"Give more than you receive: Edmonton supports small businesses like no other city and I believe we owe the community in a Big way."
Blitz Conditioning opened its doors in 2010. It is an Edmonton-based personal training and group fitness company focused on cultivating an inclusive and accessible fitness community. They do bootcamps, fitness classes, personal training, and occasionally organize pop-up classes like the one pictured here—a spin / High-Intensity Interval Training extravaganza held in Michael Phair Park.
Chris Tse is a co-owner of Blitz Conditioning and trains people with a personal touch, caring for the physical and mental health of each individual and creating training sessions adapted to their specific needs. We asked Chris some questions about his Edmonton Made business. Here's what he had to say:
When did you start your business and why?
We started the business six years ago with the principle of doing fitness a bit differently. We wanted to focus on community first. Our belief is that health and wellness empowers people to have a higher quality of life, to have better relationships with others, and ultimately to have a more fulfilling life. We want our gym to be a safe place for people to seek change in their lives and to be a part of something bigger than themselves.
Why did you start your business in Edmonton?
I grew up in Edmonton and it has been a place with this vibe and a feeling that we are making big moves and creating something different. We have a great support network and there is so much potential to do something impactful both locally and internationally when we are able to lean on others. This is my home and there's nowhere else I'd want to be so it made sense to build something that will leave a legacy here.
What was your biggest challenge in the early days of your business?
Relevance. Six years ago fitness as a daily act was not a part of our regular conversations. We had to participate in crafting the culture where fitness becomes a part of people's daily habits or is at least constantly on their minds. We are still battling the idea that daily exercise is a choice and not a requirement, but we're getting closer to achieving a more active population.
What is your biggest challenge today?
Keeping our level of care and attention for our community at the highest quality. There are so many new fitness businesses, both physical and online, that are entering the market on a monthly basis. We need to fight against following trends in the industry and take a critical look at the needs of our community. Consumption of fitness has changed a lot in the past few years. People hop from one fitness regimen to the next but we need to realize that there are certain fundamentals that cannot change at our core: that we are founded in science and we are a team that cares about the well-being of our community.
Do you have a 'support network'? What does that look like?
Absolutely I have a support network. One of the reasons why I chose Edmonton to build a business is that my support network is my family first, my friends, fellow business people, my mentors, my team, and my mentors. I would not have the opportunities that I currently have and the amazing connections that I have gained in the past six years without fully leaning on all of these individuals in my life. I have literally built a lifestyle around Blitz and Edmonton and many of my closest relationships have come from fully immersing myself. My support network is amazing and it looks like a person just living with the feeling that he owes everyone 100% of his effort to create an impact in their lives.
Are there any particular resources (local programs, blogs, webinars, video series, forums, books, etc.) you used to help scale / develop your business that you'd recommend to small businesses?
I have read a lot of success and business blogs and books, but many of them say the same thing but in a different way. The first book that really resonated with me was The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven R Covey. As a leader, I think we need a strong inward focus and an even stronger sense of self-awareness. We need to learn how to build a team that compliments our strengths and—more especially—our weaknesses. As leaders we need to learn to be as vulnerable with others as we are strong, and this book forced me to look inwards for the first time.
Is there a piece of advice you would like to pass on to other Edmonton Made businesses?
Give more than you receive: Edmonton supports small businesses like no other city and with that I believe we owe the community in a significant way. Whether it's through charitable donations, volunteerism, or simply giving time and support to others in need, we owe it to ourselves to help out.
Is there an Edmonton Made business you're cheering on?
Poppy Barley. I've known the Barbers since Junior High, and it's great to see how they've built a business from the ground up in Edmonton. Poppy Barley sells internationally but they have their feet firmly planted in the Edmonton community. Both Kendall and Justine are massive contributors to our culture and our fitness community, and I've always looked up to them for inspiration.
At your size, do you still feel your business is 'Edmonton Made'? In what way?
Absolutely. We serve Edmontonians, we live in this city, and we eat sleep and breathe everything about this city.