Fitness Swellness: Sweat for Good at the YMCA GTA

Sweat for Good 2

Well, this year’s off to a fun start! I’ve been trying to make an effort to try more new things, such as the crystals 101 session I attended the other night, and now I just got to participate in the breaking of a Guinness World Record!

How fun is that?! Yesterday at the YMCA, I was one of the 454 participants in the world’s largest exercise ball class, and we broke the record by merely one person! The energy in the room was great and the half-hour class flew by. We were lead by none other than Eva Redpath, who I’ve known for some while now, and as always she made it an engaging workout that had us all bouncing, lifting and sweating it out early in the morning. I expected nothing less when I heard she was leading the class.

Sweat for Good towel and bottle


Why the attempt at breaking the world record? We were there as part of the YMCA GTA’s Sweat for Good campaign. No matter where and how you exercise, we all sweat. Same same, right? But when you exercise at the YMCA, you sweat for good. The YMCA GTA offers programs and services dedicated to the physical, mental and social health of Torontonians of all ages. And by choosing to make the YMCA GTA your gym, you become a part of this community that helps strengthen Toronto as a vibrant, healthy society.

YMCA running track

Although I haven’t had a gym membership in a while (I typically run outside and then mix in a variety of other workouts here and there), I do have really fond memories of the YMCA. I used to go swimming as a kid there, and I remember meeting up with friends every weekend to walk there and the smell of chlorine always takes me right back to those fun times in the pool. I remember we would also use the sauna afterwards, just to warm up afterwards (I bet that the women weren’t too fond of us kids in there now that I think about it, but we were pretty well-behaved kids).

YMCA bike

I also took gymnastics and dance lessons at the Y. Practicing roundoffs and cartwheels and headstands on the mat, learning jazz ballet choreography—so much of my fun as a kid took place at the Y.

YMCA rowing

And having been to the YMCA a couple of times recently, I love seeing that it’s still thriving with members of all ages. It’s easy to see why, though; the facilities are top notch. From the wide variety of gym equipment to the awesome running track (although I think it was the badminton players I saw in the gym that was most envious of—so fun!), to sweat for good in such a welcoming community is a great thing.

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2 Comments January 12, 2018

Beauty Swellness: What Pan Am athletes love most about the Athletes Village

Triathlete Kyle Jones, retired swimmer Julia Wilkinson and sprinter Kim Hyacinthe

Triathlete Kyle Jones, retired swimmer Julia Wilkinson and sprinter Kim Hyacinthe

I got a tour of the CIBC Pan Am/Parapan Am Athletes’ Village, which occupies 80 acres next to the Don River, yesterday morning, and while some areas are still under construction, the Village looks great. Add me on Snapchat (I’m healthswellness) and you’ll get to view snaps I took along the tour (they’ll be up til about 11:30AM Tuesday, June 16).


There’ll be some 12,000 band-aids and 5,000 Starburst candies included in kits provided (we saw this in the works), and on the property, there’s an 82,000 square foot YMCA, a CIBC with a cafe (where there’ll be a signature Canadian Smoothie; the recipe is still top secret, but, yes, it does include maple syrup), a Loblaws General Store, a Vitamin Water bar dubbed the Cabin, and of course, a fitness centre. The fitness centre is outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment from Technogym, and also features a pool. Having the fitness centre in the Village is essential because it’s key that the athletes are able to train when they usually train, and rather than waste time commuting to another facility to train, this way they can use their time more efficiently, explained sprinter and Pan Am hopeful Kim Hyacinthe and retired Olympic swimmer Julia Wilkinson (she’s the athlete engagement and comms coordinator for the Pan Am games), who were both on the tour with us.

Kim playing with the life-size Jenga in the Vitamin Water Cabin

Kim playing Jenga in the Vitamin Water Cabin

But I was pleasantly surprised by what they both named as their fave feature of the Village: the nail salon. “I was always most excited about the nail salon, because I always made sure my fingernails and toes were done perfectly before a big race so it’s great that it’s right here in the Village, along with the hair salon,” says Julia. “Those are the little things that maybe you don’t need to help you perform but it’s really nice to have it and it makes it feel like a home away from home.”

Julia kickin' back in the Cabin

Julia kickin’ back in the Cabin

I, of course, then pulled them aside to talk manicures. They admired my Nike Women’s 15k Toronto nail art (“See? She gets it!” said Julia to Kim when heard my nails were for my race (you can see my nails on Instagram, btw). So I asked what they had planned for their nails for the Pan Am games. “I’m retired, but when I was getting them done, I’d try to get them crazier and crazier and crazier so for the Olympics 2012 I had red, white and gold, I had gold everything, gold Uggs, so basically I tried to go as obnoxious as I could with my nails,” said Julia. “But I would try to have somewhat of a Canada theme, with some red in it, for example.”

Kim, on the other hand, is more of a single shade kind of athlete. “I like it simple, one plain colour.”

The person we need to keep our eye on for wicked nails for the Pan Am games? Swimmer Hilary Caldwell, says Julia. “She is also CIBC Team Next [like Kim], and she was my training partner and we’d always try to outdo each other.”

Excited for Toronto2015? I’m actually in the Pan Am torch relay and have my official torch bearer duties to fulfill this Sunday, June 21st! More on that later this week on the blog.

Vitamin Water bar

Vitamin Water bar in the Cabin

Leave a Comment June 16, 2015

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