Sunday, November 02, 2014

Workout for the Elves Club Christmas Hamper Campaign

There are a lot of needy families in our community of the Sunshine Coast. This need is especially noticeable at Christmas. I really appreciate the efforts of the Elves Club in helping to give families food and gifts at this time--they provide the makings of a full turkey dinner, presents, and hope.

I am pleased to help them in this endeavour and so, once again, would like to help by offering some fitness classes and personal training services in exchange for donations to this very worthy cause.

Please join us for Group Strength Training or HIIT Classes from November 17 through the 28th for a cash or food donation to the Elves Club.

You may also book a 60 minute introductory or tune-up personal training appointment during those weeks (at The Garage in Gibsons) for a minimum donation of $40 (and any non-perishable food items) -- 50% will go to the Elves Club. If you're interested in further personal training I'll give you a bonus of 10% off any future sessions you book as a personal Thank You!

I hope you take this opportunity to give to the Elves Club while you get started on a fitness program or enhance your current routine--and watch for chances to try yoga, pilates and other fitness classes all over the Sunshine Coast in conjunction with this campaign!

Please email or call 604-886-3114 to ensure your spot in class or to book your personal training appointment--all appointments are first-come and cannot be reserved without your prior payment via credit card, cheque or cash.

Verna Chan
The Garage - Personal Training and Fitness Classes
Helping You Get Fit For Life

Friday, August 01, 2014

Are we selling Health & Fitness, or Preying on Insecurity?

I began doing personal training close to 10 years ago after a lifetime of recreational athletic pursuits (including biking, tennis, swimming, running, hiking, climbing, basketball...) that culminated in me falling in love with weight training and the benefits it provided for injury prevention and sports performance enhancement.
I know that I've helped clients achieve a better quality of life with more mobility, less pain, lower blood pressure, improved cardiovascular ability, less stress, etc. And, although I am not a dietitian, when asked about meal plans, etc., I steer people toward healthful eating habits (rather than "diets") and I know that, with an increased level of fitness, people have a tendency to want to eat healthier. To me, improved health and fitness is the goal; the bonus is weight loss.
In my early years in this business I realized, like many other fitness professionals, that, apart from a health scare (like a diagnosis of Type II Diabetes, experiencing a stroke or heart attack), nothing gets people into the gym like the pursuit of losing weight--chisled abs; getting into that dress; those last 10 lbs; preparing for a beach vacation. I jumped on the bandwagon with programs like "Beach Body Boot Camp" and Butts & Guts and a "Transformation" (without the supplements and diet aids) plans. With the continuing popularity of weight loss reality shows like The Biggest Loser, The Last 10 Pounds, Extreme Weight Loss, et. al.; and new "miracle" weight-loss supplements monthly, it seems people are hungry (see what I did there?) to shed those pounds--quickly, and regardless of how long it may have taken them to get to the point they are at; with as little effort as possible; and without significant changes to their current lifestyles and eating habits.
I just saw a television ad for one of those (shall remain unnamed) Dr. diet clinics with an actor/client? saying she'd tried everything to lose weight--including seeing a personal trainer for a year--and didn't have success until she got the help of the afore(not)mentioned clinic. So, touting the benefits of not exercising; paying big money for weight-loss supplements; and basing her "success" on weight-loss alone.
ARRGGHHH! *sigh*
On top of that, we're still inundated with movies, tv shows and ads objectifying women, praising ultra-lean bodies--physiques that would require us to have daily personal trainers, hours of time in the gym, personal chefs; and the time and money to devote to such things. It's almost impossible to find, in mainstream media and advertising, examples of un-photoshopped, "average" women.
What do we do about this?
I think part of the solution lies in the language around the fitness industry and how we sell our services.
I, personally, have stopped promoting "weight loss" and "tone" and talk to prospective clients about their health--improving cardiovascular ability, building muscle and, therefore, bone mass; strengthening core to prevent falls and improve posture. To some, these are not "sexy" goals. But exercise accomplishes so much more than just losing weight and looking good in that dress--many experience increased energy, less chronic pain, higher metabolism, better sleep, elevated mood. They achieve a higher percentage of lean muscle mass and become less prone to falls and injury (and, yes, some fat loss). Hey! A better quality of life? To me that is sexy!
So, no more Butts & Guts with high registrations because women are worried about how they look in bikinis -- I'll take those, (for now fewer) dedicated to adding healthy habits, getting healthier and stronger, with a good level of self-esteem--people who work out for themselves--not a bikini, a dress; an upcoming vacation or a wedding!
Be the change you want to see in the world. Ghandi

Friday, June 13, 2014

Teacher Appreciation

These are tense times for students and teachers with the call for a full-scale strike. I am not alone in believing that teachers should be appreciated for the great work they do--one of the most important jobs there is--helping kids on their learning journey in their formative years.

Whether the strike is resolved quickly or not, I'd like to extend a deal through the summer months to all teachers -- 2 for 1 personal training sessions through August. That means you can bring a friend for a single session for two for $60 or get 2 training sessions for one person for $60. (Available in my private studio in Gibsons or your home or outdoors!)

I'm going to extend this offer to parents with teens - Mom or Dad? Work out with your teen for half-price through August--or attend any class together for 20% off.

Teachers deserve better treatment in BC -- I encourage other businesses to follow suit and show them some love!

Thanks for all you do teachers!
BCRPA Certified Personal Trainer
The Garage - Personal Training & Fitness Classes

Monday, December 09, 2013

The Gift of Fitness

What better gift to give someone -- or yourself! -- than a gift of getting started down a path of fitness in the new year. Here at The Garage I offer a completely private space that is fully equipped, warm and inviting to give you a place to begin your fitness journey--learn to do exercises efficiently and properly so you can progress safely; wear whatever you're comfortable in with no one else around watching or making you wait for equipment.

Purchase a Gift Certificate before December 24th and get a special rate -- 3 sessions for $120 -- that's a great starter package and gives you 3 sessions for the price of 2!

(This applies to sessions at The Garage only -- sessions can be purchased for Gibsons or Sechelt rec. centres for an additional $10/session)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Get into the habit of exercise with a class 3 times/week!

We all know the best way to get in shape is to do regular periods of exercise through the week. It's even better when you do it with a variety of activities including weight training, agility, cardio, stability and stretching. And wouldn't it be even better if you could do this all outside when the weather is good? In the fresh air with ocean views (in the case of my class)? After a few weeks of this you are in great shape and have gotten into the habit of exercising! Sound good so far?

This is where we do our class when it's nice out!
And now I'm going to say 2 scary words. Boot and camp. I have tried to explain in the past that boot camp is really nothing to be afraid of. In general these classes do not actually involve drill sargeant-like instructors barking orders at you and making you do push-ups in the pouring rain.

My class involves 3 x 1 hour sessions per week -- one of these classes will always be a weight training circuit in the gym; 1 will be agility and/or interval training and may involve a 10 minute run and; the other day is a mixed bag I call Game Day! You are always welcome to go at your own pace/intensity level and take breaks whenever required. We end each class with a 10-minute session of stretching and, when the classes are at the beach, this involves looking out over the ocean or up at birds and blue sky. Also, if it's raining/cold/wet, we stay in the nice, warm gym.

Do you have to be in great shape to start doing boot camp?
No, you definitely do not! I keep my classes small (no more than 12) so I can help everyone--whatever level they are at. You do need to talk to me if you have any lingering injuries or chronic physical problems that prevent you from doing any particular movement--but, generally, all exercises can be modified for your fitness level.

Time and Cost
Mon/Wed/Fri Mornings at 6:15. Our classes are early so you can get your workout done and still make it to work! Cost is $10/class - prepaid monthly!

Still not sure? Email me at to come and try a class for free!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Everyone wants these abs! How do you get them?

I wonder if I had abs like these in the days when my life was ALL about sports? In high school (if I wasn't in a class) I was playing basketball, tennis, or volleyball... I did whatever sport I could fit into my schedule that was in season--track and field, table tennis, field hockey, softball... I skipped, ran, swam, skated (roller and ice), hiked, rock-climbed and biked. (I tried skiing as well but, really, I'm not big on snow and cold).

I honestly don't remember in all those years thinking about what I looked like or what I weighed... and I never obsessed about what I ate. 

Probably, though, I never had abs like these. These abs are the result of either: a) genetics, or b) some serious time in the gym focusing on core work and having your diet down to a science (and/or starving.) Neither of those scenarios are me.

I like to have a glass of wine with dinner. I eat carbs (generally whole grains but carbs nevertheless)! I do not eat a lot of sugar (never had a sweet tooth) though I do enjoy chocolate and will have a dessert on occasion. When it comes to food, generally, I eat a variety of foods in season--and I cook simply--steamed, baked, lightly sauteed and no heavy sauces--lots of vegetables, especially dark, leafy greens.

And yes, I spend time in the gym. Between Boot Camp, Body Sculpt and High Intensity Interval Training classes (of which I generally do most of the class WITH the class) I spend 6 to 10 hours a week doing relatively strenuous physical activity that combines passive and active resistance training, agility, core and endurance. And, although I'm passionate about the benefits of resistance training and staying "active", I'm not obsessed with the gym--I've got a full life that includes running a business, pursuing a singing career, working a part-time job, refereeing Roller Derby, playing golf when I have time, spending time with friends when I'm able and a couple of extra hobbies thrown in for good measure--I have no extra time for "working out" for the sake of working out.

More importantly though, I see no real need for these abs. They will not make me more able to do the tasks I need to do on a daily basis. They won't make me run faster, lift more weight or ease back pain; they won't help me garden, golf or do housework better. They won't make me generally healthier. 

To me fitness is about balance. You NEED to be fit to live a long, healthy life. You need to stay active, but how far you go with it depends on what you are doing it for and how much time you have to spend on it. Professional athlete? You'll be spending more time on your fitness than a mother working full-time. 

It's really OK to strive for a better level of "fitness" -- even if you never achieve "six-pack" abs. I think it's much healthier to choose Fitness for life over an ab-session.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Fall Classes at The Garage - Quick Schedule

Current Classes at The Garage - Quick Schedule

Mon/Wed/Fri - 6:15 am -  Boot Camp
Mon - 10 am, 7 pm          Body Sculpt (child care available)
Tues - 5:30/6 pm    High Intensity Interval Training (30 minute class)
Tues - 7 pm                     Yoga with Tania Flynn
Thurs - 5:30/6 pm            High Intensity Interval Training (30 minute class)

Classes at The Garage have a maximum of 6 participants - this means you get lots of individual attention. In the majority of classes moves can be modified to your fitness level.

  1. Cost: Boot Camp, Yoga and Body Sculpt are $10/class (Mon. 10 am class with child care is $4/child extra). HIIT classes are $5/class.
  2. The above schedule will be in effect as long as minimum enrollment is met - if you're interested in dropping into a class please let us know you are coming! 
  3. If you are not able to make a class you are welcome to make up that class with any other class available in the same month -- once again though, please let us know you are coming.
More info on classes on my website: Stay tuned for more updates and call 604-886-3114 for registration and/or additional info.