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Cat Smiley is an acclaimed master trainer and passionate outdoor athlete. She has specialized in body transformations for over 15 years, and is the owner of Whistler Fitness Vacations. Committed to living a balanced life, her work is a reflection of her values – she is passionate about living her best life, and inspiring others to do the same. In her spare time, Cat ski’s as much as possible in her backyard mountains of Whistler while continuing to train for ski improvement. When you call our office, you can ask to speak with Cat – especially in the afternoons and evenings. It’s important that you feel comfortable with the person who may possibly change your life!
Cat grew up in the farmlands of New Zealand, immigrating to Canada in 1993 to pursue her athletic dreams of becoming a professional skier. She achieved this goal, competing internationally for 12 years in various freestyle disciplines with top 5 results in World Cup, X Games and Nationals. She became a personal trainer in 2001, named as Canadian Trainer of the Year in 2005, 2006 and 2007 by the International Sports Science Association (ISSA). This garnered some exciting media coverage and television opportunity, leading to work in the film industry.
From there, she launched Canada’s first and longest running fitness boot camp – The Original Boot Camp – which was said to have pioneered the nations hottest fitness trend. She was named by industry peers as the ‘Top 10 Boot Camp Instructors In The World’ in 2012, the only female on the list. The Original Boot Camp was franchised in 2007 as a progressive 8 week program. Classes were offered throughout the day in towns in the Sea to Sky region.
Cat Smiley co-authored and produced certifications for fitness instructors through the International Sports Science Association, and launched a popular book and DVD series on boot camp fitness. She has been extensively featured in both national and international publications, such as Oxygen Magazine, Readers Digest, Fitness and MSN – in addition to regular guest appearances on cable TV.
Cat Smiley was selected into the final 12 trainer selection in NBC’s Biggest Loser auditions. This fueled her passion to work with extreme body transformations. Armed with a couple of celebrity endorsements for her personal training services and her reputation as an industry expert, people began traveling to Whistler to work with her.
Before she knew it, Whistler Fitness Vacations was born!
**Cat’s story of getting started in Canada was filmed into 9 episodes starring her as one of the main characters in a nationally aired series – Whistler Stories – on the LIFE Network in 2003.
The journey to success has been anything but smooth for Cat as she launched her career as a personal training, taking the leap from working ‘ski bum’ jobs and relying on prize money/endorsements for income. Although from a supportive family, she was fiercely determined to ‘make it on her own’ – whatever it took as an immigrant living in West Coast Canada. Being an aspiring personal trainer out here is often compared to being an ‘aspiring actress’ in Hollywood, it’s a tough nut to crack and you’ve got to be the hardest worker in the room to make it.
She tried many jobs and career paths in her early 20’s but when she moved into coaching role, whether it be with ski coaching or fitness, it was like her genius zone had unraveled. Something inside of her clicked when she put on that coaching hat, and even before she became a qualified instructor, those she coached became quite emotional through the break-throughs that she could naturally seem to make happen. It was one of those rare gifts that everyone who experienced said that she should pursue.
So in 2001 she signed up with the International Sports Science Association to do her personal trainer course.
Chasing her dream meant pulling out all stops, and in that same year she was also recovering from knee surgery which meant her skiing income was little-to-none so the pressure was on to get her fitness trainer career on the road. She packed up her car and tried her hand at the big city of Vancouver, 1 million people seemed like a better opportunity than the 10,000 population of Whistler.
So dividing her time between towns, she slept in her car at night while living in the gym during the day – giving $5 nutritional consultations to gym patrons, working out obsessively, using the juice bar lounge to study then doing it all again the next day. Sometimes she’d mix it up with epic sessions of study in various cafes around the city. She met many cafe owners who showed her extreme kindness when they learnt her story, offering her food and mentoring, some even being case studies for her projects. She found strength in other immigrants who had also come to Canada for ‘the dream’ – she developed a little family of people who wanted her to succeed. This experience molded how she is today, and she is excited to play forward with immigrants especially any mentoring or opportunity she can at every chance.
Working part-time as a fitness model, she eventually was hired (at one of the cities most image-consious clubs) as a gym attendant where she was doing $5 consults. She also competed during that time in physique events, attempting to build her brand. Eventually that introduced her to some great people and her dream of being a trainer began to unfold… she became qualified and employed – with a six-week wait list! When her confidence started to grow, she started to question the gyms ethics and uniform requirement (makeup and teeny-tiny spandex outfits), while also starting to eat more. Her clients gave her courage to be herself, that they worked with her for how they made them feel and the results that she gave them, not for how she looked. It was life changing for her, and she started finding more balance in both her workouts and food. This led to weight gain, which subsequently led to challenging her uniform requirements.
Boom, before she knew it, Employment Standards Act coordinated a settlement, her boss was fined and she became a change-maker to all the female employees who’d work in that gym. Victory! She found her voice! And this made her feel ready to move back to Whistler, where she launched Canada’s first and longest running fitness boot camp. The Original Boot Camp was branded as Navy SEAL inspired training, with a no-excuses coach pushing personal limits. It ran for 13 years on one of Whistler’s most beautiful beaches, focusing on extreme fitness for highly athletic individuals.
Awards and Recognition’s
National Ski Team, 1995-2009
- Cat Smiley was one of the principal cast members in the reality series Whistler Stories, airing nationally in USA and Canada in 2003.
- Her kick ass workouts are trademarked in USA and Canada.
- She has an X-Games medal! (Bronze, Skier Halfpipe)
- Journalism has always been Cat’s academic passion, and for 10 years she was nationally syndicated as a bi-weekly fitness columnist to over 300 community newspapers across Canada.
- She has broken 22 bones, had 9 hospitalized concussions and 3 knee operations.
- Her passion for travel has taken her to over 30 countries
- Smiley is really her last name and Cat is for Catherine. She was born in England.
- She has written two books – The Original Boot Camp and most recently, The Planet Friendly Diet; available in major bookstores across North America (New Society).
Cat has been an inspiration to many. When you work with Cat, you feel like you’re working with a professional who not only knows her stuff, but can also relate to you. It is her empathy that drives you to push yourself, yet her toughness that makes you believe that you will be able to do it. Cat’s remarkable journey – combined with her unique New Zealand personality – makes the coaching experience at Whistler Fitness Vacations more memorable on a soulful level, than what you may experience at other wellness retreats. It is her passion to live her best life makes many of our customers want to do the same. She puts her heart into every customers fitness journey, which frequently results in ‘ah-ha moments’ and dramatic lifestyle transformations.