Toronto fitness trainers share their exercise pet peeves
With the new year here, gyms will be flooded with new exercisers. Crossfit, yoga and other experts share what annoys them.
Yoga instructor YuMee Chung teaches her class a move at the Octopus Garden Holistic Yoga Centre. (NICK KOZAK / FOR THE TORONTO STAR)
To that person who hovers around the squat rack waiting to pounce. And that puffed up gym rat who grunts with every pump. Or that runner who tails too closely on the trail like it’s a race: Enough is enough.
New year, new you — and that means it’s time to stop annoying people when you work out.
We asked some local fitness instructors to sound off to the Star about the top pet peeves they hope not to see in 2017.
You are not LeBron James, the elite basketball player who claps his hands in a cloud of chalk to kick off a game. Since you are not LeBron James, trainer Blair Lyon of CrossFit YKV says it’s time to ease up on the chalk use at the gym.
Co-founder of CrossFit YKV, Blair Lyon, says you are not LeBron James, so you don’t need to excessively chalk your hands in the gym. (MELISSA RENWICK/TORONTO STAR)
“Some people basically bathe in the chalk,” says Lyon, who once saw a man use chalk to perform burpees. The man chalked up after every set of 10 leaving hand prints on the floor. Instead, chalk wisely. It’s meant to keep hands dry and create a better grip when using a bar, barbell or Olympic rings, Lyon says.
Breathing is easy. But for some yoga students, it is laboured and boisterous when it should be subtle and “whispery,” says instructor YuMee Chung, who teaches at Octopus Garden Holistic Yoga Centre. The yogic breath called ujjaya is generated by a gentle squeeze at the back of the throat.
YuMee Chung says your breathing should be subtle and “whispery” while doing yoga, not laboured and boisterous. (ANNE-MARIE JACKSON/TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO)
“Some students go to great lengths to breathe loud and proud, ensuring they are heard throughout the studio as if a noisy breath is a badge of honour,” she says. Instead, focus on generating the subtle ujjaya breathing technique, which, Chung says, provides “a point of focus for the practitioner’s mind while dynamically controlling the flow of breath.”
Treating the gym like a coffee shop
Kathleen Trotter is all for having a fitness buddy.
Kathleen Trotter, fitness expert and author of Finding Your Fit, says gyms shouldn’t be used like a coffee shop. Save your chatting for the changing room. (SMILING CAT INC.)
“Going to the gym is way more fun with a friend, but don’t hang out on the leg press chatting,” says the fitness expert and author of Finding Your Fit. She’s seen and heard it all: weight machines turned into coat racks, cardio machines used for standing still, outside voices spilling details on love lives. Lucky for Trotter, she now owns a boutique studio near Avenue and Davenport Rds. where she says that behaviour is less common than at larger gyms.
Instead, talk to your friend after, before or in the change room.
Back seat driving
No one likes a back seat driver and neither do trainers in the gym.
Joel Kerr works with a lot of youth at the Health Institute in Scarborough where he helps train kids as young as 7 years old for sports from gymnastics to track. Many teenagers there are vying for coveted sports scholarships in hockey, basketball or soccer. Naturally, parents come with the territory.
Joel Kerr, owner and founder of the Health Institute gym in Scarborough, says overbearing parents should trust their kid’s trainer and not back seat drive fitness. (CARLOS OSORIO/ TORONTO STAR)
“As much as I love every single client and every parent, it’s those overbearing parents that are coaching on the side lines and telling us how we should be training the kids who are difficult,” he says.
Instead, trust your trainer, even when they’re your kid’s trainer.
No-shows and last-minute cancellations aren’t exclusive to small businesses of or the restaurant industry. Small gyms such as Rhonda Roberts Smid’s TAB Fitness near Bloor West Village rely heavily on clients to honour their bookings.
Rhonda Roberts Smid, owner of TAB Fitness, says no-shows and last-minute cancellations are her biggest pet peeves. (LUCAS OLENIUK/TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO)
Though it may be difficult for clients to understand how a cancellation affects the day — or even the bottom line — of the business it definitely does, she says. Preparations and expenses related to the snuffed session may end up wasted.
“When last-minute cancellations happen, it sends a ripple through the entire business,” she says. Instead, honour your reservations.