Making fitness fun

Workout For Your Life

Mon., Wed. & Fri. – 8 to 9 a.m.
Southcott Pines clubhouse
Tues. & Thurs. – evenings
South Huron Golf & Fitness, Exeter

Story by Casey Lessard

If you’re looking for a workout that will push you outside of your comfort zone, Workout For Your Life may be the right fit. Beth Sweeney and Shelley Van Osch run the weekday sessions at the Southcott Pines clubhouse, and at South Huron Golf & Fitness in Exeter. In the summer, the workouts move to Grand Bend’s Lions pavilion (five days) and Exeter’s McNaughton Park.
“This will be our ninth year of fitness in this format,” Sweeney says. “We started in the summertime and I got the idea when Joe and I were on our honeymoon in Australia. There were a lot of people working out on the beach in Surfer’s Paradise. We thought we could do that in Grand Bend.”
After consulting with the community, Sweeney and original business partner Lisa McLlwain discovered the beach would not work in Grand Bend. Instead, the facilities they use now are preferable anyway.
“There’s privacy, shelter from the sun, a water fountain, two bathrooms, a storage section,” she notes.
“It’s designed for everybody,” says leader Shelley Van Osch. “It’s for people who want to meet new people and need motivation and want to have a healthier lifestyle. We give handouts each week with the newest exercise and nutrition science information.”
New attendees get a fitness assessment and are assigned a workout level: low, moderate or high impact.
“We are like a personal trainer within a group setting,” Sweeney says. “We always ask what their goals are, and the goals have to be smart: specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and within a time frame.”
The program changes every eight weeks, but if the group routine is not enough or too intimidating, Van Osch also offers personal training.
“I offer the service of going into someone’s home,” she says. “I also have clients who are training for half-marathons. I love the one-on-one of meeting people and helping them. I love working with older adults.”
One of the benefits of the group sessions is the variety introduced by outings to the beach and Pinery. The group also takes part in the breast cancer and Pinery runs.
“They’re very social,” Van Osch says of the class members. “They’ve realized if you don’t use it you lose it. Let’s have fun and be active at the same time.”
And while most participants are women, men are on the roster; at least one proves the workout can meet the standards of even the most fit.
“We have Dave McLlwain, who’s a NHL hockey player who plays hockey in Germany,” Sweeney notes. “He loves our circuit. We give you the exercise and you’ll be working at your max rates for your fitness level.”

Classes are $8 each, and are on a pay up front or pay as you go basis. First-time attendees pay a $40 assessment fee. Bring good shoes, water and a towel. Van Osch offers personal training at $40-$50 per hour. For more information, call Beth Sweeney at 238-5555 or Shelley Van Osch at 234-6253.