By Karisa Karmali
Self-Love and Fitness™ is an athletic lifestyle brand and an online Canadian retailer of fitness equipment and custom bundles for trainers, gyms, and the athletically ambitious. The brand is also a coaching company that offers customized plans and programs for performance coaching and getting back on track.
Our specialty is helping athletes, entrepreneurs, professionals, and leaders get back on track or even level up.
About Self-Love and Fitness
While people do not need to be training for a championship or competition, they do need to have an existing base of fitness experience and ambitious fitness goals as our training plans and programs are performance-driven and virtual. Customization for both nutrition and fitness strategy means it fits people’s unique biology and biomechanics.
I am obsessed with this because pushing myself mentally through fitness has helped me in so many ways, that is why I love high athletic goals.
Another important part of the business is the fundraiser aspect, so 100% of the profits from all TRX® suspension system purchases are being donated to the Just One Person Scholarship for Youth in Care! I want to make a tangible difference through actual dollars towards education for youth in care. Hope is great and all, but money is what is going to help more youth in care get an education if they wish to and have that freedom that they may not have otherwise.
Aside from inspiring driven people to level up athletically, this brand was built as a mechanism to channel adversity into something that can turn it into an advantage both for my own sake and inspire others who have been through similar circumstances. To provide more context on what I am referring to, I wanted to channel the sexual assault I experienced in a business partnership from two years ago into something that is solely my own and not built, worked on, or designed by anyone else. I have a few people who help me, whom I trust with my life, and my suppliers, and that is all I need for right now. I wanted to make this my own, under only my creative direction. I also built it because self-love and fitness are anchors that help me cope with my anxiety daily.
Building my own business is also a major part of ensuring that I can be in a position to give back to the community. The odds were against me, since the age of 4 I grew up in foster homes; but, I would never call myself a victim. Although I have used it as fuel since a young age, only recently did I start to understand how useful this experience has been. It can inspire people to understand the relation between physical activity and mental resilience.
The significance of this brand is also about turning adversity into an advantage by leveraging it and using it as fuel. The transformative factors for me to be able to do that, without discounting the clinical therapy methods which I have used, were self-love and fitness as rituals to support resilience.
Currently, there are a lot of supply chain issues, such as shortages of kettlebells and weights. Demand is difficult to keep up with; however, there are always ways to work around this by keeping waitlists or pre-selling items (as long as we have a set restock date and as long as the client is okay with that).
The opportunities the business/market is facing:
The acceptance of a virtual setting for personal training and nutrition coaching is a fantastic opportunity! We can still convey empathy and genuinely connect with our clients over video and it can be done as successfully as an in-person practice.
The other opportunity for me is scaling without a huge team and without adding coaches to the mix, as I have very little time and mental bandwidth, I can’t be spending it on training people unless I want to erode the few moments I have left in a day to myself. Instead, I can grow the business through digital products. I am creating a “get back on track” e-book for fitness and nutrition knowledge for clients.
This will be a stand-alone digital product available to download soon. I only create customized programs from scratch which means that I can only serve so many clients under this model. Due to this, I am finding ways to scale and serve more of my target market at many different levels through educational resources.
There is a bigger market for customized fitness and nutrition as I think people are starting to see the lack of detail that goes into mass-marketed generic plans. The most basic pieces of advice can cause damage if the client’s needs and medical history are not assessed correctly upon prescribing a plan of any sort.
The other thing is that biomechanics vary even in people are the same height, weight, gender, and so on.
Until my online resources are ready, I am offering my signature program “Elite” to people who want to get back on track, rather than only people who want to level up, so that I can share my strategy with more people (while still aligning it with my niche – sports nutrition and progressive overload).
Do not allow the fact that there are other brands out there to stop you from starting your own brand/business with your unique twist.
The second piece of advice is not to allow anyone to use you when you’re starting a business. Do not work without being paid even at the beginning, you can simply charge less and gradually charge more as you grow. The bottom line is that in the absence of mutually respectful exchanges or exceptions you’re making from a place of overflow, don’t work without being paid. I dislike seeing people get taken advantage of when they’re new in business because they feel so desperate for validation.
You will get your best testimonials from clients who are paying you, so do not let anyone use that tactic on you either or ask you to work for free for a testimonial. Your self-respect should be worth more than people unwilling to pay. I see too many people fall into this trap, and it breaks my heart. I do not think you need fake validation from people who do not respect your time, which is a piece of your life you will never get back.
The last piece of advice I would give is to be very clear and deliberate about who you are, what you want, and what you need to make your purpose and dreams a reality, which may include prioritizing self-care. This is about being honest with yourself about your bandwidth and being self-loving enough to set clear limits. Whether it is the business you are in or something you are good at, everything you choose to take on will be at the expense of something else, so use every minute of your time wisely.
Wasted time is often more costly than wasted money, and only you know what parameters you need around your schedule and self-care. You get to decide who gets access to your energy and where you direct your attention, make sure that it aligns with your calling, as many people lack direction, and that can stop a good business in its tracks.
Health is always going to be my priority. All else has to fit around that principle. I always make sure that I do things that make me feel refreshed.
I truly believe that people who respect you will fully respect the limits of your availability and understand that constantly having your attention placed back on work when you are off is probably not sustainable long-term, even for me.