Hone Fitness popped up last year, much to the delight of fitness fanatics on a budget. For just $10 a month for the basic package, you can work out to your heart's desire at their Yonge and Isabella location.
"It's so central - you're smack dab in the middle of everything. While there's Goodlife locations everywhere, we wanted to offer something that's more affordable for everybody. There's a lot of students and young adults that need a more affordable place to work out," explains Tauna Munroe, the gym's assistant general manager.
If you read my Planet Fitness review , there were a number of things that, well, irritated the heck out of me, and I wondered if all of the budget gyms around the city would give me a similar experience. Walking into Hone, I was definitely pleasantly surprised.
When I stopped by on a weekday after work for a tour of the studio with Munroe, it suddenly hit me that I had been there before many years ago. This was once the home of Yonge Street Fitness Club , and while there were things here and there that have changed, much of the layout was still the same - but maybe even better than it used to be.
Just inside the door you'll find the always popular juice bar - perfect for post-workout hydration. The only other things on the first level of Hone, aside from the check-in desk, are tanning beds and massage chairs. I'm sure I don't need to go into detail again about how much I loathe that tanning beds still exist, but there they were (sigh).
Walking up to the second level, we went right into the change room, which was clean, with plenty of lockers available. Again, with a $10 gym, there aren't any real bells and whistles, so bring your own towel if you plan on showering after.
The second level was full of cardio equipment - 170 brand new machines, to be exact. It really is a nice gym, aesthetically speaking, with exposed brick walls and windows overlooking Yonge St. It definitely didn't feel overcrowded, and many of the machines were still available - something you wouldn't find at a Goodlife after 5pm.
The third level is filled with strength training equipment; I was impressed with with the number and variety of pieces. Everyone is welcome here, even those beefy guys that Planet Fitness turns their noses up at. Amongst all the machines are benches and a squat rack or two and plenty of free weights.
"We're a little more open to the trained athlete or the person that knows what they're doing, but we also give a free training session to the beginners so they're comfortable - so we really welcome both types of people," explained Hone CEO Jim Soloman (who used to run Extreme Fitness in Toronto before Goodlife took over).
Like Planet Fitness, there are two types of memberships. For a $10 a month blue membership (plus an enrollment fee of $119.95 and yearly maintenance fee of $39.95) you get the basics: use of all the cardio and strength training equipment. Plus as I said earlier, everyone gets a free assessment and training session.
For a $20 orange membership (with a $99.95 enrollment fee and the yearly maintenance fee), you get everything the blue membership gets you, plus use of the Functional Training Room, which comes equipped with bosu balls, hanging ropes, floor ropes, dumbbells, etc. - perfect for giving you that extra fitness edge. You can also access the tanning beds (just say no!) and massage chairs, and can snag half-price drinks from the juice bar.
Munroe and Soloman also mentioned that there's another Toronto location in the works, though they wouldn't say exactly where. But it's definitely something to keep an eye out for and look forward to.
If I lived in this 'hood, this would for sure be my gym. It felt welcoming and comfortable, and you really can't beat the price. (Did I also mention that I took note of an extremely large number of very attractive men working out? Quite the added bonus, if I do say so myself.)
Photos by Jesse Milns.