Meghan Lambeth is a former competitive runner who believes in the transformative power of an active lifestyle. “I started running in grade four and ran as part of my university track team,“ she says. “Today, I still run, hike, and lift weights. I try to stay active.”
As Fitness and Recreation co-ordinator for Camosun College, she manages two gym facilities, a team of expert trainers and instructors and a busy schedule of activity classes that are open to students, faculty and community members.
Winter term classes start in January 2017 at both the Lansdowne and Interurban campuses. Activities and courses include restorative yoga, cardio blast, Zumba, Pilates, diabetes exercise, abs and stretch, dancer’s body and many more.
Lambeth and her team try to keep abreast of the latest fitness trends. ‘Essentrics’ will be one of the new classes this year, she notes. “It’s really big in Europe and it’s starting to catch on here. It’s designed for middle aged and older adults. There are a lot of people in the community who are interested in that.” Essentrics is a dynamic, full-body workout that lengthens and strengthens muscles, resulting in increased joint mobility and leaner and longer muscles.
In addition to serving an active student and staff population, Camosun’s fitness and recreation department welcomes community members who can register for specific activity classes or purchase a general membership that provides access to gym facilities, change rooms and showers at both campuses. Lambeth notes that it’s one of the best deals in town. “It costs $25 per month for towel service and personal training. They get four sessions with an expert personal trainer who will design a program, work with them and make sure they are comfortable.” Members also get a special rate for activity classes.
Both the Lansdowne and Interurban gyms have undergone renovations in the last few years. Most recently, Interurban’s facility—located on the ground floor of the Campus Centre building —reopened in spring 2016 with a new layout. “We made it into one larger space and improved lighting and the continuity and feel,” she says. “We also created a movement studio that’s a lot bigger and we’re promoting a new view of training which is more about functional fitness so the studio can be used in many different ways beyond activity classes.” The renovations were supported by the Camosun College Student Society.
Facilities at both campuses are fully stocked with a combination of free weights and machines. Lambeth emphasizes that taking the first step towards a healthy and active lifestyle is easier than people think. “It’s amazing how little you have to do to see results,” she says. “During my years as a trainer the biggest thing I learned is that you don’t have to do a lot. For my master’s degree in Kinesiology, I studied sedentary activity. What I would say to people considering getting active is to make even one small change at a time, and once you’re comfortable with it, add another one and you’ll make progress.”
Jennifer Irwin has seen that progress first hand. A long-time Camosun employee, she has been using the college’s fitness facilities for 32 years. “Camosun recreation classes are inclusive, safe and fun,” she says. “Fitness is key to good health and it helps you to live longer and to have a better quality of life.” In addition to the health benefits, Irwin enjoys the social aspect of activity classes. “Taking any sort of recreation class provides a great social environment where you meet people who you may not meet with in the ‘world of work.’ Having a relationship with fitness participants also helps you to be more committed to attending on a regular basis.”
Lambeth notes that whenever possible she tries to meet the needs of community members. “We’re very flexible. If a group of a half dozen or so seniors wanted to come down together, we could find an instructor and build a class for them, especially in the mornings.” This attention to detail and openness to new approaches makes fitness and recreation at Camosun unique in the community.
“This winter, we’re starting what we call our ‘lean on me’ program,” says Lambeth. “It connects mainly third and fourth year athletic therapy and sport and exercise management students with community members and others looking for an individualized fitness program. After the individual works with the trainer for a few sessions, the student will continue to work with the individual and then arrange a regular schedule of workouts together. The students are very qualified and are on hand to make tweaks to the fitness program and to answer questions. They’ll be kind of like a training buddy.”
As a community college, Lambeth believes that Camosun’s gym facilities are assets for the whole community. “Our trainers are pretty passionate people,” she says. “They believe in keeping people active at any age and maintaining a program of activity. We’re an educational institution and we all feel that it’s our job, even though it’s recreation and fitness, to ensure that people walk away with more knowledge so they understand the right and healthy way to continue with an active lifestyle.”
For a schedule of upcoming classes, please visit: camosun.ca/rec or email: email@example.com. To register, please call: 250-370-3602
Ivan Watson is the marketing and communications strategist at Camosun College’s Interurban campus. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org