Katelyn Sander

Lauren, Lori, & the Best Group Fitness Program in the City

If you’ve walked through the PATH near the Adelaide Club lately, you’ve probably seen the Club’s new marketing featuring Lauren Neal, the Adelaide’s Group Exercise Director, and Lori Kirwan, a personal trainer and group fitness instructor at the Adelaide and Toronto Athletic Club.

Both Lauren – who’s been with the Club since August 2016 – and Lori – who has been a member of the Adelaide family since 1992 – are integral members of the Adelaide team, so we sat down with them to learn more about why they love the Adelaide Club, what makes the Club’s group fitness program the best in the city, and more.

What are your favourite spaces in the Club?

Lori(LK): The studios. All of them.

Lauren (LN): The Power Studio and new Strength Gym. We have a lot of really great workouts and classes happening in the Power Studio each week. And the Strength Gym has brought some incredible new toys to the Club that I love, including the sled, boxes for box jumps, etc. Both of these spaces have added a really great vibe to the Club.

Why do you love working at the Adelaide?

LK: I love working with people and the Club has the most amazing Members. There are even some Members who have been doing my classes since I began at the Club in 1992! I also love that I’ve been able to build a history and relationship with Members – we’ve honestly grown together, and I’ve been able to see Members go through job changes, life changes, having kids, retiring, etc. It’s been a truly incredible journey.

LN: I have to agree; the Members are awesome here. Our Members take their fitness seriously but also like to have fun, which creates a great vibe in the Club. We’ve also built a strong community in a lot of our group fitness classes, which makes it really fun to lead the classes.

What makes the group fitness program here at the Adelaide the best in the city?

LN: We have a wide variety of classes that allow us to appeal to a wider audience. But what really puts us above other programs in the city are our instructors! A lot of them have been here for many years, they are committed to membership and the Members are committed to them. Our instructors build a rapport with the Members, they remember their names and build relationships with them. It becomes the best part of their day – both the Members and the instructors.

LK: That is so true! When I began at the Adelaide, there were only 1 or 2 classes for Members, so I began to build my classes. I would come to the Club early every day and walk around the gym, talking to Members about the classes, and began building the community and family that we still have today. I also believe in creating a positive experience that will make Members want to come back over and over again. They have to have a reason to want to come back, so I connect with them, have fun myself, and create an overall positive experience. I even learn the kind of music they like, an exercise they like, etc.

You’ve both mentioned the community that’s formed in our group fitness classes. What do you think facilitates the formation of these strong communities?

LN: Our instructors set the tone. Whether they encourage Members to give high fives to their neighbours or they introduce themselves to every Member who comes through the door. Their personalities filter down into the students in the class, and then the Members start coming back to the classes to see each other.

LK: Do you know Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? Belonging is one of the needs he lists. We’re helping Members with their health, but by attending classes they are also filling another need - self-actualization or belonging. It’s more than just a workout, it’s more than just the exercises they’re doing, they start to feel like they belong somewhere. People, in general, are lost, we don’t belong to anything anymore; the communities in our group fitness classes allow our Members to feel like they belong somewhere and to something. It’s a nice feeling!

LN: That’s a great point. We’ve seen such an increase in group fitness recently, with studios popping up everywhere. There’s never been a movement quite like this before. And I believe it’s because people want something to do and want to belong, so the community forms.

What are your favourite classes offered at the Adelaide (to teach & to take)?

LN: Honestly, I like them all. If I had to choose, I would say that our bootcamp and strength-based classes would be my favourites.

LK: I can’t pick my favourites, because I truly like them all. If I could teach more, I would. And, if I had any spare time in my schedule, I would come and take classes as well.

Do you have any recommendations for a new Member at the Adelaide Club, or someone who is considering joining?

LK: If you’re going to try our group fitness classes – which I think you should – I recommend that you talk to the instructor right at the beginning to let them know that you’re new to the Club. This will allow the instructor to focus on you right from the start, helping you to feel part of the group from the very beginning, plus they’ll make sure you’re able to follow along with the regular flow of the class. You could also tell Garth or Caro when you first join the Club that you’re going to try our group fitness classes, that way they can share additional information with you.

Awesome! And for those new to the Club, are there group fitness classes designed for beginners or those new to the Club? Can new members join any class?

LN: It really depends on what you’re looking for. We have a wide variety of classes that are equipped for various skill levels. The best way to find the right group class for you is to contact me and I’ll help to create an individualized program of classes just for you. We want these programs to match your individual wants and needs. And with 150 classes on the schedule in a week, we have something that will work for everyone.


Lauren Neal, Group Exercise Director, Adelaide Club

Lori Kirwan, Group Exercise Instructor & Trainer, Adelaide Club & Toronto Athletic Club

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