The world’s most sophisticated garage gym

One of the first things JF and I noticed when we got to Elmvale was that there was no fitness centre. Not that we’re gym bunnies or anything. We’re more like couch bunnies – the soft and fat kind that die when they get released from captivity – but part of the goal in moving to Simcoe County was to live a healthier lifestyle.

I’ve written about the Elmvale 15: a squishy layer acquired over fall 2013, inconveniently located where I do up my pants. When my Elmvalian colleague told me about Swift Fitness, a gym on a country road frequented by locals, I promptly signed up for Monday interval classes.

When I pulled into the driveway on day one, tugging at my too small Lululemon pants, I did my best to contain my dismay at its location: a garage. An enormous and new garage with shiny windows next to a big beautiful home in the woods – but a car park is a car park. Or so I thought.

After walking in, my opinion shifted instantly. That garage is fancy and full of new equipment: exercise balls, weights, punching bags of all sizes, yoga mats, benches, a water cooler, those scary elastic band things, and tons of other bits and bobs I don’t know how to use. Plus it has a decent sound system and cool rubber floor.

By the time I was huffing through my first set of burpees, I was officially impressed. There are only ever a dozen people in the garage at a time, so there’s nowhere to hide. Instructors tell you when you’re not squatting deep enough, lifting high enough, or punching strong enough. Plus I’m surrounded by neighbours – so I’ve got to exercise with gusto or feel shame every time I shop at Elmvale Foodland.

And this is what I do after class. Sit on the couch and watch Star Trek in my exercise clothes.

And this is what I do after class. Sit on the couch and watch Star Trek in my exercise clothes.

Since starting classes, I haven’t dropped any of the 15. But my pants are starting to fit better and I feel better – which everyone keeps telling me is more important. Plus I have totally opened my mind to the potential of garages.

Busy nothings

Life in sleepy Elmvale is ticking along quietly. The garden is now only 80% weeds. Slowly, slowly we are making progress on house projects. Barbecued broccoli is my new favourite food. And there are orange popsicles in the freezer.

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The beautiful thing about summertime is that there isn’t anything big and exciting to report. Instead, life is a series of non-events. Here are some recent ones:

Toby turned 100,000 kilometres

Can you believe my little Honda Fit, Tobias, has aged 40,000kms since I got him? I hardly know where the time and distance have gone. JF gifted him to me about this time last year, and my life has been infinitely more mobile since.

Tobias' widgets the other day.

Tobias’ widgets the other day.

I exercised a few times

Confession: my January health revolution never happened. Instead, I gained a remarkable 10 pounds over the winter. So, I’ve given up on self-guided fitness regimes, joined shame-inducing Zumba classes at No Borders Fitness, and started briskly walking with colleagues at lunch. I also do weekly lifts, squats and planks at Swift Fitness, the most sophisticated garage gym I’ve ever seen. And I hate burpees.

My choir put on a show

Le Choeur de la Clé, the francophone community choir I belong to, put on a love-themed concert late May. It was great fun. I even performed in a trio with my lovely cousin Nicole and dear old friend Joël.

My view, every Tuesday night during choir practice

My view, every Tuesday night during choir practice

JF and I went garage sale-ing

As you all know, there is nothing I love more than old or dead people’s cheap stuff — except maybe barbecued broccoli. Toronto garage sales are expensive and infrequent. Their Elmvale counterparts are far more fun and plentiful. Plus they often come with ¢25 cookies baked by little old ladies. My favourite find was the scarred wooden duck/target I purchased for a steep $2. I called him Ferdinand, and he lives on my front porch.

In the words of Fanny Price (movie edition), “Life seems but a quick succession of busy nothings.”