Free Form Fitness Inc. - Ashley

Free Form Fitness Inc. - Ashley

Free Form Fitness



Interview: Nikki Gillingham, Blue Whale Communications

Photography: Marianne Rothbauer, Rothbauer Studio

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got started in the health and fitness industry. 

My name is Ashley and I am the CEO of Free Form Fitness. I started working as a front desk receptionist at New Body Dimensions as one of my first jobs at 15 years old - thanks to my brother who was a personal trainer there. Once my brother decided to open up his own facility (FFF) - I jumped at the idea of working front desk for him while I went to Algonquin to study in their business administration program. Eventually, I moved up in the company. My brother was hard on me - I look back now and am really grateful he was. I earned my title every step of the way. 


Ottawa has a lot of different types of gyms. What made you decide to make the leap and open your own?

There is nothing quite like us to be honest. I've traveled the world and a lot of our members often say that about us. Our motto is personal trainers who care. We specialize in one on one only and have mastered our craft. We are always working on growing ourselves and often look to the experts for the answers we don't have. 

You now have five locations across Ottawa – what have you learned or discovered from a business or personal growth perspective as you’ve expanded that you didn’t expect to? 

Anything worthwhile takes work. Trusting and leaning on your people, especially those that want to be part of the growth, is crucial because you can't do it all. Being able to adapt to change was always very important for me personally and professionally. I often tell my team in a "Ross voice" Pivot! Pivot! 

Tell us about your personal training model / philosophy. Why do you focus on this kind of training method?

Our philosophy is “Personal Trainers Who Care”. We want our clients to reach their full health potential and live their best life. We don't have all of the answers but we will do our very best to get those answers. Unfortunately, there is no magic pill to reach your full health potential. It takes work and the results are so worth it. We focus on a full 360 degrees of health and fitness. Our approach is to dive into your lifestyle, your habits, your stress, your sleep, your hormones, your training and your nutrition. We have experts for each field that we recommend should you require further testing due to situations out of our control.


Is 30 minutes really enough to get in a good workout?

Absolutely, try out our 8 sessions for $96 and see for yourself! :)

Tell us a bit more about your three pillars.

We like simplicity. Our three pillars of success for our members is nutrition, exercise and accountability. You need all three to reach optimal success. 

You have a 10-step hiring process – why is it so important to you to have the best of the best working with you and your clients?

We have a maximum of 5 trainers per location. It's important for us to feel like a family as our members often train with more then one trainer to switch things up. For our trainers, this is a career. We want them to thrive in the industry and like to treat them well. We've seen a lot of great trainers and a lot of bad trainers. We want to avoid a bad hire.


What can people expect when they come in to Free Form Fitness?

They can expect a lot of care. We understand that working out is work. We try to make things fun and interesting while reaching your goals. Our trainers love to say "You've tried the rest, now try the best!" We still have our very first member (it's a family of 4) that came to FFF Kanata in 2006. 

Eggs: Friend or Foe? 

We just did a blog about this! I'm an avid fan of eggs. My husband is a personal trainer and our staple in our fridge is eggs. You can read the post here.


When you’re not in the gym, what do you like to do in your free time? 

I have two large dogs - a Saint Bernard and a Bernese mountain dog. We are often out on a long walk, spending some quality time with the family, reading or to the extreme, traveling the world. In 2018, I've been to Barbados, LA, Dubai, Iceland, Amsterdam and Chicago. I love exploring. 

Favourite restaurant in Ottawa?

This is such a difficult question! For a salad? My go to is Mad Radish, Juice Monkey or Cafe Morala in the Glebe. For fine dining? I love Allium and Riviera . For breakfast? Heart and Soul in Dunrobin. I try to support local shops as much as I possibly can.

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