You purchased Tanguay Total Fitness. Have you always had a dream of operating your own fitness studio?
Since junior high, I’ve always had a huge interest in sports and fitness. After high school, I was determined to become a trainer and work with all levels of fitness in different age groups. Over the past few years, my fitness regimen established itself because I had children. After having two kids, I wanted to become a healthier version of myself and to teach my children how important it is to take care of your body. Once I heard that there was an opportunity to invest in a business that would make my dream come true, there was no turning back. Fred (Tanguay) has put a lot of hard work into establishing the gym in our community, and his story behind creating the gym is very sentimental to him. I knew that I wanted to keep that story alive and keep the gym running so our community can live a healthy lifestyle. We are a small community, and we have to travel great lengths to access a decent facility. Having this gym where it is has helped a lot of people become healthier mentally and physically. So, I am determined to maintain and keep this facility going no matter what it takes.
One of the consequences of the pandemic is that people have become more sedentary. You started offering virtual classes. Will you continue to offer those?
I am constantly figuring out new ways for my members and the community at large to stay motivated. Conducting virtual classes and doing online programming are some great options. My virtual drop-in classes are 30-45-minute sessions for all fitness levels and to join it is $15/person or $15 for one household. I have been running them on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I will possibly be reducing the number of drop-in classes from two to one per week as I will be busy in the gym working with clients and up-keeping the sanitation and cleanliness of the gym. With the gym being able to open for one-on-one training only during Step 1 of the reopen process, there is now another option to stay fit. It would be a great opportunity for those who are looking to start a new routine, for those who want to get started and need some guidance, and for those who are very serious about making a lifestyle change. One-on-one is a great way to receive the personal attention and instruction you need to learn about fitness. You’ll also receive a program created for you to suit your lifestyle and the goals you want to achieve on your journey.
Before starting a fitness class, should I get a health assessment?
It is extremely important to be cleared by your doctor before participating in any exercise, especially if you live a sedentary lifestyle or suffer from any health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, etc. For fitness classes, it is usually “come at your own risk” but I also provide a brief fitness assessment on what level of fitness you are at, any health conditions, and previous or current injuries, etc. It is important to exercise at least 15-30 minutes per day, but it is also important to be cautious of your health and consult your physician before making changes to your fitness and lifestyle.
What are the least talked about but still important health benefits of getting and staying fit?
One thing I find rather shocking is that there are misconceptions regarding your age and whether exercise is important. When you see children, we think they get their exercise from playing on playgrounds and jumping around. But there has been research done that too much uncontrolled movement at a young age can cause more joint problems when they get older. I’m not saying that kids should not play. Kids should also be accustomed to controlled, structured exercise movements to benefit them as they get older. Jimmy Nicholson offers great classes for youth to practice mobility, strength, hand-eye coordination and more.
As we get older into our 50’s, 60’s 70’s and 80’s, we start to slow down, lose muscle mass and lose our confidence with our balance and strength. This can also lead to irritability because we can’t move like we used too. It is extremely important to practice basic movements at minimum to prevent us from losing our strength and mobility as we age. For example, practicing assisted squats to get in and out of a chair easier and stretching 10 minutes per day can really improve your everyday life. There are also other conditions that we have to be cautious about – for example, diabetes and high blood pressure. A little bit of movement everyday helps minimize the symptoms and can decrease the amount of medication needed. There is no limit to what you can do when it comes to exercise, but it also comes down to a choice. If you want to improve your quality of life, we must be willing to make the choice and do the things we need to do to stay healthy.
Do you offer programs especially geared towards individual needs, or is the fitness studio more of a “come in and use what you want” type studio?
Currently, there are two trainers that work within the gym – myself and Jimmy Nicholson. We both offer in-person sessions within the gym and provide group sessions as well. Currently, we are only offering one-on-one and couples sessions, if you are in the same household, because of the Step 1 reopen plan. Fitness isn’t a “one size fits all” sort of thing. Everyone is different based on their body type, and everyone has specific needs or goals that they want to accomplish. We conduct assessments to see where our clients are at and then we create a program that will align with their goals so they continue making progress on their journey. Having a trainer also provides the client with extra accountability to help them stay on track. The gym is a place for our members to work on their progress freely whenever they would like. We do offer drop-in for people that are driving through town, or for people to come and try out the gym before they commit to a membership.
How often should one exercise? Does that depend on the individual and their lifestyle?
It is important to achieve a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity everyday. It is common for people to confuse physical activity and exercise. Physical activity is doing things that involve physical labor like mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, doing yard work or a labor-intensive job. Exercise is a series of controlled movements like doing push-ups, squats, weight lifting, etc. It is important for any age to do at least 15 to 30 minutes of exercise at least 3-4 days per week. As I already mentioned, everyone’s exercise regimen will be different depending on their body type and age. But that is not a reason to not exercise. Practicing basic bodyweight movements daily like squats can improve our strength, stamina, mobility and joint health.
Will you be offering programs for businesses so that their employees can take advantage of fitness training and/or exercise?
I definitely have plans in the works to have programs available. Once the gym is able to open for group fitness, which will hopefully be in Step 2 of the reopen plan, there will be more options available and you will be able to book a session and exercise with your colleagues. It is a great way to encourage each other within your business and create challenges to keep each other motivated.
What does your own fitness routine look like and how long did it take you to get there?
My routine has evolved a lot over the years. Playing sports, I did a lot of performance, mobility and agility training. Then once I had children, it was difficult for me to get to the gym living on a farm way outside of town where we used to live. So, I was doing at-home workout programs that would only take up 30 minutes of my time and they were very effective. We then moved to Rycroft, and I had easier access to the gym. I continued doing at-home workouts, but I wanted more. Now, I am currently training a hybrid of CrossFit and Olympic Weight Lifting. It has taken me around 10 years to find a training style that I truly enjoy. I don’t want to intimidate people, but progress takes time. There is no such thing as a quick fix to making a lifestyle change. My journey has been a roller coaster of emotions and dealing with what the number says on the scale. But that is all part of the journey, and we have to make the choice to either live healthier and improve our longevity or live a life with regret.
Do you ever have days when you simply don’t want to exercise, and how do you deal with a day like that?
I most definitely do, and it is normal. The days you don’t feel like exercising are the days that you need it the most sometimes. However, it is important to listen to your body. If you’re feeling physically fatigued and just can’t do it, it’s crucial that your body gets some rest to repair itself. On days that I don’t exercise, I make sure I receive enough sleep, fuel my body with healthy whole foods, and practice meditation and mobility. If my body needs more, I pop by the Peace Region Wellness in Spirit River and visit Devon Jarvis to receive acupuncture and stress relief treatments to relax my muscles and help me recover physically and mentally.
I constantly remind people that it’s important to not put yourself down if you miss a day or have a bad day. It is normal. Take the day to collect yourself and start again the next day. Don’t wait until Monday!
You have not had a lot of time to show the community what the ProAction Fitness Studio will be like. Can you give us an idea of what we can expect now that you are allowed to open again?
My first goal is to have a sense of normalcy again. However, it is extremely difficult to make things normal when we are so restricted to what we can do. It is going to be a long process of trying to open normally, but I’m determined to make it feel normal again. I take pride in my cleanliness and to make sure that everyone feels safe, confident and welcome within the gym. The last thing I want is for people to feel intimidated or worried about coming to the gym regardless of whether there is or isn’t a pandemic. Everyone needs to start somewhere if they are wanting to improve their health, and my gym is a great place to get started. My second goal is to diversify our services within the gym by offering things that everyone can do. I have several ideas planned, and I am so excited to share them with the community. I will be making sure that these services will be safe to participate in the context of the pandemic because your safety is my top priority. To stay up to date on news with the gym, you can follow us on social media like Instagram @proactionfitness.studio and Facebook. You can also visit our website and join our e-mail list.
Finally, when you are not working, what can you be found doing?
I enjoy doing several activities when I’m not working. In the spring and summer months, I enjoy going hiking, camping, gardening, fishing and playing some slo-pitch. I’m hoping a slo-pitch league can be organized this year. I attempted to assemble a league last year and it was not successful with the pandemic. Fingers crossed that we can organize one this year. In the winter, you can find me snowboarding, skating and ice fishing with my family.