My Awesome Day at KickStart – YWCA’s Yearly Conference

Agendas for many fitness conferences are filled with lots of great topics all being presented at the same time. The Y’s Fitness KickStart brochure arrived and I was so pleased to learn each hour had only one choice, and all five sessions looked interesting. Brilliant. 

Here are my takeaways from my favorite four sessions of the day:

Foam Roller Tidbits

This session, lead by Katherine Taylor, was on the science, effectiveness and use of a foam roller and myofascial ball. They are both effective for releasing areas of tension and restricted motion. The foam roller is great for working on lower body tensions and tightness while the myofacial ball can better target tightness in through the shoulder, neck and upper back.

Take away message: 

  • Fascia gets tight – if we roll on it, it becomes pliable, so we can have our muscles work more effectively. Roll gently before you start to exercise, about a minute for each muscle group. You can spend more time after a workout- anywhere up to five minutes on each muscle group.   

HITT Was A Hit

The best HITT (High Intensity Training Tactics) exercises are ones that use more than one muscle group. You often see these in Dylan’s Tabata training class (see Y's schedule). He gave us tips and tools (a wooden dowel) for assessing form on four core exercises: squats, burpees, planks and lunges. 

Take away message: 

  • Good form is essential to any workout. A piece of 2” dowelling is a great assessment tool to check alignment, which is part of good form.

Barre method 

The session with Fleur Palliardi gave us an overview of The Barre method. It’s the next big thing in fitness right now and I can see why. The little weighted balls, round disks, a ballet bar and mat are all you need to feel the burn. I’m definitely feeling my triceps today.

Take away message:

  • Take a class. It’s a ton of fun.

Who Knew Spinning Was So Awesome

The last session was with our very hands on Executive Director, Sandy Reimer, who also leads a variety of  Y classes. I learned how to setup the bike and how to sit on the seat to minimize the discomfort. It was a great workout…once you get past the pain of sitting on the most uncomfortable seat ever made.  

Take away message:

  • Take time to set your bike up properly. If you are unsure, ask.  

Honorable Mention

Do you know what an AED unit is? Basically, it is a mobile defibrillator. If you’re having a heart attack it can save you life and the Y is on the 911 lists of public use stations that have one in the downtown core. Keep that in your head just in case.

The YW is a great place to workout. If you live in the city or you are from out of town, the Y has something for everyone. Check out their website at