The Fall Fitness Trends in YYC
I haven’t lived in Calgary long but long enough to know that, damn… this city is fit AF. It’s like every Calgarian I’ve met has conquered hiking a mountain, or two, or ten, this past year alone (which is a truly admirable feat in the eyes of a girl born and raised in the flat Manitoban plains). If it’s not hiking on the weekends, it’s running marathons every other week, cycling to & from work on the daily, hitting the gym or attending a spin/yoga/barre class every weeknight — OK maybe a bit of an exagg, but everyone here seems to have embraced an active lifestyle in some way.
With that lifestyle comes an ever-burgeoning fitness community to match. I remember doing a quick Google search before moving here to see what the community was like and what studios to check out. Preeetty sure the exact words I typed were “boutique fitness studio Calgary”. Now was that an exhaustive list to look through! Almost every neighbourhood has a handful of studios people regularly flock to, with new studios popping up all the time.
Calgary’s active (mind the pun) fitness community is one of the things I love about it and as we transition into a new season, I wanted to get to know what some of the studio founders, instructors, and studio goers are doing in their fitness lives as the leaves fall. These are the trends Calgarians are embracing before winter hits.
1 – Take Cover
Not a huge surprise, but people attend boutique fitness classes WAY less frequently in the summer. That’s not to say it’s only patios and sangrias 24/7 (remember them mountains) because Calgarians definitely get their physical activity outdoors while the weather’s good. On the flip – they readily amp up their workouts inside when the temperature drops. Lauren, an instructor from One Cycle says, “there’s a natural change in my fitness routine over the fall as it gets cooler outside and my outdoor workouts move indoors. In the summers, I love to cycle, hike, and rollerblade outside, but when fall rolls around, I get back to more indoor classes like spin, boxing, hot yoga, and barre.”
Klara, also a One Cycle instructor, likes to start off her fall season with a challenge. ”I usually do a 30 day challenge in September or October to kick start the routine again. I don’t know what a summer bod is, but [my] winter one is usually pretty good!” Um yes, working that winter bod DEFINITELY needs to become a thing!
2 – Be Quick About It
Remember when working out meant spending ++ hours working on one body part each day of the week (and fitness culture meant bonding over being sore from Leg Day)? It’s chill if that’s still your thing, but the trend seems to be moving towards shorter, more intense full-body workouts. “You can see some of the studios like F45 coming in [which offers 45-minute classes]. People want the shorter workouts,” says Laura, who instructs classes at Flex Haus, Mojo Fitness, Hot Mama Fitness, and Pure Hot Yoga.
She’s also noticed more of a focus on functionality. “People don’t necessarily love […] all the machines. They’d rather do like, that kind of a style of class where they’re using weights and bands and less equipment.”
3 – Le Boxing
Another type of class on the up & up in YYC – Boxing. Many people have already joined the trend or are thinking about it (myself included). “It’s really helped me with coordination, ‘cause I’m not a coordinated person!” jokes Sandra, who attends the Round Haus class at Flex Haus.
Rebecca, who attends classes at Flex Haus and YYC Cycle in Marda Loop, admits that it’s a workout style she’d love to try. “It seems like kinda the cool thing to do. But I’m a little intimidated honestly to go.” Luckily, studios like UNDRCARD offer free Boxing 101 classes every few weeks in an effort to reduce the intimidation factor to make newcomers feel welcome. And as if that weren’t already a cool thing of them to do, founder Joanna Magik adds they even host MC battles and bands! Siiick.
4 – Athleisure #4EVER and…boxing boots?!
Yes, yes we know this. Gone are the days of old, baggy gym shirts, but it’s a trend that’s here to dominate another season. While the aim is still to feel comfortable during a class, workout fashion is more diverse than it’s ever been. Michelle Blahey, founder of Flex Haus has noticed that “there’s a lot of different materials designers are using now, so depending on your body type, you can get a pair of pants that you actually feel comfortable in and even if they’re tight, they’ll have compression or whatever, but they’re still breathable.” Lauren adds that, “as an instructor, I love seeing classes filled with people who express themselves through their fitness gear and choose comfortable and functional pieces that can easily go from Sunday morning spin to brunch.” These days, versatility is key. “It’s a lot of transitional gear where you could still wear it to the gym, but you could just add on a layer, and it becomes a going-out kind of outfit,” says Michelle. TBH, there’s been a handful of times when I’ve changed tops and gone to the bar in my compression leggings post-workout, #teamnoshame.
Joanna says of the style trends at UNDRCARD, “Flashy boxing boots are a statement piece for our regulars. They announce your commitment to boxing and they’re also a very functional piece of footwear offering a great “feel” to the footwork you do in boxing as well as ankle support.” She’s also noticed a lot of 90’s styles and colour-blocking, with her clients sporting brands such as Girlfriend Collective or Outdoor Voices.
5 – RIP Summer
I need to give an honorable mention to this past summer’s most uniquely Calgarian fitness trend: that whole “river surfing” deal. One only need make the morning commute across the river to catch a glimpse of what it’s like. Brody, an instructor at One Cycle and Hot Yoga & Spin on Crowfoot, has tried it a few times and admits, “it’s pretty tough, and definitely not for everyone (and availability to it is super limited). But love to see our city trying new things like that!”
No matter what the trend, I’ve noticed Calgary’s fitness community to be supportive as hell with a “get up, show up, never give up” mentality. It’s inspired me to spice up my regular routine and try something new this season. Maybe it’s time I take on that Boxing 101 class rocking some white and gold booties. You know, casual.
Michelle has written for The Manitoban and her blog ‘Lives for Mondays‘. She enjoys setting & accomplishing fun fitness goals and trying new workouts. Her last goal was to learn to dance like a Level 1 Beyoncé, which she achieved. Her next goal is to climb a mountain and get down from it safely. She currently calls Calgary home.