Group Workouts: Website Seeks To Bring Training Mobs Together
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MONTREAL - David Sciacca wants to get you up and moving.
And he and his partners have come up with a fast, easy — and free or fairly cheap — way to do it.
They started trainingmobs.com, which provides a guide to exercise mobs in several Canadian cities. It's free to join, has a Facebook page and a Twitter feed and encourages a sense of community.
It is similar to the idea of the Flash Mob, where people converge to do a particular activity, such as dance to a specific song. In this case, the idea applies to fitness in a studio, gym or outdoors.
The website gets news of the mobs from various sources — the Training Mobs team finds some, others are recommended by their partners and still more are posted by trainers or regular fitness buffs.
"We've got everything from Olympic athletes ... all the way to people that are essentially tying up their running shoes for the first time," Sciacca says of the members, which include about 10,000 in Montreal alone.
Other cities in Canada where the site has gained interest include Toronto, Vancouver and Ottawa and even some Americans have posted workouts in their cities.
More posts mean more variety and variety is something that gets the blood pumping for users of the site, says Sciacca, who stresses trainingmobs.com wants to make working out "exciting."
Most of the workouts are free or can run to small fees of about $10 to $15 when a trainer is involved.
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Check out some Canadian flash mobs we would have loved to work out with. What are your favourite flash mob videos? Send us a tweet at @Huffpostcaliv.
The website hooked Jessika Bertrand, who says she wasn't particularly active when she went to her first mob about a year ago. Now she's a regular user of the site and works out four to seven times a week.
"I've done snowshoe yoga outside in the park, I've done kickboxing mobs, I've done parcours, I've done running mobs, I have done Pilates," the energetic 23-year-old university student said.
"I've tried so many different ones — crossfit, high-intensity training, zoomba . . . ."
She said meeting new people is definitely one of the advantages and something that helps keep the mobsters motivated.
"I think a lot of people get stuck on the motivation part. They buy gym memberships but then maybe after a month they get bored. With training mobs, you have that motivation aspect right there because your friends are going."
Bertrand likes the idea of having a website that can point her at new mobs.
"I think that's fantastic because we do live in a time right now where everybody uses the Internet."
Mike Deboever, who has been a personal trainer for about 10 years and is now about to open a new gym, says the site helps to spread the word about physical fitness.
"I found it was a great way to start promoting physical activity to people," he said, noting more and more people are being drawn to his workout sessions since he began posting them.
"It started with five, six people and now it's like an average of 20 people showing up each time so it's really, really great. It's a great tool if you want to promote yourself."
Asked if he saw any drawbacks, Deboever said people should be attentive to the quality of the trainer, saying some might be less qualified than others.
"It is so easy to spread the word that anybody could do it," he said. "You're not sure if you're talking to professionals or not."
However, he also said the Training Mobs team was actively working to check out who was posting workouts on their site.
Sciacca said Training Mobs tends to approach studios, gyms and trainers that have been referred to them by such partners as the lululemon athletica sportswear company, which hooked up with the site to promote its yoga classes.
Others are recommended by members of the training mobs community and he said his team visits as many of the workouts as possible to see the trainers in action for themselves.
Sciacca said the site is also looking into adding a feedback section where mobsters can rate the mob, the mob leader and the facility where it was held.
However, he acknowledged it is difficult to monitor all the mobs and guarantee they are led by superstars given the fact that everyone can post and share mobs.
Sciacca appreciates how tough it is to find a satisfactory activity and he says that was one of the things that led to the creation of trainingmobs.com, which went online last January.
He and partner Jonas Caruana came up with the idea when they were figuring out what to do with their lives after they quit their high-pressure jobs. Sciacca was an investment banker and Caruana was a management consultant.
"We were both working exceptionally long hours," Sciacca said in an interview. "A typical week would be somewhere around the 90-hour mark. We stopped being physically active."
Finding time for workouts wasn't their only problem. So was finding good workouts. The Internet was no help and that's when they had their "eureka!" moment.
"We decided to take a crack at it ourselves," Sciacca said, explaining their goal was to make working out accessible, affordable, fun and easy to co-ordinate.
Sciacca says he wants trainingmobs.com to be the go-to site for people looking for their "next awesome workout" and figures it's got the right formula of gyms, trainers and studios to appeal to diehard exercisers or just someone wanting to keep in shape.
"It's like having a candy shop in the middle of a kids' playground."