West Broadway’s Sherbrook strip hosts two different small gyms. South Sherbrook Fitness, a part of the South Sherbrook Therapy clinic, has been a staple of the community since 2012, and Focal Fit opened in February 2020, just before the lockdown hit.
Focal Fit owner and trainer Brodin Anderson works with his mother Laura Anderson to offer one-on-one training and fitness classes. Brodin Anderson also works as a therapist, which helps form his approach to health and fitness.
“We want to help people find a balance between control and healthy acceptance of their bodies,” he says. “We want you to spend as much time on this planet with as high a quality of life as you can, with your family and friends, while having a positive relationship with your body and yourself.”
South Sherbrook Fitness offers a range of strength and resistance machines in addition to cardio. Located in the same building as South Sherbrook Therapy, the gym offers personal or independent training, with the addition of group classes and cardio equipment.
What makes South Sherbrook special, owner Jason Moniz says, is the sense of community. “It is a supportive environment where you tend to know the staff and the members. We have one trainer in charge of all the classes and boot camps.” Members have (access to) a lot of events throughout the year, including a Christmas party, which will likely be affected by the pandemic.
Moniz and Anderson are very attached to West Broadway. Anderson lives in the neighbourhood, and Moniz’s clinic has been located on Sherbrook since 2006.
“We’ve seen a lot of revitalization of the area,” Moniz says. Many members walk or bike to the gym, while most of the people who attend classes drive in from other neighbourhoods, because they like the trainer Lester Hernandez, a kinesiology graduate from the University of Winnipeg.
“He’s got a very dedicated, loyal clientele. When people find out about us, they realize that it is a very laid-back environment where people get to know each other.”
Centrality was key in finding a location for Focal Fit. Anderson says he did not lose one client since he moved from his in-house gym in River Heights. They have members from all around the city, but have gained others from the West Broadway community who walk and bike to the gym.
For South Sherbrook, Moniz says that Wolseley and West Broadway locals are less likely to attend classes, preferring the gym because of its proximity. “A lot of people have said they didn’t know we existed. It’s like a hidden secret,” he says. Because Focal Fit opened only weeks before the lockdown, advertising has been difficult.
The primary benefit of local gyms is that the trainers can work with members to meet their needs. While the bathrooms are not accessible at Focal Fit, the gym floor is accessible, and trainers are happy to meet people where they are at in terms of mobility and flexibility. Anderson says that if they were able to move, they would make accessible bathrooms a priority.
While they do have group challenges, Moniz says “it is a supportive group. There is not a lot of judgment. The emphasis is on positive accountability.”
Connect with Focal Fit online to sign up for one-on-one training for classes. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to get more info on South Sherbrook Fitness.
Published in Volume 75, Number 03 of The Uniter (September 24, 2020)