Af­ter get­ting a de­gree in ex­er­cise sci­ence from UBC, Sara Hod­son worked with car­diac re­hab pa­tients for 11 years. “I would con­stantly hear some­thing like, ‘Can my part­ner come who just found out he has di­a­betes?’ And I al­ways had to say that un­less they had a heart at­tack or a ma­jor heart in­ter­ven­tion, they don’t qual­ify.” So, she de­vel­oped Live Well Ex­er­cise Clinic, a fit­ness club with an ex­er­cise- as-medicine model for any health con­di­tion or con­cern.

Staff, all of whom are univer­sity cer­ti­fied clin­i­cal ex­er­cise phys­i­ol­o­gists, mon­i­tor vi­tals such as heart rate, blood pres­sure and blood su­gar, and take into ac­count health con­di­tions when de­vel­op­ing a mem­ber’s rou­tine. That might in­clude the lat­est ex­er­cise guide­lines for lower back pain or nu­tri­tion tips for Type 2 di­a­betes. “Most cer­ti­fi­ca­tions and

qual­i­fi­ca­tions out there are for fit­ness pro­fes­sion­als to work with peo­ple who are ap­par­ently healthy. That is the term used in their train­ing,” she says. “What about when some­one has high blood pres­sure?”

At an av­er­age of just 1,200 square feet, the ex­er­cise floor is no­tably in­tim- ate. The staff-to-mem­ber ra­tio is roughly one-to-five dur­ing each hour-long ses­sion. And if you miss a ses­sion, you can count on a fol­lowup call. “We care that our mem­bers show up,” says Hod­son, not­ing that mem­ber­ship is capped at 300 to pro­mote a per­son­al­ized ex­pe­ri­ence and a sense of com­mu­nity. This isn’t your grand­kid’s gym, and the con­cept seems to be res­onat­ing. Since 2011, Hud­son has opened six lo­ca­tions in British Columbia, clin­ics in Toronto and Oakville ear­lier this year with fur­ther ex­pan­sions planned for B.C., On­tario and Al­berta. www. livewell­ —TL

Live Well mem­bers are en­cour­aged to share their suc­cesses.

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