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.