Anchored Social Club
Anchored Social Club is a small fitness club which gets to the barebones of a workout. Put away what you thought you knew about working out. Ben Dussault, owner of Anchored Social Club, wants to show you how to properly move your body so you can squat the right way and get what you're meant to out of a workout.
Essentially, Dussault wants to teach you proper form, and expand your muscles so you can go off and do your workouts the way it's meant to be done. And, with proper form and alignment there's less risk of injury in your workout.
Anchored Social Club is rugged and raw, with no conventional gym equipment. The club was transformed from a car garage that looks onto Queen Street East in Leslieville , with a collection of vintage clothing available for purchase.
After years of being a very active person and diligent about my yoga and Pilates practice, I was confident that I knew how to work out. I was sure that I knew how to keep my body aligned, my core tight and squats deep.
Dussault proved me wrong. And showed me how much more I had to learn.
Starting in 2004, Dussault was a professional musician playing with his band at festivals across North America (remember Ozzfest?). He set up a tent near his tour bus and began training, moving and lifting haphazard equipment. He started to get in better shape, and people took notice. He finally left the music business, educated himself and started working as a personal trainer.
He got creative with what he had, and that creativity and minimalism in fitness equipment is at the centre of Anchored Social Club. Dussault is very passionate about the work he's doing and the community he's created - a community that comes together Saturdays at 9 a.m. for an all out body attack on each other in a class dubbed "Psycho Saturday."
Dussault wants you to get creative and climb walls with pegs in holes, seize the day and climb a rope or throw around bags of lentils brought in from India, and duffel bags filled with rice, some of which is scattered on the floor. Or use an old skateboard to practice stability.
"I've set up a facility where you can learn your capacity for movement," says Dussault. There are no fancy classes or change rooms at Anchored Social Club. It's raw body-to-body contact with a trainer who wants you to know how to stand up properly while engaging your glutes.
Every workout session with Dussault is customized based on what that person needs or is looking for that particular day. If you're frustrated, Dussault encourages you to smash things, make some noise, breathe out the stress, "lose your mind for an hour and call it a day," he says.
Ducette's training is simple - he watches you move, checks out the symmetry between the left and right side of the body and then teaches you things like how to step up off the ground properly when you're on your knees - which I was very dismayed to find out, was one of my biggest challenges. Things you wouldn't think are important make a BIG difference when you go through a training exercise with him.
While most exercise are one-on-one sessions with Dussault (pricing is based on an individual assessment), group classes of 4-8 are available. The classes are very hands on. You partner up and get back to the fundaments of connecting with each other; pushing, pulling and climbing over each other.
"I want to take adults from a stiff, structural world and crack that shell, get animalistic and vibe with each other. I'm laughing, the clients are laughing and we're just all having a good time." Think of it as a customized workout for your body in a very rugged and raw atmosphere.
Photos by Jesse Milns