“There’s no better time than right now to get in the best shape of your life.”
A truer phrase was never spoken. The isolation brought on by the pandemic has converted even the most athletic of us into couch potatoes. And while this year’s shockingly temperate winter hasn’t forced us back inside, its atypical temperatures have wreaked havoc with ski trails, snowshoe grounds, and of course, the Rideau Canal.
Now, though, as ex-junior and semi-professional football player turned fitness entrepreneur Kevin Ling maintains in this article’s opening statement, there’s an up-and-running remedy to our inelastic tone, expanding waistlines, and waning endurance: Power Muscle & Fitness.
As the name suggests, this boutique fitness facility, known popularly as PMF, is for the recreational exerciser and the serious bodybuilder alike. PMF is divided into two streams: Basic Power, offering inclusive fitness for people of all shapes and sizes looking to push their limits, and Pit Power, for professional athletes wanting to take their training to the next level. Explains Ling, “PMF was born out of my desire to build a space that combined some of the aspects of fitness with the need to accommodate those who are into Olympic and heavy lifting.”
Believe it or not, PMF was founded at the height of the pandemic. That may have been a debilitating time for the fitness industry but for the visionary Ling, it was a golden opportunity. “In 2020,” he explains, “many fitness facilities and training studios were closing due to Covid. That resulted in new opportunities to acquire equipment and properly position myself. I knew that when we emerged on the other side, scores of people would be looking to return to the gym and their previous levels of fitness.”
Determined not just to fill a gap caused by widespread bankruptcies but to dramatically diversify Ottawa’s fitness landscape, Ling set out to offer an experience beyond those offered by the big chains and the pop-ups. “I realized as a long-time gym member and a former personal training studio owner that there was a different way of providing the fitness experience, one centered on programming, service, and value.”
Ling got a hands-on education in conditioning over the course of his storied football career. In 2022, he became the Sooners’ President and Head Coach, leading the team to its first playoff berth since 2016 and helping five players win Conference All-Star honors, plus a Rookie of the Year Award for quarterback Owen Cowan. For this, Ling won both the Ontario Football Conference Coach of the Year Award and the Brian Kilrea Excellence in Coaching Award.
Daily life in football’s trenches is the pool from which Ling borrows to create the performance atmosphere at PMF.
“We offer a range of fitness and wellness opportunities for our members,” beams an extremely proud Ling. “There’s boxing, individual or group fitness classes, Boot Camp training, and personal training sessions. We also invite guest coaches who can provide training specialty in areas such as powerlifting, bodybuilding, strength, and conditioning and dynamic stretching for athletes.”
The reverence Ling affords his coaches is significant. PMF might sound like it’s all about the quality and intensity of the workout, but its expert and accommodating staff is just as much of a draw. “We select our staff from all over the fitness spectrum,” Ling explains, “but the key commonality is how well they treat our members.”
Extremely well is the answer.
Judging from PMF’s online reviews, there’s nothing confusing about a gym co-shared by weekend warriors and big-time athletes. By all accounts, PMF is a tight-knit community.
“I read countless reviews praising the professionalism and welcomeness of our staff,” says Ling, “and that’s from everybody. It’s a healthy reminder that the key difference between fitness facilities comes down to the people who run it, the ones the members meet every day.”
Currently, Ling’s deeply appreciated staff work the floor at PMF’s two popular locations: 555 March Rd. in Kanata, and inside the Carlingwood Shopping Centre. But requests to expand, like the muscles on the clubs’ members, just keep growing. “Members who travel to our locations from the east end want us to look at a location in Orleans or the Clarence Rockland area. At the moment, though,” says Ling, “I’m focused on our existing locations and the continuation of our PMF family.”
For the immediate future, then, PMF will rest on its laurels—not that anyone really rests at PMF. You get the lean, toned, sculpted body you came looking for, whether you want it to look and feel your best or to hold your own against competitors. Ling and his highly qualified staff see to that.
“That feeling of appreciation and community is what will continue to differentiate PMF from all other local and regional gyms in the country.”