Northern Wilds Magazine
Strength training benefits the mind and mood just as much as the body. | BECCA ORF OF STIR PHOTOGRAPH
Along the Shore

Strength, community and fun with Lynx Fit

It’s no secret that movement is good for us. For many people, the new year brings an increased focus on wellness, including exercise. However, sticking to a workout routine can be challenging when working out feels like a chore. But what if movement wasn’t just a resolution, but the most fun part of your day? Carmen Skildum is the owner and founder of Lynx Fit, a Grand Marais area business that offers personal training and group strength training classes that have a focus on making movement enjoyable.

“I want people to enjoy movement because one of the big reasons people stop doing something is because it’s not fun, and a huge part of what movement should be is fun,” Skildum said.

Skildum started her journey into the world of fitness when she began weight lifting in her late 20s. Her love for fitness led her to becoming a certified personal trainer, and she started working with clients one-on-one from her home gym. Word got out, and now she offers a variety of classes, including high-intensity interval training (HIIT), moderate-intensity interval training (MIIT), strength and conditioning classes, and one-on-one training.

Lynx Fit classes vary from class to class and day to day, but a few elements remain the same: each of the sessions is about 45 minutes long and strength-based, with a structure that aims for a full-body workout. Skildum said that her style is interactive, and that coming up with new workout routines is her creative outlet. Even with group classes, Skildum is focused on the individual, with plenty of flexibility for each person to go at their own pace.

“If someone’s never lifted before that’s totally okay,” Skildum said. “There’s no pressure, and we have people practice the motions without using the weights yet. Everyone is welcome to do whatever they’re comfortable with on a particular day.”

Lynx Fit owner and founder Carmen Skildum. | BECCA ORF OF STIR PHOTOGRAPHY

Strength training provides a myriad of benefits, from developing stronger bones to improving cardiovascular health to decreasing your risk of injury from other activities. Strength training, too, is beneficial for people of all ages–Skildum said you’re never too old to start weight training, and that weight training can help with mobility and increasing strength after past injuries. Strength training also benefits the mind and mood just as much as the body.

“One of the benefits I also stress is the benefits of movement for mental health,” Skildum said. “Endorphins are like the magic pill people don’t know that they should take for their mood. And in a group setting there’s so much positive energy you need, especially in the winter and living up here where we’re so isolated. Physical benefits aside, the mental benefits are really where it’s at. It makes a big difference.”

Hayley Scott is a Cook County resident who has experienced firsthand the difference that movement can make. Scott lives in Schroeder and found out about Lynx Fit when Carmen Skildum was teaching classes in Tofte. Scott started attending classes regularly, and when Skildum stopped teaching classes in Tofte, she and a few other West End friends started making the trip to Grand Marais to continue attending her classes.

“Her classes were life changing for me,” Scott said. “It’s taught me to be stronger and to take care of my body in ways that I never thought that I could.”

Scott said that among the many things she likes about Lynx Fit classes, she appreciates the instruction on form and the atmosphere that’s welcoming to people of all levels, including total beginners. For beginners, one of the biggest upsides of working with a trainer or joining a group exercise class is becoming more comfortable with strength training. Walking into a gym full of equipment can be daunting for someone with no experience, but having someone there to introduce you to proper form and use of the equipment can help ease that process.

“I think people can be intimidated when you don’t know how to do exercises,” Scott said. “I didn’t know much about exercise or weight lifting until I started with Carmen, and now I’m confident that I can go to the gym and do deadlifts, squat racks, and all of those exercises because she taught me how.”

Altogether, both Scott and Skildum emphasized the importance of community, laughter and fun during the process.

“It’s a fun time, which I think is the most important thing,” Skildum said. “I try to help you leave feeling good and have a good time connecting with your body, connecting with other people, and surprising yourself a little bit.”

Those interested in learning about Lynx Fit, including class schedules and passes, can find more information at:

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