been planted.

 

What would eventually emerge is Body + Soul Fitness, originally opened at Leslie and York Mills as a personal training studio, which then expanded into a gym proper, with a second location at Avenue Rd. and Eglinton.

 

What we now know as Body + Soul Fitness began when Katz was providing in-home personal training services. “I started to get a bit tired of travelling all over the city,” Katz explains. “It was taking a lot out of me, so I thought it would be great to have people come to me, instead. That’s when I started the actual studio.”

 

Katz went to school for human biology and biomedical science, originally wanting to become a doctor. “I always wanted to help people be healthy, and when I got into university I was involved in various internships [in the medical field],” says Katz. “But I actually took up a part time job as a personal trainer, just to earn some cash, because I figured it’s still somewhat relevant to my goal of becoming a doctor.”

 

Needless to say, he fell in love with the industry.

 

“I’d never felt passion like this for anything before, and it was then that I decided to move away from medicine, and more toward fitness,” Katz explains.

 

Regarding gym memberships, many of us already know the jig: “You sign up with a gym, they tell you you have 800 per cent body fat and that you need to pay for ten million training sessions or else you will die,” says Katz.

 

“It’s really unfortunate that there are some operators out there who let motives other than passion rule them,” he continues. “We get people who come in after being in similar situations who say ‘I don’t want to work with a trainer because I’ve had a bad experience,’ so it’s a challenge dealing with those already turned off. Why would we be any different?”

 

“But there are some who really look after the client first. For us it’s all about educating our clients. We deal with a very intelligent clientele, and they can smell BS from a mile away. So for us, if we tried to pull any of that nonsense we’d be out of business in a hurry.”

 

Indeed, Body + Soul prides itself on being honest 100 per cent of time, and making sure they educate their clients with all the information they need to make an informed decision.

 

“Which is why word-of-mouth is so huge for us,” says Katz. “Our clients have a wonderful experience with us so they tell their friends and family. Word-of-mouth is pretty much how we’ve built the business.” 

 

With their steadily growing success, one wonders what else it is that makes Body + Soul a gem in a field densely populated with cubic zirconium.

 

Well for one thing, they are very easy to do business with. “That’s what people notice when they first start with us,” says Katz. “But the thing that really separates us from the others is that we truly have the most talented, educated, passionate team you’ll ever meet. We put them through a very rigorous interview process and then a week and a half of training after that.”

 

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