It was a rainy day when I drove out to Optimum Training Centre just outside of Toronto to meet with owner and personal trainer Nichelle Laus. I gave myself lots of time to navigate the weather and arrived early enough to catch the end of a personal training session that Nichelle was giving and got to see her in action, encouraging and motivating her client. When her training session wrapped, I got a tour of her 6,000 square foot personal training facility that she opened in August of 2015, after which we sat down for a chat so that I could get to know Nichelle, and it’s a pleasure to introduce her in today’s feature.
Fitness has always been a part of Nichelle’s life, even if it wasn’t her first career. She got into boxing and kickboxing at a young age, and spent over two decades competing at an amateur level. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur in the fitness industry, Nichelle had a 15 year career as a police officer. During her time working on the police force, Nichelle was still boxing, but gave up competing after having children (Nichelle is a mom to four boys with husband Dave Laus, also a former police officer whom she met on the job), and instead began doing fitness modelling and fitness competitions. Other female police officers who Nichelle worked with looked up to her as someone who “had it all” and started to approach her to be their motivator and fitness coach. Nichelle organically found her niche with coaching because it allowed her to help the people who wanted it, and it gave her great satisfaction to see how happy the women she trained were with the results of their transformation, leading her to become a certified personal trainer. The reason she initially became a police officer was to help people, but she realized that her police work had her focused more on dealing with the crime more than with helping the victims involved in the crime, and that she wasn’t making the difference that she wanted to, and so she finally left law enforcement to pursue her passion for fitness coaching and mentoring.
Nichelle opened Optimum Training Centre three years ago with her husband Dave, who operates a photography studio from a large room at the back of the training facility. In her early days of fitness modelling, Nichelle needed photos for her portfolio, and Dave, who had already been playing around with photography as a hobby, took photos of Nichelle, and in the process he discovered his true career calling, and Nichelle and Dave became entrepreneurs together and they share the space within the training centre for their respective businesses. It wasn’t easy making a complete career shift, but Nichelle was motivated by her passion and she hustled everyday to make her venture a success. A little self-confidence didn’t hurt either and she has great advice for anyone starting a business: “Just jump and you’ll find your wings along the way.” Nichelle’s work as a certified personal trainer, transformation and competition coach, and all-around Fitness Expert allows her the freedom to do what she loves — changing lives and leading people towards a healthier and happier lifestyle.
Want more? Here’s what #WeWantToKnow about Nichelle:
I can’t start my morning without…coffee!!
I have a weakness for…donuts!
Most people don’t know that I…was a computer programmer before becoming a police officer.
Currently reading…the news headlines.
I want…to pay it all forward, and help everyone to be happy in their own skin no matter what part of their own personal journey they are in.
Thank you Nichelle, for participating in #WeWantToKnow! You are an inspiration and it was a pleasure getting to know you.