Get to know Garry – Fitness Professional and Exercise Coach

For the past 10 years, Garry Chamberlain has been running a popular program of Seniors Fitness classes at Canada Bay Club, not only improving our members’ health, strength and wellbeing, but bringing them together to forge new friendships. Always available for a chat, whether it’s about something sports-related or simply for a catch-up, Garry is a popular member of our Club community. Well known in the broader community, too, Garry went to school and played sport locally, and worked in elite sports for 40 years. Now retired, these days, when he’s not sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm with Canada Bay Club members, he’s enjoying time with his three young grandchildren.

Find out more about Garry and his fantastic fitness classes, and what makes his work and the people at Canada Bay Club so special to him.

How long have you held Seniors Fitness classes at Canada Bay Club?
We are now in our tenth year, and offer six classes per week.

What can people expect from your classes?
We now run Healthy Ageing and Functional Fitness for Everybody classes. They’re designed to assist people to cope with their ‘Activities of Daily Living’ (ADLs). We get the body and brain moving with a variety of challenging and fun experiences, and music that inspires. The class can involve the use of the bodyweight and a range of motion exercises, plus a variety of small hand weights if appropriate. We also concentrate on exercises to help prevent falls. The programs can be modified to suit all abilities.

What do you like most about working at Canada Bay Club?
I like the set-up of the Club and the various areas available to members – and yes, I’m a member too! I also like the flexibility of the staff in how they arrange the rooms for classes. There are never any issues, and the staff are the friendliest I’ve ever come across in the way they deal with me and my class patrons – all the Club patrons, in fact.

Describe a typical day at work for you.
I coach a variety of classes each week at Canada Bay Club. I also instruct classes in Hydrotherapy and Aqua Fitness at other venues. I usually conduct a couple of classes each day, and allow a lot of time between them so I can discuss the class and any issues with participants should the need arise.

What do you like most about running these classes?
I love the interaction with people – to see the enjoyment and fun in people’s faces as the class goes on, and to have that positive impact on their lives. There’s also a great social element, as people begin to interact with each other during and after the class. We always take the opportunity to enjoy the coffee, tea and food available at the Club afterwards, and this has led to great friendships being formed.

What do you think the impact of your classes has on participants?
Initially, the classes are designed to improve the ADLs of participants – we’re aiming to improve their overall fitness, strength and health. We also aim to educate them about why it’s good to exercise and the impact it has on health and wellbeing. And, as I’ve mentioned previously, there’s also the valuable social impact for people.

How did you become an accredited Fitness Instructor?
I attended a course conducted by an accredited training provider, and have to maintain my accreditation by attending regular training workshops. I’m also an accredited Sports Medicine Australia sports trainer and a massage therapist, which has also broadened my knowledge and skills.

What are your tips for getting fit, whatever one’s age?
Look for things that you would enjoy – it will be much easier to stick to them. And make sure you try out a variety of programs. Finally, ensure you’re getting the results you want for the goals you set yourself.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I’ve spent the past 40 years working in elite sport, especially football – something that has been an important and enjoyable part of my life. I’m now retired and, as I have three grandchildren (two arrived in one week!), I’m filling my time with them and my family. I’m not a hobby kind of guy!

Is there anything else you’d like members to know about you and your classes?
I’m always available for a chat – whether it’s about members’ fitness needs or just for a conversation – should they see me around the Club. Anyone who wants to can attend any class. There is no need to book or pay in advance; payment is on an as-you-attend basis and there’s room in all the classes. The current cost per class is $5. The only thing I would ask is that potential participants need to have a medical clearance completed as per Fitness Australia’s guidelines. Last but not least – I grew up, played sport and went to school in this area, so if you recognise me, please come up and say hello!

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