Renee McCarthy (right) and Tammy Bjornson sit inside the new home of.

Renee McCarthy (right) and Tammy Bjornson sit inside the new home of.

Transforming body, city and their business

The previously nomadic Healthy Transformations has found a home at 158 Davie St.

The previously nomadic Healthy Transformations has found a home at 158 Davie St.

Walk into the building and the effort that Renee McCarthy and Tammy Bjornson have given to creating a pleasant atmosphere is evident. The walls are painted a warm shade of charcoal, with couches and armchairs in a circle at one end of the room, and a brightly coloured children’s area in an alcove at the other.

After having exercised in the beauty of nature, the pair wanted to make sure they weren’t surrounded by white walls.

“I was sick of sterile. Everywhere we went it was white, McCarthy said.

“The parks were nice, but were weather pending. It wasn’t so nice when it had just finished raining and the ducks had just left. It wasn’t nice to do pushups on the wet grass. We really wanted to have colour in here and have it be warm and inviting and not sterile.”

Now, with the location ready, they just have to let people know where that is.

“When we say 158 Davies people say ‘Where’s that?'” McCarthy said with a laugh.

If the address seems strange to you, it’s probably because the building, and most of the buildings surrounding it, have been vacant so long.

But you know the spot: it’s directly across from the overhead walkway crossing the railway tracks; it’s beside the new brewery; it’s just down the street from the car wash; and if you’ve down Legion Dr. to the Moffat St. bridge, you’ve driven right past it.

All that means it at the centre of the city and easy to walk to, whether you work or live downtown, in West Quesnel, or in the Johnston Subdivision – all of which was not an accident.

“Coming to a downtown location, what was really big for us is people could walk.” McCarthy said.

Before finally landing, you might have seen McCarthy or Bjornson leading classes in the park when the weather was agreeable. When it wasn’t they would use Bob Deane’s Black Belt Academy for cover. But a home on top of the hill kept anyone outside of South Quesnel from walking.

This allows the gym to have a little green credibility, along with allowing classes easy access to outdoor training around the river walk, which both McCarthy and Bjornson enjoy utilizing.

Besides the perfect location, the building also lets them expand, with everything from new classes to a kids corner and room to dream besides.

With the new room and a wide open schedule, things are opening up, which allows McCarthy and Bjornson to keep classes small and personal. It’s this personal touch they want to emphasize.

“That’s where were trying to say were different from other places,” McCarthy said.

When she was down on the coast, McCarthy said she felt lost in amongst the crowds at the gyms and wanted to change that.

The gym has expanded their usual class, which used to be called Boot Camp but was changed to ‘Off the Grid’ – ‘people said it was intimidating,’ Bjornson said of the name change with a laugh. The class now runs Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings, from 9:15 – 10:30 and evenings, 5:30 – 6:45. They also offer the new ‘Easy Movement’  which runs Tuesday and Thursday, either 9:30 – 10:30 a.m. or 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. The class is billed as a exercise for people who’ve never worked out before, or who are recovering from illness or surgery and is designed to avoid any impact on joints and bones. The Lunch HITT is a 35 minute workout weekdays during the lunch hour, 12:10 – 12:45 and McCarthy said she has had great feedback from participants, saying it has increased their energy reserves for the afternoon at the office. Finally, they also offer ‘Parents and Tots’, which is ‘Off the Grid’, but parents are encouraged to bring their children, though children are allowed at all classes.

“It’s a different atmosphere. You’re not worried about bringing your kids and annoying another parent,” Bjornson said.

McCarthy said that not only do the kids enjoy their time there, but it’s helpful for them as well.

“They’re seeing their parents work out, which is example setting. There are kids who set up their own little circuit in there.”

And here’s something they’d like to especially stress: all the classes are open to both men and women.

That means they want you, whoever you are: have a bevy of kids? no problem; no time after work? try the Lunch Hitt; never worked out in your life? Easy Movement has you covered.

Not only does Healthy Transformations have a wide array of classes, but each class is designed so no one is competing, by putting each person, or a couple of people, at different stations. The stations are further broken down from the easy version all the way up to the hard version, which lets those working out customize their workout.

Next year, the duo want to expand to fill more of their new space, but for now they’re getting the word out there: that empty building you used to drive past without looking– that’s a great place to get in shape now.

For information call Renee McCarthy at 250-991-2213 or Tammy Bjornson at 250-983-1193.