Sault man has passion for health and fitness

A local man who played sports most of his life has used his experience to help design a team concept to health and fitness that has become a way of life, generated a business and earned him a provincial award.

(Article by Mike Verdone republished from

Ryan Caicco and business partner Martin Reader, a retired Canadian beach volleyball player who suited up for Canada at the 2012 Summer Olympics, launched StriveLife Athletics in 2013.

They gradually grew the business and in the fall of 2015 opened their first StriveLife Athletic House, in downtown Toronto.

StriveLife was recently nominated for a Notable Award for the Ontario region in the personal trainer category for fitness. advertises itself as the largest digital publication for young professionals in the country.

It seeks to reward driven social and philanthropic-minded millennial entrepreneurs.

Caicco learned last week his company won the award.

The co-founders will accept a trophy at an awards ceremony and gala next week at Toronto’s Carlu, a unique and historical special events venue.

Winning the hardware is a small thing compared to what it means to the budding businessmen, Caicco said.

“To be recognized is really the big thing. There’s a ton of buzz, a ton of momentum, a ton of conversation, especially here in Toronto, via social media and different people that are in tune with what’s going on,” Caicco said.

In addition to raising his company’s profile, the provincial award also puts StriveLife on the shortlist for a national Notable Award.

It is up against representatives from the Quebec region and Western Canada. The national winners will be announced during the gala event Feb. 17.

“It just means that we have a very strong support system. We’ve got a strong community and people believe in what we’re doing … It would be fantastic” to win the national honour, added the 33-year-old Sault native.

“We’re leading the voting right now,” Caicco said on the weekend from his home in Toronto.

Criteria for Notable award nominees include dedication to career, professional and personal development, involvement in and contribution to charity and community support, and an ability to inspire co-workers, employees and the community.

Voting for regional and national awards is carried out online.

Caicco grew up in Sault Ste. Marie playing rep hockey and Civics soccer.

He skated with the Soo Thunderbirds junior hockey club before going on to play professional hockey for one season in France in Ligue Magnus, the top men’s division league in the country.

After retuning to Canada he completed — in two years — a four-year under-gradate program in communications in two years at the University of Windsor, where he also played varsity hockey.

Caicco briefly worked for Notable in Toronto in 2012, which was his last official job before starting the new business.

He and Reader put their heads together to launch StriveLife nearly three years ago.

“We had a lot in common from an athletic background. So as a result we came together in creating an athletic movement called StriveLife.”

They started by holding sessions in outdoor parks and at other venues in the provincial capital.

The men used their experiences as professional and varsity athletes to create a training model and a community around the model.

“It’s group training, but it’s more of a team. We’ve created very much a team environment. It would be as if you’re playing on a varsity team or playing on an athletic team … We’re training for life. We’re giving people the tools to move better and feel better,” Caicco said.

“It’s about building people up and not breaking them down because a lot of the fitness things that have been happening in the last little while are not sustainable. We’ve taken a very high-level approach at making sure that movement, proper movement and quality movement, is really, really important. Conditioning is another piece that we hone in on. And that’s basically the breakdown of what our classes are.”

The work-out style is considered high intensity interval training.

Caicco and Reader consider themselves coaches in a sense, more than personal trainers.

Although they educate members of their team, they embrace a more holistic community approach.

“We’ve conditioned ourselves as life athletes, really,” Caicco said.

“At the end of the day we’re living our message. I’m able to do something that I love every day, and what that’s translating into is helping people to be their best every day as well … We’re creating life athletes. This way I don’t have to ever officially retire.”

If StriveLife does win the national Notable Award, Caicco says he and Reader will bring it back to the athletic house to share with other members of the group.

“Because at the end of the day it’s about the team, and that’s how we roll.”

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