Managing a business and maintaining a fitness routine is enough work - what happens when you combine the two?! Anna Harris is the founder and owner of North Movement Studio in Leaside. This Pilates instructor-turned-entrepreneur shares her thoughts on balance and the importance of maintaining good health to fuel your career!
Name: Anna Harris
Twitter/Instagram: @north1675 /@northmovementstudio
Tell us about your job in 100 words or less:
I’m the proud owner of North Movement Studio, a Pilates studio in Leaside. I teach classes, work with private clients, and lead a team of talented teachers and health care professionals (we also offer chiropractic care, massage therapy, and holistic nutrition). I also stay on top of the studio’s operational needs which include strategic planning, program development, marketing, as well as client relationship management.
I feel pretty lucky that I get to work with the most amazing people- we have an incredible clientele who work hard and laugh loudly. I love my job!
Career accomplishment you are most proud of? Opening North Movement Studio. I’ve been teaching Pilates for over a decade and having my own studio was always dream. A year and a half ago, I took a leap and opened up North. Running the studio has pushed me to grow as a Pilates instructor and as an entrepreneur. Both roles require an incredible amount of decision-making and strategic planning, and so far I couldn’t be happier with the results.
Best piece of career advice you’ve received? “Hard work pays off.” That’s what my parents always told me. I’ve put my blood, sweat and tears into North, and my hard work has definitely proven to be a success.
What advice would you give to other young professional women? Always follow your passion, keep pushing forward, hustle, and hustle more! Obstacles are meant to be overcome.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? In terms of my business, my plan is to expand and start offering destination Pilates and wellness retreats. I love to travel and to be active while I’m away- it fuels my soul! A lot of my clients are jet-setters and providing this service is a natural extension of my business, and passion. North will host retreats in central and northern Ontario, as well as abroad. I’m really looking forward to it!
How do you like to stay active?I have an incredibly active lifestyle- I’m moving all day long! In terms of fitness, Pilates is truly my favourite. I love the mat-work and equipment repertoire for different reasons, but both keep my body strong and injury-free. I’m also an avid runner and love training for long distance races. I take my dog, Colt, for epic walks, I love to hike, and I bike to work (almost) every day.
Fitness/health accomplishment you are most proud of? A few years ago, I ran my first half-marathon and then six days later completed my first Tough Mudder. Both events taught me to train hard, believe in myself, and to celebrate my accomplishments.
What tools and resources do you use to help you stay on track with your fitness goals (apps, journals, books, websites, gadgets etc.)?I’m pretty old school and don’t mix technology and fitness. I’m a big believer in staying in tune with your body, instead of relying on a gadget. I’m really in tune with my body, so I know when I need to up my training, and when it’s time to back off. If I’m training for a race, the most technical I get is a GPS watch to track kilometres and pace.
Favourite spot for healthy eats: Refuel Juicery in Leaside is right by my studio. Their smoothies and juices keep me fueled up while I teach.
Favourite spot for tasty treats: My guilty pleasure is pizza and wine. One of my favourite spots is Terroni on Price. You can never go wrong with Italian.
Last book you read: Move Your DNA by Katy Bowman - it was mind blowing. She’s a biomechanist who changed the way I think about whole body movement.
Favourite quote: I’m not a quote person, but I subscribe to the belief that kindness always wins.
Do you prefer routine or spontaneity? What does a typical day look like for you? I’m very routine oriented. I have a lot on the go every day, so I need to be super organized about how I spend my time. My days are pretty full-on as I’m the sole owner of my business. I’m up early, teach classes, instruct private clients, carve out some admin time, squeeze in a workout for myself, and almost always take my dog to the beach. All the while trying to stay present and enjoy the ride.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced pursuing both career and health and fitness goals? Maintaining overall good health! If you don’t have a strong foundation, it’s impossible to thrive at either. So on that note, eat well, hydrate, get enough sleep, and make time for you.
Do you believe work-life balance truly exists? I think work-life balance is overrated! Life is cyclical, there are times when you have to prioritize work and other times when your personal life takes over. We need to give ourselves permission to be out of balance as long as we take the time to reset and re-calibrate regularly.
Why do you think committing to health and fitness is important for young professional women? Fitness is my sanity, I would truly be lost without it. Moving keeps me focused, inspired, and stable. I see this echoed with my clients- movement makes people feel good, and in turn function better. If young professionals want to succeed, they must take care of themselves by staying active.