Growing up I hated every sport my parents made me play and dreaded any and all physical movement. I would pretend to be sick for soccer games, finish dead last in competitive swim meets and borderline fail the beep test in gym class. I seriously thought movement just wasn’t for me. Fast forward nearly twenty years and I am now a full time fitness entrepreneur that leads an amazing community of thousands of women with my A Sculpt Body Program.
Finding Connection and Coping Through Movement
My mom passed away in June 2011. She was first diagnosed with cancer in September 2008. I was too distracted at the time to understand the severity of the situation and didn’t understand that it was terminal. I was thriving in my third year at McGill University, dating a new man (who I’m happy to report is now my husband), and my mom and I were still in the phase of loving each other but bickering on the regular – which I was sure we would outgrow. In all honesty, I didn’t think anything bad could possibly happen to me or my family. She’s obviously going to be at my graduation? My wedding? Meet my future kids? Needless to say, I was wrong. Her death tore our world into pieces.
About six months after she passed away, a fitness studio held a class in her honour. My mom had a strong passion for fitness. During this class I was out of breath, dizzy, and struggling like crazy, but I pushed through. At the end of the workout I felt equal parts embarrassed and accomplished. After 20 years of dreading physical movement, my perspective had shifted. I realized that working out could be fun and a way for me to gain confidence. And most of all, movement helped me feel connected to my mom.
Playing the Corporate Role
While I continued to workout as a hobby, I spent the next decade building my finance career. After graduating from school, I spent three years at PwC where I earned my CPA, CA, and then five years at RBC where I was ultimately promoted to a Vice President.
My ambition was next level, and I had a one-track mind to climb the corporate ladder. It was every bit as hectic, stressful, and intense as you could imagine. On the outside I was living the corporate dream, but on the inside – something was missing. I was working in a toxic work environment, I didn’t feel fulfilled, I didn’t feel like I was doing important work and I wasn’t happy.
Working out was the ultimate self-care tool for me. It was my outlet when I had a bad day and it gave me the energy I needed to take on the long and stressful days. I began to love it so much that I wouldn’t shut up about it! I was telling every person who would listen about the incredible discovery I had made: fitness (remember I was just now discovering this-same girl who faked being sick for soccer games here).
The Finance to Fitness Transition
I started to think- I could actually TEACH the classes instead of just participating. I had always loved sharing my knowledge – I was a tutor my whole life, and a TA at McGill.
In September 2018 I decided to officially enroll to become fitness certified. It was a scary decision, and I was terrified of judgement. I knew that if I hated it or was bad at it, I could simply quit. Spoiler alert: I didn’t hate it. In fact, I LOVED IT. Once I was certified, I started teaching nights and weekends at a few fitness studios, on top of my full-time finance job.
At the same time, while I was working full-time at the bank (pre-COVID), I was experiencing firsthand how difficult it was to find the time for an in-person workout class or gym session. I started to see a white space for amazing, effective, and fun online workouts that women everywhere could fit into their hectic schedules. Now remember, this was in 2019 pre-COVID, when there were very limited online fitness options. So, I decided to create one myself.
Launch In Pandemic
From late 2019 to early 2020, I spent every waking hour that I wasn’t at the office planning the launch of A Sculpt Body. Filming videos, getting my website set up, accounting, legal, tax – you name it. Our official launch date was scheduled for April 28th, with an in-person launch party that week.
Then…. the pandemic happened. I was creating a business that would meet the needs of my community members who were at home and needed to move, but it wasn’t ready yet! I immediately went into panic / problem solving mode. Just days into the pandemic, I put a poll on my IG stories asking if my followers would like me to host free online classes on IG live. The response was an overwhelming YES. And from that week – until about 6 months later – I taught free classes online almost every single day.
We officially launched A Sculpt Body on April 14, 2020, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. A Sculpt Body is an online fitness platform with over 100+ low impact workout classes that can be accessed anytime, anywhere. My community members were feeling better physically, mentally, and emotionally, despite the trying times.
The Reality of Burnout
At that time, I pivoted from filming in a studio with a videographer and fancy camera to filming at home on my iPhone. From an in-person launch party to a virtual one. From having plans to collaborate with other women, to being totally alone. Launching a business is an overwhelming and isolating process to begin with but doing it in a pandemic at home exaggerated that feeling tenfold. All while I was still working a full-time job.
It became abundantly clear very fast that I could NOT do it all. I was keeping it together on the outside but in reality was on the verge of burnout. I hadn’t planned to go all-in on my business at all (I’ve never considered myself an entrepreneur – and still don’t), never mind doing it less than a year after launch. But something had to give, or I was going to burn out. I was continuously receiving hundreds of messages from my community members telling me how deeply my workouts were impacting their lives during this time at home. I knew my community needed me more than my corporate clients did.
In January 2021, I decided to leave my corporate job to run A Sculpt Body full-time. It was a very difficult decision to leave my stable, “good-on-paper” corporate job at one of Canada’s largest banks. It took me a long time to get over the doubts and fear of judgement on what people would think. A LOT of people told me it was a terrible idea.
Many factors went into my decision to leave, but ultimately, I knew that empowering women through movement was my calling. If I didn’t jump in with both feet, I knew I would regret it.
Blending the Two Worlds: Fitness and Finance
Fitness changed my life, and it has become my personal mission to empower as many women as possible to make movement an important and fun part of their everyday lives too.
Now, every single day I get to wake up and help ASB’s community of strong, supportive, and empowered women feel like their best selves. I love that I get to blend my two worlds (fitness and finance) as a business owner.
Recently I was asked what I would tell my 20 year old self if I had the chance, and it was this: Happiness is more important than money. It will be scary to make (way) less, but your life will become rich in so many other incredible ways. You’ll wonder why you didn’t take the leap sooner! It’s never too late to start. You don’t need to be a certain age, and it doesn’t need to be a certain date. If you want it, go for it! To learn more about and join the A Sculpt Body Program and community click here.
Written By: Alessia Scauzillo