The Health Mobsters

This Montreal Business is Changing How You Work Out

  • Photos by David Murphy

Finding the motivation to work out can be difficult when you take into account the cost of a gym membership and finding the willpower to lift weights or run on your own.

There’s one way of getting around these problems though and it’s gaining momentum.

Training Mobs has been described as the social media of workouts, a website where anyone can join and locate a group of people wanting to get their sweat on, whether it be running, cross-fit training, practicing yoga, weight training or more.

“Training Mobs came from flash mobs. We thought, ‘We’re going to be flash mobs for fitness.’ And that’s more or less how we’re trying to push this,” said Training Mobs founder Dave Sciacca.

Here’s how it works: people, organizations or facilities sign up on and start a workout event. Much like a Facebook event, members can click ‘Attending.’

One of these events is the military boot-camp hosted by an army regiment in Montreal, where the training mobsters are put through a series of weight training exercises, sprints and an excruciating pushup sequence.

The dozen people that showed up for the mob took advice from military host Laurier Chabot. As a representative from the army, Laurier gives the military training for free because he’s a believer in health.

“You’re all champions,” screams Chabot as he walks around, giving advice and encouragement to dead-lifters raising dumbbells from the ground to above their head in one continuous motion.

It’s clear Chabot’s in the military from his stern attitude and eye for perfection. He’s in exemplary shape, as are the other 12 participants.

Francis Laforest, 24, thought the workout was great, but some of the training was a bit too much for him.

“It was a little different than what I usually do,” said Laforest. “There was a lot of strength [training], which is not my strength. But it was something I need to work on anyways.” Sciacca stresses Training Mobs isn’t just for underwear model look-alikes, however.

“Some workouts are intense, but it’s intense at all levels,” said Sciacca. “There’s workouts generally for all—18-year-olds to 72-year-olds, Olympic athletes to people going for their first 5 km jog ever.”

Training Mobs hasn’t turned a profit as of yet, but the business is growing. There are now Mobs starting up in Vancouver, Ottawa, Toronto, and even Austin, TX.

“The idea is that if we get more cities involved, if you go on vacation in New York and don’t know where to work out, you can very quickly tap into the mobster community,” said Sciacca. “You say, ‘Oh hey, I’m from Training Mobs in Montreal,’ and they’ll greet you with a big high-five.”

Although the majority of mobs were free to begin with, there are more venues offering their services at a low rate, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, according to Sciacca.

“You’ve got gyms and studios, that are not always operating at full capacity. If you’ve got a yoga instructor there and you have 30 spots but only 10 are taken, why not post it on training mobs?

“You fill [the gym] up at $10.00 [instead of] $15.00; now it’s full, you get exposure for your studio, you get exposure for your gym and people fall in love with it.”

One of those charging a fee is Mike Deboever, owner and operator of Reebok Crossfit. He’s seen a major influx of people heading to his gym because he hosts and encourages his gym at Training Mobs sessions. One of the sessions is training for the Spartan race—an obstacle course for the elite of the physical world.

“People needed to have trainers to prepare them for the Spartan race. So we created workouts outside; they met and became friends. Now,” said Deboever, “they will come to your gym.”

The social aspect is something Sciacca adds to promoting health in the community. He says people start to meet and get to know each other through training mobs, and that camaraderie is what keeps people coming back and encouraging friends to show up.

Upcoming Mobs

Strength and conditioning: Monkey bar gym training. 60 minutes, 550 Beaconsfield Blvd. $10.00, Nov. 1, 10:00 a.m.

Running: Hump day run. 50 minutes, 1394 Greene Ave., Free. Nov. 2, 7:00 p.m.

Bootcamp: Beat the clown bootcamp. 60 minutes, 8400 2e Ave. $10.00, Nov. 3, 12:00 p.m.

Boxing: One-on-one high performance studio: one-week free class pass. 60 minutes, 5475 Pare St. #106. Free. Nov. 4, 6:00 p.m.

Yoga: Yoga flow with Tania. 90 minutes, 429 Viger St. E. Free. Nov. 5, 11:30 a.m.

Dance Fitness: Pole fitness with MC & Cami. 45 minutes, 6815 Transcanada Highway. Free. Nov. 6, 9:00 a.m.

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