Day or night on The Eglinton Way, it’s hard to miss the many busy faces on the go and in active wear. One of the key hubs in the area is Body Harmonics, a modern and inviting one-stop-shop for health, fitness and education. Led by founder and owner Margot McKinnon, the studio environment has its own personality that the friendly staff personify. Margot took time out of her busy schedule to speak to the BIA’s Sheliza Esmail about her approach to fitness and what it’s like to run Body Harmonics.
The Eglinton Way: Good morning Margot! Thanks for taking the time to speak with us. Let’s start with what an average day is like?
Margot: There is no average day. I work very long days and people are surprised by how much I do. Ordinary tasks are replying to emails, attending meetings, and teaching classes. I do a lot of planning for staff and clients.
The Eglinton Way: How many years have you been in business?
Margot: Since 1998. I taught fitness classes in my 20’s and started to develop programs. For instance, I partnered with the MS Society of Canada to teach a Pilates class for people with Parkinson’s in the late 90s. This is how I opened my first studio; we needed a space with elevator access. I have two studios now and have many programs in many other spaces.
The Eglinton Way: What do you think it is that has kept your business growing over the years?
Margot: I never realized how transformative the experience would be. A lot of fitness and health studios focus on “achieving a goal” or “a shape” and are based on “counting” something. To me, the approach at Body Harmonics is really about the process and how you decide to get there. Fitness routines become more about self-management and dialogue. It’s about people taking charge of their own well-being.
The Eglinton Way: I felt that way when I started at Body Harmonics. I explained to the personnel at Body Harmonics that I spent a lot of time at my desk but am always eager to get a work out in and have more movement in my day. I took a Pilate’s class that got my muscles moving. I could feel my back and neck unwinding from the office chair and it was exactly what I needed. Margot, what does your workout routine look like?
Margot: It’s not a routine. It’s something different daily, Pilates or even walking. It’s the approach that gives my body and muscles what they need and just depends on the day.
The Eglinton Way: What are best tips for somebody uncomfortable going to a new place?
Margot: That it starts with just that. You need to find a place you are comfortable with. The key to feeling comfortable in any environment are the people. My style will not appeal to everyone, but we try to make everyone feel like they belong. There was one women on Eglinton who I did not think would stay, she’s a gardener. She surprised us though when she did. Now she brings plants into the studio every week and tends to them. She’s made herself at home there and it’s wonderful to see.
The Eglinton Way: That is quite sweet. We’ve already talked about this a little, but what makes the Body Harmonics experience unique?
Margot: We really think things through. It’s the experience that you are offered which makes us different. It’s not just about what happens at the front end, it starts behind the scenes. For instance, we look at communication styles and having a smart approach to being clear and easy to understand.
The Eglinton Way: It sounds like an art and much more than I realized. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. I have one final question: What is your guilty pleasure?