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Playground Fitness, Barbells and Brunch

Those who know me know that the 2 years that the pandemic left us locked down and up, had me picking up several new hobbies. Activities and bucket list items to keep me busy, as I am notoriously a socialite. I am out every night with a very packed social calendar. The running joke is that I only go home to sleep, which is often the case.

But I digress, the above has led to a very active lifestyle and an increased level of health and fitness as a runoff. Majority of which involved getting into the great outdoors and staying active through hiking, fishing, camping, and snowboarding when the world shut down. All time consuming activities that required a long commute. So when the world began to reopen and my dance card began to fill with dinners, galas, and social meet ups once more; I found the need continue on with my active wellness, but closer to home.

And since then, I have been doing trial runs at local gyms, and taking advantage of promo classes to find out what I like and what works for my schedule. I have since found a gym that meets all my requirements, but am still open to trying all new opportunities that presents themselves. And this willingness to see what else is out there in order to find the best, has brought me to the second edition of “Barbells & Brunch”, hosted by Playground Fitness in Burnaby.

This is a special introductory workout designed to lure foodies that might not think of exercising or currently have a workout routine that fits into their lifestyle of continuous and often excessive eating (I can say this as I was guilty of it). Playground is looking to cross promote within the food and fitness industries. To break the stigma that you can’t be a foodie and “fit” in this world.

The premise is we try an abbreviated version of Playground Fitness’s full body workout and then are rewarded with brunch for our efforts. I signed up as this aligns with my personal motto of workout to eat out.

Brunch was catered by a local restaurant in the area, and included doughnuts for dessert, and low calorie spritzers for cool down.

A Mexican buffet was set up by Olivo Catering. A meal of tacos wet and dry to have as is or dressed with onions and sauces on the side. Plus cinnamon sugar churros for dessert.

Doughnuts were from the famous Lee’s doughnuts at Granville Island, who does offer seasonal flavours, but for the most part stays true to their classic recipes.

And drinks included cans from Nutrl Vodka and their sister brand Tempo. Low calorie gin and vodka fruit infused seltzers.

And each attendee walked away with a swag bag that included candies from Smart Sweets and gym apparel for their next workout.

Our meal was couple with a presentation. We heard from the owner of Playground Fitness and his goal of making their workouts challenging, but approachable. He spoke to their clients from all walks of life, including a paraplegic who comes in just for the glutes workout.

And their ambassador, a long term member and a foodie from the community spoke to the benefits of how working out at Playground has improved her life, and how she over came her fear and joined a community that has now accepted her. All very inspirational.

As for the work out itself. Playground Fitness promises a mix of classes designed to target specific body areas or focuses on certain techniques or a style of workout.

Today’s trial run gave us a full body experience, utilizing a large assortment of their equipment. It was described to us as a combination of drill intervals with weights, coupled with the pace and intensity of bootcamp.

Battle rope slams, body bag flips, dead ball drops, barbell deadlifts, and hop overs on the step trainer; to name a few. Hands down my favourite was the large tire flip that I have always wanted to try and was able to successfully complete all on my own. Not just once, but a couple of times, once I learned the proper technique.

For each station we completed 45 seconds of work with 15 seconds of rest in between to switch pods. Already doing something similar in my weekly work out routine, I found the quickie version not challenging or as expected, so opted for a redo as intended for regular patrons. Selecting their booty focused class. So my review of Playground Fitness will be written from the perspective of my second visit back.

Located on Kingsway, the gym is easily accessible with plenty of above ground parking. No check-ins required, everyone knows everyone when the classroom is an intimate size. New members and those on trial will get an additional run down from the instructor. The intention of the work out, the goal, and then the three phases and their exercises.

Members know to gather their own equipment, everything is within reach and the expectation is that you weight up rep by rep. You begin with a repetitive motion drill for a longer amount of time to warm up, and end with stretches for cool down, with 3 phases and 2-3 sets of workouts in between.

I won’t be going into the individual exercises, as they do rotate week by week. Plus it will give you a reason to attend a session for yourself. Each phase requires new and different equipment and workspace is limited so it is best to clean up and put away as you go. The promise that things will burn is set and delivered, should you dedicate yourself to each motion.

The class is 100% instructor driven. They are responsible for any applicable set up and the clean up. They even stop and start the timer and turn on the music when time. All information is passed on verbally by them and you need to pay attention. Our instructors this evening spoke with intention and provided excellent tips. And after the onset of each move she roamed the space, checking in, offering member modification options, and giving pointers on form. Thanks to smaller class sizes (6 for us) it can feel like you are getting a personal trainer work out.

Although as a first timer you will need additional input and will not get it here. From my own experience, it will take a week of classes to get acclimated to the routine and pace. The workout as a whole feels independently done.

As for amenities there are change rooms and toilets, lockers to store your belongings, but no water fountain; so bring your own filled water bottle.

In closing this is a community gym. The equipment is well used and well loved. The space has the air of blood, sweat, and tears. It feels home spun, like the gym that “Rocky” would have trained in (minus the ring) before he started his professional boxing career.

Playground Fitness | Group Fitness and Personal Training
5549 (B) Kingsway, 5549 (B Kingsway, Burnaby, BC V5H 2G3
(778) 712-7529

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