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Fitness Clubs

Tidal CrossFit

Posted by Erica Berman / Posted on March 5, 2013

Tidal CrossFitTidal CrossFit recently opened a new location on the still somewhat rough-around-the-edges stretch of Danforth Avenue just west of Coxwell. The massive bare-bones space replaces their former digs just off the Danforth further east towards past Victoria Park. The focus here is on serious training not on frills or pampering, hence the sparseness. Aside from four rowing machines and an ancient stationary bike, the equipment is primarily strength-focused including medicine balls, kettle balls, free weights, barbells and plates, and plyometric boxes. The change rooms have a single shower, a few toilets and sinks and not much else. The entire facility is cold, which I appreciate when working out, however, in winter months you may want to dress in layers.

Tidal CrossFitFor anyone unfamiliar with CrossFit, here is what you need to know: CrossFit, which started out as somewhat of a fringe fitness movement, has now moved into the mainstream, as is evidenced by its partnership in the U.S. with Reebok. It's based on the philosophy of inclusiveness and community and aims to build physical skills for sport performance and general fitness.

It is not a franchise, per se, however, anyone wanting to use the CrossFit name must first purchase a license to do so and trainers must take at least the Level 1 CrossFit accredited training program. CrossFit is defined broadly as "...that which optimizes fitness (constantly varied functional movements performed at relatively high intensity)". The exercises themselves are usually foundational movements, such as squats, lunges, pull-ups, etc. often performed in a circuit-like sequence. CrossFit can be done as a fitness regime, or, those with a competitive spirit, can get involved with it as a sport and can compete in local competitions with other CrossFitters.

Tidal CrossFitA Thursday midday class attracts half a dozen participants, which seem to adequately represent the late 20s to early 40s clientele, co-owner Mags, tells me is the norm. Indeed the 'community' vibe of CrossFit is immediately evident with everyone seeming to know one another. The class begins with a warm-up, which everybody does at their own pace, and includes 500 metres on the rowers, kettleballs, inchworms (plank walk-outs), sit-ups, split squats and some static stretches to promote mobility.

Tidal CrossFitFollowing the warm-up, Coach Sarah goes through each of the 3 components of the day's workout (Double-under rope skipping, clean-and-press, and push-ups) and carefully guides each participant on proper technique. For the final 20 minutes of the hour, Sarah sets a timer and has everyone do a prescribed number of repetitions of each exercise to be completed in their own time.

Tidal CrossFitMore akin to group personal-training than a typical group fitness class, CrossFit is perfect for anyone looking for some motivation to get fit from an instructor and camaraderie from others, without having to learn choreography or keep up with anyone else. Despite the somewhat intimidating image CrossFit may have, it is actually ideal for people of any fitness level since trainers give variations for most exercises and each participant is encouraged to simply strive for improvements.

Tidal CrossFitGiven that the teacher training program is just - like many fitness certification programs - a weekend course, and the exercises are pretty intense, it is prudent to be cautious before joining a CrossFit gym. The CrossFit company does not do quality control on affiliated gyms so if you have any health problems or physical limitations, in particular, make sure you work with individuals who know what they are doing.

Support from peers is key for exercise adherence, but aside from that, the CrossFit philosophy provides another advantage: the focus is on physical feats and fitness, not on physique. In fact, Tidal CrossFit has no mirrors, which may be appealing for some individuals.

Tidal CrossFitWhat distinguishes Tidal CrossFit from other CrossFit gyms, according to Mags, is a focus on Olympic-style training, however, the studio offers classes for those of all levels and backgrounds, and has a team that trains together and competes in CrossFit tournaments. In addition, like other CrossFit gyms across the city, Mags tells me it is the community itself, drawn primarily from the surrounding neighbourhood, that makes Danforth Tidal CrossFit unique.

Memberships can be purchased for 1 class per week for 1 month ($80.50) to 1 class per week for 12 months ($66.00/month), with a discount for 2 class per week packages, or unlimited classes for 1 month ($198.00), 3 months ($185.00/month), 6 months ($165.00/month), or 1 year ($150/month). In addition, members of the Danforth location have access to Tidal CrossFit's Yorkmills location, and vice versa. The facility gives discounts to students, police, EMS, fire and military personnel.

Tidal CrossFitPhotos by Kat Rizza



looks good / March 5, 2013 at 01:19 pm
Wouldn't say those two factors at the end make it unique from other gyms in TO, but that comment aside they look to have come a long way from their old space. Just keep it warm!
Rob / March 5, 2013 at 03:05 pm
I can't get over the prices...makes Good Life seem cheap
horizon / March 5, 2013 at 03:13 pm
looks like my highschool gym back in the day.
East Yorker / March 5, 2013 at 04:06 pm
Wouldn't really call the location Scarborough/Victoria Park but maybe I am just defensive because it is my neighbourhood. It is pretty much as close to Broadview as it is to Vic Park.
Michael / March 5, 2013 at 04:07 pm
I'm a member at Fortis Fitness at Dundas and Carlaw. It's $55+ tax a month. A good mix of powerlifters, crossfiters, Olympic lifters, regular joe's and a few bodybuilders. They have 10ish power racks and emphasize learning the big 3 power lifts (squat, dealift and bench press).

I used to be a member at LA Fitness and couldn't get out of there fast enough when I found out about Fortis.
mdance / March 5, 2013 at 07:25 pm
wow I live in this neighborhood and walk by here all the time. I didn't even realize they were open. From the street it just looks like garbage piled up inside the windows.
Cailen / March 6, 2013 at 01:37 am
I've been going to Tidal for about three months now, and the three things I appreciate are the price, the community, and the coaching.

Everyone from the owners down to the junior coaches provide constant attention and feedback which has improved my training and strength dramatically, and every day I watch them provide a high quality training product to people ranging from incredible athletes down to the extremely uncoordinated.

After a year of weight training at a conventional gym, I wouldn't think twice about going anywhere else, especially since Tidal Crossfit is one of the cheapest (if not THE cheapest) Crossfit box in the city.
me replying to a comment from Rob / March 6, 2013 at 08:13 am
Good Life is cheap.
It's less than $50 a month
A. / March 6, 2013 at 08:26 am
The no mirrors thing seems weird to me. Mirrors in the gym aren't really there for vanity, they are there so you can check your form.
Jeff: Co-Owner replying to a comment from looks good / March 6, 2013 at 09:12 am
I totally agree! These are things you should find at most CrossFit boxes around the city. What I think sets us apart is how we combine the two, we have developed an extensive background in Olympic Lifting and partnered with renowned coach Hani Kanama to provide the best Oly coaching possible. Team this with a great community of driven people, you are going to get a safe, fun and effective means of getting fit fast!
Jeff: Co-Owner replying to a comment from Rob / March 6, 2013 at 09:13 am
The cost is mostly due to the hands on nature of our coaches during classes. Compare it to personal training and 10-15 dollars a class may not seem so steep!
Jeff: Co-Owner replying to a comment from East Yorker / March 6, 2013 at 09:16 am
Our roots were actually set at 53 Lucy Ave. Just east of Victoria Park and Danforth. Since, we have moved to 1510 Danforth Ave. just west of Coxwell and Danforth. So we used to be neighbors! but unfortunately not anymore...
Jeff: Co-Owner replying to a comment from mdance / March 6, 2013 at 09:17 am
Would love for you to come in and try a free class on us!
Jeff: Co-Owner replying to a comment from Michael / March 6, 2013 at 09:21 am
We love what Fortis is doing! Any place that makes lifting and CrossFit accessible is amazing. Our product is a little different and we try and have a more hands on approach to teaching proper movement and technique and offer structured programs for beginners and those looking to compete. I cannot emphasize enough that a little research should be done before joining any Lifting/CrossFit gym to make sure their programming and philosophies match with your goals! Find the best fit for you.
Jeff: Co-Owner replying to a comment from A. / March 6, 2013 at 09:27 am
There are some great arguments for both sides when it comes to mirrors in a gym. We made a conscious decision to not use them to focus on a more intrinsic form correction. Allowing our members to begin to "feel" what is proper movement rather than to see it. We find this allows for great transfer to real life where mirrors are rarely found! The second part would be that we pride ourselves, the coaches, as being our members mirrors. And I like to think we do an even better job! We can not only illustrate for you where your form went wrong (or right) but can play an active role in improving your technique by giving important cues and tips to help you stay safe and maybe hit that long awaited deadlift PR.
Lake / March 6, 2013 at 10:09 am
Who let poor MS. Berman cross the Bloor Viaduct without her chauffeur? The tease page for the article locates the club at Victoria Park - it is nowhere near there. The main article describes the neighbourhood as "somewhat rough-around-the-edges" -- which will come as a surprise to the people at Patisserie La Cigogne, Sarah's Cafe, El Sol or Sauce or anyone else who visits that block. If Ms. Berman is nervous in the uncharted regions east of the Don - perhaps confine her to reviewing health clubs in Rosedale where she obviously feels comfortable.
Margot / March 6, 2013 at 11:36 am
The quality, knowledge and experience of the coaches is proven in every class, shown in every competition and felt throughout the box. They know how to safely scale all of the movements in order to include every age, skill level and ability. They lift heavy weights properly and they want you to do the same, if that is what you want, which I do. I learn every day. I am surrounded by a group of people who believe in me, push me, help me, and compete with me and whom I feel close enough to call family. This doesn't happen in a gym where the owners don't love what they do!
TidalClientW / March 6, 2013 at 12:05 pm
Wow i would like to see the kind of shape the folks training at good life at 55$ a month are in... I would like to see you perform basic functional movement like a basic squats... you pay for what you get I have been a client of several global gyms through out my life and have never experience the level of expertise and attention that i have seen at Tidal Crossfit. it's like having personal trainers for a fraction of the cost.Tidal Crossfit is actually one of the best crossfit affiliate in the country before you comment and compare to your old highschool gym or goodlife.. why don't you come try a free class... or challenge any of our members to a 500m row .. then you probably will be able to make an EDUCATED comment. It may not be for you but you will probably develop a profound respect and realize how UNIQUE this facility is and why SO MANY PEOPLE are LOVING it:-) the coaching staff is stellar!
Gisele / March 6, 2013 at 12:15 pm
MIRRORS?? Mirrors in the gym WTF is that??? Are you there to train or stare at your ego?? Tidal Crossfit is the Bomb ,,, No mirrors needed .. focus on your workout and form ..learn and kill it in the WODS! If you want mirrors take Tango! There is one on the same block.. good luck! MIRRORS!?? WTF!!
Rodrigo / March 6, 2013 at 12:24 pm
I agree 100% The Olympic lifting combinations sets them a part from any of the other boxes in the city.. if you are serious they can actually take you to the nationals with what they teach there. They bring experts that train Olympic Champs like Ani Kanama. They walk the talk. Great gym!
Jeff K. - Tidal Member / March 6, 2013 at 01:08 pm
Tidal Crossfit is for people that are serious about getting fit and strong. If you get what you need from a gym that has equipment lined up against a wall, that's great go for it. But most of the crossfit crew wants to take things to the next level with elite coaching and programing. And it's just a lot of fun. I just moved to Canada a little over a year ago and most of my friends in this country are from crossfit. I'm really glad I found Tidal when I did. The coaches and the people there are some of the best in North America.
Jim replying to a comment from TidalClientW / March 6, 2013 at 01:27 pm
I work out at Good Life. I bench more than my body weight, I squat and dead lift more than twice my body weight.

My form is fine, I learned lifts from very good, private personal trainer (not Good Life PT) a long time ago. Paid a few hundred for a few sessions. Every now and then we do a session to ensure my form is still solid. I don't need or want someone with me every session.

It's not about where you train - it's about what you put into it. GL has a very different business model, that's all.
TidalClientW / March 6, 2013 at 01:47 pm
Jim you work at Goodlife. Good! then you should know that the AVERAGE Joe does not represent you and more often then not don't have the fitness background you are describing. IT IS ABOUT WHAT YOU PUT IN AND ALSO ABOUT THE COACHING YOU GET... and the environment is also a big component. Respect, Support, Community ,Humility. I did not know anything about body weight and all this kind of stuff before joining a gym with these dedicated PROFESSIONALS and my friends too. So sorry we do not fit YOUR PROFILE. We LOVE CROSSFIT & ADORE TIDAL CROSSFIT...To each his own son!
MrsP / March 6, 2013 at 09:42 pm
Wow, you cross fitters are assholes!
HS replying to a comment from me / March 8, 2013 at 04:04 pm
Goodlife - you get what you pay for. A jammed facility, people more intent on 'picking-up' than training for any athletic endeavour, and a company that wants to upsell you on everything. If you want to train seriously with professional and knowledgable coaches to improve functional athletic performance, then come and give Tidal a try.
me replying to a comment from HS / March 8, 2013 at 04:18 pm
Not all facilities are "jammed".
I go every weekday morning from 8am-920am and not once have i encountered anything close to "jammed."

And if a person is feeble minded enough to get "up-sold" on everything, then they deserve what they get. How can you blame a sales oriented business for trying to sale their product? Thats what they should be doing.
The onus is on the buyer not to be so dumb as to buy what they (or any other sales person) is pushing on them.
HS / March 8, 2013 at 04:28 pm
Why is the rating 1.5/5 with only 2 votes? Where can you vote for it?
Jay / March 12, 2013 at 08:58 pm
Think I'm going to check this place out. I've been finding it tough to keep myself motivated to get to the gym over the past year and its really affecting my fitness level. I'm still running a fair bit but I can tell my strength and stamina have dropped dramatically. I think getting back involved with a group setting will be a benefit.
Jen / June 3, 2013 at 01:12 pm
I use to be a member when they first opened a few years ago over on Lucy. It was dark and dingy but you could tell that the owners really wanted to help people succeed. I stopped going once the friendly owner got out of the biz. The gym seemed to then only care about crossfit games athletes and didn't have time for us regular folk. I wonder what happened to the other owner? Unless you want to be in the games, the owners don't really pay you much attention
Ben replying to a comment from Jen / December 2, 2013 at 08:13 pm
To Jen... yeah, I've had the same experience here but also at other places. There is so much advance talk about community, support, and scaling the exercises, but over time, every place seems to let their egos get the better of them, they just can't help it -- and the WODs become too hard, the emphasis becomes about competing, and the lower level or older customers feel disenfranchised. People don't feel comfortable scaling down the weight, and in fact they feel embarrassed because scaling down it's not emphasized in a way that is a positive, "just trying at all is good" manner. It's like these gyms have to prove they are "elite", or else it's not worth being in business.

On a side note, is there a more defensive, quick to jump and $#it all over other gyms, and then challenge everyone who disagrees with them to some kind of man-off on the rower, bunch than cross-fitters? Get over yourselves. Does a competitive tennis player challenge you to a set simply because you mention you don't go their court, but choose to play squash? Agree with the poster above who called them a$$holes.
Patricia / December 16, 2013 at 10:56 pm
Love,love,love it! Finally found my passion :) You must try it. Started 7 months ago, my strength, endurance increased. It's amazing- the support, community spirit you feel, you compete against others(in most friendly way), however mostly with yourself. It's like personal training in a group setting,every move,motion monitored with correct form,instruction. You will grow mentally and physically, be challenged, realize how fit you really are or not, and become stronger. When I started I could not do 1 double under, then progressed to 1 in every 10,then 1 in every 3 (eg. in 2 minutes). Also hand stands, could not do 1- even kick legs up, now I progressed to one without wall support for 30 seconds. You will love it and hate it at same time. It is addicting and you feel so awesome after each workout!! You will push yourself to limits you never dreamed of and acknowledge your achievements/strengths. You must be willing to accept constructive criticism in order to move forward. To be willing to be taught and yes there are workouts/exercises you may not be capable of doing, however you will inevitably and eventually progress. It is worth every penny and way more. How can you put a price on building your body to look and perform at its best? It really is more than worth it. You must try it!:))) Many thanks and shout outs to all the awesome, fabulous coaches @ Tidal !!!!!!!!!

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