By Giving Back to Food Banks, These Trainers Find Inner Strength

Karina Vee is a kind contributor, whose Zoom workouts in conjunction with Barry’s Bootcamp are famous all over the world. Recently, she started teaming up with Michelob Ultra to raise money for Food Banks Canada, which could equate to more than 30,000 meals. We spoke to Karina about working with Jason Priestley, and spreading love, and food, to Canadians in need.
  • BK: Your workouts have been super cool. When did you decide to incorporate Food Banks Canada?

    KV: So many people are going through so much hardship right now, it seemed like the least we could do. And when we had the chance to partner with Michelob Ultra, things started taking off.

  • BK: How does it work?

    CL: We go onto the Michelob Ultra Canada Instagram every Wednesday and Friday at 5:30pm, and people turn on their Apple Smartwatch or Fitbit Tracker and every calorie they burn helps raise money for the Food bank. The goal is to burn 20-million calories which would equal 30,000 meals.

  • BK: That feels like so many, good on you. And how’d you end up working with Jason Priestley?

    KV: Jason came into Barry’s once and he was there with his whole crew, he was on a Global show at the time and one of his cast-mates, Cyndi, they both took Chris’s class. Well, Chris kept in touch and she came on our Zoom and Jason popped on. It was really cool.

  • BK: What does a celebrity do to your numbers?

    CL: We generally range from something like 2,000 to 5,000 views, but when Jason came on, we jumped to over 10,000 views. Of course, for us, what we’re thinking is: that’s a lot more Food Bank meals. That’s the most important thing.

  • BK: Why Food Banks Canada?

    KV: When we started our Zoom workouts during COVID-19, we weren’t accepting money. We just wanted to help people stay fit and give back where we could during this difficult time. Chris had done his dissertation at University of Toronto on food security and actually grew up in non-profit housing. The whole connection started to make sense. nCL: You never want to see people go hungry.

  • BK: And from there?

    CL: It’s exciting to see the donations grow. nKV: We had a client message us and he told us that he donated his monthly budget for Barry’s to the Food Bank and we were all feeling grateful, but then we began to understand that our community wants to give back. We all want to do more, especially now, cooped up at home.

  • BK: Michelob Ultra caught wind of your program?

    KV: Yeah, they basically just said: let us do this with you, we’ll donate food to people, and everyone will feel good. I think when you’re donating to charities, everyone wants to be involved. Of course, Michelob gave us great visibility and now we have a chance to really burn calories, which is awesome. But we also have a chance to donate meals, which means even more.

  • BK: Barry’s Bootcamp is a cool company. I’ve been to their workouts and even saw them connected to dosist, who makes vape pens, when I was in Los Angeles. What’s your relationship like with them?

    KV: We’re really grateful to our bosses at Barry’s, and it’s a really positive vibe. They’ve provided us with a venue to do this and really help with so many lives. Chris was instrumental in opening the Toronto studio, and we’ve been involved with the studio in Vancouver. I think they’re a really good company and us, with them, is a really good fit.

  • BK: Well, we certainly appreciate what you’re doing and wish you all the best, and will be joining your workouts and donating meals. Rock on.

    KV: Thanks, and keep up the good work on your end. nCL: It’s not always you see a major new Canadian magazine launch, and we wish you all of our best.