9 December 2016

Rise of boutique gyms boosts workout choices in capital

| Rachel Moore
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Best Micro Gym in Canberra

Most of us at one time or another has owned an ambiguous gym membership. Maybe we went for a month, even two. But after a while we stopped. Unfortunately the payments continued and we were stuck for the next year with monthly payment deduction guilty feels. Maybe you’re part of the growing movement including a few sessions every week at the gym to maintain a balanced lifestyle? Maybe you’re a dedicated athletic gym fan dropping by a gym once, twice a day?

Global trends away from the traditional bigger corporate gyms have created a significant push towards smaller community gyms that specialise in a specific types of fitness. Allowing people flexibility to shift focus towards what their personal individual needs and priorities including specialising in one area of exercise.

This unique community micro gym movement now empowers people with a choice to decide what is right for them. Priorities might include age or gender specific activities, child minding facilities, a sense of community, ‘cancel at any time’ membership options, personal training, group activities, to meet new people or it might be as simple as how close is it to work / home.

Regardless of what your gym heart desires we are all now in the situation where our choices and decisions are empowered. Just like your morning coffee brew, deciding whether your roasted beans are local or international, ethical or organic, you can choose the exact gym that is right for you! The Canberra Goldilocks Gym era is here!

Canberra’s best gyms

A bit of everything/more commercial feel
Elite Physique, Next Gen, Club Lime, EVO Health Club

Powerlifting/Strongman/General strength training
Burley Strength, ANU, The Strength Syndicate

Olympic weightlifting
Unbranded Sports Preparation and Crossfit SFS

Crossfit Canberra, Crossfit 2600, Crossfit Three Flow and Crossfit Smash

There are a million crossfit gyms out there these days … these options have multiple locations.

General class/small group training
Metamorph Holistic Performance, FUNC Fitness, UltraFS, F45, Real FITT

Women only
PB Fit, Fernwood

How to choose a personal trainer

Unless we have previous experience, most of us will book a session in with a personal trainer so we know what we are doing or at the very least, appear to know. However with the increase in this largely unregulated and non-sanctioned industry there are a few things to think about before your hire your PT.

Do your research

Once you have decided what type of gym is right for you, do your research on their trainers to see who might suit you best. This might include checking qualifications, speaking to other gym members or online reviews. You want to feel as though the gym is a community and a place where you fit in. There is significant money involved and it is your health, so make sure you find the right person to treat it with all the respect and care it deserves.

Do a trial

There is nothing worse than forking out hundreds of dollars of your hard earned cash for a ten week boot camp only to find that it might not be right for you.

Be realistic and have goals

Look, if you have a Homer Simpson physique and want to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger in six months, sorry to say, not going to happen. If you PT tells you that this is achievable, they are lying and needless to say are not the right PT for you. Find someone who will stick with you through the peaks and troughs of your fitness journey and who always has your best interests at heart.

Seek professional help where needed

Most trainers are excellent and as you build a working relationship with them naturally you might seek advice outside just physical training. The best trainer will always say “I don’t know” if there is a question they can’t answer and always hand you a card of a qualified professional who can help. They also might offer very general nutrition advice but unless someone has a university qualification or equivalent in nutrition or is a dietitian, it’s probably best to take that advice with a grain of salt. Nutritionists and dietitians are part of associations that are regulated and if you ever become unhappy or unhealthy as a result of a diet there are many options available to you and these professionals can help you adapt your diet to what is right for you. The complicated science of food and the body is one that is always best left to qualified professionals, our bodies are unique little universes.

Have fun

If you want to maintain health, no matter what you do, have fun! No one will lie and tell you at different points the gym won’t be hard, but it should, for the most part, be fun and make you feel great! As you can see from this article, there are lots of options. Exercise is and should for the most part be fun!!!

Let us know which is your favourite Canberra gym in the comments

Pictured above are Karen and John (couples who train together stay together). Photo: John Sheridan.

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I’ve just got home from the Southern Cross Gym, Woden.

Couldn’t agree more about working with dietitians. They are regulated and you want to find an Accredited Practicing Dietitian to know you’ll be in great hands. I’ve been seeing Clare Wolski at The Healthy Eating Hub for two years and she’s fantastic. Can’t speak highly enough. Always make sure anyone you see in any field is “accredited” by an independent body.

I just joined a month or so a go with Func Fitness. I can’t rate them highly enough. Extremely inclusive and fantastic at tailoring classes to individuals at all fitness levels. A very close contender was NextGen in Lyneham. The service was fantastic during trial, and it was a real toss up between the two. Func Fitness won the day – I was looking for a small gym that has a community feel to it.

It’s not the cheapest around – but you literally pay for what you get. What won me over with Func Fitness was that the instructors are really big on technique.

My 3rd choice would have been Club Lime in Belconnen. Great facilities – but once again, I wasn’t looking for a gym where I would end up getting ‘lost in the system.’

I have tried other gyms but Burley Strength is the only one that has fit me. No mirrors, no gym selfies just people there to train for strength. The Burley members are super welcoming and helpful. It is a great place to train.

The Strength Syndicate is awesome!

Old Man Mike10:26 am 02 Dec 16

I took up powerlifting at the age of 53, after decades working out in “generalist” gyms. I joined Burley Strength on the recommendation of my younger brother and his wife, both power lifters and strongmen/women.

I immediately found my lifting technique needed considerable adjustment, due to bad form developed from years of listening to the wrong people. That has now been corrected under the watchful eye of John Sheridan, a coach who not only knows what he is doing but has also listened to my feedback and adjusted my program to take into account my age, the physical effects of my program on my more mature body, and my goals. As a result I currently hold several Australian and world records, an achievement I never contemplated before I took up the sport.

The added bonus at Burley Strength is the community culture at the gym. No matter your age, gender, size or ability, all members are treated equally in an environment that is not only friendly, but fun. It is not unusual for the strongest person in the gym to be sharing equipment with someone just starting out, a rarity in many of the commercial gyms.

Sizeable_Dorrit9:02 am 02 Dec 16

I train at Burley, and it’s perfect. Small but not a tiny box, and very few selfie-taking people wearing stringers and micro booty shorts!

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