How I Get Sh*t Done: Colleen Ellis


Meet Colleen Ellis- the co-founder FreeW8Fitness. After receiving her degree in Kinesiology and Health Promotion and becoming a certified personal trainer, Colleen began her entrepreneurial journey! She grew up being a multi-sport athlete, and she uses that passion to health other on their personal health and fitness journey, whatever stage they may be at. This week on HIGSD, we chat with Colleen on everything from how she got her start in her business to the best piece of advice she’s ever received! 

Q: It’s your average morning- take us through your morning routine! (Wake up time, breakfast go-tos, commuting, etc) 

A: In an average morning, I typically wake up at 6:30am, go right to making some coffee and get back into bed to go over any e-mails, make my schedule and to-do list for the day and get to work. I create educational lectures for the youth athlete’s I train at ISPYR, so I use this time to make and edit the lectures, on topics such as sports nutrition or sport-specific training. I always make sure I make time for breakfast, and my all-time favourite meal would have to be a tofu spinach scramble with chickpeas and veggies. Another favourite is definitely egg and avocado on toast, simple but highly nutritious and quick to whip up! After that, I head to my elderly client's house to train them in Oakville for 10am. 


Q: Tell us about how you started your business, FreeW8Fitness! 

A: FreeW8Fitness is a business I started just after graduating with my Kinesiology and Health Promotion degree. I always knew I wanted to have my own business, I just always assumed it would be further down the road. After school, I also obtained my personal training certification through CSEP, where I then began to be asked by family and friends for advice, custom programs, and training. I was sitting with my boyfriend one day and really out of nowhere we both said let’s make what I’m doing into a business. Together, Patrick and I started up our website and I began making core, lower and upper body programs to sell. We also had several requests for meal plans, so that became a whole other avenue to include to the business model. From there, I wanted to use the client base I already had to promote health to others, which is why I started doing group fitness outdoors. So overall, FreeW8Fitness is a business centered around health promotion, educating others on the importance of an overall healthy lifestyle and the importance of this as you age. It incorporates all aspects of health, as I touch on topics such as fitness, nutrition, and mental health. 

Q: What’s your favourite way to get sweaty?

A: My favourite way to get my sweat on is to complete an at-home workout. I love working out at home because it motivates me to get out of bed and workout for the day. If possible, I try and workout in the morning as it sets the tone for the day and really makes me feel energized. I have a set of dumbbells and kettlebells at home I use to complete my workout. I absolutely love lower body workouts and love to progress myself to push and see how hard I can go. Another workout I love is to go for a quick run to relieve any stress and get those endorphins going.


Q: You’re always busy and on the go, what are your go-to snacks to bring with you? 

A: Being on the go, my favourite go-to snacks would have to be Cliff protein bars and smoothies. The Protein Builders protein bars keep me full longer and give me the energy I need between meals. I always have frozen fruit ready to go to make smoothies. They're quick to make and easy to bring in the car between clients or on the way from one job to the next. 

Q: How do you like to unwind after a long week?

A: My favorite way to unwind after a long week is really to just relax at home with my boyfriend and make a nice dinner together, hang out and watch movies. I’m very much a homebody and just love curling up on the couch with my animals nearby and writing in my journal about all the things I'm grateful for and have accomplished this week. I always make it a priority to write in the journal weekly to remind myself how hard I worked but how it pays off, setting small and achievable goals to work on. 

Q: I’m SO excited for our amazing collaboration on my first ever workout event- What’s your favourite part about running outdoor workouts?

A: My favorite part about running outdoor workout events is bringing a community together. It demonstrates that you don't have to go to a gym to exercise, and can literally workout anywhere at any time, with or without equipment. I love to see everyone pushing each other and laughing, having a great time. It’s so nice to see variety in the people that attend the workouts, as the clients range from middle-aged moms to 20 year olds. Additionally, I really try and advocate for the benefits that being outside had for mental health, and that even going out for a walk can help alleviate signs/symptoms of stress, anxiety, etc. 

Q: What does your bedtime routine look like?

A: I always try and get to bed by 10pm so I have enough sleep each night. Before bed, I will usually relax and finish my day with some stretching and then go through my skincare routine. I use Dermatologica brands as I have always struggled with acne but this brand has worked wonders for me. First I wipe any makeup off with Garnier Micellar oil-free wash on a cotton pad, and then proceed to use the Dermatologica face wash. I then use a Dermatologica face cream for overnight. After my skincare routine, I go to bed and try and read a book before falling asleep. 

Q: So far, what’s the best piece of advice someone has given you?

A: The best piece of advice anyone has given me was from my best friend Melissa. She told me whatever decision you're making in your life, take a step back, think about it and make sure it is one that will make you happy. Don’t think about how much money you will get, how much time you'll spend doing it, or how hard it is. If it’s something that will make you happy do that thing. This stuck with me as I use it every day in my life. For example, turning down a full-time job paying very well to pursue my dreams to help promote health to others, with no direction, money or materials to get me there. Just take it one step at a time and remember, as long as what you're doing makes you happy and feel purpose in life, you're doing great. It’s even better if what makes you happy also makes other people happy. 


Q: Any projects, or updates coming up for FreeW8Fitness? 

A: There is some very exciting opportunities coming up for FreeW8Fitness. I have a partner at ISPYR who I help train youth athlete’s and I am now given the amazing opportunity to teach the athletes about exercise physiology and sports nutrition. I am currently working on educative pieces that I will teach to the athlete’s in October, and will continue to do so throughout the year. This is so important to me because it is something I lack growing up as a youth athlete and I find so beneficial for helping individuals achieve their goals. On top of that, I am in the works of a partner with a few hockey organizations to train their trams in dryland training as well as educate the athletes on goal setting and motivation. 

Q: What does Healthy is Hot mean to you?
A: To me, healthy is hot means that one should be proud to show that health is important and a priority in their lives. This means that you should be proud of everything you’ve worked towards in health and fitness, both mentally and physically. It is very attractive to see someone who is confident in what they have worked towards and to share that experience and knowledge with others, to help them reach their goals as well. It is so empowering to see someone who takes health into their own hands and shows off their hard work and continues to push themselves to reach their greatest potential. It is so amazing to me to see so many people at any stage in their fitness journey to be proud of it, show their results and motivate others to do the same. 

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