An af­ter­noon with one of the GTA’s most sought-af­ter fit­ness gu­rus

Monika gives group fit­ness a go with Coach J lead­ing the way

Richmond Hill Post - - LIFE - MONIKA SCH­NARRE Monika Sch­narre is a model, ac­tress, en­trepreneur and tele­vi­sion per­son­al­ity. She has ap­peared in over 50 tele­vi­sion shows and films and on over 100 mag­a­zine cov­ers.

As I was driv­ing to Thorn­hill, I was think­ing I do not en­joy group classes. To be frank, I am a solo worker-outer. I like to run alone, walk up and down my neigh­bour’s 135 stairs alone (times 10) and do my yoga alone.

My com­pet­i­tive sports his­tory was also pre­dom­i­nantly in in­di­vid­ual sports such as track and cross-coun­try.

So as I pull up to the very new and clean fa­cil­i­ties on Dis­era Drive, I am not look­ing for­ward to this ses­sion with Coach J.

He greets me and is warm and friendly. Ev­ery body type is rep­re­sented in the room, and you can tell that Coach J is there to help us all — and sud­denly I want to please him too.

We ro­tate be­tween the row­ing ma­chines made by WaterRower. What’s unique about them is that they repli­cate or sim­u­late the sen­sa­tion of row­ing through wa­ter with ac­tual wa­ter in the front drum (and it’s the same ma­chine used in the show House of Cards).

Four min­utes on the row­ing ma­chine and al­ready my com­pet­i­tive in­stincts have kicked in. Coach J fu­els the com­pet­i­tive na­ture in the room with quips like, “You’re not gonna let her (the woman in pink shorts next to me) beat you, are you, Monika?” And she does. Then we’re on to the floor with al­ter­nat­ing ket­tle bells, weights and ab ex­er­cises. Coach J in­spires us with quotes like “More reps, more wine!” And I like him even more.

That lik­a­bil­ity and in­spi­ra­tional man­ner seems to play a big part in why he has such a loyal fol­low­ing.

Coach J was born in Toronto, but grew up in Vaughan. Sports and fit­ness were al­ways an in­te­gral part of his life. Af­ter high school, he moved to Cal­i­for­nia for post­sec­ondary and ended up play­ing col­lege ball for three years. Once he re­turned to Toronto, he de­cided to pur­sue a ca­reer in per­sonal train­ing.

“Af­ter many years in the industry, I felt a burn­ing need to branch out and ex­per­i­ment with some­thing new and ex­cit­ing. My group train­ing phi­los­o­phy and meth­ods [F.I.T. Cir­cuit and newly F.I.T. Row pro­grams] evolved from that point, and I’m here where I am to­day be­cause I lis­tened to my heart,” he says.

And he’s cer­tainly done well. Some of his classes are even wait­listed.

I can’t wait to get back to the other side of the room and have an­other go on the row­ing ma­chines. Once again the women on either side of me beat me … hand­ily. This is so not cool.

Al­though I am com­pet­i­tive, Coach J strives to help you achieve a work­out tai­lored around your own needs, no mat­ter your per­sonal fit­ness level.

Coach J’s group train­ing is eas­ily adapted for those step­ping through the doors of his stu­dio for the first time or those who have been train­ing there for years.

One week later my abs are still aching, but I want more. Most of all? I want a re­match with Miss Pink Shorts.

Monika par­tic­i­pates in the group class at Coach J’s stu­dio STU­DIO: Coach J Fit­ness Stu­dio AD­DRESS: 10 Dis­era Dr., Suite 230, Thorn­hill PRICE: $20/class

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