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Mike

I think I'm a pretty good athlete. I've done the Kona Hawaii Ironman twice before I was banned for life for a "water foul" although I continue to appeal this ruling. I was part of the team that put three climbers on the summit of K2 in 2007, at great personal sacrifice I might add . . . frostbite to my head has left me bald as a cue ball.

So why then have I found spinning to be one of the most challenging (yet strangely rewarding) fitness activities I have ever undertaken?!!

I started to spin for several reasons . . .

First and foremost, the love of my life jumps out of bed at 5:30AM every Tuesday and Thursday to join the other 40 loyalists for Dave Holding's class. When we were in the "honeymoon phase" of our relationship, it was fine for me to roll over and go back to sleep but now it's doors slamming, lights on, music blaring until I'm out of bed and on my way to the gym with her. Regardless, I'm still not and never EVER will be a morning person!

The other reason I have embraced spinning is that I wanted to maintain my awesomely fit body (and Lululemon catalogue model contract). As one of Canada's top Master Ultimate Frisbee players, getting out on the field in the summer months keeps me in top condition, but in the off season it's spinning and weights that keep me at my competitive best!

While there are a smattering of guys in the early morning classes, the collective competitive powerhouse is the "women's team". I must confess, I was a wee bit intimidated for the first few months because some of them don't take a break from start to finish and they ALL have this ferocious "game face" on - seriously, sometimes I'm actually frightened!

But all is not lost, because the addition of a pair of Lululemon pink cycling shorts instantly made me an honourary 'front row chick' . . . even some of the guys are now stepping aside when I enter the little dark room . . . very empowering!!!

However, that was almost two years ago.

These days my mind is filled with thoughts of California - the spin mecca of the western world. Imagine for a moment, an outdoor spin class with 300 people, where the smell of sweat, sun tan oil and spandex permeates the atmosphere. There I am, the Italian Spinning Stallion, having just finished a triple shot of espresso, on stage with the grand master of spinning Johnny G, leading the class in a monstrous uphill climb. The music rocks out over the Pacific Ocean, the sun bounces off my head like a lightning bolt, and as I adjust my headset and bear down on the pedals . . . I think back to Mt. Pleasant where it all started!

My name is Mike . . . and I AM a spinner!


Erin (left)
 
I recently joined Goodlife because I thought it would be a great way to stay in shape, especially in the winter.  

All the group exercise classes are fun . . . and spinning has been an especially interesting new experience. I also love going to Body Pump Wednesday mornings, and Body Attack on the weekends. I also manage to fit in other great activities - swimming, skiing, running, and rowing.

So as a teenager, here are "
Erin's Top Three Things to Keep Active":

#3 Keep switching it up so that you don't get bored - even try things you are sure you are going to hate, you may just be surprised.

#2 Work out in the morning - By working out before school or work, you will get your daily exercise out of the way, and be energized for the rest of the day.

#1 Have a workout buddy! I joined Goodlife with my friend Maya - you can see her spin profile here too! We motivate each other to get up early and get going. So we workout and have fun at the same time.

See you soon at spinning!

(P.S. That's my mom beside me (Carolyn) - she's usually a morning spinner too because she thinks, "if it doesn't happen in the early AM, life has a way of intervening and then it might not end up happening at all - and that's not good!")


Ximena (hee-men-ah)

I come from a fairly active family, but I wasn't always into fitness. The truth is, I was working toward the highly elusive and world renowned "couch potato specialist" designation!

When I was a student at the University of Waterloo, I ended up in school one summer because of my co-op program. A little bit bored, and wanting to get out of the humidity, I ventured into the gym one day. There was really no one around, so my regular dates with the treadmill turned into running outside . . . 5k, then 10k went by, and then I suddenly found myself in the middle of 2000 people for the start of a half marathon!!

Although I love running, it hasn't always been easy - I learned the hard way about the importance of stretching and eating properly to fuel workouts. I eventually reached a day when I was seeing my chiropractor more than my best friends, so I decided that I had to find an alternate, "less violent" cardio exercise.
 
By this time, I was working in Toronto, so I wandered into a spin class at Glendon College's athletic centre. I had tried a few classes in university, but they were nothing like these! Although the first few classes were incredibly challenging, they gave me the cardio workout that I was looking for.
 
The only problem was that there wasn't a lot of 'people energy' in the Glendon class. For the first little while, that didn't matter because I was so focused on getting through the class. However, I quickly learned that your fellow riders can make a BIG difference to your performance!! So, in the fall of 2010, I joined GoodLife, and it wasn't long before I was making friends and becoming a regular at several classes. I have found the spinning crew to be very social and friendly - and INCREDIBLY energetic, especially for 6:30 in the morning! It's a great way to start my day.
 
If you are thinking about or just beginning your 'spinning life' my one and only piece of advice would be STICK WITH IT!!!


Michael
 
After being away from Toronto for 6 years, I joined GoodLife Fitness specifically for the spinning classes. I used to run, but when running started to affect my joints I started spinning. I have been spinning for close to 10 years and found that it's helped my cardio. My advice to people starting out is 'be patient'. It's going to take you at least 3-4 months to get into it as far as rhythm and strength is concerned. So it's important to stick to it until you break through certain barriers. My other advice is to get yourself spinning shoes - "cycling shoes with SPD clips" as this will take your spinning to a completely new
level and maximize your workout. It's great to be back spinning in Toronto!

Beverley
 
Tequila changed my life! Have you ever woken up in the morning after 'the night before' and thought OMG what have I done?? Well I have, after a full weekend of nonstop partying for my 30th high school reunion (yes people, 30, this isn't a typo!). I realized I had bet my best friend Sheila - a veteran spinner and cyclist of note - that I would join her in completing "The Argus" in six months time. The Argus is a 110 km cycle race in South Africa and is the biggest timed race in the world. I was doomed as I had bet Sheila in front of 100 others and couldn't back down. I immediately purchased a road bike and proudly went to my first spinning class.
 
My first class was a story in itself . . . but suffice it to say I vomited three times on the way home and had a migraine for the next three days. Anyway, that was 5 years ago, and since then I did The Argus and several other races. I cycle extensively during the summer and spend my entire winter spinning myself into a coma. I love that I went from couch potato to spinner/cyclist of note and will never look back. If it wasn't for tequila I would probably still be sitting on the couch - who said alcohol is bad for you? Not me, that's for sure! Spin on!

 

Maya

Question: It's 5:30AM. How many high school students do you know that jump out of bed and head over to Mt. Pleasant (or any other gym for that matter) for Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday spin and Wednesday Body Pump? None? Well . . . meet Maya!
 
A few years back, the mother of a friend offered her $50 to train and compete in a cross-country race. Needless to say, Maya rose to the challenge, scooped the $50, and in the process found that running was a passion!
 
Skiing, rugby, aquatics, and curling followed as Maya's adventurous "try anything" spirit led her right to the front door of GoodLife Mt. Pleasant.

Maya and her best friend Erin started to come to the gym in the evenings but they found it a little crowded and it interfered with homework (she's VERY disciplined in this area) and other things at that time of day. The solution . . . Erin's mother Carolyn did the early morning spin/pump and she suggested that it might be an option for the two girls.
 
So one morning Maya and Erin walked nervously into Lynn Ramsay's Monday 6:30AM RPM, cautiously selecting a couple of bikes at the back so they wouldn't be noticed. "Is there anyone who is cycling for the first time?" Lynn asked. She was looking right at them so they had to put their hands up . . . NOT an anonymous first ride!
 
Maya confessed that the first class was tough - even though she was into all types of other athletics, cycling for 40 minutes first thing in the morning was really intense. It was that beginning of the day sense of accomplishment that has kept her coming back, coupled with the fact that after spin or pump, she's pretty relaxed and can approach her day in a much less stressful manner (remember: high school can be stressful!!).
 
Maya has really noticed a difference in endurance and strength and all the pain has produced a lot of gain. Certainly, her fellow spinners and pumpers have noticed her confidence, strength, and technique improve over the months and  . . . find her presence inspiring!

 


Shelli

I can't believe it, but I think it's been 4 plus years since my first introductory spinning class with John. A friend of mine saw the notice and asked if I would like to join her in this venture. I was really hesitant at first. I had been going to the gym for several years but on an "on again, off again" basis. When I saw the spin people come out of the class they always looked exhausted and I thought I could never do that. After that first class I decided to try it again and attended Dave's Saturday morning class. I couldn't move very much after the first few classes but really seemed to like it. I started attended Dave's class on a regular basis.

After 6 months I thought, this is going to be a regular thing and purchased my first pair of biking shoes. What a difference that made! Now I was really one of those spin people!!!
I became a Duff groupie and attended his classes at both Mount Pleasant and St. Clair clubs.
Spinning is now a part of my life. I look forward to attending the Saturday crack of dawn classes and catching up with everyone. I encourage anyone who thinks that spin is not for them to try it - you just may like it!


Barry

I have been a member of GoodLife for over 10 years, and can remember the fateful day when I peeked into a spin class. The instructor, Julie, cajoled me into getting on an empty bike at the back of the room. And since that moment, I have been hooked on spinning. For me, it's not just the exercise that brings me back time after time. I truly enjoy the camaraderie, and I have made new friends and shared in some good times. I have tried many other classes - such as body pump, body attack, yoga, and Muay Thai, and this is the one workout I

keep coming back to . . . I have an affinity for outdoor biking (street riding/commuting) and this is a great way to keep one's cardio fitness pretty high. To the Mount Pleasant spin community, I need to say that I like you all, and if I haven't met you yet I will try to remedy that next class. Here are three interesting facts about me:
 
* I always take a bike in the front row. Period. Full stop.
** I am one of those riders who shout "Go!' or "Woot!" in a moment of elevated effort. (sorry)
*** I tend to procrastinate, so this is my third attempt at writing a profile, and I only managed to get it done under the threat of a profile being written for me (yikes!)


 

Andrea

I tried my first spinning class sometime in the spring of 2003, but had been away from it for years before joining GoodLife and starting again at Mt. Pleasant in April of 2008.  I wandered into my first class at 6:30am on a Thursday morning, and Duff was teaching - that was a pretty fantastic introduction to RPM!  I sort of hid out in the back on a bike by the door . . . but over time moved my way up and have became part of the dedicated "front-row crew" in the Tuesday/Thursday 6:30am classes with Dave.   I love the dynamic of an intense personal challenge combined with a supportive and energizing

team atmosphere. The combination of music and pedal stroke found in RPM is the perfect inspiration to keep working hard in every track.  I feel that music is so key - I'm often making requests and have even been known to create a full request list for all 7 tracks!  Also, I can not say enough about proper shoes with clips - they change everything for the better!! I'm a big fan of Group Ex at Mt. Pleasant. After RPM, Body Attack is my next favourite class.  I also do Body Pump and Body Flow; both are excellent companions to RPM.  However, RPM has my heart, and I'm even planning to pursue my instructor certification.  I was all set to do it last year, but a knee injury sidelined those plans and resulted in many missed classes!  But, it's a new year and by the end of 2011 you just might see me, as Andrew says, "under the hot lights"!!!

 

Nigel

I've always been physically active and played lots of sports as a teenager growing up in the Caribbean - Trinidad to be exact. At some point I started running and doing resistance training since I consider physical training to be an important part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle. One day during winter a couple of years ago, I decided to try a spin class at a downtown studio (after much procrastination). I was hooked after the first day!!! Spinning combines three things that I love: the music, an intense workout, and a chance to meet others who share in the same discipline. The atmosphere of the spin classes at 

Mt. Pleasant is very warm, friendly, and quite unique. There are many wonderful and spirited members at the Mt. Pleasant spin classes and I've had the pleasure of meeting many of them. See ya on the hills?


 

Jenn

Ever since I was little, fitness and exercise have always been a big part of my life. I've adopted a "no pain, no gain" approach to everything I do.  I'm a runner at heart, but plantar fasciitis was starting to get me down! I wanted to find something comparable to running with less impact on my joints.  Spinning appealed to me because it looked like a fantastic workout.  Seven years ago I tried my first spin class at my office gym and was hooked.  After about 2.5 years as a participant, I took the next step and became certified as an instructor.  I taught all-terrain spin classes for 4 years at the office gym and ended up with the

nickname "Spin Master B".  The instructors and the regulars were like one big family. Everyone knew everyone!
Then, at the beginning of 2010 I changed jobs and with great sadness I had to leave that part of me behind.  I joined GoodLife and wondered if it was possible to find that same dedication and community in a chain gym . . . and then I found the Mt. Pleasant GoodLife.  The camaraderie, energy, and dedication of the members are amazing. It inspires you to work hard and give 110% in every class. It also motivates you to get out of bed for the 6:30am classes on those very cold mornings!  I don't teach anymore (I let my certification expire) but it's just nice to be a participant again.


Chris & Susana
 
To be honest, Susana and I have a lazy streak. If we can find any reason not to exercise, we can really get behind it.
We don't have enough time . . . we can go tomorrow . . . it's too cold out . . . the cat's sick (and we don't even have a cat)!  You get the idea, professional procrastinators.
When a new fitness club opened just blocks away from our house (GoodLife Mt. Pleasant!), it was impossible for us to come up with a valid reason not to join and get
back into shape. If nothing else, the walk over would be good for us!

Making the decision to join, filling out the paperwork, and writing the cheque was a fairly simple (and from a fitness perspective) painless process.  Now the challenging part - we had to figure out what we were going to do when we arrived at the gym. Would it be HEAVY weights, lonely hours running on the treadmill, Body Combat, Flow . . . maybe this wasn't going to be so easy after all!!

Years earlier, we had tried a spinning class at U of T. Not being in the best of shape at the time, the class left us gasping for breath and feeling a bit ill. Needless to say, we weren't repeat offenders!

Time of course has a way of putting things in a gentler light, so we began looking back on this 'traumatic spinning experience' as a bit of a fond memory. We figured anything that intense had to be good for you!! The decision was made - we would venture into the world of spinning at Mt. Pleasant. We are so glad we did!
Spinning at Mt. Pleasant is really a club within a club. Amazing instructors, enthusiastic dedicated spinners (who have become friends and supporters), wonderfully maintained equipment and an atmosphere that REALLY motivates you to get fit!  

So no more excuses . . . we would never miss a spinning class . . . unless of course, the cat gets sick!


Jen & Courtney

We met four years ago, were engaged three days after we met, and married three months later . . . moving quickly and committing to things is what we do!  We were both GoodLife members when we met, regularly working out at the Liberty and Queen Street locations.  We moved to the Mt. Pleasant location about three years ago and we became much more involved in the classes and enjoyed the engaging atmosphere.  It started with Jen's motivation to become a fitness instructor and it moved forward from there. We both tried almost all of the classes offered at

Mt. Pleasant, and experienced a wide array of challenges, and have enjoyed meeting many of the instructors and people.  

Courtney has been seriously involved in athletics since childhood and was training for the Olympics in swimming but was forced to quit due to a serious injury.  Jen is a long distance runner with a marathon under her belt and many other long races. Courtney and Jen clearly have a serious love for the adrenalin that comes with working out, and spinning has become the common thread for both of them.  We are drawn into the studio by the enthusiasm, music, and the amazing intensity of the workout!  We are now spinning 3 days a week.  Whether it is RPM or Road Drills, the fun never stops in the spinning studio! BTW . . . We now BOTH have cycling shoes which means we have made the transition to 'hardcore' so we are ready to take on any and all couples who are up to the challenge!


Paul

There is nothing like laughing with a group of like-minded, friendly people at 6:30 a.m. as we peddle to the raucous melodies and exhortations of our usually esteemed instructors (grin). What a great way to start the day even if some of the instructors do harass me, and you know who they are. As one of the seniors in the group, and a semi-retired dentist, it is a joy to spend the mornings with such a dedicated group of cyclists. I also enjoy other group ex classes, especially at the early morning hour. I find that group classes make me work harder and give me extra incentive to attend.

There is a camaraderie that inspires me to try my best in all the classes because of the encouragement of my fellow fitness addicts.

I also like to try different bikes in the studio because it gives me a chance to meet all of the members. It's also a great way to shake some members up because some cyclists only want to sit/use one bike - and I feel I am doing my part in helping them out of their comfort zone. This is only because I am really just 12 years old on the inside!


 Jane

Growing up skiing, which after a decade turned to snowboarding, and mountain biking, I've always been active and love a challenge.  About 12 years ago I started going to a gym and have been weight training and doing cardio along with the boarding & biking ever since.  I've done spinning off an on for about 4 years but it wasn't until I joined GL Mt. Pleasant that I became "a regular".  I love the challenge of varying class formats and the different strengths of the instructors, each of whom pushes the class with their own styles.  And after years of working out on my own it' a nice change to workout in a group, especially a

group as enthusiastic and spirited as the MTSPIN crew!  Not only has my fitness improved but so has my mental game thanks to many great tips from this site, my favs being the mantra "I can do anything for . . . however long the track is (just don't remind yourself there's 6 more!) and to 'push it to the end of the track'.  This has translated to going harder in the snowboard park and on the mountain bike, both cross-country & downhill.


Ann-Marie

It's 5:30AM and even before we turn the corner, we can hear Ann-Marie's absolutely infectious laugh as she is waiting happily and patiently (as patiently as it gets for her!) for the gym to open.  

Ann-Marie is a charter member of a group of hard core regulars who  work out every day at 'dawns first light'. When the gym door opens, they fan out to their various corners, machines and workouts. These are serious athletes of all ages, who are not only disciplined to their high performance  workouts, they are like a small family that support each other, day in day  out.

We like to think of Ann-Marie's role in our little group dynamic as one of "Chief Enthusiasm Officer"!  When she is on the gym floor her personality is like a burst of energy that infuses the atmosphere . . .  Literally you can feel the collective mood get a positive supercharge and energy level rise!  Watch her throw herself into her workout - 110% . . .  It motivates everyone to push a little harder and if you can't see her, you  can hear that WONDERFUL laugh  . . . and when she laughs you can look around and watch EVERYONE smile.

To say that Ann-Marie uses spinning as an intense cardio workout would be an understatement (that would be at 6:30AM after an hour on the "floor"). You will rarely see anyone who works harder, who puts their head down and generates more sweat, who truly wants to excel and be the best she can be on 'her bike' by the door. Her new 'spinning shoes' are in the process of propelling her to another level  (clip-in anxiety aside!) and as on the gym floor, Ann-Marie willingly lends her enthusiasm and energy to all that spin with her!

When Ann-Marie's twins were young they watched a Christmas Disney video . . .  

Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck were competing against each other in a  skate-off. The competition was furious and at the height of the frenzy,  Daisy Duck turned to Minnie and said, "do you give up'' to which Minnie  replied, "NEVER".

Now, Ann-Marie might like to say that Minnie beat the crap outta Daisy . . . but of course, in Disney like fashion, the duck and the mouse realized that their friendship meant more than the competition . . .  HOWEVER, to this day, she will ask her kids . . . "do you give up?" and they will  always reply . . . "NEVER" !!!

Thankfully for all of us, Ann-Marie  approaches all things 'gym' in her distinctly "never give up"  fashion!!!

You truly are an inspiration!


 

Workout Friends Series!
Lisa & Sarah

We met in university and both moved to Toronto at the same time. We started working out on and off at the Mt Pleasant GoodLife when it first opened, but often fell off the wagon. Two summers ago, we joined an outside boot camp with a trainer who used to work at St Clair. We then continued with partner training in the winter. Through that boot camp we started running outside when the weather was nice but needed something other than the treadmill for the winter.

Lisa was always intimidated by the spin studio and all the yelling that often went on inside, but was sick of looking at the treadmill. She did one class with Duff and was hooked! Shortly after, Sarah joined Lisa. We both love spinning with the always encouraging 6:30am group and are both definitely addicted!

[Lisa:] Sarah is the best workout partner I can ask for! She works hard and also motivates me to work harder. Not only that, but 6:00am isn't so bad when I get to see a good friend who can appreciate that maybe I had a little too much wine the night before . . .  We have so much fun with our workouts even though most of our friends are sick of hearing us rehash our training sessions when we all get together, or getting excited when a track 5 or 7 song plays when we're out. I've never been one to exercise consistently but ever since Sarah and I joined forces, I've been on the wagon for the last two years - thanks not only to an awesome partner, but also an awesome spinning group!

[Sarah:] I was always against morning workouts before, but making time after work was becoming a problem. So, I started getting up early and hitting the gym about two years ago and haven't looked back. Also, Lisa and I started meeting at Mt. Pleasant in the mornings and that definitely helps to get me out of bed. I tried my first spin class in university, but now have made it a part of my regular routine. Spinning is really as addictive as so many people told me. It helps to get me going in the morning and it feels great to get a good sweat in. I love the energy in the 6:30am classes as it gets me to really push myself and has increased my fitness level. I'm looking forward to many more morning classes to come!


 

 

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