A good workout is not all about your sweat and effort: it requires motivation, education, and yes, at least some fun, to truly power up. Here are six personal trainers and fitness instructors ready to bring the burn.
Daniela Dib – SoulCycle
A household name in the spin scene here in Vancouver due to her high-spirited personality, captivating coaching style, and enviable dance moves on the bike. No surprise, then, that the Vancouver native attended Canada’s National Ballet School in Toronto before moving to the U.S. where she danced at the Boston Ballet among others. She worked in Los Angeles and New York as an actor, model, and dancer before joining the SoulCycle team as an instructor in 2015, returning to Vancouver in 2017 to open the first SoulCycle studio in Yaletown. “I make you feel sexy on the bike,” she says. Options include a rhythmic 45-minute Soul class, the regularly sold out Hip-Hop Thursdays ride, or the heavy-weight focused SoulActivate. Dib also teaches a class at Oxygen Yoga, workshops at YYoga, and is in demand as a motivational speaker. “I view SoulCycle as a platform,” she explains. “The bike is an extension of what I’m trying to present which is self-confidence, total integration of self-worth, [and] knowing that you are capable of the things that you put your mind to.”
Adrian Gaskin – Equinox Fitness
Originally from New Zealand, Equinox Senior Trainer Adrian Gaskin is a graduate of both New Zealand’s School of Fitness and the Institute of Health and Fitness. He joined Equinox in 2016 and is now a Master Instructor (he trains the trainers), with a client list that includes singer Leann Rimes and Riverdale cast members Cole Sprouse, Mark Consuelos, and fellow Kiwi, KJ Apa. With a focus on quality movement, Gaskin’s workouts begin by honing in on the mind and body connection with a reactive warmup, followed by a ground-based Animal Flow, a series of bear crawls, beast positions and crab walks. Strength and conditioning sessions include three-dimensional body-weight movements (lunges and squats with the ViPR) followed by functional weighted exercises using kettlebells (Gaskin is Agatsu Kettlebell certified), dumbbells, the squat rack, and finishing with anaerobic cardio.
Gabby Villasenor – All-City Athletics & Fuelled by Feeling
Graduating with a kinesiology degree from Quest University in 2016, boxing coach and personal trainer Gabby Villasenor is bringing a warm approach to the no-frills sport at Gastown’s All-City Athletics boxing studio. “I love teaching boxing,” she shares. “It is so technical, and when you get these ‘ah-ah’ moments with people, it’s the best.” The Eight-Count class is a blend of boxing fundamentals (hooks, jabs, and uppercuts), partner pad work and plyometrics. Villasenor (who was the captain for Quest’s varsity soccer team for two-years, and participated in her first competitive boxing match last year) recently launched her own personal training platform, Fuelled by Feeling. Clients work and move mindfully through a hybrid of strength and conditioning and boxing—she’s a big fan of multi-purpose tools such as kettlebells and resistance bands. Her goal, she says, is to reconstruct the relationship many of us have with fitness: “I want it to be something you get to do that day, not something you have to do that day.” Catch Villasenor also coaching your next boxing class at Aritzia’s head office gym The Set, breathwork at Lululemon’s headquarters, or down at All-City, the 101 and ACA Classic.
Thomas Taylor – T3 Athletics
From the T3 Athletics training facility on Granville Street comes coach Thomas Taylor. The National Academy of Sports Medicine, Kettlebell Level 1, and TRX Certified personal trainer is the go-to guy for whipping actors and actresses into phenomenal shape, in very little time. “They need fight training, they need to know how to move properly, be more athletic,” he says from T3 Athletics, located within the InFighting training center. “Here, they never usually do the same workout twice.” With the cast of CW’S Arrow making appearances daily, Taylor’s blend of martial arts training and lifting means obstacle-style circuits with battle ropes, agility work, box jumps, pad-work, TRX Rip Trainer (building out exceptionally strong rotational power and core), he never shies away from lifting heavy. “The amount of energy it takes to moves weights is something you can’t disregard when you want to become leaner,” he explains. Taylor also coaches group kickboxing at InFighting (he has his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brown belt) and at TurF in Kitsilano, two classes: Strength + Sweat, and boxing.
Michelle Kuhnreich – Booty by Mich & The A.S.S. Class
Acquiring her personal training certification at just 17-years-old in Montreal, Quebec, Michelle Kuhnreich studied psychology at the University of British Columbia. Providing at-home personal training sessions with BootyByMich, Kuhnreich has also gained momentum with the mat-based A.S.S. (Absolutely, Sleek, Solid), a 60-minute primarily lower body workout focused on sculpting curves, booty, and core, she teaches at TurF. Resistance bands, gliders, and yoga blocks are used throughout, with downward dogs followed by Pilates: lengthening, toning, and stretching as the body is elongated with horizontal and vertical leg lifts, glute and hip bridges, kick-backs, clamshells, and high planks. Expect to learn new movement patterns (and also discover muscles you never thought you possessed) and end on a relaxing note with a guided meditation. “I want women to go and feel really badass, strong, sexy, empowered,” Kuhnreich enthuses. She also teaches TurF’s strength and HIIT class The Whole Body, with at-home workouts available on her website.
Ilan Cumberbirch – Yard Athletics
From Vancouver’s Yard Athletics comes strength and conditioning coach Illan Cumberbirch. Cumberbirch played hockey in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport league (now U Sports) for the University of British Columbia, in the Junior A League, and then professionally in the Netherlands. He is Strength and Conditioning Specialist certified, has overseen the off-ice training for Factory Hockey (cue NHL all-stars) and, in 2017 he opened up the Yard, presenting the best of the varsity-style gym to the masses. “I think, I know, I believe, that strength and conditioning should be a foundation of one’s training,” he says. His back-to-basics workouts are built on the five fundamentals of strength training: hip and knee dominant movements (squats, deadlifts, lunges), pushing and/or pulling movements (dynamic dumbbell work, for example) and bracing movements (stabilizing core and spine), mixed in with accessory work. These full-body workouts address both the aerobic and anaerobic systems to boost the metabolism, increase strength and mobility, and build a leaner body over time. “It’s primary strength training: barbells and dumbbells, less of that ‘boot camp’ style. Clients work through an hour, and are like ‘wow I covered everything I needed to do.’”
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