New gym opens on Main Street

Lisa Goudy
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Main Street Strength and Conditioning has its grand opening celebration

Rebecca Handy and Charity Blacklaws learned to love helping people while working at the local YMCA.

A number of individuals wait for a yoga class to begin at Main Street Strength and Conditioning's grand opening celebration on March 13, 2016.

"It was an awesome experience because they helped to discover us," said Handy.

Handy has been a group fitness instructor since 2009 and became a certified personal trainer in February 2013 and started working as a personal trainer at the YMCA in March 2013. Blacklaws has been teaching for four years and was the fitness co-ordinator at the YMCA for one year.

The two friends decided to run classes on their own since approximately mid-2015.

"We were working on the outskirts of town running classes, but we were just renting the space," said Handy.

While that situation was "fine," she said they wanted something more. When they heard that the location of the former Double Shift Conditioning at 361 Main St. N. came up for rent, they jumped at the chance to open their gym, Main Street Strength and Conditioning.

"We had all these big plans and we were kind of waiting for a red light to flash and say, 'No. This isn't a good idea,' but everything just kind of kept rolling and things kept happening and we never got that red light. It's been awesome."

"We just decided that this was a great opportunity and this is our passion. We love our clients; they're amazing. So we jumped into it with both feet and ran with it," added Blacklaws. "It's the best decision we ever made, really."

On Feb. 1, the gym opened. They held their grand opening celebration on Sunday.

"We already feel like it's the big family. A lot of the Doubleshift people have come back, so they already knew each other," said Handy. "We brought a lot of our clients with us and they all kind of just mesh together really nicely and it's exactly what we envisioned that we wanted it to be."

The gym has five instructors and offers classes from early in the morning before work hours until 8:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. Classes include TRX, yoga, strength training, heavy duty with lifting weights, post-natal and when the weather warms up, they will have outdoor boot camps in the park and stroller fit classes. Classes are available for all levels, including beginners and seniors. There is also childcare at the gym on select days.

 The gym also offers one-on-one personal training. As well, there is small group training available.

"We wanted it to be more someone there to motivate you. So I think that's the nice thing about having the classes and the personal training is there's always somebody to guide you, to motivate you, to hold you accountable, to be your cheerleader," said Handy.

"It almost makes them feel like they want to come to the gym because if you go to the gym and work out on your own, some people are really good at that and some people need that person to hold them accountable and I think that we provide that."

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Meeting the new gym's teachers

Main Street Strength and Conditioning has five instructors, including owners Rebecca Handy and Charity Blacklaws.

Sherry Matwe teaches yoga at the gym. She also teaches at The Yoga Loft. She's been teaching since 2009 and started at Main Street Strength and Conditioning a few weeks ago.

"It's really exciting," she said. "Possibly what a person would see in this class is light flow but emphasis on stretching the long muscles of the body. The people who work here can do some pretty intense workouts, so it's just my intention to complement that, not to really compete with a really cardio class, more to cool them down and get them back into alignment."

Melissa Greaves has been teaching since August 2015 and started out teaching spin before moving into group fitness. She had previously worked at Doubleshift Conditioning and the opportunity to teach at Main Street Strength and Conditioning came about when Crystal Zakaluzny, former owner of Double Shift Conditioning, passed her name along to the new owners of Main Street Strength and Conditioning.

"It's been a great, great tradition from the old gym into this new one. It felt like family before and now it's feeling like family again," said Greaves. "Here I teach a class called total core, so we just focus on core. I do a cardio core class on Wednesday nights, a stamina class for building muscle and endurance, tabata, which is kind of basically a hit-based style class. It's 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest and then you go for eight rounds."

She is also teaching a TRX Fusion class, a mixture of TRX with straps and body weights or cardio and free weights.

Aubrey Shpaiuk became certified as an instructor in December 2015. Her position at Main Street Strength and Conditioning is her first teaching job.

"I'm very, very new. I'm very grateful that Main Street Strength and Conditioning has taken me on as a person trainer," she said. "This is my start."      

She is teaching a heavy duty class, a full body drench and soon she will also teach a kickboxing class.

"The clients are good. They all come. They want to work hard. They definitely put in their time," she said. "It's just very rewarding in seeing the clients working hard, leaving satisfied, getting what they came here for."

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy

Organizations: Main Street Strength, YMCA

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