Fitness on the Go | Peace River, AB
By Dani Wearden | Photography by Tyrell Parenteau
From teaching aerobic classes with an oversized ghetto blaster and leg warmers, to co-owning one of Peace River’s most iconic fitness centres with her husband, Andy, Carmen Gauvreau has dedicated almost 30 years of her life to helping others get healthy.
“I’ve always loved fitness. Ever since I was in high school, I knew I wanted a career in the health and fitness industry,” said Gauvreau.
Gauvreau moved to Peace River in 1989. In 1991, she began working as a fitness instructor at the newly opened Fitness on the Go (FOTG), which was located above what is now J’s Java Domain.
In 1993, FOTG became available for purchase, and Gauvreau wasted no time in pursuing the opportunity to finally live out her dream.
Currently, FOTG offers individual workout programs in the weight room as well as group fitness classes and spin classes for people of all ages and fitness levels.
With five certified personal trainers, many with over 20 years of experience in the industry, gym members can receive one-on-one training, buddy training with a friend, small group training, or take part in a variety of fitness classes such as pound rock or country fusion.
“With our variety of equipment, classes and trainers, we can work with and assist people of any age or with any physical limitations, including those who are rehabbing from injury or illness,” said Gauvreau. “At the same time, we can accommodate the power lifters and fitness die-hards.”
According to Gauvreau, the centre’s spinning classes are the most popular because members love the workout, the high energy and great music. The centre’s recent addition of 24-hour access has also been well received.
“Our members love the variety of workout equipment in our weight room and cardio areas. Plus, we like to add new pieces each year to keep things fresh,” said Gauvreau. “We’re always evolving!”
FOTG spans an impressive 8,000 square feet, which includes an 800-square-foot training room for those who like more privacy. There is also a stand-up tanning bed, a room for childcare and even an area for Full Circle Massage Therapy, owned and operated by Latoya Thomas.
“We also carry nutritional supplements such as protein powders and bars, pre-workouts, BCAAs [Branched Chain Amino Acids], creatine, mass gainers, drinks, shaker cups, Mammoth water jugs and tanning lotion,” said Gauvreau.
Offering easily accessible fitness is important to Gauvreau because it positively impacts the physical and mental wellbeing of others. She believes in sustainable workouts and nutrition and never promotes quick fixes or rapid weight loss.
“Being fit physically and mentally is the fountain of youth. It’s how you keep up your energy, mobility and improve or maintain your quality of life,” said Gauvreau. “Great health is not a number on the scale or the size of the clothing you wear.”
Over the years, many FOTG members have attributed regular exercise, along with the centre’s friendly and uplifting staff, for helping them overcome physical and mental health obstacles, something Gauvreau is extremely proud of.
“It truly brings tears to my eyes thinking about some of the stories our members have told us and how we have helped change lives in so many different ways,” said Gauvreau.
Gauvreau also takes pride in showing people how a healthy routine can help people as they age. She feels she is a prime example of how beneficial it truly is.
“I like to say I’m 57 on the outside and 34 on the inside. I can wholeheartedly attribute that to staying active and eating well,” said Gauvreau.
Gauvreau recently gave the outside of FOTG a facelift with fresh paint, and she is excited to add new equipment such as a new belt squat machine and more classes for members.
Obtaining feedback from members is crucial, and Gauvreau takes careful consideration to listen and implement any necessary changes when possible.
“We always ask our members what they would like to see in FOTG since they’re the ones coming in on a regular basis,” said Gauvreau. “This makes planning ahead much easier and allows us to cater to our dedicated members.”
Overall, Gauvreau plans to continue helping people reach their personal goals and live their best quality of life, all while having fun and enjoying some laughs as soon as they walk through her doors.
“We’re an old-school gym, and we believe in great customer service. We want everyone to feel welcome and invited, not intimidated,” said Gauvreau.