By Stephen Petrick
A Haliburton Highlands Secondary School graduate is raising the bar for fitness and high-performance training with a plan for a new larger location a short drive away in Minden.
Owen Flood, who graduated from the local high school in 2015, is the owner of A.P.E. Training – Athletic Performance Excellence, which is going from its 500-square feet at its 83 Maple Avenue location in Haliburton to a 1,400 square feet location at 150 Bobcaygeon Road (formerly Bwana John’s) in Minden.
The new location will allow for more free weights, more cardio equipment and even an artificial turf area for fitness movements that require an outdoor-like space. Flood hopes to have the new space operating after Canada Day and believes it can help everyone, particularly high-performance athletes.
“It’ll be good for them and their development, right. Because long hours on the road. Stuff like that can be very taxing. So, you might maybe see more people stick with sports and pushing through those hard times when they don’t have to travel as much, right? So, it could be just very simple things of just keeping people in [a sport] for longer or, you know, wanting to be healthy more because they have the option to do that. Ten minutes from your house instead of two hours,” he said.
He remembers the challenges he faced growing up here as a high performance athlete when it came to his training for junior hockey and as an O-Cup competitor in cycling. Much of his training was independent, with an online component, which included some coaching, but it was less than ideal.
Flood, like many people in the fitness industry, is expecting 2022 to be good year, given that COVID-restrictions limited people’s ability to go to gyms for most of the past two years.
“I think things will pop up a bit,” he said. “More people will want to do physical activities, whether it’s indoors or outdoors – people have been cooped up. Now, things are starting to look up again.”
Flood plans to still offer specific training programs for hockey players, but his intention is to expand his services to the general public. A.P.E. Training evolved out of his love for hockey. He was once a Junior C player with the Provincial Junior Hockey League’s Dundas Blues. But when his time as a competitive hockey player ended, he began working with other players, to help them perform. He has since connected with several Haliburton County Huskies players and has helped them work on off-season training programs.
But, of course, gyms aren’t just for elite athletes. Flood has found that he enjoys helping everyday people learn about fitness.
“I like to see people come in and try to better themselves; to be part of that is fulfilling as a trainer,” he said. “I think everyone has a reason and not everyone’s is the same.”
He wants his gym to be a welcoming space, as he believes that gyms should also be an important place for socializing. They provide people with a fun atmosphere, and motivate people to come out.
“It’s a good way to meet new people, to keep motivated, to have support. If you’re working out at home, it can be tough,” he said.
Running a business here was not something Flood thought of when he was attending the high school here. However, the pandemic brought him back. His recent expansion in Minden, only a short drive from where he grew up has already shown him the value of coming home.
He said people have come up to him on the street, congratulating and asking about his service, which is something he wouldn’t imagine would happen in a larger centre.
“You wouldn’t get that anywhere else. I think that’s just more of what’s special about it. It’s just that people come up to you and talk to you about and show excitement,” he said.
For more information on A.P.E. Training visit, www.apetraining.ca.
- with files from Darren Lum