All posts tagged ECA

Q&A with Violet Zaki

Voici une entrevue que la conférencière Violet Zaki m’a accordé à titre d’ambassadrice ECA (le texte est en anglais).

Violet opens up about her passion for fitness, her commitment to the industry, and her devotion to anyone who is lucky enough to cross her path.


1. How did fitness become a part of your life?

My teenage years, like for many of us, were challenging, frequently undermined by a variety of emotions, pressures, and self-perceptions. After growing from underdeveloped but hyperactive as a child to overweight as a teenager, I eventually reflected long and hard about my condition and its causes, including certain unhealthy aspects of my family’s lifestyle and cultural influences compounded by a vulnerable genetic predisposition in some respects. Determined to change, I lied about my age in order to join my sister’s university gym at the age of 15 and set out on a fitness adventure that continues today. Within a year of joining that gym, I was trusted on stage to teach my first group class when the instructor had an emergency and I was called on to finish the session. I eventually became a certified instructor, teaching my own classes, while gaining a degree in Applied Science at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia and subsequently starting a duel career in human services at the Victorian Royal Guide Dogs for the Blind and Victorian School for Deaf Children in Melbourne.


2. What is your favorite part about teaching?

I love being fit, strong and mentally disciplined – opportunity to share it, so that others can see and feel the benefits I have experienced.

Connecting with people and being authentic in my approach to life and fitness. This allows my students to trust me and hopefully get them closer to their goals.

Some of my students have said “sometimes when I’m at work or home and I am faced with a challenge, I can hear your voice saying “finish what you started”. So, the physical element of what I do definitely translates into a person’s mind and emotions.

The key is to have fun, connect with my students, see them grow and stay innovative in my programming. I determine the tone I set for my class and I have the freedom to create and be a source of motivation. I have a lot of energy and I use my work to channel that energy into something positive while challenging other human beings to overcome psychological and physiological obstacles in class that may translate into the rest of their world.


3. My philosophy is:

One mind, one body, one life…. getting out of the bleachers and getting onto the court to play the game. I believe that we all want the same thing…happiness, love and good health.


4. Who is your biggest inspiration?

Grandmaster Tadashi Nakamura, Founder of Seido Karate and my instructor. An important part of his role is to contribute to his community through charity work. Kaicho (Grand Master – 9th Dan) Nakamura has received praise and recognition from City, State, National and International leaders for the good works of the benefit foundation he has created. The Seido Juku Foundation sponsors or provides much of the funds for special karate programs and instruction for the Visually Impaired, Deaf, Victims of Domestic Abuse, Homeless Children, and the learning and developmentally-disabled. Kaicho is an amazing athlete (at the age of 72) and role model.


5. What is your proudest achievement?

I am most proud of going from being a self-perceived underdog to becoming a support system for those who face similar personal struggles.

The ability to dig deep and become a successful, self-made professional female, especially when remembering the personal reinvention necessary at times along the way, is very much part of this gratification. I relate back to this and the feeling gets reinforced every time a student of mine shares the emotional, mental and physical strengthening they are undergoing as a result of my teachings, authentic engagement with them, and efforts to create a positive environment allowing them to grow while still challenging them to get out of their comfort zone.

Thank you Violet for taking the time to partake in ECA’s Q&A. You truly make us want to become a better version of ourselves.

Violet Zaki

Is an Aussie NY-based elite Fitness Professional, a graduate from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition and a Lifestyle Coach. As well as being a Certified Fitness Instructor, Violet has a black belt in Seido Karate. Violet shares her passion for fitness via high energy workout DVDs, her weekly teaching schedule, TV guest appearances, motivational speaking events and contributing journalism articles to various magazines. She is one of the most sought-after teachers at New York’s premier club, Equinox Fitness. Violet says, “Gaining confidence, self-esteem, and overcoming mental obstacles are a result of hard work. Group fitness and Life coaching has given me a platform to encourage others to strive for their very best. You don’t get what you wish for…’ve gotta work for it!”

Violet wields a famously passionate, sharp-witted, unapologetic approach to motivation, propelling her students and clients to live their lives up to their potential, achieve their goals, and self-empower, while not forgetting to include fun along the way.

Ambassadrice du congrès ECA

Voici un billet qui a été publié sur le site ECA expliquant mon rôle d’ambassadrice ECA (le texte est en anglais)

In this month’s ECA blog, I’m turning the tables, opening up about myself as ECA Ambassador, fitness Writer and Blogger. ECA Isabelle et Carol Scott (ECA logo in background)

1. How did fitness become a career? I danced all my life, and started teaching fitness while I was studying to get my degree in Communications. Still today, performing (dancing and singing) is my number one passion, but I was always interested by the media. In fact, I knew at a very young age that I wanted to work in television. I could already picture myself being on screen, with my name appearing below me. Internet being a wonderful platform, I soon started to shine on the web by sharing exercise and health tips through articles and fitness clips in French and English. This eventually prepared me for my regular appearances on local and national television shows in Canada.

2. How does one become an ECA Ambassador? I became a fitness ambassador for ECA last November, after attending a decade of ECA events. As an ambassador, I promote the organization and interview incredibly talented presenters for the E News and ECA blog. So far, I’ve had the honor of connecting with Carol Scott, Lashaun Dale, Lisa Wheeler, Ben Bidlack, Petra Kolber, and most recently, Stacey Lei Krauss. What I love about getting presenters to confide in me is that it allows us all to get to know them better. I also wanted them to have a voice so they could open up about their struggles, their lessons learnt, and the people who inspire them.

3. Who or what inspires me? So many people inspire me. Lashaun Dale, Carol Scott, Geoff Bagshaw, John Shehan Lisa Wheeler, Abby Goldenberg, Calvin Wiley, Carole Woodstock, Lawrence Biscontini, and many more! These lovely human beings have helped me become a better version of myself on both a personal and a professional level. I truly thank them for that.

4. What are my upcoming projects? I will continue to pursue my work as a spokesperson for healthy living, (finally) finish my Masters in Communication and Health, and devote time to helping animals live a better life.

5. What makes me happy? Good coffee, great company, red wine, NYC, and amazing people. I’m also at my happiest when I am achieving something and moving forward.

If you are interested in becoming an ambassador for ECA, please contact Carol Scott. Share your love for fitness and wellbeing with the world!

Top 10 reasons to go to ECA/NYC

ECA/NYC is the first fitness conference I ever attended in the US, and it's the one I look forward to most every year. That being said, whether it's in New York, Florida or California, ECA is synonymous with talent, integrity and inspiration. Here are 10 great reasons you should attend the next ECA event.

1. The talent.

ECA presenters are incredibly inspiring. They help refuel and motivate, allowing us as instructors and personal trainers to continue doing what we do best, share our passion of/for exercise and wellbeing.  These talented human beings allow us to dream, and believe that we too may one day be leaders and trendsetters in the fitness industry.


2. The sessions.

Having to choose between so many great sessions is a blessing. And spending the day learning and sweating is a pure delight! ECA is like a day camp for grown ups or even a Club Med, with hours of moving, learning and laughing. No such thing as too much fun!


3. The city.

Being in New York City is a reason in itself to attend the ECA/NYC fitness conference. How exciting is to be in New York, on Broadway, at the Marriott Marquis? Whether you're from New York, or from out of town, being in The City, on Broadway and 45thStreet makes the experience that much more exciting. Not to mention the energy of colleagues that are driven by the same passion, and the inspiration left, right and center. You must attend to see for yourself.


4. The bonding.

Whether it be in a workshop where you connect with someone or at the closest Starbucks while standing in line amongst fitness peeps dressed in Lululemon apparel, anywhere you go you are surrounded with the amazing energy of people that love what they do and believe in the art of exercise.


5. The inspiration.

During the conference, or on the return home, part of the pleasure is reminiscing about past sessions and remembering all the great moments of bonding with people met in workshops, lectures and social events. Chatting with presenters, bonding over dinner after a full day of fun, shopping at the Trade Show, etc. are just a few of the memories you will treasure for a very long time.


6. The mindset, the values.

ECA is known for fostering ideas of imagination and cooperation, and its audience represents the influencers in fitness that we all want to be a part of.  In 2014, ECA will be the most talked about fitness convention in the world for many reasons. ECA and its' staff are passionate about fitness, the industry, and the planet.

7. The leadership

ECA is the undisputed leader for innovative and quality programming since 1991. If you want to be the best, ECA is the place to be.


8. The trends.

ECA is a great place to learn about the upcoming trends in fitness. Plus, it allows you to discover trends that are not mainstream, introduced by inspiring instructors that have not yet been discovered. Beto, creator of ZUMBA for example, came to ECA years ago to present his program, and now, we all know how successful it has become worldwide!


9. The time.

The time spent in this type of setting is very special. Over the course of the weekend, time flies, and at the same time, is at a stand still because you appreciate and live every moment. Getting up early, attending classes, mingling, having a quick bite, taking more workshops, grabbing coffee, going out for Happy Hour, getting all dolled up for supper, dining out, and then enjoying the nightlife of New York, it's pretty amazing what you can do in a New York minute!


10. Carol Scott.

Last, but not least, attend Carol Scott's management session. Carol's lecture, You Had Me At Hello, covers such topics as, management, recruitment, branding, and building a great business. Here is her lecture description: If it were only that easy! Great management, recruitment, branding, and building your business takes hard work and expertise! Learn how to assess the marketplace, find openings for creating new business, and how to develop a plan for your next career move. If you're looking to take the next step in your career, this lecture will give you the tools you need to make that step a successful one. Learn how to identify possible opportunities, how to develop your vision into a profitable entity and find that next thing to make you more money. Whether you're a group ex teacher or personal trainer looking to move up the ladder, or a manager looking for greater success or you're looking to open up your own studio or make your studio more successful, or you simply want to improve your world view of the fitness industry – this lecture will go over the necessary skills and a plan of action for achievement.


The countdown is on! Will you be attending an ECA event this year?


Fitness Trends September 2012

Read this blog on fall fitness trends. 

The Seven Secrets of Skinny

Read Carol Scott's post on a health scare that made her step out of her comfort zone, and take control of her life.

Six Steps to Face Your Fears

How can you overcome your fears? You, as a fitness instructor, are leading the health revolution that’s going on right now, so this planet needs you to be at the very top of your game. In thinking about what you want to accomplish, achieve or how you want to experience your life, certainly fear will come up and try to stare you down. To find out more on the topic, read Laurie Gerber's article on

Gratitude and Forgiveness

We, as Fitness professionals, tend to focus on making gains, pushing forward, setting new goals and results. We constantly challenge ourselves and our clients to set new and improved goals and move toward them. We assist them in the pursuit, offering our expertise and motivation.However, sometimes it is time to “stop and smell the roses”.  We should focus on just “being”, and take a moment to express gratitude for all we have accomplished and all we have. Read on to find out more on this topic or similar ones at


4 jours de bonheur à Miami

En novembre dernier, j’ai fait une escapade de quelques jours à Miami dans le cadre du congrès de conditionnement physique Miami Thrive. Organisé par la East Coast Alliance World Fitness, celui-ci se déroulait du 11 au 14 novembre 2010 et j’y étais avec mes collègues canadiens Joëlle Ménard et Geoff Bagshaw. En direct de l’hôtel Deauville (connu entre autres pour son accueil des Beatles en 1964), mes journées se déroulaient comme suit : réveil à 6h30, premier atelier vers 7h30, puis atelier par dessus atelier jusqu’à 18h. Dès la fin du dernier atelier, je montais rapidement à ma chambre me changer pour ensuite amorcer la deuxième partie de l’aventure, le temps passé entre collègues/amis du milieu. Ainsi, en soirée, acolytes se rassemblaient au restaurant ou devant un verre afin de discuter des événements de la journée, des nouvelles tendances de l’industrie, etc. Que de plaisir! Et le lendemain, tout recommençait.

Le prochain événement de cette envergure se déroulera à New York du 10 au 13 mars 2011. C’est nul autre que le congrès ECA NYC qui se tient à chaque année au Marriott Marquis, en plein Times Square. J’y vais annuellement depuis 2006 et c’est génial! ECA fête d'ailleurs cette année ses 20 ans d’existence alors l’ambiance sera des plus agréables. Et si vous préférez opter pour une convention à Montréal, je vous conseille Can Fit Pro Montréal, du 4 au 6 février 2011. Ayant eu la chance d’y présenter à deux reprises, je sais que vous y passerez des moments inoubliables. Vivement l'inspiration et au plaisir de vous croiser à l'un ou l'autre de ces congrès prochainement!