Mom to Felix, 8 and Buddy, 6  // Owner of Fit Feels Good

Written by Jessica Gedge // Photographed by Joelle Segal

Spending time with Oonagh Duncan, aka the Fit Feels Good Inc. coach, was truly uplifting and energizing. Oonagh and her husband and business partner, Dylan, welcomed us into their charming, colourful home in downtown Toronto (with a to-die-for rooftop patio view of the CN Tower) and we chatted all things fitness, business and parenting. 

Tell us about your business.

I created the Fit Feels Good 28 Day Transformation, an online fitness and nutrition program. I also do keynote speaking, coaching, all with the main goal of specializing in helping women in their 40’s to get lean, strong and healthy and feel good.

What did you do before you had your business and how did you decide to start this venture?

I was an actor and then a documentary playwright, specializing in verbatim theatre, which uses first person testimony as it’s source material (so, transcripts from interviews and court cases). I picked up some fitness classes because I could teach them first thing in the morning and then again in the evening and have all day to focus on my play-writing. Then one day I had an epiphany that I was actually enjoying the fitness more than the theatre stuff.  As soon as I made that switch, my career took off. They say everything happens for a reason and I really believe that. 

What is your favourite part of your business and why?

My clients! I have the most hilarious, smart and supportive community that I call my MF’ers (Masters of Fitness, obvs) and I’m so grateful I get to hang out with them and watch them morph and become healthier than they ever thought they would be. After that, I have to say that doing the retreats and generally having location freedom is pretty rad – especially during Canadian winters.

If you could meet anyone, who would it be?

Richard Simmons. Barack Obama can come to the party too. 

How do you carve out time for yourself?

OOO! This is one of my favourite areas of personal growth right now! We incorporate a LOT of travel in our lifestyles.  I’m trying to stretch myself by scheduling outrageous amounts of time off (my family and I spent most of the winter in Mexico and we are off for an epic European trip next week) which is forcing me to be much more efficient in my business and get really focused on:
1 – What really needs to get done in order to serve our clients?
2 – What really needs to be done by ME?
3 – What is just a distraction? Like – do I really need to rebrand, or is that just my ego talking?

I’m not going to lie – these last few days before leaving for our trip feels a bit 24/7 stressful but I prefer doing ’sprints’ of intensity and then enjoying a luxurious amount of time off. It suits my personality better than a 9-5 Monday to Friday type thing. 

What is your go-to dinner recipe?

Cauliflower rice with peanut tofu/chickpeas. So good, simple and family friendly! It goes something like this:

  • Rice-ify a head of cauliflower (just chuck a couple of florets in a blender, pulse until it looks like rice. Repeat.) 
  • Then steam the rice with a bit of water in a pot or microwave it until tender. 
  • In a big pan, take 1/2 cup real maple syrup, 1/2 cup Tamari sauce, 1/2 cup peanut butter and mix it up. 
  • Sautee your chickpeas or tofu (a block of tofu or a can of chickpeas) in the sauce until it’s thickened and gloopy delicious.
  • At the last min, you can throw in some extra veg like spinach.
  • Serve the gloopy delicious over the cauliflower rice and then sit back and watch your kids ask for more. CAULIFLOWER.

How do you stay organized?

I so don’t. My assistant winces whenever she sees my desktop and my husband has fired me from most domestic tasks due to tragic ineptitude. However, I as disorganized as I am about space, I am militant about time management. We have a system of Google calendars for both business and family stuff and my team and I use Asana for project management so we can always see who is doing what – and by when. 

We currently have a remote team of 4 so staying connected is a great way to stay organized – we have meetings 3 times a week to stay on track. We also employ a virtual CFO. I spend each Wednesday of every week working ON the business instead of working in the business. 

Tell us about your support system – as a parent and business owner.

I have to be totally honest about this – I have Ward Cleaver levels of support as my husband is the primary child care giver and household manager. He does all the cooking, cleaning and grocery shopping. He knows when the boys need new running shoes and when it’s pajama day at school and where the immunization records are. Basically, Dylan does for me the unseen work that women have done for generations so that men could shine in their careers. It works really well for our family and our personalities but I would be a total dickhead not to acknowledge that I’ve benefited greatly from all that support. This lifestyle also gives us a ton of flexibility in our days. 

For business I also have a great group of entrepreneur friends who are all passionate about what they do. 

What are 3 books/magazines/resources you would recommend on parenting or entrepreneurship?

Parenting: The Idle Parent and Free To Learn. We travel with our kids a lot and are considering doing that full time, so I also loved WorldSchooling.

Business: Profit First, The E-Myth, Building a Story Brand. I’ve also very much benefitted from mentoring under Jeff Walker and using his Product Launch Formula system as well as Stu McLaren’s Tribe course. 

And what about your own book? Tell us about this awesome publication.

I always wanted to write a book but there was no time, or I THOUGHT I had no time. But then one of my clients called me on my bullshit and pointed out that a lot of authors are very busy and it was the first time that I saw that I was using the same ‘no time’ excuse that my clients do. We all have the same amount of time – just different habits and priorities. So she challenged me and  I realized that I literally just had to go for it. So I had a writing partner, someone else that I could be accountable to. And the book, is coming out September 17th, available here for pre-order. (Go to http://www.fitfeelsgood.com/healthyaf to get all kinds of bonuses just for pre- ordering!).

How do you stay motivated?

I get up and move. So often people are trying to *think* their way out of a funk when the best thing to do is to change your state through movement. A good run or a living room dance party will solve most problems way faster than sitting in front of your computer or complaining to a friend, which is just going to reinforce your funk. Get UP. What works is to set a 55 minute timer and every time it goes off, get up and move for 5 minutes. Sitting is the new smoking. Meditative walking is something that I love to do to relax and unwind – inhale 4 steps and exhale 4 steps – and it’s easy to implement into everyday life. I also work using a treadmill desk which keeps me active when I’m on a long conference call. 

What are your favourites – music, skincare, items of clothing, podcasts, places to eat, etc.?

Skincare: Caudalie – all natural and cruelty-free

Contraceptive: My Mirena IUD has made me blissfully period-free for years now. No cramps. No mood swings – nothing.  It’s my favourite thing I’ve ever done for myself. 

Protein powder: I have a green smoothie every day and Genuine Health Vegan Fermented Protein Powder in Vanilla is amazing (use my code TRANFORMER at http://www.genuinehealth.com to get 15% off).

Turn my brain off TV: The Office (US version) and the Baroness Von Sketch show. 

Has parenting changed the way you run your business, or vice versa?

Creating the most extraordinary life with my kids and setting an example of unlimited possibilities for my kids is my ultimate driver. Having my kids has turned all my ‘it would be nice’ ambitions into absolute musts. 

Thanks so much to Oonagh and Dylan for having us their home and sharing their lifestyle and work balance. We felt like the partnership they’ve built together works so well for them – with Dylan supporting Oonagh in her business pursuits. To learn more about Fit Feels Good, click here. To pre-order Oonagh’s book, click here.