Striation 6 opened just a few months ago on Davisville, just east of Yonge. Given the zip code, I expected an austere, boutique gym, but Striation 6 is anything but. Located in the lower level of an unassuming apartment building, there is no disguising the fact that it is in a basement. The walls are painted bright colours, and several have been hand painted in cheerful graffiti style. It's a refreshing change from the usual white-and-chrome palettes one usually finds in most upscale fitness studios.
The facility has a massive, very well-equipped weight room and offers group fitness, spinning and personal training. Surprisingly, there are no memberships - you simply pay by the visit.
What's even more astonishing for a gym in this neighbourhood, is that the prices are extremely reasonable. It's difficult in this city to take a fitness class for less than $20 a pop. A drop-in day pass at most gyms will cost you at least that. But at Striation 6, classes are as low as $8, while drop-ins to use the equipment are $6 and personal training starts at $35 for a half-hour session.
My fit friend and I check out Striation 6 on a Tuesday at lunch hour and join about six other women in the 20-30 age range for a bootcamp class. All the staff - from owners Brad Thorpe and Sam Trotta to the guy at the front desk - are warm and friendly. Instructor and trainer Jaime leads us through a HIIT style workout, with 30-second intervals of cardio and strength exercises broken up by 10-second breaks in between. In terms of intensity, I would say it was moderate, for fit folks.
If you want a pretty view, you won't find it here; Group Ex classes are held in a room which I am guessing used to be a squash court. It has high ceilings and absolutely no windows or natural light, but we are in a basement, after all. There also are no water fountains, so bring your water bottle or grab one from them. There, however, fully equipped change rooms with showers and toilet stalls, and all personal hygiene products are all natural and organic.
While the strength training equipment is definitely impressive, there is no cardio equipment except for a few spinning bikes in the weight room. If you are a treadmill bunny, you'll have to run elsewhere. Striation 6 is the place to go if you prefer group fitness for getting your heart rate up. They are also the only facility in Canada to have Isophit equipment, patented by Thorpe, and utilized for both training and rehabilitative purposes.
They also offer a unique service called Muscle Activation Techniques, which they describe as "an assessment and treatment protocol that optimizes muscular stability, thereby increasing strength, stamina, caloric expenditure and the natural healing capacity of the muscular system. Through this process of moving the muscular system towards optimal function and force tolerance, clients can expect increased results from their workouts in addition to decreased risk of injury."
Early-birds like myself will appreciate the hours: the gym opens at 5:15am during the week and 6am on weekends. You can easily drop in for a workout, shower, hop on Davisville subway and make it to work at a reasonable time.
If you want value for your money and access to solid fitness equipment and facilities, Striation 6 is worth a visit.
Photos by Jesse Milns.