donor profile series
Introducing Athletic Endeavours
When asked why he contributed $500 towards the Windermere Fitness park, Former resident of Renfrew Heights, Andrew Tuovinen, a personal trainer and multi-sport endurance coach had this to say. “I believe in taking personal responsibility for one’s own health and fitness and the Windermere Fitness Park will make it possible for many people to begin and follow a fitness routine for free, outdoors in their own neighbourhood.”
Andrew Tuovinen through his company, Athletic Endeavours, has been in the business of teaching and motivating people to “become fitter and more confident” for 30 years since moving to Vancouver in the late 80’s. “Vancouver is a great city for fitness opportunities and the Windermere Fitness Park is the the first definitive step towards more outdoor exercise infrastructure.” When COVID hit hard, Andrew, like so many other personal trainers had to pivot quickly towards training clients outside and over Zoom sessions. “If there’s one thing to be learned from the pandemic, it’s that outdoor exercise saves lives. It helps my clients cope with depression and loss, and it teaches people to learn about training outside the “box”; that is, crowded gyms and fitness centres. My clients get super-motivated when they realize that they can replace a gym membership with resistance bands and a suspension trainer!” Andrew grabs a small backpack and proceeds to dump the contents onto the grass. I’ve caught up with Andrew for this interview at Douglas Park where he had just finished training a client outdoors. “Learning to use a suspension training device like this one is a game-changer for most people” Andrew says, “and along with a selection of stretchy bands you’ve got a 100 portable exercises that can be done practically anywhere”.
Andrew takes the suspension trainer and anchors one end over a tree branch, makes a few adjustments to the two straps and then hands me the handles. This is the part of the interview where I get to learn how easy it is (Andrew says) to perform exercises using the suspension trainer. Over the next half hour, I learn a series of four pushing and pulling exercises using that are equivalent to those you’d perform in any gym using conventional equipment. Each of the exercises done with this tool used muscles of both my upper and lower body in unison. I could feel the effects of the work on my arms, legs and core muscles just as if I were using regular weights like barbells and dumbbells. I ended up buying my own suspension trainer, a TRX® Tactical, and, fast forward 4-weeks, I use it nearly every day. When I reconnected with Andrew recently and told him about my new routine, he laughed. “It’s hard not to get motivated with a tool like a suspension trainer. Wait until the fitness park opens up, the possibilities will be endless!”
Andrew asks everyone who will benefit from the Windermere Fitness Park to contribute towards the project. “Now that the fitness park is going ahead I’m glad I contributed and I hope that folks using the park will donate as well because once you learn to exercise outdoors, you’ll save a lot of money in gym fees over time”.