MacEwan’s best-kept secret might be its fitness classes

by | Mar 9, 2024 | Campus, Sports | 0 comments

MacEwan’s best-kept secret might be its fitness classes. Okay, they aren’t exactly a secret. All three of the classes I attended were almost full — but not with students. 

MacEwan’s fitness centre is super popular among the student body, which you’re well aware of if you’ve ever tried to go there between the hours of 12 and 3 p.m., when it seems like everyone and their mother is waiting to use the machine or equipment you want to use. 

If you’re anything like me, you go to the gym for the weights. You’re there to “get ripped” (but, please do not ask me what I bench). But, you are not there for cardio. Cardio sucks. It’s hard and it feels awful, and you absolutely do not want to see yourself in a mirror like you do when you’re lifting. I’ve maintained a strong anti-cardio stance for most of my fitness journey simply because I didn’t think it was any fun, and I like to enjoy myself in the gym. But now, I’ve completely reevaluated my stance on cardio, and that is because of just two words: spin class. 

Going into my first spin class, which was the first half of MacEwan’s “Spin & Strength” program, I had admittedly misguided expectations. I thought spin class was just something moms liked to do. As someone who’s done a good amount of mountain biking, I wasn’t worried.  

But man, did that class kick my ass. 

Let me talk a bit about what to expect in a MacEwan spin class: First of all, I was a bit worried that it was going to be in the main cardio equipment section of the Fitness Centre. I wasn’t sure I was ready for my first real attempt at cardio since forever to be in front of a bunch of people in impossibly tight Gymshark t-shirts that I already feel inferior to on a normal gym day. But, when I inquired with one of the employees, I was directed to an entire spin studio at the back of the Sports and Wellness complex that I was completely unaware of. 

It’s far, far away from everything else, past the locker rooms and beside the Bill Comrie High-Performance Zone, where our student-athletes get their workouts in. Already, I was much more at ease. I set my water bottle on a bike, strapped in, and did a slow warmup as the class filled up. 

Side note about the water bottle — I was an idiot and I brought my Yeti. I knocked that thing off the bike so many times, and every time, it was like a bomb had gone off. Bring plastic, or just leave it on the floor. 

The instructors are what make these classes. Two of the three classes I took part in (Spin & Strength and Cardio Power Hour) featured the same instructor, James Linthorne, an incredibly encouraging and unbelievably shredded high-performance specialist. 

MacEwan’s Sport and Wellness personal trainer directory says that James has been with the facility since 2006, and I hope he never leaves. He explained everything so it was easy to follow and understand for even the most newbie of spin class participants, like myself. He was encouraging and pushed us in a way that wasn’t the aggressive screaming spin instructor I’d been led to expect because of television. He and Anita DeBoer, an exercise specialist with whom I took Spin Xpress, made the classes feel welcoming and comfortable for people of all fitness and experience levels. 

“They’re [the classes] a great way for anyone to get into cardio,” said Anita. These classes were genuinely the most fun that I’ve ever had doing cardio by a country mile. Don’t get me wrong, they are hard. They definitely push you to your limit, but your bike is in your control, and you’re free to set the resistance to whatever level you want. Just don’t go in with the assumption that these classes are only for people of a certain age. I did Cardio Power Hour with my favourite gym buddy — my mom. We both had an awesome time. 

What I realize now is that what was initially holding me back from doing cardio is the idea that it’s absolutely no fun. Throwing around weights and flexing in the mirror is fun, but aimlessly flailing around on a treadmill absolutely isn’t. That’s what I really came to appreciate with these classes: being told what to do. Your gear is yours to choose, but you’re instructed when to push, rest, stand, sit, and hover, and how fast to go. That was the fun part, actually — trying to keep your RPM in a specific range felt like a video game for me. An exhausting, sweaty video game; but, a fun one, nonetheless. 

The level of instruction was great, too. At Cardio Power Hour, my mom and I were the last ones to show up, so we had to use ellipticals instead of the treadmills that most of the class was on. While the workout was a bit more tailored to treadmills, James not only gave us detailed instructions on how to utilize the elliptical, but he also gave us his business card at the end and told us to record our mile time on an elliptical in our own time and send him the results, so he would be able to accommodate the workout to our paces next class. That’s personal trainer-level instruction, and it was a free drop-in class. 

MacEwan’s value-added fitness classes are a truly fantastic way to get some cardio into your fitness routine or just a great way to get a workout in general. We’re all busy people, and sometimes, getting to the gym is difficult with how weird everyone’s schedules are. MacEwan Sport and Wellness offers something for everyone, whether you want to do cardio, weights, or underwater aerobics. Apprehension about working out with a bunch of other people is very understandable. But trust me, everyone is just worried about themselves, and the most embarrassing thing that’s going to happen to you is that you drop your metal water bottle.

Evan Watt

The Griff

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