Wow it’s been a minute since I’ve had the chance to whip out another Women Making Waves post. I am happy to report that today’s #WMW is a bad ass boss and hilarious spirit, Tabitha Vallerie – Founder and CEO of fitness review company Fit-City Guide. Her background in professional dance, marketing, and buying in the fitness industry contributed to her creating a company that provides unbiased, informative reviews on the best places to sweat in Canada.
Having been to classes around the globe in Melbourne, Sydney, Hong Kong, London, Vancouver, India, Singapore, New York and more – Tabitha has vast knowledge and experience of what a boutique fitness studio needs to thrive.
She’s a new mum and wife based in Toronto and she runs daily and is partial to the high sweat classes like boxing, spin and hot yoga. Fit-City Guide reviews a variety of styles of fitness classes from Pilates, to boxing, to dance to meditation in Toronto, Edmonton and Calgary.
Tell us a bit about yourself!
Well – I’m a Libra, a wife, a new mum (!), a great friend, an entrepreneur and I’m loud and have a v big laugh. Oh also, I have a background in buying and no matter how non-materialistic I think I am, I am and will forevermore be a slave to the designer shoe. It is what it is.
What’s your zodiac sign?
OMFG, I didn’t even READ that before I answered the first one. Libra, obviously.
What inspired you to start your business?
Honestly it came from a place of “I wish something like this existed”. After I moved back to Canada from Australia (and had been spoiled with their line-up of incredible studios btw) my standards of boutique fitness had become high and coming to a new city, I didn’t know a lot about the studios here so my loyalty was up for grabs. So I was constantly bumping around to different types of fitness classes from yoga to boxing, Pilates, to spin, etc. I was trying studios I saw on Instagram, walked by, or heard about from friends but it felt like I was walking in so blind. Sure, I knew if I was going somewhere that had a cute wall for a cute photo, but I was walking in blind as far as the crowd and if they were my jam, what the studio included in terms of amenities so what did I have to bring etc., and not to mention each time I was paying drop-in fees which are always the most expensive out of all pricing options (and hardly anyone does free first time classes in TO). So my friends and I were like, ‘how good would it be if someone just did this for us so we could save our time, money and energy and ACTUALLY get a sense of what these places are like before we commit to going’!? So that’s what I did.
What does a day in the life of YOU look like?
Oh god. So much puke rn. I have a five month old so we’re still getting in the swing of this new life together so it’s a bit nutty. Because I’m home with him but then still running FC, I get up crazy early so I have a couple hours to myself before my boys wake-up (which took a while to figure out but now that I do, it’s SOO great). We then walk my husband to work and get a coffee, if my little guy is asleep again I’ll snag the opportunity to chill at the coffee shop and return some e-mails, and then Oliver and I go to the gym. The afternoon looks like either going to a Mommy and Me class, hanging out with friends or just getting shit done around the house and life in general. And then when my husband comes home and I’m either gone to a class depending on the day, out somewhere to write, out with friends for sanity, or at home with them and just RELAXING. It’s a crazy juggling act because I’m constantly taking work calls during the day with Oliver in my arms, staying connecting to my team across the country, and working on the site, marketing or reviews amidst playing with him. Daily to-do lists are my everything. And “showering” is a legit item.
What’s the hardest part of being a Boss Babe? The best part?
The best part is cultivating and creating something out of nothing that draws from my strengths and makes me feel happy, empowered, and challenged. The hardest part might be constantly forging ahead relatively solo. Leading a team, and creating something brand new means your in unchartered territory a lot of the time and you have to be cool with wearing ALL the hats, doing unglamorous work, and keeping your chin up even if things are feeling like a lull or you’re not getting the results you want right away.
What’s the biggest message you want to share through your platform?
I want to share the message that working out and trying these boutique fitness studios is accessible to EVERYONE. Sometimes it can become too much – the cool crowd of size 2’s at the swankiest studios – and by providing these informative, detailed reviews so you know exactly what to expect and what to do when you get in there, we want to take away the intimidation factor and encourage everyone, no matter what your experience level to fitness, no matter what your size or shape, to try them out if they sounds like something you would enjoy. That’s a huge reason it’s important to me to have such a diverse team and we always bring friends with us and chat with newbies when we take the classes so we can get a well-rounded review.
Best piece of advice you can give up and coming boss babes?
Surround yourself with A1 people. It’s probs not a bad idea to do this always, but when starting a business you need a support network that really gets what you’re about to do – the long hours, the doubt roller coaster, the constant learning. If your business has a team, those people need to be hard working hustlers you trust, respect, and would want to have wine with on a Friday, and if you’re going at it solo – get a board of directors. Not necessarily literally, but build a board of advisors and mentors for you to brainstorm with, extract knowledge from, and sense-check what you’re doing. The board of directors is something I’m really only doing now, and it makes a world of difference for my sanity and my business. It’s forcing me to pull out of the minutia of the daily to-do list and think more strategically about what I’m spending my time on, what I’m doing next, and how it all fits together.
Do you have a daily mantra or affirmation?
Don’t forget to have fun.
How would this Boss Babe describe herself?
I would describe myself as being a very hard worker, I have high expectations that I hold the people around me to but also very much myself and I’m constantly pushing forward. I’m integral and do what I say I’m going to do and I’m confident and have this innate trust in myself that things will work out. But I’m also sensitive and wear my heart on my sleeve. I can laugh at myself, which I do often bc I do some funny shit, so I’m chill in a lot of ways too. Life is good, man.
Plug yourself! Give us some shameless self promotion and let us know what you’re currently up to!
Well, we’re currently working on launching a blog that also highlights guest writers and is still in the realm of boutique fitness, but it takes a different angle from our structured reviews. Think “the best classes to try with an injury” or “the 5 best classes in Toronto to do with your partner”, etc. We’re also gearing up to launch in another Canadian city at the end of this year and working on some press trips to the North American hubs of fitness to see what’s up; LA and NYC!! Stay tuned!! Eeeek!
Thank you SO much Tabitha for this honest and funny interview. Seriously, you crack me up and it was a huge pleasure learning more about your business.
If you want more Tabitha and fitness recos in your life (I highly recommend this) then follow Fit-City Guide on Instagram here.