Ask the Editors: What’s the Best Workout in Vancouver?

“I’ll admit, when I’m sprinting up the sidelines in the pissing rain at 9 p.m. in mid-January, I do question my dedication to the sport.”

In Praise of the OG Bootcamp

I’ve been working out at a bootcamp at Precision Athletics for about eight years now—save for one long break when I had this messed-up thing happening to my hip, thanks to a sprained ankle from half-marathon training. And yeah, eight years ago bootcamps were all the rage, before Crossfit became the national fitness obsession. (How do you know if someone does Crossfit? Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.) But I’m here to tell you bootcamp is still the bomb. My greatest barrier to fitness is boredom, and when I self-direct at the gym, I’ll inevitably say “that seems good enough,” once I get bored on the bike, the treadmill, the bench press. The bootcamp instructors at Precision build a different workout each day that’s a combo of cardio, free weights, kettlebells and bodyweight exercises (burpees, squats, push-ups etc.) that are designed to push you to your own personal performance level, and, as I’ve discovered, I need to be told what to do. We’re indoors if the weather sucks, outdoors if it’s nice, and they provide all of the equipment, unlike those bootcamps-under-the-bridge you see out there. There’s no old-school military-style yelling, any swearing is usually just from me (damn, murderous burpees), and classes max out at about dozen people (often much fewer), so you get a practically personal training situation. (Coach Teri-Lynn has single-handedly got me swinging a 44-pound kettlebell over my head.) Long. Live. Bootcamp.—Anicka Quin, editorial director

In Praise of Playing Team Sports Poorly

I’ve been playing soccer since 1997, but to see me on the field at my Urban Rec games each week, you probably wouldn’t know I have 20-plus years of futbal experience under my belt. My passes are sloppy, my dribbling skills are elementary and my high school coach (hi, Mr. Valente!) would be appalled if he saw my shooting form. But I’m not too fussed about the lack of personal athleticism. The goal for me, as it always has been with team sports, is to have an obligation to get some fresh air on Sundays—getting the ball in the net is absolutely secondary to the commitment to run around once a week. I started my co-ed, rec league team back in 2012 (the intimidatingly named “12 Great Pals,” which somehow currently counts 15 on its roster) and my ragtag crew has played weekly, year-round, ever since. I’ll admit, when I’m sprinting up the sidelines in the pissing rain at 9 p.m. in mid-January, I do question my dedication to the sport, but no matter how soggy I get or how many corner kicks I flub, I know I’m getting in those 50 minutes of cardio (and some quality time with those Pals, to boot). Sports! Sports! Sports!—Stacey McLachlan, executive director (and soccer team captain)

In Praise of Exercising While Sitting Down

My preferred workout is me, alone, with a pair of headphones, a barbell and some free weights at the gym. But when I need a li’l extra motivation in the form of a group setting, my coordination- and rhythm-lacking self heads to Club Row. For those unfamiliar, this is basically the SoulCycle of rowing: classes take place in a dim environment (no Jonathan Adler candles here, though) with hip-hop blaring, and attendees are each seated at their own rowing machine. And though the concept of working out at a rowing machine for 50 minutes straight—where you’re sitting for the entire time—may not sound like a sweat-inducing ritual, the session definitely gets your heart pounding. In fact, rowing—if you’re doing it right—is meant to work the whole body (not just your arms) and there’s the added challenge of rowing to the beat of whatever rap anthem is blasting through the speakers that day. And while it’s dark at Row’s underground club-like digs, there’s just enough light for you to peep your neighbour’s stroke rate on their machine. Because a little friendly competition never hurt anyone, right?—Lucy Lau, style editor

In Praise of Individual Sports (That Make you Sound Like a Bit of a Ponce)

Do you know how long it took me to get a picture of two people playing squash who weren’t two old white dudes? It’s crazy because while most people think of squash as a synonym for fuddy-duddy, the reality is that it’s probably one of the most physically challenging sports there is. Tennis? I love the sport, but there’s no comparison when it comes to exertion. There’s a reason why professional squash matches (yes, there are such things) don’t ever go the two to three hours that tennis matches go—someone would die if they played squash that long. In fact, squash ranks just behind boxing (that other blue-blood fave) as the sport which burns the most calories. So the fitness is great, but even better is the secret society aspect of the game. I don’t mean that in the snobby sense; I mean that in the sense that when you come across a fellow acolyte you not only have something to talk about, but most of the time you end up scheduling a match. (This exact thing happened to me when I met the Italian Consul a few months back.) Getting fit with a stiff upper lip—perfect, no?—Neal McLennan, food editor

In Praise of Growing Up in a Moderate Climate

If you know me, you likely know that I’m a tad obsessed with a certain sport involving ice and skates. And while I did play a little organized ice hockey when I was younger, having one car in a family of six growing up wasn’t exactly conducive to getting to those 6 a.m practices. It also wasn’t like we had a backyard rink in this city of ours. So my parents took me out of hockey. But they couldn’t take the hockey out of me, ya feel? My brothers and I made sure to scratch up our various basements and alleyways by playing ball—or street—hockey (I was personally responsible for three broken windows) in our youth. And as I’ve grown up I’ve found more than a few like-minded souls who prefer community centres and outdoor cages to rinks. I try to play four times a week with different crews around the city. They range from very friendly to “I am going to kill you,” and I wouldn’t have it any other way. If you see me sweating out a hangover in Mount Pleasant this weekend, feel free to grab a stick and join. It’s not one of the more intense ones, don’t worry. We’ll start you off slow. —Nathan Caddell, associate editor