by Stephanie Staples –
I consider it one of life’s greatest pleasures to enjoy all of the outdoor activities that living on the Saanich Peninsula affords but I went on a little local indoor fitness quest and am delighted to report some pretty cool experiences that you may want to try too!
So a biker goes into a ballet studio …
Sounds like the start of a joke, but that was me as I entered Allegro Dance Studio and prepared to have my first ballet class. Expecting to meet a stereotypical featherweight ballet instructor named Evelyn, I was ever so surprised and happy to find David, a robust senior in black pointe shoes and ready to instruct us. For 90 minutes, he led us through the basic ballet moves with both patience and skill, drawing from his career as a principal dancer in Europe. I was not accustomed to soothing music in a workout, and it was a welcome distraction from concentrating on the foreign movements with a little French lesson thrown in as we learned pas de deaux and other moves that I can neither pronounce nor perform. It was all I could do not to burst out in laughter seeing myself trying to execute ballet moves in the huge mirror. My legs were screaming at me “What are you doing? We don’t do that!” Nonetheless, it was a joyful time with a low sweat factor and a high mind workout. Dance class – a new way to make fitness fun!
Pacific Ninja Gym. If I had to think of the last town you’d find a Ninja Gym, it would be in sleepy little Sidney by the Sea, but surprise: it’s here! As a big fan of American Ninja Warrior, I was pumped to see their arrival and anxious to try them out.
The cool factor is high in this modern, 18-obstacle fitness centre. Servicing locals from just seven years old to my undisclosed (menopausal) age, co-owner Brad Armstrong offers and teaches all of the regular workouts and leaves the teaching of the Parkour classes to his expert 12- to 14-year-old instructors! Personalized orientation on the equipment ensures safety for the whole family, no matter what level of fitness you come in with.
Shimmying, climbing and scrabbling on the obstacles previously only seen on TV made this big kid feel quite humble. I loved how it’s more like playing there but with purpose, kind of sneaking in the exercise part! I appreciated the unique, casual, fun community environment as well.
Leave your headphones at home, slap down your $16, you’ve got 90 minutes and it’s Ninja time – go!
Next stop: Vibeology Fitness and Wellness Studio. Quite honestly I didn’t expect much: I’m fairly fit and a peek in the window revealed just four vibration platforms to stand on … how hard could it be?
Mother/daughter duo Meghan and Dawn have run this hidden gem, quietly tucked away in downtown Sidney, for over eight years. The workouts are only 20 minutes long (you had me at hello!) but they say that by adding Whole Body Vibration (WBV) it’s equivalent to an hour of a regular strength training workout. With two intensities on the machine and an overly optimistic view of my fitness level, I was ready to crank it up immediately but to my surprise, within moments on low I was huffing and puffing and looking for a place to take off some unneeded clothing. One of the ladies in my group was training for a triathlon, but some are there for therapeutic reasons, some for autoimmune issues and some for stress reduction. What’s cool about this place is that absolutely anyone of any fitness level can do a session in record time and the small, personally-led classes ensure a custom workout for everyone. I loved the “Cheers-like” atmosphere where everyone indeed does know your name. Whether you are there for cardio, strength or flexibility, I bet your body will say thank you!
I love to hike, bike and paddle my way around the Peninsula, but it’s great to know that other fun options exist to get and stay fit!