Tribune Tries: Fitness classes at McGill

After spending the summer reflecting on healthy habits I could take up for the start of the semester, I decided that I should incorporate more physical activity into my new weekly routine.

Upon taking a closer look at the McGill Recreation website, I discovered that, in addition to their regular gym membership, they also offer fitness classes, dance classes, martial arts, and a swimming club. Armed with this newfound knowledge, I signed myself up for a spinning class and a Pilates class. McGill students can buy a 10-class fitness pass for $50 plus tax. At around $5 per class, these fitness classes are some of the cheapest on the Montreal market.

I began my fitness classes mid-September, starting with a Tuesday evening spinning class. I was not new to spinning—having taken some classes when I was younger—and was super excited to get back into it. 

The spin classes at McGill are taught by Huy Duong, a McGill alumnus who developed his passion and love for spinning while he was a student at McGill. He continues to spin as a way to keep active while working as a software developer. Duong explained in an interview with The McGill Tribune how he transitioned from a spinning aficionado into an instructor. 

“At some point, I decided that I wanted to give classes myself and pursued a spinning instructor certification,” Duong told me. “At one point, I had heard that McGill Athletics needed a spinning instructor, so I jumped at the chance to give classes at the place where my interest started. I still work full-time as a software developer. Being a spinning instructor is a hobby.”

Duong’s classes are filled with great music and a variety of exercises, including pushups and tapbacks—which really provide a full-body workout. What I love the most about the spin classes is that the intensity is personalized. Each spin bike has a resistance knob which can be adjusted by the individual based on their preferences. If you enjoy being challenged in a fun and cheerful environment, I highly recommend that you take a spin class at McGill.

After spending the following days discovering soreness in muscles I never knew I had, I attended my Friday evening Pilates class excited to discover what the Pilates hype was about. The class is taught by Emily Halpert-Cole, who has been teaching Pilates at McGill Athletics since 2015. 

Pilates class has easily become the highlight of my Friday. It’s the perfect way to unwind before the weekend. Halpert-Cole focuses a lot on breathing, and teaches us how to be conscious of the movement of our body’s muscles. Pilates focuses on core, stability, and posture while working all of the body’s muscles. The breath work and focus on feeling your muscles allows students to be more mindful of their bodies. Essentially, Pilates provides a kick-ass core workout which is beneficial for any sport you may practice. Despite working pretty much every muscle in my body, I leave the class feeling relaxed enough to go to bed.  

Halpert-Cole’s philosophy is that the most important element of a fitness class is to enjoy yourself and have fun while moving your body. The fact that she doesn’t exclusively focus on just building muscle is super refreshing. An added plus is that she uses equipment like gym balls to make the class more lively, and pushes us to do exercises we’ve never done before.

The fitness classes at McGill are the perfect way for me to uphold my fitness resolutions. They are a fun way for me to move my body throughout the week and meet other McGill students who enjoy working out. Despite the body aches I get the following days, I always want to come back for more.

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