Every other Tuesday, Svveat Stories brings you Svveatspiration: an inspiring series of first-person narratives from our fitness community’s unsung heroes. This week, Sofia Kim tells us how Toronto’s free fitness scene helped her feel less alone in her home away from home.
Until a couple years ago, I didn’t know much about Canada, nor did I imagine that I would have the best year of my life living in Toronto. Thankfully, life worked its magic and along came two very special people, who both happened to be Canadian. We met in 2013 during a university exchange program in Munich, Germany. Inevitably, the idea of living in Canada evolved into a goal.
After I graduated from university in December 2014, I started working for a Korean company in Mexico. I eventually discovered that the company had an office in Mississauga (which I had no idea how to pronounce at the time), so I contacted HR to let them know I wanted to work in Canada. In March 2016, I was notified that there was a vacancy and it was mine if I still wanted to move. On April 22 of that year, I arrived in Toronto.
Spring and summer were lovely. I joined a soccer league, which allowed me to meet new friends and play the sport I love the most. I also went to some yoga and acroyoga classes. Fall and winter were tougher. I started to miss my family and friends more, and once the soccer season was over I wasn’t doing any activities after work.
Through Instagram I found the community yoga classes at lululemon’s The Attic; at the same time, I registered for the Guelph Lake II Try–a-Tri with a group of coworkers. At first it was hard to find the energy to train after work because my daily commute took an hour and a half each way, but having a goal definitely pushed me to be disciplined and committed.
After the race, I wanted more of that feeling of happiness and well-being, so I looked further and the circle started growing. lululemon led me to Svveat, Svveat led me to Academy of Lions and Academy of Lions led me to Parkdale Roadrunners. Within these groups, I started meeting new people. Their good vibes, energy, motivation, good health, and physical and mental strength were contagious. Learning about their personal goals and accomplishments inspired me to pursue my own.
This was it. I understood not only the meaning of community, but also the importance of it.
All the fear, insecurities and pain that we carry and get so wrapped up in become less overwhelming when there is a group of people offering help, warmth and friendship.
Today I can proudly say that my biggest physical and mental accomplishment to date was during my stay in Canada when I ran the Around the Bay 30K Road Race in Hamilton. Some of the Parkadale Roadrunners told me they were going to run it and that it was the oldest race in North America, so I decided to join them. This is the longest distance I have ever run and it was the best way to conclude my stay in Canada.
To those starting your own fitness journey, I’d encourage you to surround yourself with people you find inspiring: people who offer you new experiences and are happy to see you grow. Join a community that guides you out of your comfort zone and helps you set and conquer new goals.
It has now been a month now since my return to Mexico City. I continue to do yoga and play soccer, and I recently joined the running crew Dromo (who, coincidentally, are friends with the Parkdale Roadrunners). My next fitness goals are to run a marathon and complete a full triathlon.
I would like to thank lululemon Toronto (The Attic, The Local and Cumberland), Svveat, Academy of Lions, Parkdale Roadrunners and Power Yoga Canada for allowing me to cultivate strength during the good and the not-so-good times, for introducing me to new friends and for giving me a new place to call home.
Author: Sofia Kim.
To find new fitness friends like Sofia did, search Svveat for free workouts in your community.