The Best Specialty Fitness Clubs in Toronto
The best specialty fitness clubs in Toronto offer way more than a couple of treadmills in a windowless room. These gyms take a boutique approach, offering small, intensely focused classes with plenty of attention from instructors -- basically, it's the next best thing to having a personal trainer.
They're also the first places you can test out up-and-coming fitness trends, if you're looking for a crazy new routine or machine that will work muscles you didn't even know you had. The per-class price tends to be a bit higher than at your average gym, but the perks mean you definitely get what you pay for -- provided you're willing to break a sweat.
Here are the best specialty fitness clubs in Toronto.
TRX TrainStation's fast-paced, suspension-based workouts earned the tucked-away, Downsview Park-area gym top honours in our poll. TRX workouts are rising in popularity around Toronto, popping up on the roster of several boutique gyms, but TrainStation's exclusive focus on the ropes-based system sets it apart. Participants are led through high-intensity exercises, which force you to work against your own body weight, in 30-second intervals -- though not for the faint of heart, fans say these workouts are a blast. More »
Ferris 360's focus on circuit training and interval workouts has earned the Yonge and Davisville gym plenty of dedicated fans. Classes focus on a combination of cardio, strength, core and flexibility, using treadmills, rowers, stationary bikes and climbing machines alongside weight training. It sounds intense, but all fitness levels, from beginner to advanced, are welcome. More »
Who wouldn't want the flexibility and grace of a dancer? The ballet barre-focused workouts at Barreworks, already wildly popular in New York and L.A., ammassed a dedicated following when a Canadian studio arrived at Queen and Spadina. (The chain has now expanded to Yonge and Eglinton). Their dance-influenced class offerings let you focus on sculpting, cardio, flexibility, or a little of everything; they also feature spin and spin/barre combo classes. More »
Owner and instructor Jennifer Nichols is a dancer with over 20 years of experience, but don't let that scare you -- her barre and ballet-inspired fitness classes are aimed primarily at non-dancers (who make up two-thirds of her clientele). The curriculum is broken down into beginner, sculpting, core and arms, flexibility, cardio and full-body workout classes, so you can tailor your workout to your fitness goals. More »
This modern-looking, upscale King West gym, co-owned by members of Our Lady Peace, focuses primarily on small, focused barre, TRX and cycle classes. (Fun fact - the barre routines were created by Heather Ogden, the National Ballet of Canada's principal dancer). Kettlebell, Gravity and yoga are also thrown into the mix, so there's something for everyone. More »
Parkour training can turn the whole world into your own personal jungle gym (as far as the cops will allow). The Monkey Vault, founded by Toronto parkour fixture Dan "Pkdanno" Iaboni, earned a following at its Geary Ave. location for its parkour and street acrobatics training courses, featuring an impact-friendly gymnastics floor, a DIY foam pit, and plenty of things to climb on and leap from. They'll soon be setting up shop in their new home at Keele and St. Clair. More »
Fuel divides its classes into three categories -- strength, conditioning, and fitness 101 -- and stocks plenty of unusual gear like curved treadmills to make those goals happen. Whatever your aims, classes are capped at 14 people, ensuring you get plenty of supervision and encouragement. More »
The Forest Hill gym is the first of its kind in Canada to offer the Lagree Method, a cardio-heavy take on Pilates meant to build strength. The innovative exercises revolve around machines which, according to our reviewer, "resemble medieval torture devices" -- and it may feel like torture, even for seasoned pros, until your core and lower body get used to the burn. More »
The feeling of community at Movemeant is what sets this small, no-frills gym apart. The small-but-elegant one-room studio at Strachan and Adelaide is stocked full with Gravity, TRX and spin machines. Matt Kenny, the owner and operator, teaches nearly all of the small classes, lending the gym a personal touch. More »