Drop and give me 20: the story behind One Mile Lake Park’s Fitness Circuit

Why One Mile Lake is like the ultimate ice-cream sundae: it’s the perfect panacea to a hot summer’s day, and the more different elements you add, the better it gets. Over the years, the best park in Pemberton has enjoyed the addition of a boardwalk, firepit and picnic tables, Community Garden, boathouse, Nature Centre, dog beach, improved trail network, Sea to Sky/Nairn Connector Trail, disc golf course, and most recently, a self-directed fitness circuit.

The fitness circuit signs interrupted my slothful strolling one day with an invitation to drop and do a series of push-ups and squats. That motivated me not to get even sweatier, but rather to find out more. So I checked in with Liz Scroggins from Rotary, Jill Brooksbank from the Village of Pemberton and Nicolle Bortolussi of Revolution Personal Training who represent the three partners who came together to make this happen, and found out the story behind the circuit.

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1. More fitness? Isn’t it difficult enough to go for a walk in this town without running into a pack of Iron Men, marathons, early risers, super dads running with strollers, mountain bikers, without there being signs posted all around One Mile Lake reminding us sloths how unfit and unmotivated we are? (push-ups? you mean here? now? in the dirt? in public?)

This town is very fitness driven and the circuit is something that has been requested for a long time.  I would hope that those who refer to themselves as ‘sloths’ as you call it might realize the importance of physical activity no matter what level they participate.  It’s all about moving 🙂  Theres no judgment as to how many reps or exercise individuals perform, or even if they participate in the circuit, the best thing is that people are walking or jogging around One Mile and that is amazing in itself.

I would suggest anyone new to fitness to make sure their doctor has okayed physical activity and that they contact one of the local trainers for some ‘first time’ exercise overview.

Funny you mention “in public”:  as I was moving some signs today I saw a girl doing some squats at the dog beach and commended her on doing the circuit. I thought it was fabulous.  She did mention that people do sometimes stare, so I told her that I had put the circuit together and mentioned that people were probably just really envious and stoked that she was working out.  This girl had told me she loved the circuit….I was STOKED!!!

2. But seriously, why a fitness circuit at One Mile Lake? What was the inspiration? (A lot of beach communities in Australia have fitness circuits and equipment along the beach pathways, where people tend to run. I felt quite at home when I saw the signs the other day. Add a few kilotons of sand and we’re golden.)

Nicolle: It’s the most commonly used trail in town, it’s convenient and a beautiful setting.

 Liz: The VoP along with many community partners enhanced the trail network around One Mile Lake in 2010.  With new access across Pemberton Creek, the connector route near the the Nature Centre and the boardwalk at the lake’s edge, the One Mile Lake trail become a very popular trail.  The “inspiration” for me was to use this great trail and provide a self-directed circuit that anyone could do at anytime they wish.

3. One Mile Lake seems like it’s really the jewel in the crown for Pemberton. It’s like Whistler’s much-touted Valley Trail, only nicer. And a pretty amazing backyard for everyone living in the Peaks and nearby condos. Why does it make sense to have it there… as opposed to closer to the community centre, downtown etc.

Liz: The location inspired the whole concept.

4. Who spearheaded this initiative?

Nicole: Liz and I met many years ago when I starting teaching a morning group fitness 6am class “BodyStorm” at the old Community centre, so she approached me on the idea.  We’ve been friends ever since and I wanted to help with something she could use in her spare time to keep fit, along with others wanting to get in a workout.

 Liz: I have participated in many circuit type fitness classes and thought it would be a great idea to offer a circuit that everyone could do, free of charge, on their own time.  Every busy person knows it is sometimes hard to make a class schedule fit into their lives, so this way, you could go at a time that is convenient to each individual.  Nicolle developed the fitness stations and the VoP was on board from the beginning but we did solicit input from several fitness professionals in Pemberton.  Everyone was in favour of the program design.

Jill: The Village of Pemberton contributed $1575 from the Community Enhancement Fund for signage, and installation.  The VoP will also be maintaining the signage.

 Nicolle: It’s been a long journey for Liz and I since first starting this ‘idea’ and I’m so pleased and excited to have such positive feedback on the circuit.  I had a friend text me to say she’d done it three times that week and it was just what she needed to get out there and work out! Many thanks to Liz, the VoP and Rotary for their generous contributions to making this happen.


5. What is the fitness circuit, in a nutshell?

Nicole: Its a circuit of simple exercises that can be done with body weight.  

Liz: It is structured to offer a combination of cardio-vascular exercises followed by strength, balance and agility movements for both impact and low-impact.  We wanted to use existing structures such as benches, bridges and open spaces to minimize the need for additional infrastructure.  The “start” is at One Mile Beach but you can start the circuit at the Dog Beach as well. There are 15 stations.

Nicole: Based on the budget we were working with I needed to make sure that the exercises were simple and could be demonstrated on a small sign in only two movements and no words.  There are so many exercises out there but I really had to stick to the basics as most people have done a push up, a squat or a jumping jack at some point in their life.  So you could say that it’s a circuit of simple exercises that can be done with body weight.  I really wanted to also incorporate an ‘interval’ type theme as that’s a great way for people to really push themselves exercising without a trainer. Time to complete on average I’d say is 20-30mins, but could take longer if you opt to do the circuit 2 or 3 times.  There is a ‘Hill Sprint’ Section up the S2S Trail that will add more time depending on how many reps are performed.  This section alone could be done by itself.  The start of the circuit is at the One Mile beach where the boardwalk starts, although I live in the peaks and start at the dog beach working my way around the lake in clockwise direction. The beauty of this circuit is you can do whatever exercises you are comfortable doing and progress from there.  Ideally, I would like to start some exercises from Underhill Park that link into the original circuit.

6. Who is it for? Are you serving an already active population, hoping to get tourists and campers from Nairn Falls to come into town for a workout and a gelato, or hoping to inspire regular folk?  By groups? Friends? Local trainers? Kids? Who shouldn’t use it?

Liz: We hope everyone will use it!

7. How much did it cost? Where did the money come from?

Liz: The Rotary Club of Pemberton and the Village of Pemberton each contributed $1500 for the circuit. Sign design and interactive map was done by Custom Fit Communications Group, the signs were put in place by VoP public works department, Nicolle donated her time for the fitness design, and Rotary contributed the project management.

8. Is it “what you see is what you get?” Or is there more to come?

Nicole: I’d like to add a 3-tiered pull-up structure at the dog beach area accommodate more upper body options, along with more stations starting from Underhill Park. Some added permanent structures would be great, like the 3-tiered pull up bars, monkey bars and rowing/pull up.

Liz: With some remaining funds we hope to add a pull up structure as Nicolle mentioned. An interactive google map will be launched soon.

rotary fitness circuit at one mile lake
9. Now that the project is complete, what advice do you have for local groups or folk with great ideas? 

Jill: Great things happen when we work together! 

Liz: Pemberton is full of examples of collaborative projects – look at the Skatepark, BMX track, Pemberton Canoe Club boat house, etc etc.  Lessons learned? Don’t give up!  Even though this is a very simple, low cost project, it has taken a long time to complete- that is just a reality projects are led by volunteers- I am relieved it is finally complete!!! 

10. Where can people go for more information?

Nicole: It is important to do the exercises correctly, so ask your trainer. I’d be more than happy to do some scheduled demos for anyone interested.


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