5 Types of Toronto Fitness Clubs to Help Embrace Your Inner Arnold

5 Types of Toronto Fitness Clubs to Help Embrace Your Inner Arnold

This is your year.

You’re going to get a membership to the closest fitness clubs in Toronto and whip yourself into shape four times a week. You download the latest Nike app to help create a 30-day program that’s going to lean, shape, strengthen and tone everything. You also add a spinning class to the mix just for good measure.

Then you proceed to sign up for a house league sports team. Doesn’t matter what sport it is as long as you’re out there burning calories and maximizing cardio time. And don’t forget to ease into yoga before mastering Bikram and Pilates. You didn’t wake up like this, you trained to be flawless.

Unfortunately, even if the dedication is there, you’re not likely a part of the 1% that follows through on an elaborate fitness goal. Gym memberships are appealing for all of four months. Then summer rolls around and you’re drinking craft beer and sliding poutine down the ol’ gullet (accompanied by guilt and tacos).

There’s no need to tackle every facility or activity available.

Instead, try to familiarize yourself with a preferred studio before joining. Plenty of fitness clubs offer a free or discounted class for first time students. This way you can shop around before signing off on a year’s worth of classes or a membership. 

So before this getting and staying in shape thing goes up in smoke, we’ve broken down the different types of fitness clubs in Toronto to aid in your journey. Make sure to visit the complete listing of each category if the recommendations aren’t already sufficient.

Boxing Gyms

Image via Stockyards Boxing & Fitness Facebook

It can be intimidating at first to join a boxing gym. It’s a combat sport that requires you to enter a square ring that’s surrounded by ropes in order to then destroy your opponent's face. That right there, that’s some Gladiator shit.

However, boxing does offer an incredible high. There’s nothing quite like having a rough workday or week and following it up by harnessing all of that stress into throwing a perfect punch. Boxing also provides amazing results in terms of leaning, toning and strengthening your body. Not to mention, you'll sweat like you've never sweated before.

Classes are also incredibly social. You won’t find yourself alone in a corner punching a bag. Instead, sessions are usually made up of several people concentrating on sparring and pad work together. So if you want to increase speed, endurance, agility, reflexes, and strength then by God, boxing is going to make a fighter out of you. Just don’t expect to walk away from this fitness regime unharmed.

  • For females seeking a more comfortable and supportive space to explore boxing there is Toronto Newsgirls Boxing Club. This women-only and trans-positive gym is located on Carlaw Avenue.
  • Canada’s oldest boxing and wrestling club is Sully’s Boxing Gym located in Dovercourt. If you want coddling, air-conditioning and showers then this isn’t the place to join. Sully’s maintains an old school environment.
  • Located in the Junction, the first trial class at Stockyards Boxing & Fitness is free and there are also payment plan options for both adults and youth.

View the complete listing of Boxing Gyms in Toronto.

CrossFit Gyms

Image via Reebok CrossFit Liberty Village Facebook

Having only been founded in 2000, it’s hard to determine whether or not CrossFit is another fitness fad or the future. Founded by Greg Glassman, the popular exercise program now boasts over 5, 500 affiliated gyms worldwide. Needless to say, this strength and conditioning system may just have staying power after all. But be warned, this exercise involves rope climbing, kettle bells, and tires, which may just have you weeping like a baby before the class even finishes. 

As an alternative to commercial gym establishments, CrossFit offers a bodybuilding approach to fitness in a group activity setting. CrossFit aims to improve flexibility, muscular strength, and endurance through a combination of weight training, distance running, and gymnastic workouts. For more information, read up on seven affiliate CrossFit gyms in Toronto that are worth the training.

  • If the monthly membership fees are holding you back then visit Reebok CrossFit Liberty Village. The first session is complimentary and helps you decide whether or not you want to join.
  • One of the coaches at Academy of Lions, located on Ossignton Avenue, is Alex Varbanov who has won 10 World and European Championships for weightlifting and a bronze medal at the 1988 Olympics.
  • CrossFit Toronto has an intense and effective Bootcamp program, which involves 45 minutes a day for four weeks. The classes are limited to 12 participants and makes for a more personal workout with trainers. 

View the complete listing of CrossFit Gyms in Toronto.

Martial Arts Studios

Image via Headrush Training Center Website

When living in Toronto there are few hostile situations that’ll make you wish you were well trained in martial arts. Ever been stuck on the subway with a seemingly normal person who starts cussing under their breath while staring directly into your soul? They may be harmless but there’s also that small possibility that they’re a runaway psycho killer with a thirst to butcher again. And you’re next on their list.

Martial arts may focus on self-defense through a system of combat practices but it is also beneficial for overall health and wellness. Through consistent training, you’ll experience a boost in strength, coordination, flexibility, and endurance. In terms of mental health, martial arts also helps to create a sense of belonging and increases emotional, spiritual well being in addition to improving self-esteem and self-worth.

  • Formally Grants MMA Gym, Headrush Training Center located in North York offers a free one-week trial, which is open to people of all ages. All you need to bring is photo ID, shorts and a t-shirt. Easy as pie. 
  • Xtreme Couture is a little further west of the city but offers just about everything under the sun at its 33, 000 square foot location. Including MMA training, wrestling, boxing, Muay Thai, and hot yoga. However, there isn’t a fixed membership fee, which always raises eyebrows.
  • There are women-only Muay Thai Kickboxing and Combat Fitness programs with female instructors available at Revolution MMA in North York and Thornhill.

View the complete listing of Martial Arts Studios in Toronto.

Pilates Studios

Image via Studio Lagree Facebook

Developed by Joseph Pilates in the early 20th century, it’s hard to remember a time when this system of exercise wasn’t in high demand. Pilates is a body conditioning routine that emphasizes spinal and pelvic alignment, developing a strong core, increasing strength and flexibility, and focusing on proper breathing techniques. 

A workout devoid of heavy weights may not appear challenging or intense but you’ll be surprised at the acute pain your core suffers in just one class. The health benefits of Pilates include improved posture, flexibility, concentration, body awareness, muscular strength and control, relaxation of the neck, upper back and shoulders, increased muscle strength, stress management, and much more. Pilates caters to everyone, beginner or advanced, so don’t fret about your current physical level.

  • Core Studio, located at Alexandra Park provides a $35 Try Us package for new students. The pass allows for two weeks unlimited access to MAT classes (Pilates, Yoga, Tower, and Barre). The package can also be upgraded to include five equipment classes for $99.
  • If you’re seeking something more challenging, there’s the recently opened Fly Queen West studio, which offers aerial and suspension yoga in addition to group reformer and sculpt Pilates. Single classes start at $20.
  • Kick it up a notch by attempting the 50-minute workout at Studio Lagree located in Forest Hill and King Street West. This exercise combines Pilates, strength, core, stretching, cardio, and circuit training into one severe session.

View the complete listing of Pilates Studios in Toronto.

Yoga Studios

Image via 889 Yoga + Wellness Spa Facebook

There’s this misconception that if you’re using yoga as a workout then you’re doing it wrong, but haters to the left. Yoga originated in ancient India and is the mental, spiritual and physical discipline that works to harmonize the body and mind through postures, meditation and breathing techniques. Doesn’t sound too physically demanding, does it?

However, the immense benefits of regular yoga practice include increased energy, flexibility, posture, strength, endurance, immunity, balance, concentration, and more. In addition, yoga sees a decrease in anxiety, depression, pain, and total cholesterol. There’s even research to prove that yoga interventions are beneficial for women recovering from breast cancer treatments. Don't knock it until you try it. 

  • The lavish YYoga facility located at Queen Street West is a 10, 000 square foot yoga studio that provides over 135 classes per week. This fitness center also features an infrared sauna, a boutique, and a tea lounge.
  • Suffering from stress and anxiety? Breathe Yoga Studio in the Junction offers a five-week program that helps to reduce tension and increase relaxation.  
  • A favorable workout is hot yoga at Moksha’s uptown location (there are also studios in downtown, North York, Danforth, Bloor West, and St. Clair West). Classes run 60, 75 or 90 minutes long, so make sure to hydrate beforehand.

View the complete listing of Yoga Studios in Toronto.

Of course, this is just a general breakdown of the different types of fitness clubs in Toronto. By no means do you have to join any facility in order to get fit. However, these clubs do provide a safe and knowledgeable space to support your fitness goals, whether that’s to de-stress in yoga or learn to kick a psycho killer's ass on the subway. Besides, don't you want the feeling of coming day and night? And if you know anyone that’s struggling to get started, share this post with them to help. 

Zoe Badley
Zoe Badley

A writer that starts and finishes conversations alone, pretends to own a corgi, and believes in the power of Beyoncé.