Gravitate Studio is located in a commercial strip of Avenue Road between Wilson and Lawrence, and the space--on a second floor above ground level stores--is surprisingly modest considering the exclusive residential areas nearby.
My first visit started out badly, due to an unexpected shutdown of the subway line which caused me to arrive harried and several minutes late. Although I felt like I was giving them a "the-dog-ate-my-homework" excuse, they were very forgiving of my tardiness. In fact, both co-owners, Karen (who was working the desk during my visit), and Sarah (who taught the class), immediately made me feel welcome.
Warm and cozy, the studio is a refreshing change from the uber-modern, white, minimalist decor you find in most boutique gyms. This creates an atmosphere more akin to some of the yoga studios I've frequented in the past, and less like a hoity-toity club.
Gravitate Studio does offer a wide variety of yoga classes, but they also have pilates, barre and TRX classes, and (as their name suggests) Gravity classes on their extensive schedule. If you want to get your cardio on, there are also boot camp classes available.
The studio does not offer memberships, per se. You pay for individual classes, or packages of classes. Prices start at $20 per class, but decrease as you buy bigger packages. Gravitate also has very generous options for first-timers, including your choice of either a free first class, two classes for $10, or 1 week of unlimited classes for just $25.
The club has a small studio with Gravity machines, and a larger studio dedicated to their other classes. There are two small, private change stalls, but those who perspire heavily should be warned: there are no showers. Karen tells me that the bulk of their clientele are moms in the 30 to 50 age range who live in the area, and are therefore able to shower at home.
I tried out a Gravity Pilates class at 1:30pm on a Wednesday. There were 6 of us in the class and we all did, indeed, fit the target demographic of the studio. Although I was initially clueless about how to adjust the Gravity machine, Sarah and the other participants were gracious about helping me out.
The Gravity machine provides similar core strengthening options to a Pilates Reformer while also offering additional strength-building capabilities. Sarah gave us a fun and challenging full-body workout, incorporating some yoga-style stretches at the end, that left me feeling both strong and supple afterwards, and definitely more relaxed than when I arrived; late, stressed, and cursing our transit system.
If you enjoy fitness classes but prefer small groups and individual attention, this studio is ideal. They say peer support is integral to exercise adherence, and because of their dedication to creating a wellness community for area residents, you will get that here. Along with the drop-in classes on their schedule, they also offer private, semi-private, and group private (i.e. for you and a few friends) classes, as well as classes just for teens.
Photos by Jesse Milns