Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in health and wellness but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sender Deutsch, Co-Founder of SHAPE Health and Wellness Centres, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

SHAPE health and wellness center is Toronto's first integrated sports therapy and training spa boutique. SHAPE was developed to revolutionize your lifestyle. We are dedicated to helping you get into SHAPE - it's our business, goal, and journey together at Our team of Sports Health And Performance Experts - S.H.A.P.E™ - provides comprehensive, personalized Integrated Therapy and Training (ITT) treatments in a boutique spa setting.

Our health care practitioners are dedicated to ensuring that you achieve your goals. Our personalized, integrated approach will enhance your quality of life. Our upscale facilities host some of the city's top executives, baby boomers, athletes, entertainers, business people, weekend warriors, and fitness enthusiasts. We also specialize in the aging population and in post-operative care such as hip and knee replacement rehabilitation. We are dedicated to treating each and every client like a professional athlete and celebrity!

Our approach to treatment and training is revolutionary and unique. We have developed a two-step program called Integrated Therapy and Training (ITT), incorporating state-of-the-art Physical Therapy with High-Performance Personal Training techniques. Each treatment is one-on-one and is constantly monitored to ensure progress and success in a timely fashion.

Educating the patient is an essential component of any rehabilitation or fitness program. Therefore, each patient is guided to effectively manage and prevent his or her condition from recurring in the future. An individualized program is designed to rehabilitate your injury, expedite your recovery, achieve your goals and optimize your performance.

Tell us about yourself

As clinic director and hands-on therapist, I have been one of the creators and co-founders of SHAPE Health and Wellness Centre since the year 2002, along with Jonathan Ruben, fellow co-founder/CFO. Jonathan and I came together to develop SHAPE based on our mutual interests in helping executives achieve their health and wellness goals with a personalized treatment plan.

SHAPE was developed based on our mutual experience (I provide the sports therapy and training - and Jonathan is the financial expert). We work together to provide a high-level integrated and personal approach. At a young age, I became enthralled in the sports therapy and training industry as I competed in a number of different sports such as hockey, running, golf, and baseball. Through various mentors, I became motivated and inspired to help people manage and eliminate their pain and optimize their health and performance.

SHAPE'S comprehensive and multidisciplinary concept was derived from my strong educational and teaching background as a Doctor of Chiropractic as well as my in-depth experience within the health and wellness industry. As a result of my experience treating numerous patients and clients, I came to the realization that a facility with this orientation did not exist. SHAPE's goal is to provide a personalized service, guided by health care professionals, in an upscale, friendly atmosphere, treating each client/patient like a celebrity client or professional athlete.

My educational background played a huge role in my dream to start this business. I studied Kinesiology and Sports Therapy at York University. I am a graduate of the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC). I obtained my Doctor of Chiropractic and Diploma in Acupuncture. I successfully completed Level Two of the Rehabilitation Sciences Fellowship program with the American Chiropractic Rehabilitation Board (ACRB). I also taught at the CMCC for a short while (until I became too busy). I enjoyed working with new candidates for the profession.

I am also a Certified Active Release Techniques(ART®) Provider (Master's, Upper Extremity, Lower Extremity, Spine and Nerve Entrapment), Exercise Therapist and Personal Trainer of the National Strength and Conditioning Association, Certified Golf Fitness Instructor of The Titleist Performance Institute (TPI) and Certified Sports Movement Specialist. I am certified in Synergy Performance Taping, Custom Orthotic Therapy, and Bracing. I have taken post-graduate courses in Medical Acupuncture, Intramuscular Stimulation (IMS), Sports Medicine, Manual Medicine, Functional Training, Golf Performance Training, sports Kinesio-taping, and fascial abrasion techniques.

I have actively participated in sports medicine and orthopedic rounds with the University of Toronto Sports Medicine Team, Mount Sinai, and North York General Hospital. I have also participated in spinal orthopedic rounds at Toronto Western Hospital and family practice rounds at St. Michael's Hospital.

With this wealth of experience training and rehabilitating people of all ages, I have worked with amateur and professional athletes from the NHL, OHL, NCAA, national skiers, and adventure racers, as well as with various media personalities, celebrity clients, and CEO's. In addition, I have experience with everyday people, including both weekend warriors to those who led previous sedentary lifestyles.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Helping thousands of Toronto's baby boomers and athletes over 20 years have been our biggest accomplishment. When we started SHAPE, we had many doubters as we were revolutionizing the industry. Defying many who thought that we would fail has been a huge achievement as we have ultimately changed the industry. Prior to starting SHAPE, there were no boutique health and wellness centers that practiced our specific integrated approach. Personally, also being in practice for over 20 years has been an extremely overwhelming and rewarding experience knowing that so many patients entrust SHAPE with their care.

The second biggest accomplishment is the fact that both SHAPE and I have been featured on City TV, CP24, Slice TV - Doctor In The House, Three Takes, The Mom Show, and CFRB Talk Radio. Over the years, we have appeared in numerous articles in Toronto Life, Oxygen, Hello and Flare magazines, The Toronto Sun, The Globe and Mail, Metro News, Fitness Business Canada, Canadian Chiropractor, Chiropractic Economics, 2-Magazine, Wedding Bells, London Press, and CA magazine. Additionally, SHAPE was voted the Top Health and Wellness Centre repeatedly by Post City Magazines.

Finally, we are proud to say that we have endured the pandemic with all the shutdowns and restrictions. Being able to survive in this challenging sector is a true testament to the strength and loyalty of our clients and patients who believe in our approach and concept. We are grateful and passionate about what we do at SHAPE, changing lives for the better.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Personally, there is nothing more rewarding than being a business owner, especially in a business that helps people change their lives, eliminate pain, and get into shape. There are so many positives to being able to run your own business and truly help people change their health to achieve their goals. I always stress that hard work pays off. However, in this day and age, one of the hardest things as a business owner is being "on" 24/7. We can't take breaks or wait to reply because clients expect - and deserve - instantaneous feedback and responses. Our team and I continuously and immediately respond to inquiries and client emails with respect to individual treatment plans and programs. We know we cannot let our guard or our phones down if we are not available to our clients or potential customers. People in pain want to be seen immediately, so we always try to ensure that we are there for them.

The other tough issue since our inception is having other medical and wellness facilities try to copy our concept and/or branding and attempt to offer the same or a similar approach without our consultation or investment in having us train them in our ITT method and systems. This can be frustrating but part of the competitive business culture. We focus on being the best we can be and provide a premium service to our clients. We continue to strive to do the best we can and ensure that our methods work.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Be passionate, knowledgeable, and an expert in your field and business.
  2. Be specific, and have a clear identity, vision, and approach to what sets you apart from your competitors.
  3. Be "on," be energetic, and strive to be the best at your discipline.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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