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Fitness Clubs

Florida Jacks

Posted by Staff / Posted on July 21, 2011

Florida JacksFlorida Jacks is a tiny door tucked between Sunrise Records and the Burgundy Bar on the south side of the Bloor/Yonge intersection. But head on up the narrow staircase and a world of pugilistic wonder awaits.

Let's make things clear. I. Hate. Gym. I loathe repetitive motions that induce perspiration with an end to building cardio and muscle tone. But I also love poutine. And in an effort to have my cheese curds and functional arteries too, I wave a white flag and always choose sporting clubs over Extreme or GoodLife. In an ideal world, I like my instructors to be slave-drivers with a thorough understanding of body mechanics and up-to-date training.

Florida JacksFor some reason it's difficult to find right amount of slave-driver in a boxing instructor who doesn't also subject you to old-school training routines that haven't been seen since Steve Prefontaine burned up the track in short shorts and a handlebar. And when it comes to boxing, a sport with a long and noble tradition, old-school is unfortunately very prevalent. Not so at Florida Jacks.

Florida JacksFirst of all, Jacks feels the Alberta of boxing gyms. In most clubs you're jostling for space in front of the mirror or lining up for a turn at the bag. At Jacks there's miles and miles of space between you and your neighbour. On a Saturday morning when the corporate crowd retires to their 905 homes, everybody gets a heavy-bag. (And, ventilation's good enough so that you don't smell your neighbour either.)

Florida JacksThe intro boxing class includes a circuit-style mix of plyos, jump-rope and bag work with nary a bouncing stretch in sight. The pace is brisk, but instructors understand if you have to sit a few rounds out. Newcomers note: sparring and partner-work is reserved for advanced members, so there's no chance of leaving with a black eye.

Florida JacksFor a gym at the corner of one of Toronto's busiest intersections, I was surprised to see that the first-floor cardio and weight area was so sparsely populated. The dance-club techno in the background wasn't quite to my taste, but wasn't loud enough to seep through headphones.

Florida JacksI've made the round of a good number of boxing gyms in both Toronto and Montreal and it's pretty rare to find a club that offers classes that aren't strictly martial arts-related. Sure, the cardio-striptease on the schedule is clearly an offering geared toward the female contingent, but that doesn't mean I won't be checking it out just to shake things up, if you know what I mean.

Florida JacksFlorida JacksFlorida JacksFlorida JacksWriting by Charlie See. Photos by Jesse Milns.

Discussion

9 Comments

Vivy / July 21, 2011 at 08:43 am
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You got me at "Let's make things clear. *I. Hate. Gym.* I loathe repetitive motions that induce perspiration with an end to building cardio and muscle tone. *But I also love poutine.* And in an effort to have my cheese curds and functional arteries too,...". :)
Alexis / July 21, 2011 at 10:46 am
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You make my gym look way more glamourous and air conditioned than it actually is.
rob / July 21, 2011 at 11:22 am
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Boxing is synonymous with poor ventilation, bad odor and a criminal element. Florida Jacks is a nice place to work out but has never felt like an authentic boxing club to me. A good rule of thumb:
If they have a classes-its a fitness center, not a boxing club.
S / July 21, 2011 at 01:01 pm
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Pretty bad for working out since I don't see any power racks, benches or the ability to deadlift.
Mark Wiseman / October 18, 2011 at 08:57 am
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Gotta be the worse gym ever. I mean, it's suppose to be a boxing gym, but you have all these retarded, dehydrated, make-up wearing, thong wearing, gross looking fitness models and body builders walking around? So un-natural looking and selfish thing of whatever it is. Sorry, but that isn't a sport, please stay home and pose in the mirror, not our mirror. It's annoying when athletes try to work out and train and you have all these meat-head women and men taking up the air in the gym.
Social Lockerroom / March 29, 2012 at 01:56 pm
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Stay Motivated. Learn from Others. Connect with other Athletes. Challenge yourself!
www.sociallockerroom.com

It is a perfect site to set fitness goals and meet them through:
-Planning games with your friends and other people in your area (and sync them with your everyday calendar)
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When you can workout with other people or have challenges in your calendar, you are more likely to stick to them and succeed!

Please check it out! The more people on there the better for finding people in your area with similar interests...and staying motivated!!

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www.sociallockerroom.com
Twitter:@SLockerroom
Mark / December 15, 2012 at 08:11 am
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I trained at Florida jacks a couple years ago. I have trained in the also at more of a authentic boxing gym. 4 years under my belt. I had a good experience at Florida jacks. I would recommend it. Technique is good, workout was good too. I mean we're there for a workout at 30 years old were not going to be world champs so Florida jacks is a great place to get fit and learn self defense.
Anthony replying to a comment from S / February 27, 2014 at 03:33 pm
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Hi there is a power rack - I've done 405 lb squats in it. And i do deadlift there, all the time. I do bar snatch and bar cleans there too.
Anthony / March 28, 2014 at 05:02 pm
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Update - Florida Jacks will probably give you a free boxing class try out if you ask nice : )

And ya the weights area is small and cozy, but there's two separate weights rooms, with big windows. I often take my clients upstairs (more than half the time, the HUGE boxing floor upstairs is free) for calisthenic stuff, like resistance walks and mat work.

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