Meet Rich Chen
What brought you to the Oval? What made you choose the Oval?
For years I was with a local competitor gym and increasingly became more dissatisfied with their services the value I was receiving for the money I was paying. Hours of operation was not flexible, personal training sessions were a big target and clients would take up parts of the gym when it was already limited. After writing what I thought to be a very fair and constructive letter to the general manager there, he refunded the balance of my annual pre-paid membership and I was off to take my workouts across town to the Oval. Some of my friends were already members there so I already had an idea of the environment, some of its offerings and what they were about.
How do you find the Oval different from others? What makes us unique?
The main thing is the amount of space! It’s a very large and comfortable workout environment with the beautiful high ceilings so working out with a friend is not an issue. There are ample machines and they are not too closely spaced together. There are also a few sets of free weights so many people can workout at once even during busier times. It’s also the cleanest gym I’ve seen, the equipment is properly maintained and the hours are very accommodating. Being a big basketball fan, the number of full courts doesn’t hurt either!
How has the Oval supported you in your fitness journey?
I think it’s kept me continually interested in making the effort to go to the gym. There are many machines and different workouts you can do and I haven’t even tried a fitness class yet! Sometimes I just want to shoot some hoops and knowing I am only minutes from a world-class facility is a good feeling to have. When the gym is properly maintained and clean it makes you look forward to working out. Even on a cold dark winter morning when it’s snowing out, the fact that there’s covered parking makes going to the gym hassle-free.
What types of activities do you do in the fitness centre?
I mainly use free weights and some machines. My previous gym had one single squat rack so it was refreshing to see 6 at the Oval complete with ample bumper weights. I am also a big fan of the Hammer Strength machines and will shoot around on the basketball courts from time to time after resistance training. I’d like to make sure 50% I get my cardio workout to be able to train for future marathons, 50% still being able to lift weights to keep my momentum going.
Are there some activities that you would like to try at the Oval?
I’d like to perhaps try the spin classes offered or maybe try out Yyoga. I have a spinner bike at home but spinning is much more effective in a group setting with an instructor motivating and pacing you.
What do you enjoy the most in life?
It’s pretty simple. First and foremost, I love spending time with family and friends especially my wife and two young sons. I also enjoy eating good (and most of the time) healthy foods, being outside visiting the various Vancouver neighborhoods and keeping an active lifestyle. I try to do something active everyday whether it is a weight-training session at the Oval, a light 10K jog around Richmond or a bike ride with my sons.
Is there anything that you would like to see the Oval to improve?
I always thought the Oval could use a sit-down Hammer Strength decline bench press machine. I realize it already has the actual bench that is angled downwards but that doesn’t work for everyone. Also, member parking passes would make the management of busier times in the parking garage more efficient.