Dale Deis, of Medicine Hat, Alberta, is a practicing orthopedic physiotherapy rehabilitation specialist. He has spent the last 27 years in the fitness industry. “For years, I have helped individuals with specific injuries as well as designed workout programs for people in all walks of life. Most of my work involves back and neck injuries and I really believe most of these could be prevented, or at least minimized, by addressing core strength and mobility.” There has been a strong emphasis on “six pack” but Dale stresses that “strengthening needs to take place at the core, the muscles that keep us upright, the back muscles. Lower back pain is among the most common physical conditions requiring medical care.”
Studies have shown that “Sitting is the new smoking.” Dale believes extended periods of sitting is the new health risk. Dale began exploring his business idea in July 2011. Since then, Dale has embarked on a journey to design a machine that was going to provide support for the patient in stretching, activating, and strengthening all of the core muscles. “The human core is not simply your abs,” Dale states. He explains how his unit has the ability to encourage and develop a full range of motion at the hip flexors and the entire spine to counteract the effects of our modern technologically based lifestyles which very often involves sitting and inactivity. The unit is designed to enhance the use of the existing exercise ball.
Dale developed his first core machine unit in 2012 and placed it into the local downtown YMCA. The unit, called the “Complete Core Conditioner”, was set up as a prototype for observation. Input from users helped him to make adjustments and modifications to be incorporated into the next model. A new model was designed and the YMCA purchased one and then within a month they purchased a second unit as members requested another unit because of the high demand. “A third unit was also placed at the Southridge YMCA location,” says Dale.
He is now working with the Canadian Sport Institute in Calgary to set up studies on range of motion, usability, as well as pre and post physical capacity measures. Dale is also working with a Federal Government representative at the National Research Council of Canada in Lethbridge, to apply for the Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP). This could expand the use of the units through government offices, military bases, RCMP facilities and other government workplaces across Canada. With funding from the Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) and professional guidance, Dale is continuing to make modifications to the existing prototype. A new prototype has been designed and 2 units are being built. Full production of the “Complete Core” system is anticipated to begin in the fall of 2017.
It’s no surprise that Dale envisions his units having a global reach finding places in gyms, sports academies, homes and businesses around the world. The Complete Core unit has gone through 7 revisions and now has 4 patents in Canada, USA, China and Europe.
“Early on, I decided to surround myself with really good people, in different areas of my business,” stated Dale. “I applied for the Voucher Program with Alberta Innovates whose funds of $15,000 allowed us to obtain an Opportunities Assessment study with Myers Norris Penny (MNP) which was completed in April 2014. So much of this would not have been possible without all of the assistance I received.” Along with his own funds, Dale received another $20,000 in matched funding to help cover the cost of retrofits and a new design, through the Industrial Research and Application Program (IRAP).
When asked, Dale described some of his biggest obstacles as a business owner. He laughed, “Everything was a challenge! I was challenged with design because everything was new. I had to find the right people. We made lots of personal and financial sacrifices to make this happen.” Dale went on to emphasize just how much he loves what he is doing, “I want to help people and make this unit as safe as possible and help people understand that the core is much more than just the abs.”
Three pieces of advice that Dale would give to entrepreneurs starting a business today are:
1. Do your research. Study what is currently available in the market and find out who your competition is.
2. Surround yourself with the right people who know more than you do. If you are the smartest person in the room, find a new room.
3. Have patience. I thought this would take 2 – 3 years. We are now in the 6th year, heading into the 7th year. We are just now realizing that this can be a viable business.
You can visit their website: https://completecore.ca/
This story was written by Elizabeth Blair. Elizabeth is the regional innovation network (RIN) coordinator at Community Futures Entre-Corp and works to oversee activities with APEX. APEX is a Regional Innovation Network that supports the growth of innovative and technologically-oriented businesses in Southeast Alberta.
APEX is a collaborative initiative between three core service providers: Community Futures Entre-Corp Business Development, Medicine Hat College; and Alberta Innovates. APEX strives to support local entrepreneurs and small to medium-sized enterprises to develop and adopt new technologies, commercialize innovative new products, improve productivity, and get connected to Alberta’s Innovation System.