Fitness instructor Brad Armstrong at his Pacific Ninja Gym opening in Sidney mid-January. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News staff)

WATCH: Ninja Gym opens this week in Sidney

‘This is a fitness gym disguised as a playground’

A North Saanich man is breaking out the obstacles to combat the sterile gym vibe with the Island’s first Ninja gym.

“This is a fitness gym disguised as a playground,” says Brad Armstrong, perched in a web of rope in the kids’ section of the Sidney centre.

This month, Armstrong opens the Pacific Ninja Gym, where kids and adults alike can get fit and challenge themselves with workouts that include titles such as Jumping Spider, Rings, Monkey Balls, Salmon Ladder, Quintuplet Steps and Warp Wall.

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Armstrong and his wife owned a kayak shop at Fisherman’s Wharf for a decade. The Peninsula couple sold that business specifically to embark on the ninja gym adventure. It is in part inspired by the tepid social atmosphere he experienced at the traditional gym – earbuds in, staring straight ahead.

“It was really sterile and anti-social,” he says. Armstrong headed for the Boulders climbing gym at Stelly’s secondary and discovered a more social atmosphere and different workout. The social and encouraging atmosphere was also similar to his workouts experienced at a couple of the obstacle gyms in Vancouver.

He’s confident others are seeking a more adventurous workout, and with fitness instructor ticket in hand, the couple leased the space at 2340 Bevan Ave. last September. There’s an early indication of popularity, based on email interest and a Jan. 19 birthday party already pre-booked.

“It’s really popular with kids because of the TV show,” Armstrong said, referencing American Ninja Warrior and its newer junior version.

School programs start at 3:30 p.m. with the full intent kids can work on their co-ordination, balance and a little socializing for an hour after school.

Youth classes are geared for different age groups and fitness requirements. Adult programs focus on building strength and endurance with workouts using kettle bells, exercise balls and weighted bars to develop important ninja skills like balance and stability, explosive leg strength, gripping and pulling power. They feature small, medium and large workouts to hit every fitness level – from those needing to get started to those looking to tackle the ninja-level obstacles.

“Kids can play on the obstacles while mom and dad work out,” he says. “This is a family fitness centre.”

Visit pacificninja.ca to learn more about programs and associated costs.



c.vanreeuwyk@blackpress.ca

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