Shadé takes the fitness business day by dais
When personal trainer Shadé Simmons-Wolffe received a message saying she had won a Best of Bermuda award, she thought it was spam.
She had been running DaybyDais Fitness for a little less than three years.
She was so unsure about the e-mail claiming to be from TheBermudian magazine that she called her mother for advice.
“She said, ‘Stop talking like that, of course it’s real’,” Ms Simmons-Wolffe laughed.
Her mother was right.
Ms Simmons-Wolffe shares this year’s physical fitness trainer award with Panzy Olander at Alchemy Fitness.
The road to her own fitness business was full of twists and turns.
“I was always active,” she said. “In high school, I ran track and also played football, although I wasn’t very good.”
In college she studied sports and recreation, but left in her third year.
“I meant to come home for a year and earn some money to go back and finish my degree,” she said. “But I never went back.”
Instead, she found a job at Digicel, working her way up from greeter to retail supervisor, over the course of six years.
But she always knew the communications industry was not for her. Her dream was to become either a physical therapist or physical education teacher. So she started doing fitness training with a few friends and colleagues. She was thrilled when those first clients actually started to see results.
“I started offering group classes, and that was becoming big,” Ms Simmons-Wolffe said.
Bit by bit, she started buying equipment such as medicine balls and mats.
She called her business DaybyDais, as a play on her nickname around the gym, Daisy.
In 2018, she also started an online physical fitness certification course offered by the International Sports Science Association.
“The course was easy to a certain extent because I enjoy learning,” she said. “But when it came to the tasks we had to do, it was a lot.
“For example, we had to write out the whole plan for a fictional client taking into account their different issues and limitations. It was challenging coming up with a plan without having an actual client in front of you.”
But she passed her courses and qualified in 2019.
She left Digicel before she even had her certification in hand.
“I had the feeling that this was what I wanted to do so everything would work out,” she said. “I quit my job in May 2019 and by July DaybyDais was up and running and I was doing outdoor classes.”
When she received her certification, she wrote on her Instagram page that leaving her job to devote herself to fitness was the best decision she could have made.
“I had to do what I had to in order to make myself happy,” she said. “To wake up and be able to do something I love is such a rewarding feeling. I’ve had to make many sacrifices in order to make my dream my reality, but I don’t regret it one bit.”
She was just getting started when the pandemic hit in March 2020.
Social distancing was a mixed bag for her.
On the one hand, she found virtual training challenging.
“I prefer to be in person because I can help with things like a client’s form,” she said.
But operating in the virtual space allowed her to pick up new clients, including students in university overseas.
“And we got results,” she said.
So far, the most challenging thing about running DaybyDais was the uncertainty of the pandemic.
“When Covid-19 first hit, I was uncertain about what would happen,” she explained. “But I knew I had to roll with the punches.”
Things have settled down somewhat. Today she trains women of all ages.
“My clients are not all super fit, but they want to make a lifestyle change and look and feel better,” Ms Simmons-Wolffe said.
A fitness programme Glute Camp Bda she runs with Scott Smith of Holistic Fitness has also become popular.
“It is a four-week programme focusing on building women’s strength,” she said.
For more information see her on Instagram @DaybyDais or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.