Tight Club Vancouver | MISSBISH Keighty Gallagher
01.19 / MISSBISHES
Keighty Gallagher is the sh*t. A former track star with Olympic dreams turned fit model for activewear's arguably most successful brand, Lululemon. She is now the director, founder, ambassador and full-time hustler of her own brand, Tight Club. Taking Vancouver by storm, Tight Club proves that fitness is being redefined by women who have passion, ideas, creativity and vision. Keighty is one to watch, but she's fast like lightening so don't take your eyes off her or you may fall behind.
What is Tight Club and how did it come to be?
Tight Club is my active lifestyle brand with a personal training and group fitness component. It all started in January 2012 when a crew of non-gym-going creatives working in the service industry started meeting up every Friday for my outdoor workout. Rain or shine, the crew stuck it out, and from one workout a week we slowly grew to two. Three years later Tight Club is my full-time jam. Keeping me busy teaching group classes, helping clients achieve their personal fitness goals and with a growing product line in the works, Tight Club's changed the way I live my life.
“I was pretty serious about being a track star. I competed on a few Canadian national teams, had dreams of going to the Olympics.”
Have you always been into fitness and health? What events lead you to where you are now?
I guess fitness has always been in my life. Following the days of racing the boys to the bus stop, I was pretty serious about being a track star. I competed on a few Canadian national teams, had dreams of going to the Olympics, and then had a little burnout by the time I hit university. I was ready to live a little, and as much of an honour it was to have trained with the University of Oregon track team, the program just wasn't for me.
Quitting track was huge for me. I felt like I had lost my identity and was pretty gonzo of a few years. I always hung out with really creative people, and to be honest I was pretty jealous that I had no creative hobby to fill my time. It wasn't until I moved back to Vancouver and got an office job that I realized I wasn't meant for sitting down.
Long story short - I met a boy who inspired me to follow my dreams. Thanks, Henry Barros!
How did you become a fit model for Lululemon? What was it like to be the standard size for such a large company that is worn by so many women globally?
Funny story actually! I was taking a pottery class and the teacher happened to be friends with a Lululemon designer. I think I had been doing my little Tight Club group classes for a few months and after a quick introduction to the designer, I was invited to the head office for a full body measuring to see if I fit the part. I had a few interviews with the different design pods, and the next week I was on a plane headed out to Sri Lanka! The job was a total eye opener and I learned so much about the fashion industry.
One thing I learned about being a fit model is that no one is the perfect sample size. You can be on spec in your hips, but have too small of boobs, yet still be "sample size". That's the beauty of being a woman, and knowing your body type is the secret weapon to dressing right.
“I had a few interviews with the different Lululemon design pods, and the next week I was on a plane headed out to Sri Lanka!”
Is fitness part of your everyday life?
Definitely, even if I don't workout, being active always seems to slip into my day. Apart from physically leading classes and demonstrating movements to clients, I'm usually biking around between meetings. When I have the time I try to get my sweat on at the track, in the gym with my trainer, or at a boxing class.
As a fitness role model, how do you balance fun and being healthy? Do you have bad habits?
Hah, I'll tell you this: balance is so bloody important. However, I found my balance the hard way. Teaching 8 classes a day with a hangover will slap some serious sense into you real quick! You've gotta line up your priorities and tell your FOMO to eff off sometimes.
These days I get off teaching my classes. I love the music I play and the people I teach, which makes the whole experience feel kinda clubby, and I LUV da club. I don't identify myself as a super strict fitness and health nut, but I do eat my greens and get my sweat on, even if some beer and ice cream are thrown in the mix.
What was your recent snowy trip for Nike about?
A mysterious phone call from Nike asking if I was down to take on a Canadian outdoor training excursion lead me to the trip of a lifetime! I was lucky enough to be invited with a group of 15 other athletes to challenge the winter by working out in some pretty extreme conditions out in Bugaboo B.C. Everything we did was a surprise! From the 7k run we did in the snow to being heli'd to the top of the snowy Bugaboo spires, I came back from that trip extremely inspired and ready to take on the winter!
“A mysterious call from Nike asking if I was down to take on a Canadian training excursion lead me to the trip of a lifetime ... heli'd to the top of the snowy Bugaboo spires.”
How does Vancouver rank as a recreational / active city? Does the weather affect your routine?
I think Vancouver is a pretty fit city. The weather is pretty mild compared to the rest of the country which leaves us with no excuses. Tight Club has always been an all weather kind of crew, and we have proven in the past three years that running in the rain ain't no thang.
I think every city has their thing when it comes to recreation, but Vancouver has a pretty special deal going on being on the west coast with the mountains and water so close. Fitness is cool here, and it seems like there's something for everyone. Whether its spin, yoga or boxing, Vancouver is seeing a big expansion in new businesses jamming on that fitness trip.
When you travel, how do you maintain your fitness regime?
Travelling is sometimes the most exciting time to workout. Usually running around the city is how I get my workout in with a quick Ablab and a stretch if I've got time. I've had some pretty amazing experiences working out when I've been onsite with Lululemon. Sprinting the steps of temples in Taipei to running laps around a gang of wild dogs in Hong Kong are a few fun workouts I've done.
How much weight do you put on diet? (No pun intended)
I eat healthy for dessert. No joke. I have nothing to hide. I love dessert, and I don't deprive myself of it. However, its not an every day thing, and eating healthy is super important for my lifestyle. I've never been a fan of diets, they make me obsess over food and end up eating more in the end anyways. If I drink a lot of water and eat foods with less than three ingredients I know I'll have the energy to kill eight sessions a day and that's the most important thing.
“Sprinting the steps of temples in Taipei to running laps around a gang of wild dogs in Hong Kong are a few fun workouts I've done.”
Has it been easy to grow your own business? Have there been any major struggles along the way?
It's definitely been challenging running and growing Tight Club, but it's not like pulling teeth. For the first time in my life I feel creative and directed, and things just seem to have fallen into place these past few years. Like every other small business owner you have to learn all the crap you don't really care about... like accounting, planning ahead, and sleeping.
2014 was the year of delegation. I felt like I had to have my hands in everything, which was cutting into the time I could dedicate to teaching classes and perfecting the client's experience. This year is going to be a big one for Tight Club. Without giving too much away I plan on opening up a studio and might even have some tight things to sell in it...
What are your three hidden gems in Vancouver?
1. The parking garage rooftop above Matchstick Cafe in Strathcona. I teach classes up there and it feels like you own the city.
2. The hidden docks near Beer Island in False Creek. Perfect for an early evening beer with your boo
3. Dunlevy Snack Bar - Those Bibimbaps get me every time!
What does MISSBISH mean to you?
MISSBISH is like where all those dinosaurs on Land Before Time were trying to get to. The grass is green, the opportunities are there, and the message is positive. I can't wait to see how MISSBISH grows and how it will inspire creative, active and directed women alike.
Photos by: Valerie Legere