Introducing the Catalyst Fitness team

Meet the fitness experts ready to help you achieve your fitness goals.

Free No-Sweat Intro

Chris Cooper owner of Catalyst Fitness

Chris Cooper



The Catalyst concept was born from a simple diet plan. The short version of the story: clients were working out hard, but receiving little nutritional guidance. They needed help. Chris came up with a simple ‘block’ diet based off caloric intake. It worked.

We opened in 2005 in a small office space above a greeting-card store. We painted the wallpaper bright green, brought in more weight than was probably safe, and started writing training plans that were based on science – making them unlike anything else available in Sault Ste. Marie. Our clientele grew rapidly. We could have stayed there, but we didn’t.

A year later, we leased 5x the space. We started coaching groups, and doing stuff that no one had seen before. Starting with the basics (as we still do), we taught athletes to squat, and clean, and jump. We went from two trainers to four, and then added specialists in a huge variety of programs. We made a lot of noise, gained a lot of fans, and were having a great time.


In 2007, we wondered how we could help people even more, and started testing our program: were our workouts too easy? Too hard? What if they changed every single day? Those variables, and dozens more. Our clients started doing their homework, and getting fitter than ever before. We were now miles away from everyone else in town, had raving fans, and were having a riot. We could have stayed there, but we didn’t.

In the constant pursuit of a better workout, a higher level of fitness for our clients, we found a new style of training in 2008. We were skeptical at first, and each of our coaches tested the workouts on their own. Then we tried it with small groups of volunteers. Nearly six years later, almost every member of those original groups still do that training style. That’s something. We opened our gym in Industrial Park, and kept our Queen St. location. We had a working system, clients who were blowing away their friends, and a great view of the Santa Claus Parade. We could have stayed there. We didn’t.


We moved everything to the Industrial Park, because the experience was better for clients. Then we expanded, to give people more access; we added a classroom, lifting platforms, a library, and acres of mat space; we went running outside; we started the Catalyst Games; we sent our coaches everywhere to learn, learn, learn; we launched the internationally-acclaimed Ignite program. And we were named one of the Top Ten Gyms in North America in 2012!

There’s always a better way, and we’ll find it. We could stay the same, but we won’t.

Ours is not the easy way: you won’t see the food pyramid, or elliptical trainers, or televisions at Catalyst, because those things don’t help you. There are no mirrors, no dress code, no smoothie bar, because those things won’t help you either. You need fewer distractions, not more.

Clients who come to Catalyst are coached. As a coaching organization, we don’t waste time, energy or money on things that won’t help our clients; if something WILL help, we bring in the best. Less chrome, more knowledge. That’s where the relentless pursuit of excellence means. That’s Catalyst.

The Team

Jess Sally coach at Catalyst Fitness

Jess Sally

Nutrition Coach / Online Specialist

Jess is a homegrown talent. She started her fitness journey over a decade ago at Catalyst fitness. Her client story is in the archives, but this is her coaching story.

Several years ago, Jess faced unexpected changes, which led her to consider a career change. Despite finding success at her job, she wanted to do more to help people find fitness and health. She took advantage of the advanced theory course and internship catalyst held at that time. She used it as the first step to coaching. To increase her ability to share her knowledge, she took the usaw sports and conditioning course, gymnastics certification course, and L1 and L2 functional fitness certifications. Since nutrition changes brought her from sickness to wellness to fitness, she also completed precision nutrition level 1 certification.

Jess still has a hunger for knowledge. She can absorb abstract concepts and high-level knowledge quickly and apply that science immediately. Her empathy and ability to relate to clients keeps her motivated to help people and leaves no room for judgement. She’s been there, she knows what it takes, and she can help people make their lives better. She shines at one on one coaching and is focusing on online coaching to help as many people as possible.



Take the first step.

We can’t wait to meet you

Chat with a coach at our gym to learn more about what program will fit your goals.

Free No-Sweat Intro