Meet Winnie Wiggs!
What brought you to the Oval? What made you choose the Oval?
We first visited the Oval at its grand opening in December 2008. We were blown away by the architecture and the spaciousness. My husband and I joined as members shortly after that. We live in Richmond and like to support our community!
What are your favourite activities here and why?
I like the drop-in fitness classes! The instructors are all excellent. I don’t need to think about what to do. I just follow the instructors and I get a great workout. It also feels good to sweat and work hard together with a bunch of people than solo. I do occasionally use the equipment on the third floor when I have an injury and need to work carefully at my own pace. So it is nice that I have many options at the Oval. I participate in classes that focus as much on core strength and agility as cardio. In any given week, I make sure I do at least one class that would help improve my agility such as Metabolic Mash-up, at least one class which helps improve core strength such as ViPR, TRX, or Kinesis and at least one class which focuses on cardio & power such as cycling or Rock and Row. I always feel I have had a full body workout when I come away from a class. It is a very good feeling
I have never joined other commercial fitness establishments and so I cannot compare the Oval with the others. But the Oval has a special provenance: it was part of the 2010 winter Olympic. I doubt anywhere else can surpass its spaciousness, cleanliness, and atmosphere. I like the high quality instructors, the friendly staff members, the varieties of fitness options, big clean changing rooms, beautiful building that never ceases to amaze me, and convenient parking, among many other things. I even like the small touch such as the cold water dispenser near the front desk which is great in hot weather. The one particular uniqueness that the Oval has is the layout of the building. Wherever you go and whatever you do at the Oval, you would see other people engaging in a number of other activities. I feel energized just being there.
Do you find it beneficial to work out together with a friend or family member?
My husband sometimes comes to the same fitness class with me. But I am just as happy going to a class by myself because there are always other participants in the classes anyway. I have made friends at the Oval and keep meeting new people all the time. There isn’t a day when I do not meet and greet someone I know when I come to the Oval.
You mentioned you were struck with rheumatoid arthritis back in May 2010. How has the Oval supported you in your fitness journey? Do you do anything different now from before?
I had so much pain during the first few months of my rheumatoid arthritis that I thought life was not worth living. All my joints were swollen and I could not even walk a few steps. Gradually over a few months with medication the pain subsided a little. I was determined to gain back some fitness and strength. I started using the equipment on the third floor. I remember I did not even have the strength to boost myself up onto the Keiser spin bike. I was using empty Coke cans as weights because lifting even one-pound weights was too much. Looking down on people playing on the courts, especially those in wheelchairs playing basketball, I thought “I should be able to get better if I keep at it.” Some of the fitness instructors encouraged and challenged me to push harder than I thought I was capable of. Now, 6 years later, I feel very fit and healthy. I even feel I have stronger core strength than I ever had, due to the many fitness classes I attend with core strength components. The Oval provided me with the facility and the motivation to get better and to keep on improving my fitness and strength.
I would like to try the climbing wall. I tried rock climbing once on a small rock face years ago with an experienced rock climber. I liked it very much. When the climbing wall was installed at the Oval, I was still suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and the climbing wall was out of the question. I feel I may have the strength to try it now, but I do not have the courage yet. I am afraid I could not do it and then end up being disappointed. But maybe one day…..
What do you enjoy the most in life? Any resolutions for year 2017?
I enjoy good health. With good health I can enjoy other things in life. So the Oval is my go-to place forever!
Is there anything that you would like to see the Oval to improve?
The Oval seems to be improving all the time. For example, I haven’t used the changing room for a long time but I went there a few months ago and discovered all the shower stalls had been installed with curtains or doors and equipped with shampoo and conditioner. I feel we are so spoiled. Another new thing I’ve noticed is the free shuttle in the summer between the Oval and a number of hubs in central Richmond. That is a very good thing to encourage those without a car to come to work out. I like seeing all the new things too: innovative fitness classes being introduced on a regular basis, top quality equipment being added all the time, Olympic Experience museum, the ROX Shop, and the various incentives to encourage people to join. I don’t even mind big weekend events when parking could be challenging. The parking attendants always try their best to accommodate the members.