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When Brandee Owens first picked up a mace she had no idea how to use it in a workout, but after her first lesson she was hooked.
“The second I touched it I fell in love with it. I wasn’t a trainer at the time, but became a trainer because I wanted to further pursue the mace world, so that’s how it all started,” Owens said.
With the help of her coach Zackary Yanyk at Readiness Fitness in Regina, she learned how to use a mace safely and effectively. Six months later she became a certified mace instructor herself, and now coaches others during her Steel Mace Valkyrie classes at the same gym where she first picked up the tool.
The warrior element to using a mace is what initially attracted her, said Owens.
“I’ve always liked the superheroes, the comics, Wonder Woman, all that kind of stuff,” she said. “You work hard but you don’t even realize how hard you’re working, because you just feel like a warrior doing it.”
During the class, Owens teaches her clients different movements with the 10-pound mace, before combining the movements into a series called a “flow” that looks like a combination of martial arts and dance with a steel weapon.
Her and Yanyk’s mace fitness classes have been steadily growing since they were introduced a year ago. Owens said Yanyk’s class began with just eight people and he now has about 35 clients, while she has about 25.
After several years attending other classes at Readiness Fitness, Sara Dewhurst saw people using the maces and was intrigued by it. In November she joined one of Owens’ classes and picked up a mace for the first time.
It wasn’t as easy as it looked.
“Brandee and everybody make it look so easy, so you think, ‘Oh I’m going to pick this up and just start swinging,’ and it’s not like that. It’s actually quite hard at first, and 10 pounds doesn’t seem very heavy, but when you’re swinging it around in a mace like that, it definitely is,” she said.
“You just feel kind of like a warrior. It’s just something you don’t really get anywhere else. It makes you feel empowered.”
Owens said using a mace as a workout tool has become popular in the United States, and is now gaining traction across Canada. As part of the only gym in Regina that offers this type of workout class, Owens enjoys being able to offer people something different.
“It’s awesome to bring something new to the city. It’s not new I guess in general — it’s been around for thousands of years,” she said. “I love the fact that you just push hard and it’s like no other, so you don’t really get sick of it.”
Dewhurst was surprised to discover how much of a full-body workout training with a mace gave her.
“I kind of thought it was going to be more upper body, and it’s actually just full body workout,” she said. “It seems (like) mostly strength, but even the cardio portion just from the flows and stuff, and even swinging is more than you think just looking at it.”
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