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Aiyoku, A Cardio Lounge

It's Thursday night and I'm on my way to Liberty Village for the opening of a new boutique gym. These types of specialized gyms are popping up all over the city looking to bring in people who don't particularly like the environment Goodlife or YMCA offers. As I walk into the basement of the Carpet Factory building, I'm asked to sign a wavier before entering. It seems there is a television crew filming the opening party. I'm a little surprised to find this out and sign it, believing that I'll keep myself out of sight during my stay.

A full-size museum-made reproduction of a Chinese Terracotta warrior greets me as I walk in. To the left is a small lounge. Along one wall is an internet bar and the other is a tea station that features specialty teas. The dĂŠcor is of an Asian influence; bamboo floors, antique bronze knockers and dragon handles.

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The space opens to the cardio and class areas. Aiyoku is a cardio lounge; there are no free weights or machines. State of the art Precor machines line a wall made to resemble a bamboo forest. I wandered around the new treadmills, elliptical trainers and stationary bikes taking in the new design and functions. The treadmills haven't even been run on yet and I want to be the one to pop that cherry. Each machine has its own widescreen television and DVD. Patrons will have access to the club's library of television series. This gym has some of the best-looking showers I've seen anywhere; glass enclosed with a rain style head that sits within a chocolate hardwood room. Members receive hot/cold towel service and access to lockers.

The intimate nature of the club allows for interactive classes that use audio and visual cues to simulate an actual activity. These aren't your standard studio classes. For example, Dragon Boat is where you use a body bar to simulate paddling in a dragon boat race. At Base Camp Everest you run on the treadmill with a backpack strapped on. To simulate climbing the mountain the treadmill's incline adjusts throughout the class. The Aiyoku Drums class sounds like the most fun. Utilizing Kodo music, participants use dumbbells to mimic the movements of the Kodo drummers in this high-energy workout.

Aiyoku only has 500 available memberships. The pricing is flexible and you can choose between pay as you go sessions or an unlimited monthly plan. The gym focuses on providing Liberty Village with a unique workout space.

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Aiyoku Cardio Lounge
77 Mowat Avenue, Suite 001
416-516-8999

images: Tim Shore


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