Lockdown life took literally longer here in Toronto than anywhere else on the planet! *sigh* Let that sink in. Beyond being on the brink for over a year, fitness studios, gyms and sports teams can finally get back out there and make those gains.

Now that the safety checks and protocols are clear and our vaccination rate climbs, we’re eager to see our friends, trainers, coaches and towel boys. While at-home workouts were a robust and clever mix of Zoom-based movements, outdoor workouts were at least a little more engaging. Now that studio access is being granted (at certain capacities) we’re eager as ever to hit the weight room, use those kettlebells and yes, dole out some serious high fives.

Here are the top Toronto spaces we can’t wait to sweat in first.

Lift Corktown 😅 

East-end’s preeminent space to get jacked, Josh Adamson and team have a legacy for infusing athletisim with community spirit. Forged in a space designed to not only make those gains, but also to make them meaningful, Lift Corktown’s approach is steeped in trust and support. Rowers, bikes and TRX-style straps nestle in with plates, weights and kettlebells but it’s the all about the coaches and classes. Oh how we have missed our good girls/bad girls <3

lift-corktown
Lift’s Motto: Just do it!

Núcleo Fitness 🥊

Marlene Kadin’s personal coaching and dedication to her clients is like a warm hug from an old friend. From checking in on nagging injuries to cheering on every participant, Marlene is all heart and wears it on her sleeve. With excellent Pilates, rowing, springwall, boxing and core training, her crew is nimble and loyal- there’s just a really good vibe at this Leaside studio.

Nucleo
Daryl Mack & Marlene Kadin

10XTO 🎾

From the first visit, this place just brings the WOW factor. Massive in size and scale with every bell and whistle, if you’ve been longing for speciality equipment with on-the-fly app-enabled training in a gorgeous seaside setting, this is your spot. Book in for a staycation and hold court, literally, with their Australian Open styled indoor tennis courts.

10xto
10XTO boasts boxing too!

Orangetheory Fitness 🍊 

Okay, full disclosure: I have never stepped inside an Orangetheory Fitness studio. I know! Don’t hold the pandemic against me, I got hooked on their engaging Orangetheory Live classes, and later, their capped outdoor classes. But now the rowers are getting pushed back into place, and parking lots will be replaced by air-conditioned spaces with all the technical components and equipment Orangetheory builds their reputation on. Book now for first dibs!

orangetheory outside
So long, Eglinton

Solis Movement

If GOOP-goddess Gwen were to own a fitness studio, I envision it would be as aesthetically pleasing as this west-end second-floor spot. Decked out ladies rooms (I’m sure the dudes are pristine too) are a nice touch and you’ll definitely need to hit the showers after some of Solis’ more challenging classes, like the aptly named Solis Sweat that means what it says. Great energy and engaging instructors make this one to repeat, weekly.

solis movement
Solis Movement

Fit Factory Fitness 🥵

The outdoor workouts were no joke, but inside is where it is at for Fit Factory Fitness enthusiasts. This King West playground is built for speed, with interval style training in a group class setting. Challenges are for more than mere bragging rights but total transformations. The community aspect keeps us coming back!

fit factory

Equinox 🌱

The swoon-worthy eucalpytus steam rooms may be the last stop but it is the crowing touch for the Yorkville location. Soaring over Avenue Road bedazzled in glass and modern refinement, this is the fancy-pants gym you actually put makeup ON to go to. But the classes are legit, the space is immaculate and the change rooms are straight out of House and Home magazine. Like Peloton, without the bike, this place is heavy on image, and why not? Feeling good should look good too. (lead photo)

All images by Libby Roach.