At first, sports were a way for Tony Nguyen’s parents — Vietnamese refugees who came to Canada during the Vietnam War — to keep him out of trouble while growing up in the Yukon. But they became the backbone upon which Tony Nguyen built his. “I loved the feeling of exercising, of sweating, so I wanted to find a way that I could share that feeling and passion with other people.”
That’s exactly what Nguyen does at F.R.E.E. Fitness, a gym he co-founded just a year after graduating with his kinesiology degree. The facility incorporates a sliding scale “pay how you feel” model in order to bring fitness to a wider audience and make it more accessible for anyone interested. Nguyen also helps run fundraising events, engaging with different communities in Edmonton to offer financial support as well as an approachable introduction to the fitness world. “It gives us a platform to pay tribute and give back to Edmonton. That’s always been one of our missions.”
In his free time, he continues to bring fitness knowledge to the community, from giving presentations to elementary school students on the basics of a healthy lifestyle to helping seniors stay fit and stave off potential injuries in the Sit and Be Fit program.
Ultimately, Nguyen is constantly challenging himself to level up. “I’m a big believer that if you’re nervous or if you fear something, you’re probably doing the right thing because you’re pushing yourself out your comfort zone to reach more, to achieve more.”