May 5

Inspirational Stories



Growing up, I was no stranger to fitness. In addition to being a Canadian National certified lifeguard, I played water polo, baseball and volleyball and when I started working out twenty years ago, I already knew my way around a gym. But when an injury left me with nerve damage down my neck and arm, I was in constant pain and, as a result, my workouts were compromised. My form was deteriorating so badly that working out was actually contributing to the problem and I was no longer seeing the results I once did.

Since joining System Fitness two years ago, Personal Trainer Radu Palivan has shown me how personal fitness can alleviate the pain. He improved my form and challenged me to see results I never before thought possible. His motivation, wealth of ideas, access to regimes, knowledge about the human body’s physics and constant reassurance have helped me push myself to new limits. My routines also have been condensed into shorter time frames, making my commitment to the gym more manageable to accommodate my busy schedule.

System Fitness has a personal trainer for every person in the gym. While they can provide people who are unfamiliar with workout routines a solid structure from an informed professional, they can also give those who are confident in the gym new ideas and challenges. Adding a personal trainer to my workout routines as changed my life and I would recommend it for anybody.


System Fitness has had a tremendous effect on my quality if life. While the equipment at the gym is well-maintained, it is the team at 2100 Bloor St West that is impressive. Sue the front desk receptionist who is always most friendly and helpful, is typical of System Fitness staff who engage with members to make certain that their workouts are a pleasant experience.

This week I am vacationing in Great Malvern, England. This fascinating town is next to the hill that inspired C.S. Lewis in his Chronicles of Nardia and J.R.R. Tolkien to write The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. The Malvern Hills rise steeply from the town below. Yesterday I surprised myself at the age of 48 by quickly hiking up the summit 325 meters above Great Malvern. As I quickly passed others much younger and appeared fit and healthy. I realized an exciting conclusion that my body was convinced it was 25 again when I used to hike in the Rocky Mountains during summer vacation.

Frankly, my body is an improvement from so many years ago. Why am I in such exceptional good spirits from ascending to Malvern Hills highest Worcestershire Beacon peak? It is because I never thought it was possible two years ago to feel and be this fit again- especially as I am approaching 50. Since 2014 I have been training with Matt.

System Fitness is most fortunate to have Matt McGeown as a personal trainer. My intense workouts with Matt include cardio, resistance and endurance training that is providing me with greatly improved health, strength and preventative injury physiotherapy, as I will likely never again injure myself due to the outstanding direction I am given by Matt. Previous to working with Matt I was informed that I will have to have 2 hernia operations- no longer necessary. For more than 25 years I hada painful left knee injury – again- no longer a problem since training with Matt. My right shoulder was always affecting me with neck pain – no longer a problem as well/ I play the piano better than ever due to my incredible strength. I feel the best ever- all because of my good fortune of training with Matt McGeown !


Most of my life I have been overweight and out of shape. I was never athletic and rarely if ever did I exercise. At the age of 35 I was close to 300 pounds and finally decided that enough was enough! I began my weight loss journey vowing to stick with it as long as it took. This wasn’t the first time, in the past I had attempted to get the weight off in a variety of ways and suffered failure each and every time. This time around I had done my research and finally realized that if I didn’t move my body it wasn’t going to work. I started on my own by walking and going to some boot camp classes. About 8 months into my journey I began running. At the year and a half mark I walked into System Fitness and was introduced to Scott. He listened to my story and built a program that would increase my muscle, decrease my body fat, and totally test my endurance. I was very self conscience about having a trainer and feared that my lack of athletic ability would be judged. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It was exactly what I needed. A program designed just for me; one where I could see the changes in my body right away. Scott was completely supportive and believed in me. He was constantly making me aware of just how capable I was. I am so happy I didn’t let my fear prevent me from that experience. I trained with Scott for more than a year and a half and in that time I reached my goal of losing 100 pounds. I decreased my body fat, increased my muscle mass, trained and completed two half marathons, and competed in dragon boat racing events. My body has been totally transformed. But the most important transformation has to be in my confidence. Training has given me confidence in my physical ability, my strength, and my appearance. When I transitioned to training with Phil several months ago, I was again worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up. Phil was completely amazing at pulling out my strengths and supporting me in learning new skills, like boxing. I love it; it has to be my favourite way to work out. I love our sessions together. Phil has taught me to love that burn and enjoy the natural high. Today I am happy to say that I can rock a tank top, little black dress, and knee length boots (all items I thought I could never wear) as well as, kill any squat set, throw a mean uppercut and I no longer fear burpies. It has been four years since my journey began and I am constantly coming up with more goals to achieve. Right now I am currently training for my first full marathon. Today when I see pictures of the past I have a hard time looking at them because I know that version of me would never have thought all of this would have been possible. Luckily this version knows the truth.


I have been on my health and wellness journey with System Fitness since July 2014. I decided to join the gym as I needed a change to my life that would be impactful and meaningful. This was especially true considering that I work in the fast food industry and I constantly have the temptation of high calorie foods around me.

After what I consider a “slow start” to my results I found myself losing my motivation. I presented myself with 2 options… become another statistic and pay for a gym that I was not going to use or, get a jumpstart on my results with a personal trainer. I am happy to say that I made the right decision by choosing to work with Phil, my trainer and get the push that I have always been looking for.

I started to work with Phil about 1 year ago and have not looked back since. I continue to see him 2 - 3x per week and have reduced 5 inches off of my waist, lost over 20lbs on the scale and have energy to spare all day long.

Most importantly I have learned to never let yourself lose your motivation… the staff and professionals at System Fitness can help you as they helped me!


When I first started towards my fitness goals I weighed 560 pounds. I am happy to say that I am well on my way to achieving my ultimate goal as I have already lost a total of 265 pounds. One of the major influences in helping me obtain this amazing feat was based on the assistance of system fitness.

I currently work with a personal trainer, Martin Manbert, three times a week. This has benefited me not only in my weight loss goals, but I feel stronger, more agile and generally feel fantastic! I still have an overall goal of reaching a healthy weight 190 pounds. Due to their expertise and amazing professionals, I plan on continuing my journey until I reach this point. I want to thank Martin and the team at System Fitness for everything they have done.


I have three words for those people who find the holiday season extremely stressful, adhere to stereotypes that December is the most dark and depressing month of the year, and believe the myth that Canadian winters are long and monotonous: “HIT THE GYM!” Or rather, “JOIN SYSTEM FITNESS!” Why? Because System Fitness can make you happier and better fit in coping with a common enemy – the intensely 21st-century, technologically advanced, mentally suffocating and skilfully concealed illness: STRESS.

Although I’ve been a member of System Fitness in High Park for the past few years, it is during this winter season when I have realized and experienced the real value and benefits of personal training and physiotherapy. My work at the System Fitness’ Health Centre with Julian Roach (physiotherapist), Joe Alejandria (personal trainer), and Mugabi Mpagi (athletic therapist) has been exceptionally rewarding. The three of these professionals impressed me not only with their knowledge and expertise, but also with their patience and sincerity. They simply dispelled my fears that guided training was some kind of hard, boot-camp workout and taught me how to slow down and perform the exercises with precision, challenged me with new routines, and satisfied my curiosity with useful information on a wide variety of health-related issues, from relaxation to self-defence techniques.

I am beginning to realize that the body-mind-spirit unity is not just a concept or a New Age practitioner’s pursuit – it is an achievable reality when one puts an effort and makes it a consistent part of their daily lives. Every week my System Fitness sessions help me discover, step by step, how to work out effectively and treat my body with greater respect and love. My gym time makes me feel more productive and balanced in my work as a writer, artist, and educator. I also feel at least ten years younger!

All that has been made possible with the dedicated work of System Fitness’ clinic director Bryan Marchetti, whose professional advice, impeccable work ethics, and business sense I trust unconditionally. His vision of a highly efficient Total Health Centre proves its worth. So does the commitment of System Fitness’ entire staff – from the administration to the cleaning personnel who keep the fitness centre in excellent condition.

In the spirit of the holiday season, I wish System Fitness’ tireless workers a joyful and prosperous 2015! Thank you for helping me set better goals and work towards a happier and healthier future.



In less than a year I reached what I consider the next level of physical and spiritual transformation.
After a few months of X-fit and kickboxing classes with Phil Ngo and Joseph Alejandria (who
instilled in me the drive to excel in anything I do), I was ready to move onto self-training. I was
armed with a shield of knowledge and positive energy coming from System Fitness’ personal
trainers, physiotherapists and massage therapists, as well as from my online research and
expanding interest in fitness, metabolic training, and creative visualization. The Facebook page of
System Fitness, with its encouraging videos, educational ads, and stimulating messages, also
helped me in pursuing my goals. Within the summer months, for example, my perseverance in
self-training reached great results: I moved from a heavier, 172-pound to 155-pound, highly
energized, and better shaped body. Losing weight, however, was only a very small part of my
fitness goal; Precision, core strength and flexibility, high performance, mindfulness – are all
keywords for the active, compassionate, 21st century kind of living to which I aspire.

I am currently fully engaged in self-training; it has become a great learning experience. I’ve learned
to love and listen to my body and control my mind by providing them with a great variety of
physical and intellectual activities. The combination of high-intensity, full-body exercises with
breathing, focus, creative visualization, and relaxation techniques has led to my own
Burn-and-Balance self-training program. It helps me burn fat fast, maintain a youthful
appearance, and feel stress-free and relaxed, while I enjoy all my favourite foods. These are not
the only results, of course. Any time I stop by at System Fitness to check my weight on the scales, I
know I measure the benefits of my fitness commitment on a larger scale – I feel happier and
healthier, more productive, and, without exaggeration, fearless of life’s challenges and open to
the love of the universe.

Thank you, System Fitness, for being part of my journey. Your community of professionals,
workers, and members provide a daily doze of inspiration; some of them are accomplished
bodybuilders, wrestlers, boxers, dancers, and yoga practitioners who generously share their
knowledge and experience; others simply inspire with their hard work – from those who make sure
that the gym is open in the early hours and is in excellent condition, to those who make sure it
maintains its great reputation. I call your positive environment my second home, for it is always
there for me when I need it, renewing my strength and recharging my spirit to boldly move


I train with Phil Ngo at System Fitness and have done so for many months now. I want to work with a trainer as long as I can afford to do so. Having a trainer motivates me to work harder and to be consistent in my workouts. I am sixty-one years old. I have always had a healthy metabolism but before coming to the gym, my high metabolic rate may have contributed to me being underweight. I also didn’t take the time to maintain a healthy diet or to recognize the importance of eating enough. Phil reminds me regularly that in order to have a body that is fit, I must also watch what I eat - “I am what I eat”. He motivates me to pay attention at all times and to work hard - as he says “no pain, no gain”. The regular and strenuous weekly workouts that Phil initiates, consistently motivate me to work on my focus, balance, control and self confidence. These are all essential ingredients for living well and with contentment.

My goal with exercise is to improve my overall state of being - with appropriate weight gain by eating more and eating healthy, by doing yoga to keep my working muscles pliant and by having an overall healthier state of mind. It would be much more challenging to stay focussed on that larger goal of overall well-being, without Phil’s commitment to work with me in the gym. Phil is always positive. Thank you!!!


Retiring as a Senior in 2013, I strongly believe in being a Lifelong Learner and keeping my health and fitness at a level which will continue to provide me with a productive and active daily lifestyle. With this goal in mind, I made two major choices, to return to College, as an adult learner, and to increase my involvement with System Fitness. Having been a member of the gym for many years before retirement, I knew that the benefits of regular exercise assisted me to remain healthy, active and involved. Moreover, being retired, I decided to avail myself of the services that System Fitness offered. After meeting and being assessed by their physiotherapist, and discussing my two previous sport-related injuries (shoulder and knee), I began working with Mark, one of the personal trainers. Not only have I been challenged physically by the various routines (involving all aspects of what the gym has to offer), but Mark continues to challenge me mentally by creating a deep understanding of how the various exercises and routines affect particular muscle groups and sound overall health. Knowing my body, and how the various parts interact, has given me a fuller understanding of the importance of proper training and of how to keep healthy in my senior years.

As a retired senior, it is important to me to be able to maintain my level of health and ability to take part in everyday activities. Being a member of System Fitness is one of the cornerstones in my plan to remain an active senior, and the High Park facility offers me the tools, expertise, and training to assist me in a positive manner. Working with the staff, and Mark, who is one of the personal trainers, has provided me with effective and lasting ways to reduce, and then maintain a healthy weight, to improve my cardiovascular system, to expand my knowledge of proper techniques using both exercise machines and free weights, and to encourage me to continue to be physically active. Becoming and remaining healthier and, with the greater understanding of my body, has meant that I can take on new challenges and activities without being overly concerned about my fitness level; that I can engage more actively with my grandchildren; and that I can certainly enjoy what life has to offer. System Fitness will remain an integral part of my efforts to retain a healthy lifestyle.

In March of 2011, I suffered a serious shoulder injury while cycling. To repair the damage to the ligaments and broken collar bone required the insertion of a Clavicle Hook Plate, two operations, and months of physio. At the end of the physio sessions at the hospital, the findings were that I would never again golf, and that I would never regain full mobility of the shoulder. At the time of the accident, I was already a member of System Fitness. With input from the staff, I worked at regaining my cardio so that I could at least return to cycling. A year ago, after an appraisal by System Fitness staff and their physiotherapist, I began working with Mark, one of the gym’s personal trainer. We discussed my injury, concerns and expectations, and Mark created a program which focused on stabilizing both shoulders, developing the muscles of the upper and lower back, and improving overall body strength and flexibility. Through the incremental and developing program, I am stronger than I have ever been, my flexibility has returned to what I expected, and the loss of weight has improved my general health and outlook on life. Not only have I returned to golfing, but, beyond the expectations of the medical staff, I have regained full mobility of the shoulder. Great job, System Fitness.

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