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Fitness Clubs

FitWall Toronto

Posted by Erica Berman / Posted on February 5, 2013

fitwall torontoFitWall Toronto is the latest gym to offer (you guessed it) FitWall, which is one of the latest fitness trends to hit Toronto, but you probably haven't heard of it yet. It's vertical training involving a specialized ladder-like contraption that you hang from, forcing you to fully support your body weight, and allowing you to engage more muscles than you would performing the same exercises on the ground.

Resistance bands and suspension straps can also be attached so that you can perform a variety of strength, balance, and cardiovascular exercises. The FitWall tagline is "you are the machine," because the challenge comes from lifting, pushing, and pulling your body weight.

fitwall leaside torontoOriginating in the U.S., until this year the only FitWall gym in Canada was located in Vaughan. Just a few weeks ago, the newest location opened in Leaside. Inhabiting the second floor of a building on Bayview, just south of Eglinton, the FitWall Toronto gym is a bright, clean, and sunny space.

Founder Bonnie Goldmacher, explained to me the many benefits of this type of workout, which, she claims, is easily adaptable to any fitness level. While the concept is fairly simple, I can tell just a few minutes into my demo session with two of FitWall's certified trainers just how intense and effective it can be.

fitwall torontoI am directed to hang off the FitWall, with my toes/balls of my feet perched on a lower 'rung' and my hands grasping a higher 'rung' (the closer together your hands and feet, the more challenging the workout), to perform back, chest and lower body exercises for 30-40 seconds. The trainers also show me how to use the FitWall for cardiovascular drills, which effectively get my heart rate up, and suspension exercises that work my upper body and core. It's extremely challenging, but also fun.

fitwall torontoIf you resolved to exercise more this year, but lack the motivation to accomplish this goal on your own and/or think you do not have the time required, this may be the perfect solution. Sessions are generally 30 minutes long, and Bonnie explains that the workout is so effective, they needn't be any longer, and can be done in a group (up to 8 people) or privately. They are always done with a certified trainer to motivate you and guide you through the workout.

fitwall torontoOne of the most unique aspects of the sessions, however, is the ability to quantify your efforts. Each participant has the option of wearing a heart rate monitor, which is linked up to a computer. This allows both you, and your trainer, to track how hard you are working throughout the session. This makes it ideal for both individuals with medical issues who need to limit intensity, as well as elite athletes, who want to ensure they are working in their target zone.

fitwall leaside torontoThe FitWall can also be used for rehabilitative purposes, and Bonnie's partner, Duilio Bertolo, a chiropractor and exercise physiologist, will be offering treatment sessions in a portion of the studio dedicated to rehab work and physiotherapy.

fitwall torontoThe only potential downside of the FitWall is that it requires significant arm strength, which may make it particularly challenging initially for individuals who have relatively weak upper-bodies. Despite my regular strength training sessions, my forearms fatigued just a few minutes into the workout.

Should you be patient enough to endure this when you are starting out, you will see significant gains in upper body strength fairly quickly. Given the intensity of the exercises, it is also important to notify the trainers of any relevant injuries or physical limitations you may have prior to trying it out.

fitwall leaside torontoFitWall currently offers numerous session packages, including the most cost-effective option of three sessions weekly for a year for just $20 per session. Although potentially intimidating for those who are commitment-phobic, pre-paying for a specific number of sessions may keep you motivated, and I'm pretty sure that just three weekly FitWall sessions are sufficient to improve most people's strength and cardiovascular fitness.

fitwall torontoAs an added bonus, there is free 1-hour parking on many of the nearby side-streets, which gives you just enough time to pop in for a half-hour session and get back to your car without getting a parking ticket. Just be sure you allot enough time in your day to go home and bathe, as the studio does not have shower facilities.

Photos by Jesse Milns



Rich / February 5, 2013 at 08:38 am
I can't help but imagine this "fitness craze" was created by someone in NY or Japan that lives in a 250 sq ft. "loft" and wanted to workout by hanging off their one bookcase/bed/office/sink/bathroom combo.
Daryl replying to a comment from Rich / February 5, 2013 at 09:36 am
It definitely looks like a filing cabinet or computer server rack.

Why not just rock climb?
mb / February 5, 2013 at 09:52 am
"three sessions weekly for a year for just $20 per session"

So, more than $3,000. You can get a yearly gym membership for a little more than one-tenth of that.
tk / February 5, 2013 at 10:14 am
Does this not seem incredibly expensive?
Hendo / February 5, 2013 at 10:16 am
$3,000 per year? I'm assuming "cost-effective" is firmly tongue in cheek. I imagine you could get results just as good by doing pushups, pullups and body weight squats.
george / February 5, 2013 at 10:37 am
dumbest workout ever.
Mikey / February 5, 2013 at 11:09 am
What do you guys want?! Look at the location!

The Real (bored) Housewives of Leaside will be all over this sh!z
Hwan / February 5, 2013 at 04:32 pm
I like the emphasis on core and arm, without requiring the relatively high grip strength needed in climbing. The computerized metrics is an interesting tactic -- you can literally see when you level up! I do wonder how many people will have to fall on their faces before they lay down some padding though.

In regards to pricing, $20/session with a trainer is very reasonable.
joe mama / February 5, 2013 at 04:53 pm
What a gimmick.

Crossfit was designed as a style of training that can be done anywhere, by anyone, without (or at least minimal use of) fancy or expensive equipment, or gyms for that matter.

...Then Goodlife created TRX which was a knock-off of crossfit...And now this...

BTW, those rubber bands aren't anything like lifting weights. Studies have shown time and time again that rubber bands and any kind of tension band like that of "bowflex" aren't the right kind of resistance to build muscle. But it's enough for the women and the "occasional fitness tourist" to feel good about themselves.
Ahnuld / February 5, 2013 at 05:20 pm
More tripe from people in the fitness industry trying to make a quick buck.

Then again, they have a market - people with more money than brains who think there is an "easy" way to get into shape. There isn't...only hard work and dedication.

Anyone serious about getting in shape needs a barbell and some weights. Read Starting Strength and get to it. Yes it works for women too and no, you won't start to look like the East German swim team circa 1976
Jordan / February 5, 2013 at 11:12 pm
Hershey Centre gym in Mississauga has had a couple of these for more than half a year now. Its a awesome workout when its included in the city's fitness membership. Always sore the next day. Not worth $3000 a year though. I pay $35 a month and there's classes everyday.
lxpatterson replying to a comment from Hwan / February 5, 2013 at 11:20 pm
That is true. You are paying for the small class size and personalized coaching, not the apparatus. Otherwise, anyone can make a fit wall at home with about 40-60 bucks worth of lumber.
Ham / February 6, 2013 at 12:31 am
To master the punching wall on Wipeout
PS / February 10, 2013 at 11:55 am
This reminds me of Curves.

dumb / March 4, 2013 at 03:56 am
what a crock of shit: " It's vertical training involving a specialized ladder-like contraption that you hang from, forcing you to fully support your body weight, and allowing you to engage more muscles than you would performing the same exercises on the ground." Isn't that called um............ CHINUPS?????
Juegos Online / June 12, 2013 at 04:37 am
Excellent blog post. I definitely appreciate this site.

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