Life is a journey, not a sprint to the corner store.
At the tender age of 15 years of age, Nelson native Ali Popoff was at a crossroads.
School wasn’t fun.
Fact is, Ali Popoff didn’t like school at all, thinking “it was waste of time.”
That was the conventional school.
So, Ali convinced parents Ann and Andy Popoff to switch directions, dropping out of school in favour of working at former Summit Fitness while completing education at the Kootenay Lake School District Outreach Program.
Little did Ali Popoff realize but this bold move would propel the the fitness guru into owning one of the most talked about fitness outlets in the Heritage City, Power by You.
“We want to see people progress and reach their goals and Power by You is a way people can achieve their fitness goals,” the owner/operator of Power by You West Kootenay explains.
“It makes your day when you see people reaching their targets . . . like weight loss or hit their target on certain weight on their bar back or bench press.”
Power by You is a CrossFit, Strength and Conditioning Specialist outlet in Nelson with workouts designed for anyone regardless of their limitations.
These workouts are perfect for anyone who is willing and committed to take the time to work toward increasing their individual fitness level.
Born and raised in Nelson, Popoff attended South Nelson Elementary before moving onto Trafalgar and then L.V. Rogers High Schools.
She admits to trying to be an athlete in school, but something just didn’t fit.
“I tried to play soccer . . . I guess I was okay, but there were some things mechanically wrong with my body.”
“I felt I wasn't really a good athlete,” Popoff added.
“I was strong. I was a brute. But my knees hurt, my back hurt and I was kind of overweight, so I stopped.”
Popoff then began working at Summit Fitness under the guidance of Ed Feuz.
For a few years Popoff watched and learned from the local fitness instructor and how Feuz interacted with other personal trainers.
“While I was working, I was able to have a personal assessment done, which changed everything,” she said.
“I basically was able to move my body in different ways. I felt better . . . my back and hips felt better. So that motivated me to continue to work with the program.”
Feeling better, and motivated, Popoff branched out as a personal trainer at the age of 17, starting Kootenay's Finest.
Two years later, Popoff moved Kootenay's Finest from one end of Baker Street to the other.
However, an increased work load at the business, which included an ICBC brain injury contract, forced Popoff to look at other options.
So, after selling Kootenay's Finest, she started Power by You across the street at 100 Baker Street.
A short time later, Popoff decided to take advantage of a building with greater space to grow, moving Power by You to its current location at 721 Front Street.
Along the way Popoff met Leo Grypma.
The two started out as friends when Grypma decided to pursue CrossFit at Power by You.
Popoff and Grypma have since become partners and soul mates and are eager to continue to grow the business and selectively get Nelson fit.
“We have a super solid base with our cross fit membership and are known for focusing on high intensity packed classes,” Grypma said.
That said, Grypma adds, “we are starting to change our focus to a broader demographic and offering lower intensity small group personal training which we are classifying as functional bodybuilding.”
The loyalty from clients has ballooned at Power by You with more than 250 fulltime members.
However, not only do Popoff and Grypma pride themselves on helping their clients, but the owners also focus on being a great employer.
“They are all like family and out best friends,” Grympa said of the coaches, Katya Campbell, Bob Patton, Brent Evans and Brenna Barnhart.
“Brent Evans, from Slave Lake, AB, made the change to move here and give up his electrician career for the quality of life and income to work and live in the Kootenays.”
“Leo wants to build the best gym in the world,” Popoff adds. “A gym to be sought after. Brent wants to be a competitive athlete. Community energy where you want to be a part of it.”
Grypma said high school grad Brenna Barnhart, after working at Power by You for a few years, approached Ali and Leo to start a kid’s program.
“Brenna now has her Level I and will be starting the program next week,” Popoff said. “The class is already full, with 27 kids enrolled.”
Power by You tailors a program for each client.
“Many people began their fitness journey with little prior experience, and by consistently working out or following a program they were able to achieve their fitness and health goals,” Popoff said.
“It makes our day when we see people reaching their targets . . . like weight loss or hit their target on certain weight on their bar back or bench press.
“We literally see their whole lives change from the moment they start with an intro class, shy, insecure, to see them blossom . . . especially women with empowerment and weight loss and transforming their whole lives just by starting a fitness regime.”
At your own crossroads?
Take a chance. Check out Power by You.
Ali, Leo and many others did.
And look where they are now.