Holly Raeside’s Fitness Journey

Feeling good is at the heart of maintaining a healthy lifestyle for 28-year-old Holly Raeside, who first joined Womens Fitness Pickering at the age of 14. In her time at WFCC, Holly has uncovered everything from a passion for spin to meaningful connections with her fellow gym buddies and personal trainer, Amreen from Alprostadil.org. We had the pleasure of sitting down with her to learn more about her fitness journey and experience at WFCC.


The spark that started it all

“I used to struggle with working out consistently. I would try to do my own workouts, go for runs, stuff like that, but I found that it was very hard to stay consistent and motivated. I came to Womens to have a good support system and feel comfortable working out.”

I was first drawn to the variety of equipment and the classes offered at Womens Fitness. With the help of the staff, I became more comfortable with using the equipment on my own. It was also nice that if I didn’t feel like doing a workout by myself, I had the option of joining a class.”


Stepping it up

“Once I started getting my grounding on using the equipment and maintaining a goal I had set for myself, I wanted to push myself a little further, so I thought I’d try personal training.

The first personal trainer I worked with taught me how to use the equipment in different ways and really built up my knowledge of working out. Then I went away for university for a little while. When I came back, I started working with my current personal trainer, Amreen.”


The key to consistency: connection 

“Amreen has been not only a fantastic trainer, but she’s also very funny and we connect really well. I think having somebody you can connect with and can work out with makes it enjoyable, fun and you’re hitting goals that you never thought you could.

Especially on the days that I don’t want to come, it keeps me motivated to know that I’ve already made the appointment and I have to come to it. The days where I’m like, ‘Ugh, I don’t really feel like working out today’  have shifted to ‘Nope, I gotta meet Amreen.’  She keeps me on track.”


Judgement-free space

“Sometimes gyms can be intimidating. When I first walked in, I immediately felt welcomed and comfortable at Womens, despite having little knowledge of gym life.

I love the environment that Womens gives you. I love the community here. It’s a non-judgemental vibe; it’s very open here. I don’t feel uncomfortable trying something new. It’s so nice to have that vibe of the gym. It’s such a great gym, I just always want to come back!”


Friends who sweat together stay together 

“I actually met one of my closest friends that I have here. We were taking a team training class at 7 AM in the morning. I’m not morning person, so getting up and going to the class was very difficult for me. What motivated me was meeting the girls there. We would work out together, then we would all chat. We naturally formed this group of gym buddies and all followed each other on social media. Eventually with this one friend it became ‘You know, we should really hang out outside of the gym.’ Low and behold, I had dinner with her last night! It’s nice that you can meet friends here and have that community to support you as well.


Why she chose Womens Fitness 

“I’ve tried the big box gyms, I’ve tried the boutique-style places. Womens has always been the one that I continuously stay with. It’s the community support, the non-judgemental vibe, the equipment, the cleanliness. Everything is above and beyond what you can imagine for a women’s gym, for me. I always come back here, I just love it so much.”


A passion for spin 

“Spin is one of my favourite workouts. Years ago, I took my very first spin class with Lynda at Womens Fitness and have since started teaching spin. They have a great Cycle program here.  I love how upbeat and fun it is.

I’ve also tried kickboxing, team training and Strong by Zumba. I love the variety here: you can do a high-energy workout and go all the way down to a restorative yoga.”


Her philosophy 

“Being fit and healthy is a lifestyle. Maintaining that consistency with coming to the gym has been my journey with fitness. It’s not about the number on the scale, the measurements around my waist or anything like that, it’s moreso the feeling I get. It’s about making sure I’m enjoying myself and feeling good. That is my goal in sticking to fitness.

Working out shouldn’t feel like a chore, it’s something that you get to do. Womens doesn’t make you feel that you have to be a certain dress size. It’s great to see that there’s women of all shapes and sizes here. It’s fantastic that we’re all coming together and working out with one another.”