A Change of Course for StrengthBox

June 9, 2020
Greg Carver
Change of Course

Our physical location is now closed. Classes will not be resuming and we will not be searching for a new space.

A letter from owner/lead trainer Greg Carver:


Dear Community,

After much reflection, I’ve decided that I will not be re-opening our physical location when the province gives the “all clear” for gyms to continue operations. Classes will not be resuming and I will not be searching for a new space.

This has been a heart-wrenching and emotional decision. It’s especially tough as I know it affects many people who have come to love StrengthBox and the support, shared experiences and the friendships that have developed since we opened over 10 years ago.

Having said that, I am not retiring from the business entirely and I’m not leaving the fitness industry. StrengthBox will operate online in some capacity, and details of that will be revealed shortly.

Obviously, the financial position of StrengthBox is the major consideration in this decision. There isn’t a business owner in the world who isn’t looking at the books daily right now, and few are seeing good things. With no source of revenue since mid-March there is no way to cover the accumulating expenses of a physical space in cost-heavy Toronto, even with government assistance.

The threat of the pandemic isn’t gone, and it may be around for a while. Loosened restrictions, a few weeks of glorious weather and gradual attempts to re-open the economy have brightened the skies, but the fitness industry has changed dramatically in the last three months.

So many of you have said you can’t wait to get back to the gym. But even if it were financially feasible, it simply would not have been the same. While I love the social environment of a shared physical space full of music and the clanging of weights, many of the things that made the StrengthBox special would have to change. Spacing requirements, cleaning procedures, screening at entry, contact logging, physical distancing rules, no shared use of equipment or props, possible wearing of masks or PPE — many of these things are now deemed necessary for public health. But this isn’t the business I opened.

I want to be a coach and I want to be able to inspire people.

From January of 2010 to March of 2020, my staff and I have been coaching classes multiple times a day, seven days a week. We invested fully in the business, in ourselves, and pushed hard in a tough industry. When I think of what we’ve all achieved together as a community: Bruce Trail retreats, trips to Greece, fundraising events, competitions, workshops and seminars featuring some of the best teachers in the world — I’m proud of what we’ve all done. We have thousands of shared memories from people who continue to amaze me daily. I’m so grateful for all the support.

This brings me to another reason for the decision to close, and it’s more personal.

Since the shutdown, I realize my own “pause button” has been hit for the first time in many years. I’m a workhorse, it’s what I do. But I too need a change, and some of that change involves taking care of myself.

If you know me well, you’ll know that I transformed my life from the corporate world into a gym owner at 50 years of age. I transformed my body during that time as well. And now as I approach my 61st birthday, I’ll evolve again – and hopefully will continue to inspire others since that’s a big motivating factor for me.

The future is uncertain for many of us, but I know we’ll be fine. We just have to adapt.

I will still be a coach. I’ve been training people online for years, before it was a “thing”. The Trainerize app has been instrumental in delivering this service, and I see it as an opportunity to help people going forward.

Online training, while it doesn’t work for everyone, can actually solve some issues. I’ve heard many departing members tell me that the class schedule didn’t work for them, they just couldn’t make it to the gym, or they didn’t have 90 minutes to 2 hours for travel and a workout.

With the pandemic having people in lockdown, many have gotten accustomed to training at home. If I were to build a home/garage gym today, I wouldn’t need more than a pair of kettlebells, a pullup bar, and a set of gym rings.

The industry has permanently changed, and a virtual StrengthBox will evolve and find a place within the new landscape.

The group workouts on the Trainerize app will be discontinued at the end of June. Fully customized workouts and coaching, designed with individual needs and goals in mind, will replace them for those who decide to train with us online going forward. I will be working directly with Coach Carl (Carl Rom Colthoff) on this initiative to deliver programming and to provide feedback and advice that will help you reach your specific goals.

Details on online options will be released shortly. If you’re not interested in continuing your training with StrengthBox, I totally understand. What I DO want you to do is to keep training. Even if all you have is some floor space to move around in, there is so much you can work on.

In closing, it’s worth saying that this decision comes with many emotions and frankly a few tears. But it’s the right one, even if it’s an incredibly tough one. I wanted to announce it now so you can plan as the government adjusts its timelines for re-opening the economy.

I’d like to thank every single person who’s ever trained with us for an amazing decade. I’m deeply honored that you spent time with us.

To my current clients, you mean the world to me. Many of you have reached out to me personally, and your support through this time has been invaluable.

StrengthBox isn’t completely going away. I hope you’ll be there for the future.

With much love,

Greg Carver