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Fitness Clubs

Union Studio

Posted by Guest Contributor / Posted on November 26, 2012

union studio torontoUnion Studio is a boutique fitness club that opened this past summer. Already it has garnered attention due to the fact that is co-owned, in part by Raine Maida and other members of the Toronto band, Our Lady Peace. Located on a largely residential strip of Wellington St., just east of Bathurst, the interior is a light-filled, modern, and minimalist space inhabiting two floors of a building that also houses the downtown Moksha Yoga location.

union studio torontoAlthough visually pleasing, there are several elements of the physical space that may not be appealing for some. For one, it's very cold, which I don't mind at all, and frankly find preferable when working out. However, dressing in layers may be advisable. While the women's change room (I didn't see the men's) is sleek and contemporary, it's small and very open, which means that it could easily get crowded, and there is no privacy.

union studio torontoIn addition, there are open spaces at the top of both toilet stalls, which means, given the small space--well, you can infer. Also important to note is that the complimentary lockers, which include a key, are located downstairs near the entrance, and not upstairs in the change rooms.

The studio specializes in small group classes that incorporate some of the most popular fitness trends such as spinning, Gravity training, TRX suspension training, Kettleballs, and ballet-inspired barre classes.

union studio torontoI arrived on a Monday to try out a lunchtime barre class with some trepidation. Although I have taught fitness classes for over 20 years, most of that time has been spent in my local JCC and university athletic facilities, rather than exclusive, private facilities. My apprehension also stemmed from the fact that I was going to a barre class, and in spite of my extensive fitness experience, I am surprisingly uncoordinated, and tend to avoid anything remotely related to dance in order prevent public humiliation. I needn't have worried.

Both the young man at the desk, and Christie--the class instructor and one of the studio's co-owners--were friendly and approachable. Christie made a point of knowing each of the 6 participants' names before we started. Although I was told the clientele is largely young, professional females under the age of 30, there was one guy in the class, and despite having left my 20s a while ago, I didn't feel like a dinosaur compared to my peers.

union studio torontoDone in bare feet, the barre classes claim to offer "...the perfect balance of flexibility, stability, posture and strength. You will leave the classes feeling taller longer and leaner." That's a tall order for someone, such as myself, who is only 5'2 when stretched to full length. But I did, in fact, leave the class feeling somewhat longer and leaner. After a brief warm-up, we began doing some strength exercises using light weights. This was followed by mostly lower body strength and balance exercises using the barre.

union studio torontoWe finished on the mat with exercises similar enough to Pilates for me to feel competent. Christie offered supportive, and personalized attention to all participants, making it welcoming and comfortable for a newbie like myself. While this is not a workout for torching calories, it's perfect if your goal is to improve muscular endurance, balance and core strength--aspects of physical fitness that often get neglected. In combination with the studio's spinning classes, TRX, and Gravity training, you can easily address most of your fitness goals at Union.

Text by Erica Berman. Photos by Lauren Bandenbrook



clumsyname / November 26, 2012 at 12:31 pm
This is the place Charles Kabouth opened.
Rebecca / November 26, 2012 at 01:53 pm
Charles Kabouth's bar is called Uniun.
Mike / November 26, 2012 at 02:55 pm
It's actually west of Bathurst, not east.
Joey / November 26, 2012 at 03:26 pm
"For one, it's very cold"
"there is no privacy"

Instant fail. But if running this place keeps the guys in Our Lady Peace from making more music, I hope it says open for another 400 years.
fitness_gal / November 26, 2012 at 04:14 pm
The author fails to mention that classes are close to $25/class. For that money, I expect to be very impressed with the classes. I wasnt.
Sandra / November 28, 2012 at 12:19 pm
To get such an intimate experience for the price is invaluable. I also loved the bright and sunny atmosphere in the space. It was a very comfortable, positive, and unintimidating work out experience for me.
Mel / January 7, 2013 at 08:25 pm
I went to a spin class. The bikes were filthy and the room was hot and crammed. For the same price you could cross the road to cykl. Also the girl at the front desk was miserable. I mentioned it was my first time and she just stared at me. No direction to the changeroom or tour. I also tried a barre class. Terrible. It isnt even to music! Id recommend Barreworks or Cykl for quality and friendly vibe. This place is pretentious and can't back it up.
Jenny / November 6, 2013 at 11:10 am
Agree with above - went for my first time, felt like I was wasting everyone's time. Front desk stared at me blankly and took my money and that was pretty much it. Was cold, both in temperature and feeling. Cykl is better, also checked out Movemeant last week and liked Matt and his energy a lot - those two are my go to's now.
Judy / February 6, 2014 at 09:44 pm
I started going there a few weeks ago and will continue to do so.

Instructors are super friendly and helpful, not sure where the other posters are coming from.

It is definitely expensive, but if you get a month pass and go often, you'll get your moneys worth (and will feel great).

Classes are small- usually 2-5 ppl. Nice variety of classes so you're not just doing the same thing every day.

The changerooms are nice and normal-temperature.
Sarah / April 19, 2014 at 05:14 pm
It sucks that they just closed and left members with no explanation or refund.
Not cool.
Bob / May 13, 2014 at 04:00 pm
It's a shame about Union Studio but there are other boutique gyms in the area. A new kickboxing studio just opened up at 66 Sudbery called Big Hit. They offer the first training session free.
annoyed / February 17, 2015 at 08:47 pm
This place ripped myself and several others when it closed without notice. It has been almost a year and they still have not provided restitution. Christie Ness should not be allowed to work until she pays everyone back.

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