The Burn: Ultrafit Moms Can Definitely Kick Your Ass
You. Them. The parking lot. 6am.
November 6, 2018
Most of the time, if you catch me running in the rain, I am probably late, cold, or having a miracle good hair day. Either way, I’m heading towards an indoor location, and the purpose of my pace is to get out of the rain as quickly as humanly possible. Most people wouldn’t voluntarily work out in the great wet outdoors—but for the kickass cardioheads at Ultrafit bootcamp, it’s a chosen and cherished routine.
Beyond squeaky gym floors and eucalyptus-scented yoga mats, another workout world exists. Its inhabitants are more rugged, more damp, and wear a whole lot more fleece than their indoor counterparts. Ultrafit outdoor fitness bootcamp is fully part of this world. When arranging my class with Ultrafit, I learned that they offer workouts on select days in Kitsilano and North Vancouver. Classes are at 6am or 6pm. I decided to take the 6am class, making rolling out of bed at an ungodly hour the first of many struggles I would experience that day.
Unlike a gym or cycling studio, Ultrafit doesn’t have a set indoor location. Instead, workouts are hosted in and around local parks. Participants know where to meet using the Zen Planner app, and instructors normally rotate between six-to-seven locations per season. For my class, myself and my fellow bootcampers gathered at Queen Mary Elementary School. I arrived a few minutes early to a rainy and significantly dark park, and watched as other participants rolled up and sat in their cars to savour their last few precious seconds of warmth. My instructor, Marisa Moody, later told me that most of her clients drive to their classes, which is something to keep in mind if you’re a Compass Card commuter. Bussing to the transient Ultrafit locations would require a little bit of extra organization and planning (but hey—if you’re not up for a challenge, bootcamp probably isn’t for you, anyway).
Most Ultrafit classes follow the same general structure: there’s a five-to-seven minute dynamic warm-up, a 25-30 minute run, and a 20-25 minute strength circuit. Participants are asked to bring a set of light weights and a yoga mat for the strength portion of the workout. During the dynamic warm-up (side shuffles, lunges, squats, etc.) I realized that all of the women in my class seemed to know each other—most of them had kids, and they knew each other’s children by name.
Although the run portion and the strength portion of this class technically took the same amount of time, to me, the run felt a heck of a lot longer. I’m no stranger to the world of cardio—I played soccer for 18 years—but my childhood exercise in Richmond (read: the Great Plain of the Lower Mainland) did me no favours in the Kitsilano hills. It didn’t help that, after I realized most of my fellow runners were moms, I was pretty determined to stay in the front of the pack.
I started out in front, but soon settled into the middle of the group. Despite the varying degrees of fitness, Marisa did an incredible job of making sure that everyone kept moving. When a gap started to form within the group, she’d send the speedier runners for a lap in a cul-de-sac while the rest caught up, directing our bodies like a traffic cop (minus the whistle). While the majority of the run was self-paced, she occasionally would challenge us to take certain hills at 70 per cent, 80 per cent, and finally 90 per cent. Once we got moving, running in the rain was super refreshing. Plus, I felt like I was part of this bad-ass mother wolf pack, taking the sunless streets by storm.
The strength portion of the workout was more laid back (and under cover!), and I got a chance to chat with some of the women as we completed a circuit of arm, core, and back workouts. I was shocked to learn that one of the participants had been coming to Ultrafit for seven years—that is, until another woman piped up and said she’d been coming for eight, and another for ten. Every woman at the class had been a client for at least half a decade, and some of them for more than double that.
Running in the rain at 6am isn’t everyone’s cup of tea—but if you’re up for it, it’s hard to imagine a more challenging or welcoming community than Ultrafit bootcamp. No matter how you slice it, the sheer client retention rate shows that this wolf pack is something special. My yoga mat and my running shoes were both pretty gross when the class was over, but it was worth it. I was exhausted, invigorated, and drenched—and all before sunrise.
Kitsilano and North Vancouver
Classes from $25, monthly memberships $179