This summer our new trainer Conor Hogan moved back home to Ireland after working as a personal trainer in Canada. Here he talks through his experience working in Canada and similarities he sees in his new workplace Gravity Fitness. Welcome to the team Conor!
As a whole, Canada is years ahead of Ireland in terms of health and fitness. Everyone seems to have a gym membership (and actively uses it), and are involved in some sort of sport – whether it being a player, coach or just a passionate fan, there is a real community spirit. Everyone knows each other’s’ names, and if you’re new to the gym it doesn’t take very long at all to get to know the names of every single person. The gyms over there or at least the one I worked in are always looking for new ways to enhance the customer experience and improve the gym. That is genuinely something I never saw, or thought I would see in Ireland for a long time until I came back and started working in Gravity Fitness in Raheny.
The first time I walked into a gym in Canada, I immediately noticed a huge cultural difference in terms of exercise – people were actually taking their time to warm up and doing post workout stretching! None of the usual ‘few bicep curls and bench press to warm up and a quick hamstring stretch for afterwards’. Nope, that ain’t how they roll! Or at least for 9 out of 10 people anyway, you’re always going to get the standard ‘gym bro’s’ doing their own thing. For the smart gym goers though, movement and mobility are top priority. When I was being shown around the gym, I noticed so many people that were doing their own mobility drills, yoga poses and stretching. They were training with intent, and that intention was not just to lift heavier, build bigger muscles or lose fat, but to simply be able to move and to do it pain free. There is such a different approach to working out. People are foam rolling properly, utilising bands and lacrosse balls, crawling, activating their muscles, opening their hips, thoracic spines, mobilizing their shoulders, engaging their core muscles and their glutes. All with the purpose of working out safely and recovering properly, not only for their next workout, but for everyday life too.
In Gravity Fitness, it is no different – perhaps even done to a greater extent. Everyone knows the name of the other participants in the classes and some are even great friends with each other, which can lead to some great craic (but being mindful to keep an eye on the clock so we don’t spend the whole session talking about all kinds of random stuff!). In terms of the workouts, every session will have a specific warm up that is complimentary to the forthcoming workout planned, and every workout is planned with a view towards long-term functionality, strength and improved overall fitness. Foam rolling, bands, activation, opening and engaging muscles and movement prep are all done in the warm up depending on what the workout entails. As well as that, each and every client is initially assessed and taught the basic movement patterns after they sign up for our 30 day trial. So when they’re working out at the start and moving into the later months every exercise is done in a safe and functional way.
Gareth and the team in Gravity have ensured that client care is right at the top of the list. The gym is always squeaky clean, with everything in its place. Brand new equipment is always being brought in to keep things fresh and to challenge the clients. Nutritional coaching for anyone who needs it. And a constant thought process as to how things can be improved in any way possible. If everyone put on a Canadian accent when I first walked in I genuinely would have thought I was back in Canada with the sheer level of professionalism and expertise in the place. Gravity Fitness is definitely a great place to be apart of, and head and shoulders above anywhere else I’ve been in in Ireland and parts of Canada.