Training Zone Partner Workout
Interviews,  Stuck!

At the Training Zone

“Focus. Challenge yourself everyday!”

These are the words that Francis and Joyce live by, the owners of The Training Zone. Francis, a personal trainer and serving at the Canadian Armed Forces created the Training Zone with his wife Joyce, who is a fitness instructor.  We spent a fun Friday night together hearing about their experiences, and Francis led us through a few partner exercises.  The workout session was invigorating! And, it was delightful to hear how they are inspiring others through exercising.

How did you discover your passion?

Francis: A large part of my life has been dedicated to fitness for a couple of reasons. Firstly, I personally enjoy working out. Secondly, exercising can vastly improve our quality of life.  I love to educate others on what makes a good workout.  So I became a personal trainer in 2008.  

What inspired you to create The Training Zone?

Francis & Joyce: We see many challenges experienced by those who want to get a proper workout (exercise goers) and those who are passionate to offer help (personal trainers).

Exercise goers! What are your challenges?

Challenges from working out costly membership bored getting the proper workout

  • A costly membership and being bound to a contract could prevent you from going to the gym.
  • Or, you are going to the gym, but you’re not getting the proper workout.  You find yourself in large fitness classes without a dedicated instructor to correct your posture while you’re exercising. Not using proper posture or mechanics for working out could damage your body in the long run.
  •  Boredom is another driver. When you hit the gym, you might spend 20 minutes on the elliptical machine, followed by some weight training.  Is that the optimal workout for you? What ends up happening is that you are constantly working the same muscle groups.  And, your brain remembers repetitive patterns and routines, which doesn’t help to stimulate your mind. Therefore, you are not training hard to build your muscles.

Personal Trainers! What is your challenge?

For personal trainers, their challenge is that the regulations at most gyms are not conducive for an incentive payout. This makes it hard for professional trainers to succeed.

The Training Zone Markham new gym
Based on these insights, we saw a need to create an intimate space in Markham with a unique business model to serve exercise goers and professional trainers.
Once you had this idea, how did you go about executing it?

Joyce smiled: On day 1 when we had the idea, our daughter was born! It took about two years to bring our ideas to life.   It was such a memorable moment to host our daughter’s birthday at The Training Zone. 

Celebrate the next birthday party at The Training Zone!
Celebrate the next birthday party at The Training Zone!
train harder train smarter at The Training Zone
This is our slogan. Thank you to our little boss for helping out!

Thinking back on our journey, it was very tough to prioritize our action items while juggling our day-to-day demands, and working at our respective jobs.

We told ourselves that once we have an idea, let’s not mull around with it. Let’s get it going! FOCUS!  We became each other’s cheerleaders.

Our first step was to create a simple business plan.

1) Target audience & our value proposition

what is unique about TrainingZone
What is unique about The Training Zone? We all have busy lives. Our mission is to help you maximize the time you have to get the optimal and proper workout. For personal trainers, we want to help you succeed.

2) Location 

This location is in the hub of residential areas. There is a high school and Markville Mall down the street. It is close to a Go Train station.  Folks can easily drop by the gym before or after work.  So we have a good mix of students, young graduates, moms and kids, career folks, and retirees coming to the gym.

Training Zone group buddy exercises
We have a variety of classes to meet your needs and interest. Follow us at @thetrainingzone.
What obstacles did you encounter along the way, and how did you overcome them?

1) Tune out skepticism

No memberships and contracts? Then, how can you have a sustainable business? Some folks thought this was a silly idea. Being in the industry, we have developed our own insights on ways to help meet the gaps in the market place.  We are very passionate about helping others exercise in a smarter way, and helping personal trainers succeed. With our insights and passion, we decided to give it a try!

2) Financial concerns

As we mentioned earlier, we have a young child. Financially speaking, we had a concern whether we would be spreading ourselves thin. We asked ourselves some realistic questions, and whether we were determined to see this idea come into fruition. 

3) Not knowing about everything

Leveraging on our network helped us during our renovation phase. With no knowledge about construction, our family connected me with a trustworthy contractor.  When we ran into questions about interior design, water tanks, and permit application process, we naturally crossed paths with friends of friends who offered us tips and guided us along the journey.

working out at the training zone
A panoramic view of The Training Zone.
What’s a joyous moment you’ve witnessed?

Do we have to pick just one? There are a few stories!

  • George and Tracy came to workout together for a year before giving birth to their first child!
  • For another friend Stephanie, we helped her stay fit prior to her wedding day. We are very honoured to be part of her journey, and were thrilled to be invited to her wedding.
  • Ken, Vice President of Programming from the Discovery Channel shared this story on our website. We have been meeting once a week for training. We’re no strangers to each other’s family. He knows when our daughter is not feeling well. This is how close we’ve become as friends. He even took our family on a discovery tour at his workplace.

You can read more testimonials at  We’re very happy to share milestones with our friends. And I say friends not customers, because we are no longer strangers. We very much look forward to being a part of their lives, and seeing them transform to a better self through exercising.

What’s next for The Training Zone?

We are very excited to expand our buddy training program! This is a great workout for couples or friends to have fun together while working out.  The exercises leverage each other’s strength to complete each set. Not only is this a great team building activity, partners can learn how to depend and encourage each other to achieve your goals.

spin classes at the training zone
Training for The Ride to Conquer Cancer? We offer spin classes to help you get ready for the 200 km bike ride!

We will also be launching a goal setting training program. Whether you are training for a sports competition like a marathon, IRONMAN, Tough Mudder, or have personal goals to meet, we can provide the training to help you succeed.

Check out today!

Jup’s Reflection

How often do we overthink things at times that we end up missing certain opportunities?  When I reflect on Francis and Joyce’s story, taking the leap of faith comes into mind.  James Cameron once said, “There are many talented people who haven’t fulfilled their dream because they over thought it, or they were too cautious, and were unwilling to make the leap of faith.”  Francis and Joyce are very courageous to ask themselves some realistic questions before pursuing their idea, and turning away from naysayers to turn their ideas into action. 

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