This year Quest hired personal trainer Jean Francois Plouffe (or as he is called by most, JF) as a full-time recreation and fitness coordinator for the university. JF has over twenty years of experience working as a guide and as a trainer. He is a certified trainer from the American Certification of Sport Medicine (ACSM) as well as a Helly Hansen training ambassador. JF chose to come to Quest in part for the opportunity to work with students and to help build up the school’s athletic program, but says his decision to come was a “no-brainer.”
Although I try to frequently work out in the gym, it is often difficult to train at the same level on one’s own. So I was very happy to find out that JF was offering a number of new workout classes, in addition to providing training for Quest’s varsity soccer and basketball teams and elite athletes.
On Mondays JF leads a trail running clinic, where he takes a group of students out along the trails around Quest, usually a different type of run/trail each week, and also provides some running technique tips. The second time I went to the running clinic, we did about a 10km run, and I nearly died practicing how to run/powerwalk up steep hills. On Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 7am he offers a bootcamp style workout. The classes are becoming more and more popular and soon I am guessing (and a little worried) that there will be too many people for one class, especially if any guys start coming out. (The ratio of females to males is about 14:1 right now.) On Wednesday at noon he also offers a staff fitness class. As well, JF is looking to start a weightlifting skills class to teach correct weightlifting technique, a mountain bike clinic, spin classes and also has plans to lead one adventure outdoor trip at the end of each block.
Over the summer, JF was involved in redoing the weight rooms, in order to make a better facility that provides more natural light and air circulation. Last year, there was a “cardio gym” (with zero windows) on the lower level of the rec-plex that was seldom used, as well as a weight room on the upper level. Quest’s music studio was relocated to the newest residence building, Ossa, to make room for two connecting rooms that have been repurposed into a new and improved workout facility. New equipment, such as kettle bells, dumbbells, mats, skipping ropes, elastics, weight belts, boxes and bosu balls have also gradually been added to the gym.
I have been to a number of different boot camp classes, and I have to say JF’s classes are consistently very challenging, and I always finish feeling like I’ve had a really good workout. The morning classes in particular are a great way to wake up, and despite the hour less of sleep, I actually end up having more energy throughout the day. Because JF’s specialty is endurance training, I particularly like that his workouts always include an emphasis on aerobic training. Because of my martial arts training, I am used to doing a lot of strength conditioning but I have never trained to run long distances. Thanks to Quest bringing in JF, I am really looking forward to improving my endurance training and keeping in shape aerobically throughout the year. And thanks to JF offering so many opportunities to stay fit and healthy on campus, students have every reason to join in on one or more of his sessions.