Dynamic Conditioning Centre
By all accounts Dynamic Conditioning Centre is no ordinary gym. Instead of row upon row of shiny exercise machines, DCC's equipment is an eclectic mix of items including sleds, fire hoses, monkey bars, kettle bells, a wide strip of Astroturf, water-filled barrels, climbing ropes, and a neat ball-and-rope thing that you can swing and bounce off walls.
As I roam the 5400 sq. ft. facility with Lee, my tour guide and DCC co-founder, I keep feeling the urge to run off and play with something. Finally, after we climb an Astroturf-covered incline, I give out a little "yee-haw!" and jump off the raised platform onto a soft "crash pad", feeling like a kid on a playground. The place sure is fun.
But it's not just about having fun: ultimately, it's about getting you in shape. As Lee explains, if some trinket is amusing but doesn't do much to improve your fitness level, you won't find it at DCC. Every piece of equipment is a tool to help you achieve the results you want.
Take the slosh bar - a long cylinder with water sloshing inside, rushing whichever way the bar is tilted. The inherent instability of such a contraption makes for a great opportunity to work the stabilizing core and leg muscles, engaging the whole body. That's what DCC is all about - improving your real-life, functional endurance, strength, balance and agility. Not bulking up a few isolated muscle groups or spending hours and hours on a treadmill.
So, what's a workout at DCC like?
Okay, now it's time for the most exciting part of my visit: the timed obstacle course. Just last weekend Lee and Jared were invited to set up an obstacle course at the Roger's Centre for the 126th Annual Police Games. He shows me the proper way to do some of the more technical elements of the course - and off I go!
Hop, hop, hop - kettle bell swings - push and pull weights and sleds up and down the Astroturf hill - push it, push it, keep going! - jump off the raised platform ( yee-haw! ) - jump into tractor tire - jump out - go, go, go! - 20 swings of the neat rope-and-ball thing - hop, hop, hop - throw 20 punches at the punching bag - come on, almost there! - sideways hops - zigzag around a line of cones - 20 satisfying sledgehammer whacks of the tractor tire - whew, DONE !
Three minutes and thirty four seconds after the start I'm gasping for air and grinning from ear to ear. I don't know if it's possible for endorphins to kick in this fast, but I'm floating on a bit of a high after completing the challenge. It sure was an intense workout!
Rates and Initiation Fee
A basic membership will run you $100 a month. You can also get an optional start-up package for $399 which includes a biosignature assessment (i.e., your hormonal/nutritional profile), two visits to a therapist, a fitness assessment, a customized workout program and two personal training sessions.
Clearly this isn't a budet gym, but that's the price you pay for individual attention. I'm assured that even for those who don't opt for any personal training, the DCC staff is still there to provide guidance and support. And apparently if members stop showing up, they'll get a phone call asking if they're okay, and urging them to stop slacking off. Quite a contrast with huge gym chains that gleefully collect regular payments from absentee patrons.
Towels, Lockers and Showers
The change rooms, showers, therapy waiting room, as well as other non-workout parts of the centre are modern and inviting, unlike the rugged and industrial athletic playground itself . The contrast defines clear boundaries between the "work hard area" and the "relax and feel at home area" (Lee says free WiFi for members is coming soon and, honestly, this is all I personally ever need to feel at home anywhere).
The change rooms are a bit small though and don't have much in the way of seating. Some benches would be a welcome addition. The gym does have a towel service.
Personal Training, Yoga and Spin
Personal training is $70-110 per hour, or there is group training available to help defray the cost. Spinning is not offered (there is nothing machine-dependent at DCC), but yoga is, as well as a variety of other classes: kettlebells, martial arts, boot camps (regular and women's only). The classes are $15-35 per session.
Food and Juice
There is a fridge with basic staples like water and Gatorade.
Personal attention to every member's need is possible because DCC does not try to over recruit. At the time of this post, they have a membership base of about 45, hoping to grow it to 150. After that they'll look into expanding the space before attempting to invite new members. "We don't want it to be overcrowded," says Lee. "Definitely intend to keep the exclusivity."
Days and Hours of Operation
6 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the weekdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.