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October 13, 2015

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My Epic Workout at EPIC Fitness

I love being a blogger for a local Ottawa company. Not only do I get tons of tasty tea to test out and share with you all, but I also get some pretty sweet opportunities! Like, for example, the opportunity to try the newly renovated gym over at Epic Fitness with one of their personal trainers, Nicole. Through my last blog, they heard about my recent health kick and wanted to give me a taste of how the Epic Fitness trainers help their clients achieve their personal fitness goals. 

To tell you the truth, I was a bit nervous walking into the gym. You never quite know what to expect when you first enter a new gym: is it going to be chock full of big, buff men lifting ridiculously oversized weights and staring at themselves in the mirror? Are people going to judge me because I sweat, profusely? What’s the code for the change room so I don’t look like a newb (even though I am one ...)? All of these questions were swirling around in my mind as I walked through the Epic Fitness doors. Luckily, a bright, perky woman named Leanna jumped from her seat behind the counter to greet me (and reassured me that everyone was friendly). She proceeded to give me a tour of the gym, described the recent renovations and explained the general approach to fitness taken by the trainers. She emphasized that the gym follows a holistic philosophy of training, which aims to incorporate all aspects of health and fitness in an individual’s program.  

Next, I was quickly introduced to my trainer for the evening, Nicole. Before we started the workout, she led me into a consultation room where we ran through a series of questions designed to give her a bit of context as to why I was there. She asked me not only about my fitness and nutrition goals, but also about the psychological and social circumstances that influenced my decision to set these goals. Other than in writing my last blog post, I had not thought much about why I wanted to make these changes to my diet and exercise routines. Discussing my personal goals and the motivations behind these goals with this complete stranger was, surprisingly, relieving. Reflecting on these choices, I realized that I wasn’t making these adjustments to my routine for anyone but me. I explained to her that, although I am definitely somehow influenced through media and consumer culture to believe in an ideal body image, I don’t particularly feel pressure to achieve this ideal, and generally just want to be “healthy” – whatever that means.

You’re probably thinking, “so like, did you actually work out?” ... “OF COURSE I did, DUH!” After our quick chat, Nicole and I headed out into the gym where she led me through a brief but sufficient warm up. Once we had identified which part of my body we would work out that day, Nicole put together two separate circuits, each with three exercises, with a focus on strengthening my upper body (dance started the next day and I didn’t want my legs to be pooped from the new workout!).

The first circuit started with a dumbbell bench press, an exercise I am familiar with and have incorporated into my own workouts before. Because I thought I knew what I was doing with this one, I was surprised when she stopped me halfway through my first press to correct my shoulders, and again when she started counting aloud to indicate that I needed to move more slowly on the way down, and more quickly on the way up. With such a focus on these minute details, Nicole’s commitment to developing my form and technique was evident. She repeatedly asked me to identify which muscles I felt were working in each exercise, and always corrected my posture. Nicole used her own hands to indicate where on my body the muscles should be working, and explained through vivid descriptions how I should be feeling each movement.

The remainder of the hour was spent reviewing my form within each of the exercises she assigned, and identifying which areas of my body were stronger or tighter than others. I learned that I not only hold a substantial amount of tension in my shoulders, but I also often forget to use my core strength, and put too much pressure on my lower back. If all of my future workout sessions are this productive, I would definitely be interested in continuing to work with Nicole at Epic Fitness.

Let’s be honest, though, ain’t nobody got the money for a full time personal trainer to tag along with you at the gym everyday. This is exactly why I enjoyed working out with Nicole: her attention to detail and her use of body contact, verbal and visual cues, and encouraged personal reflection, sets you up so that you can work towards independent training sessions. Don’t get me wrong, the time spent with Nicole was definitely valuable, and my experience with personal training has been worth every penny. But, the important thing is that I should someday be able to take everything I have learned and apply it myself, without a trainer there to hold my hand. I think that a few more sessions with Nicole will definitely put me on the right path towards confidently working-out on my own, and towards achieving my lifestyle goals as well. 

Thank you for your expert guidance, Nicole. And thank you, Epic Fitness, for the opportunity! This Tealee blogger will definitely be back for more!


Carolyn Hebert

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