Let’s face it — draining our bank accounts just to avoid that ‘winter body’ slump just doesn’t seem worth it. Though, for a true Torontonian and winter lover’s alike, a little chill in the air never stops them, it’s the hole in their wallet. So, free workouts, indoor or out, seem to be our saving grace.
Here are some of the best FREE running groups, yoga classes, and training sessions in the city to keep you moving all year long!
Nike+ Run Club
If you love Nike and love running, the Nike+ Run Club just might be a right fit for you. No membership is required — just a simple download from the App Store. It’s a great (and free) way to step up your running game and have others doing it with you. Typically, the runs happen in larger cities, like Toronto, but you have the ability to set up your own run, too. Finding your running group is as easy as searching your location on the app and cities what is going on for the week. Toronto even has a Nike Loft on Richmond for people to gather before and after a run.
The Running Room Run Club
The Running Room offers a free club for people interested in running and walking with others during the week. Sessions start at Running Room locations in the city on Wednesdays and Sundays. You can easily get out and get moving without having to commit to something too intense. But it will keep you accountable — in joining the Run Club, you get updated about events and receive a training log to keep track of your progress and to remind you to get that heart pumping, at least twice a week.
Academy Of Lions
While this is a membership-based institution, Academy of Lions offers weekly trial classes that are free to the public. They want to spread the word on the importance of fitness regardless of your budget and do so in a CrossFit-style setting. These classes—held Saturdays at noon in Ossington—will set you up with the right fundamentals for a proper CrossFit experience.
Night Terrors Run Crew
This is a club for runners who just want to have fun. It’s a completely inclusive gathering and everyone goes at a pace that everyone is comfortable with. And, a cool fact, they don’t travel through a regular route — it’s a run to explore the city. The Night Terrors crew stops off at murals, festival spots, and more. So, if you’re new to Toronto and love to pound the pavement, this is probably the club for you. Find your way around and get some exercise in, all in one go. These runs happen on Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays starting at Trinity Bellwoods Park.
If you’ve always wanted to tackle a 5k, 10k, half-marathon… whatever distance but you’ve never wanted to do it alone, look no further than Running Rats. They have a passion for running and tackles races in the city as a team. Every Tuesday, the Running Rats tackle a different route, varying in distances, and keep things fresh. On their website, they have a list of races happening in and around the city — even some international. This gives runners of the group something to strive for as a team! FYI: they don’t have any specific starting point, so check their calendar to stay up to date.
Kit & Ace Foundation Training
Kit & Ace on Bloor Street regularly offers pop-up classes. From a Foundation Training class to establish a more dynamic posture, increase mobility, and improve overall strength to bicycle pop-ups, these are all about a good community sweat. Plus, no matter what you do, you can head to the back of the store for your morning coffee at Sorry Coffee Co.
Sir Casimir Gzowski Park Outdoor Gym
This is a free workout that is all about YOU. If you don’t necessarily love working out in group and just like to do your own thing, head over to this outdoor gym. First, it’s free (obviously, by its spot on this list) and you can work on moves to test your strength in this urban, outdoor set-up. There are parallel bars, low bars, and bars to work on those pull-ups. Why not bring a friend and get a bodyweight circuit going?
lululemon @ Cumberland St.
This lululemon location offers free classes of yoga and HIIT, and even the occasional running session. So whether you want to wind down or really break a sweat, lululemon has something to offer. And, you can end whatever session you participate in with a little retail therapy. You can’t beat that, right?
With MEC already being a place for all things outdoorsy, naturally, you can expect some great workouts, well… outdoors. MEC hosts free running and cycling events several times a month. While there are plenty of running clubs around the city, finding a cycling club can be difficult. And if running is just not your thing, cycling is an equally as great test of endurance and cardio. There are a few starting locations around the city, so be sure to check the schedule!
lululemon @ Queen St. West
lululemon, or “318 Queen” as some like to call it, is the go-to spot for classes and workshops for lovers of the athletic brand. Held in a spot of the store called ‘The Attic’, this particular lululemon offers a range of classes from bootcamp and HIIT to yoga and meditation. There is even a workshop called ‘Feelosophy’ which focuses on restorative yoga, massaging, and good music to relax the mind.
The brand that is famous for its White Tour—where everyone gathers wearing white to do yoga at night—also holds classes all year long at the store locations. Lole offers classes of yoga, meditation, HIIT, and even informational classes about nutrition, trends, and more. The Lolë in Yorkville is a true go-to to get your weekly sweat on for no cost at all. You can’t really beat that.