Abbotsford personal trainer and studio owner Tag Dundas is known for his positivity in the face of adversity.
So, it’s no surprise that even as financial losses from COVID-19 constraints have forced him to close the once-busy TNT Fitness, he is choosing to smile.
“I got to meet so many amazing people,” he said. “It was incredible.”
But the pandemic has just dragged on too long, with too many hits for the business to take. Dundas says the decision was hard to make, but ultimately it’s one he can live with. And in the end, he doesn’t want the closure to take away from all the good the studio was able to accomplish.
“My clients are super amazing people,” he said, who have stuck with him through all the changing rules for gyms, studios and fitness classes.
And TNT Fitness wasn’t like other studios. It was all about getting better together.
Clients didn’t just come and go, working out on their own. The days were filled with group classes, and so it was more like a social gathering, with the kind of camaraderie that’s built through hard work.
Through it all, Dundas followed all the rules. From enforcing distancing with tape marks, to mask wearing and sanitizing. When he was closed down the first time, he moved some classes online. And he was even able to access some government funding to help inch along and pay the bills. But there is an end to every marathon.
“I was doing really, really well,” Dundas says, prior to the pandemic. Now, he’s sold off the equipment, closed the doors, and bought a house with his wife in Sunshine Valley, just outside of Hope. They’ll be moving in a few weeks, and he’s embracing the change.
“There were tears and real tough feelings,” Dundas said, when he was making the decision to close down. But he reminded himself that even things that seem bad can have good outcomes.
Because this is not the first time life has pushed Dundas down.
In 2001, he was brutally assaulted by three men at Animals, a night club in Abbotsford. Doctors told him he may never walk or talk again. But he persevered, and with months of rehabilitation and then a position at the YMCA in Vancouver, he discovered a passion for health and fitness, as well as helping others. It led him to becoming a personal trainer, and then becoming a master trainer in a gym system called TRX. He’s trained Yale Hockey Academy and Mission City Outlaws, schools, recreation centre staff and emergency responders.
Through the whole process of rebuilding his life, Dundas has managed to keep his optimism intact.
“I fell in love with fitness because I had to learn how to walk and talk again,” he said. “There were things I took for granted that I wasn’t going to take for granted anymore. I had a different perspective.”
And while he said having a studio of his own was incredible, and something he never would have dreamed of, he knows moving on is the right thing now.
One of his client’s, Renee Reeves, happened to be driving past TNT the other day when Dundas was out removing his signage. She pulled over to chat with him and wish him well.
She and her husband have both been members of the studio, and she’s sad to see it go.
“It was one of the most successful gyms I’ve been a part of,” she said. “He really created that atmosphere of wanting others to be their best self. You could tell he wanted to help people heal and grow.”
And that’s what he will continue to do, he said, but from the Sunshine Valley/Hope area. He was actually the one that trained Hope Recreation Centre staff in the use of their TRX system, and has already reached out to management there to let them know he’s in the area.
“It was the best thing that ever happened to me,” he said about his injuries, as they led him to where he is now. “I was able to connect with people and help them. I lived for TNT Fitness.”
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