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Hybrid training studio dedicated to transforming people’s fitness journey

Community ProfileHybrid training studio dedicated to transforming people’s fitness journey

The brainchild of business partners Natalie Zombeck and Amber Tait, Pure Impact Athletics has gained significant momentum in the community since opening its doors in late 2020.

Amber Tait, who has had an extensive career as a competitive gymnast, holds various records, and has won world championships at DEKA events, provided some insight into why they founded the gym.

“Pure Impact Athletics was founded because some of my most impactful moments were through fitness and sport. This was a way for me to give back to the community and hopefully have a positive impact on others. We are a hybrid training facility, which is high-intensity functional fitness. And we specialize specifically in DEKA,” Tait elaborated. “DEKA is a fitness decathlon; it is a fitness event that consists of 10 functional movements or zones. And it’s standardized with standard weight and age categories. Anybody can complete the DEKA and rank themselves globally. Or they can simply challenge themselves and give themselves a benchmark they can work towards achieving or improving on.”

Tait in action at the DEKA World Championships. Tait has leveraged her extensive background in athletics including her success as a gymnast to develop programs for members while helping them achieve their personal fitness goals. Photo courtesy Pure Impact Athletics.

Natalie Zombeck, who deals with the operational side of the business, went on to describe the programs it offers.

“Currently, we have over 500 members which range from teenagers to seniors, of all fitness levels and all backgrounds. We are a class-based facility and not the type of gym where you can walk in and just lift weights at any time. We’re not open 24/7 like other gyms; when you come in, you come with a purpose. And many people who walk through our doors come with an actual fitness goal which we help them reach,” Zombeck explained. “In addition to the fitness classes, we recently incorporated programs like nutrition guidance, which provides members a [with a more] holistic approach. All of our programs are intentionally designed to make for a very well-rounded and results-focused training routine.”

Amber Tait won the 2023 World Championships for DEKA with her partner Kevin Gregory (who trains out of the United States.) They also hold the Co-Ed Relay Record, which stands at 8 minutes and 55 seconds. Photo courtesy Pure Impact Athletics.

While Zombeck continues to work on areas, including driving membership enrollment and managing finances, Tait has continued to leverage her experience as a competitive gymnast and her success across global DEKA competitions.  

“After I retired from high-level competition as a gymnast, I made a career of judging and coaching it from the recreational to international levels. Around the pandemic, I felt ready for a transition [and] I started to shift into the fitness industry while still utilizing my [athletic] background,” Tait noted. “I do all of the programming [and] I do the majority of the coaching. I am also actively coaching our performance team, which is a group of individuals who have decided to take their training to the next level in hybrid fitness.”

Zombeck then explained DEKA and its growing popularity.

“A lot of people have been doing the whole CrossFit thing. But now DEKA is a new style of fitness that was created during the pandemic. We became the second DEKA-affiliated gym in Canada and there are hundreds of gyms all over the world that are now DEKA-affiliated,” Zombeck stated. “Through affiliation, we are allowed to host events…we’ve done five deck events, and we’ve hosted two at our gym…the biggest one we had in July 2023, where we had around 100 athletes to compete, and for that one, we had to host it at a bigger space.”  

Zombeck and Tait have successfully grown their gym’s membership to over 500 individuals, however, they have also built a strong group of staff and volunteers who have helped with events throughout the years. Photo courtesy Pure Impact Athletics.

Tait, who has utilized her coaching and training background, has not only led programs for many members but has managed the newly formed performance team.

“We’ve added the performance theme this year, which is giving people an opportunity to take their fitness to the next level and challenge themselves while trying to earn their spot at the World Championships for DEKA,” Tait said. “[Our] team has done exceptionally well. We have had two teams, ranked top-three globally [and we] have had five top-ten elite global rankings…It’s the biggest transition that we’ve implemented in our gym this year.”

Along with heading the gym’s programming, Tait has been focused on coaching their performance team which consists of members looking for richer fitness challenges. These teams have competed in various DEKA events throughout the years. Photo courtesy Pure Impact Athletics.

However, Tait and Zombeck have continued to maintain a vision of a community-driven gym while leveraging Tait’s strong fitness experience.

“Our members get to be trained by Amber [Tait] who is a world champion, and [who] has an extensive background in multiple disciplines. No other hybrid gym in Brantford has a world champion creating their programming,” explained Zombeck explain. “We [hold an] annual charity golf tournament and hold challenges throughout the year where members get points for participating in classes and doing fun things outside of the gym. We also host a banquet each year to recognize, celebrate, and award our members for their efforts. We even have a ‘Wall of Fame’ in the gym where we post our members’ photos when they do well in any races and events like DEKA.”

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