CEBA Solution: Hope for Gym Owners as Loan Deadline Nears

A drawing of a tired businessperson carrying a large, leaky money bag labeled "debt."

FitBizWeekly released some disturbing stats for gym owners in late August:

  • 60 percent of Fitness Industry Council of Canada (FIC) survey respondents have more than CDN$50,000 in debt.
  • Another 20 percent of respondents accrued more than $100,000 of debt since 2020.
  • 65 percent of respondents say they will not be able to repay Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loans that were originally to come due on Dec. 31, 2023.

The last stat is particularly bad.

CEBA loans ran up to $60,000, with $20,000 forgivable if the other $40,000 is paid back by Dec. 31 (on Sept. 14, this date was extended to Jan. 18, 2024). If businesses don’t repay the $40K, interest on the entire $60,000 starts accumulating at 5 percent per annum.

The full amount of the loan—with interest—was originally to be due Dec. 31, 2025, before the Canadian government announced changes to the schedule on Sept. 14 (see below).

One must wonder if any struggling businesses saddled with CEBA interest payments will make it to 2025 or 2026.

A head shot of writer Mike Warkentin and the column name "Pressing It Out."

FIC—IHRSA of the north, so to speak—is concerned about small businesses, and so is the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

“Gym owners only took on these loans because they were forced to shut down for weeks and months at a time,” FIC executive director Gabriel Hardy said in a release. “We will continue to fight for an extension of the CEBA loan.”

In an article posted to the FIC website, staff reported that more than 30,000 business owners had signed a CFIB petition in support of extending CEBA deadlines. The CFIB’s data suggested about 250,000 small business could die in 2024 if the deadline wasn’t pushed back.

On. Sept. 14, the Canadian government did, in fact, push back the deadline.

But even with an extra year tacked onto the repayment period, the money is still owed and interest still accumulates. So gym owners must figure out how to pay off the loan or the extension just delays bankruptcy by a year.

But there is hope.

Recovery Is Possible

A few weeks back, I asked Chris Cooper how long it takes gym owners to get to $100,000 in net owner benefit—salary, dividends, and any other benefits they receive.

The answer: 2 years, 1 month and 9 days on average—regardless of starting point. This data point comes from tracking more than 2,200 gyms over the last seven years.

If you aren’t interested in averages, Coop told me a gym has gone from barely breaking even to paying its owner $100,000 a year in just eight months.

I’ll let you figure out the exact mechanics with your own spreadsheet, but it should be obvious that if a gym can gain the ability to pay its owner $100,000 a year, it could gain the ability to pay  off a loan and eventually pay the owner $100,000 a year.

How does something like this happen? Three reasons:

  • Fitness entrepreneurs focus on building their businesses.
  • They avoid distractions and take action daily.
  • They follow the exact instructions of an experienced mentor.

The last part? It’s critical. If you’ve been struggling to repay a CEBA loan over the last years, you don’t have time to make mistakes and “figure it out.” You need to make progress fast.

The way to do that is with the help of a mentor who can guide you, motivate you and hold you accountable.

Remember: With guidance, the average Two-Brain gym owner can earn a six-figure income in about two years even if the business is in rough shape at the beginning. And some owners have gone from breakeven to $100,000 to in eight months.

So if you’re looking down the barrel of a CEBA loan—or any other debt—take an hour to do some research. Book a call with Two-Brain here to find out how we can help you turn your gym around.


On Sept. 14, the Canadian government announced extensions to the CEBA loan program. Among the announcements:

  • The repayment deadline for partial loan forgiveness is now Jan. 18, 2024.
  • On Jan. 19, 2024, outstanding loans will now have a three-year term at 5 percent per annum, with the repayment date extended to Dec. 31, 2026.

For a complete summary, visit

To make a plan to generate the profit you need to repay any loan, book a call with the Two-Brain team.


One more thing!

Did you know gym owners can earn $100,000 a year with no more than 150 clients? We wrote a guide showing you exactly how.