YMCA visits complete & lots of spring exercise deals!

My apologies for not updating, but it’s been a stressful week trying to get a move organized. I felt so stressed one night in fact, that I passed on checking out the pool Thursday night at the YMCA in favour of chilling out on the couch with a movie. We’ve all been there.

Getting fit for summer in the great outdoors with a fitness boot camp

I did make it for one more session at the YMCA last week before my pass expired on Friday. I felt sore the next day (always a good sign!) My TV screen on my elliptical was broken and again, there were some neighbourly exercisers that didn’t know how to put on deodorant. But I’ll let that all slide because the facility itself is excellent and I’m glad I used my two-week pass there through CBC’s Live Right Now challenge. I made it for four visits, which isn’t too bad. I would have loved to try the pool.

With bosu freeing up my Tuesday nights (I’ve got a birthday gathering filling in that vacant night already), I’m really going to have to push to make sure I get some weekly workouts in there. How do busy parents fit in exercise?

I’ve got a boot camp voucher through teambuy.ca, a gym pass (near my new place if I get it!) through dealfind and some classes to take advantage of on my passport to prana card and lots of great classes to try out through the Lifestyle Pass. I will keep you posted on what comes next starting this Thursday!

In the meantime, there’s a last chance deal through WagJag for fitness classes at Total Spirit Fitness. I’m not familiar with this studio at all, (Marquis Dance Academy location at 20 Island Shore Blvd., Unit 3) but it seems like it’s located in Island Lakes suburbia. There are classes offered Mon-Sat both during daytime and evening in classes like yoga, zumba, power tone etc. The deal is for 10 classes for $39 (reg. $100) and there is no expiry date on the voucher, which is pretty rare.

My boot camp knowledge is nil, but I know there seems to be a lot of deals out there so I’ll mention them.

SwarmJam is offering a 10-class fitness pass to 10 high intensity boot camp classes through Aspire Fitness (3501 McGillivray Blvd | Winnipeg, MB | R3Y1G5 | 204.832.0328) for $39-$29 (reg. $150) depending on how many people buy. The class name is pretty self-explanatory. This deal expires in two days and the voucher expires in March 2012.

Teambuy.ca is also offering a deal on boot camp classes (‘Tis the season!) from Phitt Chicks Fitness Boot Camps (450 Lilac Street, 204 218-3024). This one is close to where I live so I’m tempted to buy it, but I’ve got another boot camp voucher that I haven’t cashed in  yet. The deal here is 10 sessions for $32 (reg. $125).

It seems like boot camps are hotter than hot and perfect for getting your bod into shape for swimsuit season. So tell me, have you gone the boot camp route? Is it awesome? I’m terrified (but still willing to give it a go) for some reason!

I know I missed a couple of other deals that popped up last week, so I promise to stay on top of that more. The lesson to be learned? Affordability shouldn’t be a barrier to fitness with all these great deals around. And like I’ve mentioned before, even the YMCA offers reduced memberships for those on low incomes.


Three visits to YMCA downtown

Take a spin at the YMCA downtown.

Whew, long time no post! That’s because I’ve been busy sweating up a storm at YMCA downtown. I’m currently taking advantage of a free two-week trial as part of CBC’s Live Right Now promotion.

To sign up, all you have to do is print out your profile page (register on cbc.ca), present it to your Y location of choice and the YMCA staff hand over an application form to fill out. The card printer was broken when I went, but they were good about lending me a temporary card so that I could use the lockers.

My first visit was last Friday, where I did some work with weights. Navigating the massive three-floor gym & change room was a bit intimidating at first, but at least there’s lots to look at and it gives you a pretty awesome idea about all the activities available at this location.

Visit #1: I did my usual three laps of brisk walking around the track to get my heart rate up. It overlooks the rows of equipment on the second floor and the uber busy gym full of adolescent boys playing basketball. Next, I ventured into the male-dominated weights area (I think I was the only female there at the time!) and found a set of 5 lb weights, nice. I tucked myself into a little corner under the stairs where I found my old faithful, the bosu, and did a short series of exercises that left me quite sore the next day (my own fault for not stretching properly!) It was all fine and good, if a little cramped, except some of the people pumping iron around me were a little odd (ie. one guy making LOUD grunting noises  every time he lifted the barbell, and another guy who didn’t understand the concept of deodorant). As a car owner, I had to cut my workout short and rush back to the car before my parking expired, one downside to visiting the downtown Y…unless the Y offers free parking somewhere and I’m oblivious. Enlighten me!

Visit #2: Despite my extreme lack of motivation from “springing forward,” I bit the bullet and opted for some stretching and cardio on one of the elliptical machines last Sunday. They were really clean, modern and easy to use. I *LOVE* that most of them had a personal tv set attached to each machine. The time seemed to fly by as I indulged in Slice, CBC’s doc zone and the Food Network. The treadmills, stationary bikes, ellipticals, arc trainers etc. are all clumped together, which is a little uncomfortable at first (if you’re sensitive about personal space!), but once you get into your own zone it’s all good from there. When I was stretching before & after, I noticed there is a large supply of exercise balls, bosus and tubing that looked like they were in good condition. I think the gym could use a wee bit more space for stretching and some more mats, since it seems to be a popular area.

Visit #3: I decided to challenge myself and take a spin class (an instructor-led workout on a stationary bike where you pedal standing up/sitting down at various intensities) for my first time ever yesterday. I’ve heard they are murder and have always shied away from the sweaty, cardio-heavy workout, but this blog is all about exploring different fitness avenues. The Y staff were really friendly about pointing me in the direction of the class and suggested I chat to the teacher before starting. The instructor went through proper bike set up before cranking up the music to this invigorating workout. I’m used to taking classes in a separate studio at the gym, but here, it’s held in the main equipment area. There were definitely a lot of curious exercisers watching our class as we went. I took it easy on the tension at first, unsure of my personal cardio stamina. I lasted the whole class (a number of people clock out before the finish) and toward the end started really cranking up the intensity to match the teacher’s pace. She followed up with me again after the class to see what I thought, which was awesome. I quite enjoyed it (even though my rear is super sore today!) and would go again just to mix it up! I highly recommend trying it for some variety and if you want to sculpt your pins for the not-so-far-away shorts & swimsuit season.

Overall? Loving the Y so far! I’d like to try the pool this weekend. There is so much to do and membership is only $39 a month for adults. I’m also told the rate can be reduced if you’re a low income-earner, making it an excellent affordable fitness option in Winnipeg.

Leisure guide & discounted yoga/pilates pass

Registration for summer leisure programs starts Mon, Mar 14, 9 am.

Good news! I signed up for the YMCA downtown on Friday for my two week trial pass. It’s getting late, so I’ll save my impressions on that experience for my next post.

For this post, I want to just send two quick reminders:

1) TeamBuy.ca is offering a discounted 10-class package to Yoga, Pilates & More for $35 (Reg. $130). I’ve actually been there before (it’s in the south end of the city) for a $5 drop-in class open house and from what I remember, it’s actually quite cute. The first time drop-in rate is only $5, so take advantage of that if you want to test the waters.

The studio itself is not super massive, but it’s very clean, mod and the yoga teacher had a nice demeanor to her. I do remember there being some new age-y music in the class, which I had trouble not laughing at during savasana at the end. Anyway, if you’re out in this neck of the woods I’d recommend this studio. What I love about the schedule is there are other classes available, like Zumba and bosu to offer some variety. One downside is the schedule heavily favours 9-5ers…there aren’t any daytime/early am options if that fits in with your schedule better, so keep that in mind.

2) Leisure guide registration starts tomorrow! I typically sign up for one class in fall and one in winter. Since I am moving to a new neighbourhood soon and pursuing this blog, I won’t be registering tomorrow. That being said, the Leisure Guide is one of my favourite resources for fitness activities. The registration fees are affordable (my bosu class is typically under $70 for 10 classes, that’s less than $10 a visit!)

I would defo take a browse through the online catalogue (if you haven’t already) and pick something new…think of it as spring cleaning your workout routine. Some people find scheduling a regular class restricting. I find it assuring that I have this block of time reserved for exercise, so I KNOW it will get done. Tuesday is my last bosu/cardio class of the winter session and I made it for 10/10 classes. I haven’t done that for awhile! The kettle bell fitness course interests me as it’s supposed to be the hot new fitness toy. My bosu/cardio class is up for sign-up again, but I typically start tennis clinic on Tuesdays come May, so that’s it for that class.

Let me know what course you signed up for in the comments!


WagJag yoga classes & free YMCA pass

All set to try out YMCA Downtown through CBC's Live Right Now program

Unlike other group buying sites, WagJag appears to let their deals run for a number of days. There’s one for 10 yoga classes for $49 (Reg $130) at Winnipeg Yoga Shala that ends in a few days. It’s a studio I am unfamiliar with but am curious about trying. Has anyone ever been there? They’ve got a unique “MySore” program that encourages individual practice with teacher assistance and supervision.

If you’re hesitant to part with $49 off the hop, check the studio out for a mere $5 first class. There are new student specials (not sure if they literally mean student of a university or if they are calling members students…) that are pretty decent: $50 for one month unlimited (including MySore) and $150 for three months for the MySore program (Reg $375). Unfortunately, the $5 first time class does not apply to the MySore program–one month is $135.

My goal for March was to work out a dozen times this month. I failed last week by only going once (blaming a particularly annoying visit from Aunt Flo for that).

However, I filled in the paper work for a two-week free trial of the YMCA downtown through CBC’s Live Right Now program after work today. The pool looks great and I can’t wait to try some classes as well! It looks like there are lots of different cardio and weight machine options should I feel like mixing up my routine. Generally, I’m not a machine person but throwing them in the mix here and there works fine. I plan on heading for my first session tomorrow after work and then again sometime on the weekend to make up for last week’s laziness.

Hey, we’re all human so I won’t beat myself too much about skimping on the exercise this month. I’m determined to beat the never-ending winter blahs and this blog is just the motivation I need to make sure I keep to it!



Eight ladies-only fitness specials at Images Fitness Centre

Ladies only fitness deals at Images Fitness Centre

If you missed it in your inbox yesterday, there’s an excellent deal through Groupon for 10 yoga classes or one-month unlimited access membership at Image Fitness, a women’s fitness centre on Ness Ave. I like the all-women’s aspect, particuarly when it comes to the weights area. I always feel like a strange intruder with my mini biceps and 5 lb free weights around the congregation of big, beefy men pumping iron.

With this particular deal you can either choose a one-month membership to the gym (including access to aerobics classes) for $29 ($69 value) or a 10-class yoga pass for $49 ($110 value).

But wait, there are more deals to be had at this centre!

Ladies under 18 can get one month’s worth of access + 5 yoga classes for $59 (Reg $109), +18 ladies get the same option for $65 (Reg. $114).

Three months of unlimited yoga are available for $199 to members, $249 for non-members.

One month’s unlimited personal training is also on special for $399 (30 min session) or $499 (60 min sessions). I feel like there is more to this particular promotion than meets the eye, but since it’s out of my price range at the mo’ I’ll leave the adventure up to you to discover.

Moksha to the Max

Hot yoga haven at Moksha Yoga Kildonan

The journey with the Passport to Prana card (read this post for program background) continued last weekend with a challenging 90-minute hot yoga class in a brand new studio. First impressions listed below.

Who: Moksha Yoga Kildonan

Where: In a strip mall next to the giant Safeway. 440-1615 Regent Avenue West.

Style: 90-min Moksha class.

Time: 10-11:30 AM, Saturdays

Best for: Hot yoga fanatics that want to work on a specific series of poses. Avoid if this is your first time and you’re wary of the heat. There are shorter classes available.

Studio: This brand spanking new studio, unfortunately, has an awkward layout. There are a couple of wooden benches to rest your bags on while you take off boots/etc. at the entrance but they definitely don’t have that “chill and stay awhile” lounge (typically stocked with magazines and couches) found in other yoga studios. While the hot yoga room is quite large, foot traffic in and out of the change rooms and practice area are forced to squeeze by each other in a narrow hallway. I’d guesstimate around 30 people fit in the room comfortably. Floor-to-ceiling mirrors, beige walls, cork flooring and dimming lights pretty much sum up the practice room’s austere look.

Vibe: Ever seen those documentaries about schools of fish where they all stick together and follow each other? That’s what it feels like to be in this large class. It’s awesome if you just want to blend in (I typically fall into this camp!), but not ideal if you want a space in the mirror to check on form here and there (as was my case). The space is minimalist, the yogis are of all levels, and the teacher is informative.

Cost: Used my Passport to Prana card. For non-cardholders, there’s a value-packed introductory deal ($40) for one month available to first-time members. Otherwise you’re looking at $17 for drop-in (ouch), $140 for 10 classes or $170 for one month unlimited. Lots of options depending on how often you want to Moksha it up.

Experience: Some of the ladies scurrying into the change room from the earlier class said the studio wasn’t super “hot.” It is, but I could see what they meant as it took me a lot longer to start sweating than usual (I liked this!) Insider tip: a couple of ladies piped in and said evening classes are much hotter as the studio retains heat from earlier classes.

The instructor did a fantastic job demonstrating and dishing out tips and tricks for each pose. The extra-long class covered the gamut, from standing to balancing to mat poses with plenty of time for savasana. My only tiny criticism is sometimes she would say things like, “Don’t think about what you’re going to have for lunch,” and then I’d start thinking about it. It took me out of the space, which was the exact opposite of her intention. A simple reminder to stay with the breath would have sufficed.

One more tip, avoid sitting by the light switches if you are easily distracted as they are adjusted throughout the class.

Bonus: Lots of parking room and a Starbucks just doors down (the studio started to smell like coffee at the end, or else I was hallucinating). Perfect for that reflective latte to-go for the drive home.

I’m giving the studio another go with my newly acquired Lifestyle Pass.

Sizzling Downtown Gym Deal

Shape up at Urban Wellness Centre in the heart of downtown.

There’s yet another hot group buying site “WagJag” that’s swept into Winnipeg and already they’ve got a fitness deal perfect for urbanites and downtown office dwellers. For $49, buyers can scoop up a two-month pass to Urban Wellness Centre in City Place ($105 value).

I haven’t been to Urban Wellness Centre as of yet, but a quick read-through of the facility sounds like it goes above and beyond your typical gym. Complimentary hair dryers, a steam room, and massage and dietitian services are just some of the impressive features.

Yoga, Guts & Butts and Bosu are just a few of the classes offered, which are packaged into lunch hour-friendly 45 minute workouts. I’m a “class” kind of gal, so I like sessions that are 1 hr. minimum. The classes are also only from Mon-Fri during work hours, so for those reasons, I’m passing on this otherwise attractive deal. If you’re still keen on giving it a whirl without laying down any cash, the first session is free.

Tomorrow’s post: Review of Moksha Yoga on Regent

Upcoming posts:

Lifestyle Pass fitness adventures

Brick House gym boot camp

YMCA workouts through CBC’s Live Right Now Program

Pan-Am Pool: Simply Swimming

Note: I planned to write a post about snowboarding in Asessippi with some lift tickets I received through a Costco deal, but the trip was cancelled after my other half injured his collarbone. This post is on hold until further notice.