UPDATED SEP 3, 2020
“Not all sweat is created equal” may be a saying that Gatorade coined, but it sure is the truth. So, throw on your favourite moisture-wicking t-shirt and get ready for the best kind of sweat: one found at the best gyms and studios in the GTA.
These 45-minute classes are no joke. With motivational instructors, great playlists, and all-around smiles, SoulCycle has become an iconic brand, even being featured in a Chainsmokers music video starring instructor Karyn Nesbit. And the party really heats up in Toronto when they bump the tunes in Yorkville. With expertly-crafted playlists, occasional themes, and so many tapbacks, you’re in for constant exertion during these fun-loving but hardcore cycling classes.
On the scene as of fall 2017, international phenomenon Barry's Bootcamp has wasted no time in making its signature HIIT experience the talk on the town. The Richmond and Yorkville outposts provides the same red-lit room, luxe amenities, treadmills, floor-based strength work, and quality instruction made famous by studios in Los Angeles, NYC, and London. With a different focus on the body each day (for example, Monday is Arms & Abs day), you'll definitely be coming back for more. Fitt Tip: stop by the Fuel Bar to grab a nourishing smoothie on the way out.
Unveiled in 2019, Yonge Street's Sweat and Tonic is a complete wellness destination. A stunning and refined multi-level facility designed for both sweat and social, you'll find a HIIT, yoga, and cycle studio, as well as two community lounges, a nutbar cafe, a cocktail bar, a members-only social and work space, meditation pods, infrared saunas, and fully-stocked locker rooms. What more could you ask for?
With neon signs that flash out sayings like "Namaste Bitches" and exposed brick in the lobby, this is a hot yoga studio with a cool-kid identity. Gracing TO since January 2017, Pure Yoga’s Liberty Village classes are popular without being packed. And with instructors who are well-loved and established in the city’s yoga community, you can expect thoughtful sequencing and careful breakdowns of poses throughout your flow.
Studio Lagree has a reputation for offering some of the hardest “Pilates” classes in the city. In truth, the classes are a blend of Pilates, cardio, and strength training, the unique creation of Sebastien Lagree. Approved by celebrities like Sofia Vergara and Kim Kardashian (and us, for what it’s worth), you’ll combine strength, endurance, core, and flexibility in one session. Take a class at any of their GTA studios and try out their moves like the “spider kick”, “flying scrambled eggs”, and “bear hug” on the Megaformer, the machine used during workouts to challenge and tone ALL muscle groups.
Finding one class that fits everyone’s fitness goals is a challenge, but Totum‘s four TO studios rock a packed schedule of classes in all varieties, from cycling to full-body bootcamp. Whether you want to work your upper-body strength in a TRX class or build some technique with boxing, you’re in for one heck of a muscle burn. Oh, and their 30-minute Shred class is crazy — a non-stop circuit using both bodyweight and free weights; it’s one of the sweatiest they’ve got.
Fit Factory Fitness's downtown studio has the urban-industrial feel, and they carry that vibe through their hardcore HIIT, boxing, and strength-focused workouts. Split between two rooms—the "Skill Room" and the "Drill Room"—your workout with these high-energy instructors could lead you to the line of water-filled punching bags, bodyweight training between graffitied pillars, or some serious strength work with barbells, kettlebells, weighted sleds, and more. Every class, as you'll see, brings with it a rush of endorphins and lots of sweat. Fitt Tip: you might want to invest in a pair of boxing gloves unless you want to rent or buy theirs.
This sleek luxury gym (on Bay Street or in Yorkville) is perfect for those who like their workouts to be high-end; picture state-of-the-art equipment and trainers who really know what they’re doing. And the signature classes are hard to beat — take Precision Running (an hour-long, instructor-led class on the treadmill that plays with speed and incline to keep things interesting), Firestarter (30 minutes of cardio HIIT training with non-stop movements and innovative sequences), or the Ropes and Rowers (get comfortable on that rowing machine, folks).
This community space on Ossington doesn’t have fancy equipment. Instead, expect to pick up a keg or push a tire to get your body working. Created by friends Dhani Oks and Sohail Bastani, they encourage their group not to focus on fitness but on pure athleticism — and everyone can be an athlete here. While CrossFit may be the core, Academy also hosts non-CF classes, like MetCon, gymnastics, mobility, and a functional class called Sticks and Stones. Plus, they have an on-site cafe where you can get a pre-workout butter coffee or post-workout shake.
BOLO’s a boxing studio, blowout bar, and cafe all in one. What started as a pop-up has turned into a permanent location on Richmond & Peter streets, and they’re now one of the hottest workouts in the city. If you’ve done a session in their "hot room", you’ll know what we’re talking about! Though, if punching bags aren't really your thing, they also offer a variety of high-intensity circuit training and yoga that integrates boxing-inspired moves. Just make sure you stop by the cafe on your way out for a refuel; you’re going to need it.
Looking for an effective, high-intensity workout but always short on time? F45 might be the right fit. You’ll be in for 45 (sweaty) minutes of functional training that includes both strength and cardio. But you won’t be seeing ellipticals or treadmills on the floor; think kettlebells, ladders, ropes, and boxes. There’s lots of room for creativity, so even if you’re used to a regular gym, you’re sure to be in for something new here. With over 3,000 different exercises and counting, the only thing that actually stays the same is the intensity. Bring a fellow fitness fiend and prepare for a motivating atmosphere and hardcore workout that surely will have you hooked! They are literally all over the city, so an F45 won’t be hard to find.
HIFLUX is a word you'll come to know at One Academy's 10,000-square-foot fitness workshop in Leslieville. Why? Because it works. The signature four-week program is designed to bust through plateaus, progressively upping the intensity and volume over 10 group classes that will work your cardio, power, endurance, and strength. You'll find all the equipment you need—dumbbells, kettlebells, barbells, weight sleds, rowers, and so much more—in the area dubbed "The Pit". And you'll be able to stretch out in a dedicated recovery area, score a cup of joe from Pilot Coffee Roasters at their in-house coffeebar and lounge, and book wellness treatments like massage and physiotherapy with their professionals.
Ride Cycle Club has something that's hard to put into words: it could be called swagger and it might be influence. But whatever it is—with the curated playlists, amped up instructors, and micro-movements on the bike—you'll be locked in during your ride. Their Ossington and Bloor studios offers classes from 45 minutes to a marathon-like 75-minute session, but no matter which you pick, the time always seems to fly by!
Known for being the first indoor rowing gym in the country, Jarvis Street’s SCULLHOUSE offers a unique rowing-based workout that’s high-intensity yet low-impact. Regardless of your fitness skills or rowing experience, their classes are pretty much accessible to everyone. Much like your fave boutique studio, each class has a different focus — they offering everything from restorative rowing (half rowing, half yoga) to Core Row, Classic Row, and more. It’s also founded by former Canadian National Team rower Kristin Jeffery, so you can be sure you’ll be getting in an elite sweat.
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