You can’t miss Mike Broderick’s mischievous side. The archaeologist turned social worker/ fitness instructor’s good-natured sense of humour and zest for life are palpable during the Saturday morning Circuit Training class he leads at West Point Grey Community Centre.
“It’s hard to be the centre of attention when you’re in a hole in the ground,” reasons Mike about his decision to step away from archaeology and pursue more face-to-face lines of work.
While part of his sense of humour comes from the 70-year-old wanting to be the centre of attention, the other comes from his self-professed social anxiety.
“There’s no better cure for social anxiety than getting dressed up in spandex and shorts and parading around in front of a bunch of ladies and gents,” laughs Mike before lamenting how it was easier to find a reliable source of spandex shorts in the 1980s.
One of the first classes Mike led was at West Point Grey CC – the same year that Expo ’86 came to town. Mike found teaching addictive. Since then he has taught high-low aerobics classes, step classes, boxing and circuit training at a variety of centres and to a variety of people, including David Suzuki.
He also keeps busy as a rehabilitation counsellor, writer, shop steward and part-time labourer on his wife Cecelia and his new home in Port Coquitlam.
Making people sweat till they laugh
Mike’s special brand of fitness usually includes a joke or two here and there. A lot of his material is modeled after Steve Allen and other late night talk show hosts from the 1950s, he confides. His class closer, “the last laugh,” was taken from American humourist Patrick McManus.
You might also find a US politician/ president joke and other jabs pulled from the headlines thrown around nonchalantly over the clanking of weights and sounds of heavy breathing on treadmills, ellipticals and bikes.
“Fitness is the easy part; it’s comedy that’s hard,” is one of the coveted Mikeisms that wafts through the air as participants move between 16 aerobics and weight stations for almost an hour of medium- to high-intensity intervals.
One of his longstanding participants, Christine, says Mike’s joviality, optimism and ability to lead a great class have kept her a regular Circuit Training attendee since the class launched over 10 years ago.
“Mike is very good. I think people really connect with him,” says Christine. “You can always count on him being there, and he knows everybody’s name.”
Christine transitioned into Mike’s class after taking a women’s introduction to weightlifting program at West Point Grey CC over 16 years ago.
“Sometimes it can be a little intimidating to be in a gym with a lot of heavy weightlifters,” confides Christine. “Mike’s class gives us a comfortable space to do weights, and it’s not necessarily heavy weights.”
Plus there is no waiting for machines, as the Fitness Centre is closed to the public during class.
For Mike, not only does teaching give him an opportunity to lead by example and support healthy lifestyles, it also gives him a captive audience to do the other thing he likes to do best.
“It’s good to be 70 and teaching fitness,” says Mike. “Being fit helps keep you awake better, keeps your joints limber and heart healthy, and probably helps me fight off all kinds of age-related diseases. And it gives me a good chance to tell jokes.”
Get in touch with us to learn more about Mike’s Circuit Training class and to register by calling 604.257.8140.