#CBCfit: Little Sweatshop a family-friendly place to work up a sweat

Fitness classes advertised as being for everyone often don't live up to that billing. Thankfully, there are studios like the Little Sweatshop in Sherwood Park.

'This workout didn’t quite hit five stars for us, but it was close as we've seen so far'

Edmonton AM director Tim Adams and personal trainer Chris Tse review the Little Sweatshop's stripped-down workout program. 1:53

#CBCfit is searching for the best way to break a sweat.

Edmonton AM director Tim Adams and personal trainer Chris Tse will be

hopping into some of best fitness classes in the city

Every week, they'll test out a new heart-pounding program to help you find the perfect fitness fit.

The fitness industry is full of BS.

The more I learn, the more cynical I become about it.

So much of the fitness industry is about what a studio, gym or trainer can market, instead of what is actually good for your health.

The classic argument against my pessimistic view is that now people have options. That "at least people are getting out there" and "something is better than nothing."

Well, I don't buy it.

Too much hype, not enough quality

Over the last four months of doing #CBCfit I've been bombarded by questions.

People want to know what to try, what to buy, what to do and how to look after themselves. They are flooded with social media posts about the latest niche thing, but are screaming for actual information to cut through the crap. 

Frankly, they want to be told what to do by someone with credibility and authority and they have no idea who to trust.

I can't do that.

I am by no means an expert on health or fitness.
However, I consider myself pretty good at spotting trends, finding gaps and looking for smart people with answers.

Chris Tse, owner of of Blitz Conditioning and my co-pilot for #CBCfit, says one of the biggest problems is classes selling themselves as being for everyone, when they're not.

"This isn't Disney World where all of the rides are meant for everyone," Chris said.

"There are minimum fitness requirements for classes and you can easily feel as if you are getting swept under in a high-intensity class. Likewise, a beginner class might feel like a splash park when you are looking to BASE jump.

"As an industry we try to create marketing campaigns that are broad-spectrum and hit everyone but the 'you can do it as long as you try hard' isn't always true."

Commonly, classes will be too hard, lack appropriate instruction or fail to offer modifications that make the exercises either easier or more challenging depending on what you need.

Thankfully, there are studios like the Little Sweatshop in Sherwood Park.

Lives up to the marketing

It hosts a family-friendly, high-intensity workout that lives up to the marketing it puts out.

Owner Shelley Montemurro puts her clients through killer workouts, and not in a bad way.

In the course of one class we got to work on big heavy lifts, cardio and grind-it-out in an 18-minute segment of pullups, pushups, squats, walking lunges and tuck jumps.

Built for a beginner and a hulk

The best part is that it's scalable.

There were women in the class who were just getting back into shape and then there was Chris, a beast at these kinds of workouts. He went into full Hulk mode to try beat the daily record for the number of sets completed.

You can check out the video to see if he pulled it off.

Despite the range of fitness levels, we all got a great workout. The instruction and support throughout was top shelf.

The studio has a jungle gym and a stack of big old tires for kids to play in while their parents work out. Yes, the tires sound odd, but kids love it.

The only area where this fitness club doesn't quite compete is the atmosphere.

The Little Sweatshop has a culture and a vibe, but it's no Hive Fit Co or Barre Body Studio where it's clear lots of money has been spent on creating that warm, inviting, spa-like space.

The minivan of workouts

That's not to say you need that, but we know it helps a lot of people get motivated to show up.

As Chris put it, "It smells like sweat and kids' toys." That means it likely won't make the cut if you're young and don't have a minivan full of car seats.

In many ways this is the minivan of workouts: it's not sexy, but it's safe, reliable, functional, built for everyone and delivers results.

If you're a parent, this is your place.

This workout didn't quite hit five stars for us, but it was close as we've seen so far. That says a lot.