If I’m being honest, I built FitIn because I’m selfish – I wanted to be able to easily find and try out all the amazing fitness classes that are currently being offered around Toronto! So after onboarding my first several instructors and trainers, I’m pretty excited to get out there and try them. Here’s the first!
Rowen Brownlow is the founder and lead instructor at Body Positivity Movement. I love the name of her company, and what it represents, because it’s not just inclusive, it’s empowering.
You don’t need to be a size 2 to exercise. The body requires exercise to function properly, but it doesn’t have to be about losing a ton of weight or building epic muscles – exercise can be as much about challenging yourself, staying strong and building your core while also loving your body for how it is and what it does for you.
BPM classes are held at The Redwood (which was formerly the Center of Gravity) on Gerrard St in Leslieville. They have a couple of rooms designed to be used for fitness classes, and there’s also the main theatre, where you’ll sometimes catch acrobats dangling from hoops or silks. It’s a bustling place, being used for many different types of activities.
Bootcamps are for anyone & everyone
Rowen spends time at the beginning of class learning everyone’s capabilities and limitations, and some discussion was had surrounding injuries and necessary modifications. She’s got us doing a tabata workout, so she puts on some music for us, sets up her iPad (that she has programmed with the timer and exercises), and hands out the resistance bands that we’re going to be using.
Getting into what I loved! – the pacing of the class was great. The exercises she’d assigned were tough but feasible. We’d do one exercise for 20 seconds, get a 10 second break, and then do the second exercise for 20 seconds. After four rounds of that, we’d get a minute break before moving on to the next set.
Get sweaty safely
Rowen had us do a lot of glute- and core- targeted exercises, which was phenomenal, because I had done back and arms the previous day! Using bands, we pushed the limits of our strength, but also adjusted as necessary. When we moved to do a round of arm/shoulder work, for instance, I dropped down a band so I could make it through.
Another thing I loved was how she talked us through modifications during the class, checking in to see how we were doing. She was really on top of about reminding us what muscle group we should be focusing on, and what NOT to do. She was extremely helpful about giving us hints and tweaks to what we were doing so that we could improve our form, and get better muscle targeting and activation.
What I loved
And we had fun while we worked up a sweat! I felt invigorated by the end, not completely exhausted. This was actually the second time I’ve made it to Rowen’s class, even though she’s in the far end of town from me. It’s worth it – a great workout, a fun environment, and I like the changeup from the usual.
One of the best parts, though, is that despite my tentative knees, I know I’m safe in Rowen’s hands. I know that if I experience any pain, she’ll have me move on to another exercise, and I really appreciate that she has those ready and waiting for when they’re needed.
I would absolutely recommend this class for someone who is self-conscious, has a few joint or mobility challenges, or someone who doesn’t want a drill sergeant, but a supportive instructor. If that sounds like you, I think you’ll also love Rowen’s approach to fitness.
As she says: Love yourself, love the world!
Catherine Chan is the Founder & CEO of FitIn.io, a new fitness platform connecting Canadians with personal trainers/instructors, fitness, exercise or movement classes near them in mere minutes. A mental health advocate, she has dedicated a part of her platform to mental health and wellness classes, promoting movement + mindfulness in order to find profound, sustainable health.