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Chris Smith on Growing the Dream

CEO and community leader Chris Smith on fuelling growth and secrets to successfully navigating challenging economic times


BCBusiness Fitness World

Credit: Chris Smith, CEO | Fitness World

CEO and community leader Chris Smith on fuelling growth and secrets to successfully navigating challenging economic times

Chris Smith, CEO and president of Fitness World, knows a thing or two about living your best life. Over 27 years, he climbed the ladder from personal trainer to club operator and on to CEO with 17 clubs across British Columbia, never swaying from his ultimate vision: “Your attitude determines your altitude.”

Living that truth, Smith has become one of the most influential voices in fitness. He developed diverse fitness and wellbeing programs throughout all Fitness World locations, striving to reduce the negative health impacts of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity rates.

In 2012, he launched the British Columbia Personal Training Institute—a comprehensive program designed to equip and support new trainers with technical training and exclusive content focused on client service practices.

On the heels of one of the most difficult times the indoor fitness industry has ever faced, Fitness World opened two new clubs in 2022 and this year will launch TRAIN by FW—an exclusive, semi-private studio concept.

While many would see Smith’s pure business acumen and drive, Smith recognizes it is a privilege and honor to serve 700 team members and 100,000+ Fitness World members.

“The pure scale of all the lives our business touches daily means we make sure that we make a difference in everything we do,” Smith says. “I take great pride in what we have accomplished and the way that people interact with our business every day.”

He believes humility combined with empathy is critical for leaders in today’s fast paced environment. “I also believe the best way to do this and see it executed is through a ‘Tell, Show, and then Do’ culture at every level,” he says.

Amidst a talent shortage and inflationary pressures, Smith’s secret to success is being strategic with working capital while staying firm in brand standards. He also points to having a clear mission statement that focuses on tomorrow and what an organization wants to become to help steer a company, despite economic turbulence.

“We certainly watch the markets and larger economic climate, but tough times are also a great opportunity to grow,” Smith says. “We are constantly working with our partners and stakeholders to find the next opportunity for Fitness World and our growth.”

Looking ahead, Smith says it is a great time to be part of the Fitness World, both as members and as team members.

“We are launching the franchise side of the business for eager entrepreneurs/partners who want to be part of the Fitness World story,” Smith says. “It’s never been a better time to be part of the family as we look to grow both in BC and beyond.”

When it comes to personal growth, Smith simply walks the walk: “I eat well, exercise regularly, and get consistent sleep,” he says. “That equals balance and a sense of feeling good.”

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Created by BCBusiness in partnership with Fitness World