– Words by Angela Cowan Photography by Lia Crowe
From as early as high school, Scott Viala knew his career destiny lay in the realm of fitness, and in the nearly two decades since, his passion for personal training has remained steadfast. Now the founder of his own training gym—Viala Training in Kelowna—Scott is enjoying the payoff from his many years of hard work and dedication to his craft.
“I’ve been a certified personal trainer for 16 years, but I started training friends and doing programs right in high school,” says Scott. “I knew this was what I wanted to do.”
Originally from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Scott balanced a roster of clients while owning a tanning salon, which he bought at just 22 years old and turned into one of the most successful salons in the country. But about seven years ago, he decided he was ready for a change and a challenge. He sold the salon and most of his possessions and drove out to Kelowna for a fresh start.
“I just wanted to try it,” he says with a laugh. “I’d never been here a day in my life and I thought, what’s the worst that can happen? I haven’t looked back a day since I moved here.”
A big part of that fresh start was introducing clients to his newest love: steel mace training. A steel mace is a weighted globe welded onto a long lever; training, which takes the practitioner through three different planes of motion, is beneficial for a number of things, including strength, stability and coordination.
“In Kelowna—and as far as I know in BC—we’re the only gym offering steel mace and kettlebell [an iron or steel ball with a handle on top],” says Scott, who recommends the practice for virtually everyone, regardless of age, ability or fitness level. “As opposed to just strength training or weightlifting—which I also love—it’s skill-based. When you’re learning how to use a steel mace, you’re learning new movement patterns and strengthening your body in a totally different way.”
With a growing popularity in the steel mace and kettlebell classes, Scott took the leap to realize another dream. He opened his own gym right near the beginning of the pandemic when everything else was locking down, but even looking back, he doesn’t see it as a risky move.
“I’ve had such a loyal client base since I moved to Kelowna. I had this group of people that I knew would be with me through thick or thin,” he says. “I knew that, no matter what, these people that I’ve helped so much, they’re going to be there for me as well.”
The 7 Sins
Whose shoes would you like to walk in?
I would not switch my life with anyone’s, but it would be cool to spend some time living Joe Rogan’s lifestyle. Daily conversations on his podcast with fascinating people, cage-side seats to every UFC match and making people laugh doing stand-up with your friends. That sounds pretty cool.
What is the food you could eat over and over again?
I live a very healthy lifestyle and have my nutrition dialled in, but I have a soft spot for a good burger. Last year I had a Wagyu beef burger on a potato bun from Block One at 50th Parallel Estate and I could eat that every meal of every day.
You’re given $1 million that you have to spend selfishly. What would you spend it on?
I would buy a warehouse and build my absolute dream gym, loaded with everything I could dream of and more. Fully equipped by Rogue Fitness, living quarters, podcast studio and a recovery area with saunas, hot tub, float tank, red light therapy bed and a cold plunge pool.
Poor work ethic. I have seen many very talented people fade away because of poor work ethic.
Where would you spend a long time doing nothing?
I could spend a lifetime in a private cabin off the water with my fiancée, Laisa.
What is the one thing you’re secretly proud of?
I came from absolutely nothing. Growing up, our family had no money and barely made it by. With hard work and dedication to my craft I have built a very successful business all on my own, and now I’m able to help others build the lifestyles they want.
What makes your heart beat faster?
A few things. First, my family, my fiancée, my two sons and my dog make me so happy and proud. Second, my clients. Seeing all the hard work they put in on a daily basis, and the progression they make in life, makes me so happy.