Trainer has passion to help others attain fitness goals
Calgary has always been my home and it is where the RIPPED! program was born. When summertime comes around, however, I always head west to Kelowna, B.C. to our summer home on Knox Mountain. I love spending time in Kelowna. It is so relaxing, peaceful and full of beautiful scenery, trails and, of course, weather! While in B.C., I spend a lot of time teaching fitness classes and, yes, I always give Kelowna a little taste of RIPPED! while I’m there. Global Fitness is one particular Kelowna health club where I spent a lot of time during the summer months and it is where I met Rene Unser, the director of the Global Fitness Department.
Unser is no stranger to exercise. She’s been involved in the fitness industry for the past 17 years and has been coaching athletes for six. Unser’s passion for fitness started at a very young age and growing up in an active family; she was always intrigued by health and wellness. Unser grew up playing lots of different sports and excelled in the sport of competitive softball and played volleyball for Team B.C.
At the age of 18 Unser started teaching fitness classes and that is when her love for fitness “turned into a passion to help others achieve their fitness goals.”
In her late 20s, Unser found two new fitness passions: road biking and running.
“I even signed up for a half ironman nine months after purchasing my first road bike,” she says. Although she enjoyed triathlons, it wasn’t something she was truly passionate about. Her husband then introduced her to trail running and mountain biking, which really struck a chord.
“My love for these activities and seeing how much they enhanced my life, once again, motivated me to want to help others experience the same,” she says.
She was inspired to start coaching runners.
Unser took coaching certifications, combined it with her previous years of experience in the fitness industry, and created her own business: P.A.C.E Sports Fitness. She became the first person to offer trail running clinics in Kelowna and has since added the sport of offroad running.
Unser feels lucky to be able to be involved in both of her passions: teaching fitness classes at Global Fitness and coaching through P.A.C.E Sports Fitness.
With all her clinics and teaching, Unser has an extremely active lifestyle and her training regime depends on her specific goals.
“If I am training for lifestyle, I train six to eight hours a week,” she says.
“Right now I am training for an eight-day trail running race and I am currently training 12 to 17 hours per week.”
To avoid overtraining, Unser uses periodized training programs, cross trains, and makes sure to listen to her body and take rest days.
Cross-training activities for Unser include yoga, nordic skiing, snowboarding, hiking, rock climbing, strength training and teaching a variety of different fitness classes at Global Fitness. When it comes to fuelling her body for those extra-long workouts, Unser loves fig newtons, homemade energy cookies, gels, bars and peanut butter sandwiches.
Unser’s clinics attract a wide range of people from youths to seniors. She also volunteers with the Youth Ogopogo triathlon club, where she coaches eight-to 10-year-olds.
So what does a typical workout involve for the participants in her clinics?
“Depends in what area I am in,” says Unser. “With trail running, it might involve a time trial, fartleks, hill climbs or long endurance runs.”
A key benefit of trail running is the fact that you are always using your entire body to stabilize, move and navigate the trails. Running on trails is softer than running on pavement, making the workout much lower impact. Going over uneven terrain and going around rocks or roots challenges your core and proprioceptors. Another huge benefit is the fact that many people enjoy trail running as a social activity. We all know that when you have a buddy, or a group of buddies, that you are more likely to stay consistent with your workout and therefore have better results
So what does Unser love most about her clinics?
“There are many benefits to trail running. Honestly, the biggest benefit for me is being out in nature and the beauty the sport brings me every time I run.”
Molly Thurston, Stephanie Swaisland, Andrew Corcoran and Ian Tanner trade the pavement for off-road trail runs.
Rene Unser leads off-road running clinics in Kelowna, B.C. Trail running is low impact and works the core.