Group fitness has Ballarat men in a spin for men's health week

IN A SPIN: Gym-goer Alistair Cardew urges other Ballarat men to try a group session, like boxing or on the bikes, to take the next step on their health, fitness journeys. Picture: Lachlan Bence
IN A SPIN: Gym-goer Alistair Cardew urges other Ballarat men to try a group session, like boxing or on the bikes, to take the next step on their health, fitness journeys. Picture: Lachlan Bence

BOOT camp is how Alistair Cardew kick-started his moves to get fitter and healthier before moving into group classes at Ballarat Aquatic and Lifestyle Centre.

For Mr Cardew, it was a way to build confidence in the gym and meet new people.

He encouraged other men, of all ages and ability, to have a go and take the first steps this national Men’s Health Week, which this year is themed making healthy connections.

“The gym can sometimes be an intimidating place but in group classes, you’re in a nice safe environment, it’s easy to get motivated with the instructors,” Mr Cardew said.

Best advice I can suggest is to bring a friend and know it really does get easier each time you go

Alistair Cardew

“When you get into it, you people don’t pay attention to what size weights you’re lifting or how fast you’re going. Everyone is working out so hard.”

Mr Cardew said he would struggle after a short time on the treadmill when he joined BALC four years ago. He gave a range of fitness classes a try to see which ones he enjoyed best and to add some variety into his workouts.

In turn, the cross-training helped improve Mr Cardew’s strength and fitness for other sports like hockey, and he has built up his running to tackle half-marathons.

BALC group fitness team leader Megan Lamb said spin (cycling) classes, boxing and circuit training tend to be popular with men in the gym.

Ms Lamb said classes were all about people working at their own level under guidance of an instructor.

BALC has a broad demographic of gym-goers, including plenty of dads who drop in for a class while their children are at swimming lessons or nearby at hockey or baseball.

In a bid to get more males active and connected, BALC is offering Ballarat men and boys a free seven-day group fitness pass to celebrate Men’s Health Week, starting Monday. BALC has more than 90 classes in its new winter timetable, from spin to deep water running.

Meanwhile, Ballarat Library will host its annual, free men’s health night on Thursday. The night will include yoga with Steve Sedgwick and talks with health experts Grant McKechnie (pain management) and Gay Corbett (specialist prostate nurse).

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