Only a few short years ago, a young family sold their beloved house in Vancouver and moved back to their hometown.
This is the story of Austan Tait.
Austan grew in the world of dance, but that life was suddenly cut short due to a car accident in her senior year. Forced out of the dance world, she found herself ultimately getting heavier as she rehabilitated. Determined to channel her frustration in to something more positive, she turned to exercise.
“It was almost like I fell in to fitness by accident, but it worked,” she tells us.
Soon afterwards, Austan and her husband moved to Vancouver. Starting off in the fitness industry, she eventually moved up the ranks until she was in a leadership role at one of the most prestigious fitness outlets in the city. As great as it all was, Austan's new executive role was taking her away from her clients, which was truly her passion.
“I stayed in the industry because I thought that was where I was supposed to be,” she explains. “But I wan’t happy unless I was teaching.”
Maternity leave provided Austan the time she needed to reevaluate her position and what she was doing with her life. The hiatus didn’t last long though. After her first child was born, they were faced with tragedy. She lost her mother and then miscarried.
It was time to leave the city.
The real estate market had skyrocketed, and Austen and her husband had made some smart investments that paid off. In 2017, they got the financial break they needed and moved back to Mission.
Being back in their hometown after 20 years proved to be much of a culture shock.
Austan realized that she hadn’t envisioned her life in her 30’s as unemployed, living in her in-laws basement, crippled with postpartum and caring for two small children. She was desperate for an outlet. Once again, determined to channel her frustration in to something more positive, she turned to exercise.
Austan found her niche and started introducing cycling to the Mission people who didn’t ride like she did.
“As the new kid in town, it was a good way to introduce myself to the community again,” she recalls.
It wasn’t long before women were coming out of the woodwork and asking Austan to personally train them. Thinking that she had left that part of her life behind, she jumped at the chance to reclaim her passion for fitness. Austen became known for personalizing her regimes, encouraging everyone to work out to their own ability and capacity.
With each passing week, Austan got busier. By the fall of 2017, she had such a following of women that they had to convert a space of her new home in to a studio. Femme FITRx was established in January 2018, and it wasn’t long before there were over 100 members. The studio was not longer adequate. They needed more space… and fast.
Before Austan found their current studio on Main Street, she had five different locations fall through. Price per square footage was outrageous and unattainable. Building owners were proposing premium rent for depreciated areas. The search became off-putting and frustrating.
Walking down the stairs in to what is now Studio FITRx was uplifting. Although it needed work, it represented the potential that Austan was seeking.
She immediately liquidated all investments and put her entire life savings in to the business.
“We had $250,000 and six weeks to make it happen.”
Studio FITRx opened in January of 2019.
What started off as women’s only Femme FITRx has turned in to co-ed friendly studio welcoming people of all ages. They have created a community of fitness and their goal is to make you feel welcome, regardless of your own personal level of ability.
Not wanting to have to turn people away due to conflicting schedules with childcare or work, they added more classes at different times throughout the day and incorporated a small day care in to the studio.
In an attempt to bring a little bit of city chic and innovative style to the world of fitness, Austan had the capacity to open a store as well. With her mother’s legacy as her inspiration, Austan concentrates her focus on certain herbal remedies and health and beauty products that are not available anywhere else in Mission.They are also the only LuLu Lemon distributor in our area.
One of Austan’s main concerns is that so many women that are abusing their bodies with wine and food to survive being a woman.
“We live in a world where women are expected to crush our careers, run a household and be an emotional support system, yet no one shows us how to be all these things at once. We need to stop with this beach body BS. The size of your waist or the number on the scale does not define your worth.”
Studio FITRx attempts to change the language around fitness and health to further expand the knowledge of our bodies. They strive to break down the fitness industry, all the while teaching the community how to get healthy and fit for long term success.
“There is a way to live healthy where you don’t have to be obsessed. Workouts don’t have to be scary, they can be cathartic.”
Studio FITRx has become an important part of the community this past year. They successfully completed their third toy drive and did fitness fundraising for Sara, Fraser Valley Youth Society, Starfish backpack and the Christmas Bureau.
Moving forward through the COVID-19 crisis with innovative and positivity, Studio FITRx is offering live and on-demand classes. Their classes range from total body and strength training to deep stretch mindfulness.
“My advice is to use whatever you have at home to keep active,” Austan says.“Soup cans, water bottles and paint cans will do. Pick up your pets or your children. Move some furniture.”
It’s been tough closing the doors after everything they went through to achieve their success. With over 100 active clients involved in her programs, each with their own unique set of demands and requirements, Austan is trying to help everyone get through a difficult time.
“People are reaching out on so many levels and now is the time that we need to stick together.”
There is a story behind every journey.
Once we look deeper, we discover the hard work involved in achieving your dream, whether it is starting a business or getting fit.
There is always a friendly face ready to welcome you at Studio FITRx .