(Pictured: Community Gym owner Amie Seier and Team Leader Kelly Sommerfield)
Sometimes to find your community, you have to make a move. For Amie Seier, owner of the recently opened Community Gym at 468 Main Street, it involved a move away to Calgary in 2014.
“While in Calgary, I wanted to buy a road bike, and I thought it would be clever to start teaching spin classes to be able to afford a bike,” she says with a laugh. “I fell in love with the fitness studios in Calgary. It was funny because I was definitely not a huge gym person, but when I was living there I didn’t have a huge network of friends, so I joined this studio and started training, and it completely changed my perspective. These instructors took me under their wing and I felt like I had a place to go, like I had a sense of community.”
As Dorothy says, there’s no place like home, so Seier returned to Winnipeg to create a new community here, in her own vision. She found work as a spin instructor, but still felt something was missing. Something central and all encompassing.
“If I’m gonna stay in the city, I’m gonna be part of bringing something great here,” Seier says. “I didn’t just want to just be here and be working somewhere, I wanted to make change to the city in my own way, and to me it’s what I’m really passionate about.
“I wanted a studio that didn’t just offer me spin classes and yoga, I wanted spin classes, yoga, boxing and bootcamp so I didn’t have to get a membership everywhere. I wanted it to be super convenient and central for everyone.”
After searching almost three years for the perfect spot, Seier received a note from local fitness instructor and all around positive influence Lindsay Somers that a location on Main Street was available.
“I came down and I walked in and I was like, this is it,” she says. “Once the space felt right it all fell into place.”
Seier feels the location is perfect, not just for the business community, but for the downtown residents as well. Outfitted with multi-use spaces that work for classes of all kinds (and even parties), as well as a universal bathroom complete with hair products, it truly feels like a comfortable space, the opposite of an intimidating gym experience.
Her next step was staffing up. She met trainer and Community Gym Team Leader Kelly Sommerfield at a yoga class after connecting first on Instagram. The two immediately hit it off, and once Seier shared her vision of The Community Gym, Sommerfield was in.
“Even the day we met, Amie talked about her vision for this space, almost two years ago,” Sommerfield explains. “Your workout doesn’t have to suck, and I don’t think anyone should have to move their body in one way. So, I was teaching spin, but getting everyone to just spin, and then people can’t afford to then have another membership somewhere else, like yoga, so they’re picking one thing and doing that. Being able to come to one space and have one membership, to be able to do a spin class and then a restorative yoga class right after and stretch your body out, and then go to a bootcamp where you can strengthen the muscles that you’re gonna use for the spin class, it’s giving you that full body workout that you really need in your life, so you’re gonna prevent those injuries.”
It’s these philosophies that the two friends bring to the space, along with their infectious energy. After speaking with them for only a few minutes, you’ll be ready to dive in and achieve, whether you’re a seasoned athlete or you’ve never worn shorts in your life.
“The biggest misconception people have is that you have to be in shape before you come to a fitness class, and I’m like ‘noooooo! That’s not the point!’” Seier belts out.
The duo is also quick to mention that when you’re here, you’re a friend.
“When Amy told me what her vision for the space was, I feel like she’s achieved that,” Sommerfield says. “One of her ideas was like on Cheers, where everybody knows your name. When you show up, everyone knows who you are and it’s just one giant hug when you walk through the door!”
“Totally!” Seier adds. “It’s taking that old idea of, after the work day, going to grab a drink at your local bar. We wanted to create a space where after work you come in and have a workout and feel totally refreshed. You’re around people that are likeminded and stoked you’re here. I’m grateful for every single person who comes to class and I know our instructors are, too.”
Community Gym instructors are both experienced and just beginning their journey, but you’ll also find volunteers helping out around the Community Gym as part of the Sweat Exchange Program. Work a weekly four hour shift, and you get to workout. Nice.
“People really do care. If they can see your vision, most people are more than happy to help,” Seier says. “When I walk by the classes and hear the instructors, I’m like, yes. This is it. This is good. This is a great product I can stand behind. It brings me so much joy and happiness to know that people are working so hard in those spaces.”
The Community Gym has its grand opening June 15 with a party that night @ 8pm and free classes all weekend long. Purchase a membership package before the end of June to save 25%. Visit thecommunitygym.ca for more information, and click here to watch our video tour of The Community Gym.