Envision Fitness Offers an Alternative to the Big Box Gym

In contrast to big commercial gyms, Envision Fitness uses unconventional training tools to get members lean, fit and strong

Envision Fitness is changing the way fitness is done in Maple Ridge

If personalized training and creative workout tools are your idea of fitness, then try a gym that favours open areas and friendly encouragement over rows of faceless machines

Envision Fitness in Maple Ridge is my kind of gym. One of the first things you’ll notice when you walk in is the absence of a row cardio machines like treadmills, stationary bikes and elliptical trainers.

Instead, the facility has an open concept layout with artificial turf covering half the training floor. In the back of the room a couple of pairs of gymnastics rings hang from the ceiling. And while there are a couple of weight racks, there aren’t very many weights. You’re definitely not in a Club 16 gym.

Fun training at Envision FitnessEnvision Focuses on Unconventional Training

I’ve known owners Steve Di Tomaso and Kari Negriaff for a couple of years and both of them have studied under some of the biggest names in the fitness industry.

Di Tomaso told me they wanted to use unconventional training implements such as Ultimate Sandbags, TRX suspension systems, kettlebells, heavy ropes, sleds and gymnastics rings to overcome the limitations of weight machines and other traditional equipment.

What the gym may appear to lack in traditional gym equipment, it more than makes up for with creative programs and proven strategies to get you into shape.

Novel and Fun Workout Tools

Di Tomaso took me through a fun sandbag training demonstration. I’ve been using these myself for a couple of months but he showed me some new techniques to get the most of this versatile tool.

Basically sandbags are gym bags with numerous handles on the outside. Secure tubes filled with sand, rice or water are then placed inside the bag. This means the weight shifts as you move the bag around providing a very unique training stimulus unlike a solid weight like a dumbbell.

The Prowler sleds are fun to use as well and pushing these across the turf floor is a terrific way to develop thighs and buns of steel.

Group and Solo Training Options

In addition to the cool toys it has, Envision Fitness also offers a unique membership model.

Training with novel tools at Envision Fitness.You can sign up for either semi-private personal training or group training in one of their classes. And membership will also allow you access to the facility during open times where you can train under the supervision of one of the strength coaches. So if you ever have any questions about your program someone will always be there to help.

And you’ll have a set of watchful eyes making sure your form is top-notch.   

While I was there during a mid-afternoon, about a half dozen members came in to do their workouts. Negriaff or Di Tomaso would offer encouraging words during a tough set or give a member feedback to correct their technique. Such support helps members stick to their training programs and getting results is all about consistency with your program.

Envision Fitness feels more like a friendly neighbourhood hangout than a gym. There just might be a little more sweat and heavy breathing going on.