Fitness trainer turns hardship into positivity

Engage fitness, a personal training business and apparel brand in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland showcases physical health. But its aims run much deeper than just the physical.

Marykate O’Neill 


Engage Fitness Apparel
Thomas Wall, centre, the founder of Engage Fitness and his colleagues, Ryan Shea (left), Jesse Cooper (right) and Emma Knee. Photo submitted by Thomas Wall

Thomas Wall founded Engage Fitness after his own struggle with mental health.

Discovering that physical and mental health go hand-in-hand, Wall says he is determined to inspire others.

Wall had an ambition in mind when he started Engage Fitness and he plans to follow that ambition throughout his journey: that is, striving to promote a healthy lifestyle for himself and his followers both physically and mentally.

“My intention with the brand is to create that community and highlight the importance of a healthy lifestyle,” said Wall. “With both the training and the apparel, the goal stays the same.”

Wall started Engage Fitness through an abundance of personal experience with physical activity and a mental health struggle.

Growing up, Wall says he was a very active kid. Since physical activity has been such an important part of his life, Wall wants to share that passion with other people.

“It was such an important part of my lifestyle growing up,” said Wall. “I found I was always my happiest and in the best state of mind when I was active.”

Wall faced his own struggles with mental health. Taking those struggles, he created a business that he describes as standing on positivity and wellness.

“At the end of high school and early into university, I did face some struggles regarding mental health,” said Wall. “What always kept me going was a healthy lifestyle.”

Wall understands that many people experience the same struggles that he faced and wants to help people overcome their own hardships.

“So many people do face struggles and issues with mental health,” said Wall. “While it is something a lot of people do live with and it is not an easy thing to overcome, you can improve it when you take the right steps.”

An active lifestyle was the light at the end of the tunnel for Wall.

“For me, being active was that saviour that kept me going the whole time.”

Adapting through restrictions

As the COVID-19 global pandemic recently hit its year-long mark, Wall says it is more important than ever to live a happy and healthy lifestyle.

“Going from seeing my friends every day and going to the gym speaking to so many people is so much physical connection,” said Wall. “Then almost all of that getting taken away from you is not easy.”

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has been a hindrance to healthy living, Wall says you can maintain a healthy lifestyle while living under public health guidelines.

“Making sure you maintain connections virtually is super important,” Wall said. “Live that healthy lifestyle as much as you can. Making sure you maintain that lifestyle is good for mental health too.”

Wall is adapting to promoting a healthy lifestyle under COVID-19 guidelines for Newfoundland and Labrador. He offers virtual training sessions as well as contactless delivery for Engage Fitness apparel.

However, Wall likes to train with his clients in person and is looking forward to getting back.

Josh Ford, one of Wall’s clients, says Engage Fitness was everything he didn’t know he needed.

Struggling with mental health himself, Ford turned his life around with the help of Wall.

“I wasn’t exactly in the best place mentally and I had school starting in January, so I needed something to boost my mental energy levels” said Ford. “I needed to feel motivated and stay on top of my work.”

Ford admits he didn’t think physical health could benefit his mental health.

Wall ensures his clients are staying on top of their progress both in and out of the gym.

“On my days off, he checks up on me every single day to make sure that I’m tracking myself well and I’m eating the right foods to feel good mentally and physically,” said Ford. “This has made a drastic change in my life.”

Ford has found a new lifestyle through Wall and says that his motivation to do great grows more and more every day.

“I’m so motivated to do great things each and every day, and I really can’t thank the guy enough,” said Ford. “He really cares about how I’m doing in and outside the gym.”

With Walls ambition in mind, Ford believes in the process and supports the goal of Engage Fitness entirely.

“You can take it from me: Engage isn’t all about being the strongest looking person in the room,” said Ford. “It’s about mentally being the strongest person in the room and that allows you to achieve anything you put your mind to.”

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