First, I need to say that when I visit these gyms/studios and review them it’s in no way sponsored. I pay for the classes I attend and for the most part the owners and staff don’t even know I’m doing this (except if they follow me on Instagram). I am only saying this now because I have had people ask how many classes I get gifted. The only classes I have ever been gifted were from Move East as I was also volunteering some of my hours there and Hannah is just too nice. I don’t ask for free passes because I don’t want my reviews to be bias in any way (it’s already hard writing about a gym in a city you live in lol).
Ok cool, let’s get into EVOLVE FITNESS
It seems like everyone and their dogs have stepped foot into the gym, and the owner Matt and his twin brother, Mitchell, are faces you see whenever something good is happening in the community.
Evolve has been around for over 10 years. You may have only recently heard of them at the beginning of COVID as they were one of the first gyms to go virtual and they started an amazing initiative to support local businesses where they fundraised a ridiculous amount of money (like so much I don’t get how they make rent, it’s amazing).
Evolve has two locations, their biggest is on Strawberry Hill – which is where I did my classes, and another small location in Bedford. They have an abundance of in-person classes each day and a lengthy list of live and on-demand classes to follow at-home. For this review I am only focusing on their in-person classes.
I think the main reason I took so long to try out Evolve is because of the people I knew who are members, 80% of them are 35+ years old and their Instagram didn’t catch my eye (sad, but true). I didn’t think it was for me. But then I thought 'if they can raise so much money and have half of the Ride For Cancer riders be part of their team, I was DEFINITELY missing out on a hidden Halifax gem'.
If I could describe Evolve in one word I would pick: basic. I mean this in the most positive way. When you walk in, there’s nothing too flashy (except the huge trophy they win every year basically for being the best gym around), no crazy colours or merch trying to be sold. It literally looks like you walked into an elementary school. They have 3 rooms where the classes happen, each are set up like a standard bootcamp gym with a turf, free weights and pull up bars (due to COVID some of their classes are on hold). The workouts are written on a white board as well as printed on white paper with black writing. Minimal, but really all you need.
I want to focus on the workouts. This is where they receive a lot of their points but also lose a couple from me. There are about 5 different stations you can choose from. Each station has 3 possible workouts, you choose one to do. Each workout has 8 exercises. Go it? But all the stations, as well as the workouts follow the most basic rule of strength and conditioning for the general population; and that is *drum roll please* PUSH, PULL, LEGS, CORE, CARDIO!! As soon as I saw that, I understood the hype. Like I said, nothing fancy. Their gym has had amazing success stories because they stick with what works, allow their members to properly progress without following a ‘plan’ per se and this is probably why their demographic is older than most gyms. When you stick to the basic full body routine, supplied with a book of variations, there really isn’t any room to fail if you’re consistent. Though, there is room to get bored.
For me, decently fit with a variety of training experiences under my belt, I personally got bored. For someone with zero experience or a small history of strength and conditioning this is the gym I’d send you to, to learn how to move and to become fit the right way. They don’t change the workouts often so there is plenty of time to try them all and to improve where needed. It's perfect for the general population who just needs to move.
- The classes are only 35 minutes. Perfect for the busy professional, parent or student to get a sweat in and still reach the recommended 150 minutes/week.
- Timed exercise - meaning no need to count reps (which I suck at), just move until coach says rest!
- Although the workouts don’t seem to change often, Thursday to Sunday classes are done a bit differently.
- Plexiglass between stations, so you won't catch COVID (or sweat on your neighbour)
- Coaches are very nice!!
- The team does so many amazing things for the people of Halifax
- The workouts don’t change, and I found a lot of the variations were similar. Hence why I got bored but that is just me.
- Again, classes are only 35 minutes. Most around the city are 45 minutes - this may be due to a quick warm-up and they do not do a cool-down.
As always, I encourage you to try this place out for yourself. Online too! This is solely from my point of view and based on my experiences. COVID also may have an effect on the way the workouts are designed. I can say I had a great time at all of my classes, music was good and I will continue to attend classes during my month membership.
Ps: it's truly amazing to see so many individuals who have been with the gym since it opened. To see the community they created of like-minded people who really made a difference for local shops and restaurants during such a tough year is applaudable. A gym is nothing without its members, and I only hope if I choose to open one up one day, my members are as loyal as the ones at Evolve.