Argon CrossFit is the newest gym for CrossFitters in downtown Toronto. Located on Richmond St., between Church and Jarvis, the gym's only been open for three weeks, but it's already drawing in both Ryerson students and professionals from the area.
Occupying the basement of a commercial building, the space is about as CrossFit-ish as it gets: there's exposed pipes, cement block walls and basic strength equipment - and no treadmills or other cardio machines. There are washrooms where you can change, but no dedicated change areas or showers. Owner Michael Cheung says this hasn't been a dealbreaker for members so far, as many live nearby.
Although Cheung has a degree in finance, his heart has always been in athletics. Having been involved in sports since he was a kid, Cheung feels CrossFit is the perfect fit for him, and his passion for it shows. His goal is to get a team together from the gym to complete in 2015.
My friend and I arrive midday for a training session with Michael. He starts us off with a warmup involving cardio intervals and some challenging core moves. Next, he sets up the WOD: Workout of the Day. It involves rope climbs, burpee box jumps, sit-ups and tire touches with a tire so large it looks like it belongs on King Kong's SUV.
The workout is solid. However, for me, what sets CrossFit apart from other fitness fads is its emphasis on community and connectedness. Cheung is warm, friendly and clearly completely dedicated to the practice. On the basis of his personality alone, I am sure he'll keep drawing in folks looking to lift, push, climb and jump their way to fitness.
You can book a free consultation with Cheung if you want to find out whether Argon is the right gym for you. Cheung offers classes in the mornings and evenings and also runs group personal training programs. A one-month membership (unlimited classes) at Argon is $160 while a 10-class pack will run you $100. If you commit to a full year, you pay $140/month. (Note: The above prices do not include HST.) Couples, referrals and students are offered a discount.
Photos by Jesse Milns.