Whether you’re aiming to flaunt your beach body this summer or looking to improve your fitness to lengthen your life expectancy, a gym membership is likely one of the first steps to reaching your fitness goals. But with so many different fitness goals – slim down, bulk up, improve cardio, etc. – picking a gym can be difficult. Some gyms are catchalls and can service any need to some extent, while others are highly specialized in a certain area. Taking this into consideration when you’re deciding on your new gym membership will make you happier with your experience and more motivated to actually go and work out. Luckily, there are a bunch of locally owned and operated gyms and fitness centres, each with their own specialties and focuses to match the type of workout you’re looking for. Any of the options on this list are fantastic for someone, but maybe not for everyone, so make sure to look through all of them and find the one that suits you best.
Neighbourhood: Glen Cairn 962 Leathorne St. (map) https://fitclubbootcamps.ca/
FitClub Bootcamps was easily the most recommended gym when we asked for your favourites on social media. The public’s support for FitClub was so immense, we definitely had to check them out. FitClub runs on the boot camp model, hence the name. They host hour-long sessions of circuit training a few times per day, ranging from the crack of dawn 5:30 am sessions to after-work workouts at 6pm. Every day is different though, so make sure you’re signed up and attending at the right times. They even have an app for both Android and iPhone to help you schedule your workout sessions which is incredibly handy. There are also opportunities for personal training, either one on one or small groups. Going for smaller groups allows your program to be more tailored to your goals and will better suit your pace without pushing you too hard or being too easy and wasting your time. For the truly dedicated, FitClub also offers access to their “Inner Circle,” which includes features such as nutrition and supplement guidance and unlimited personal coaching online. While this may not be for everybody, they think of it as a way to give yourself an extra sense of motivation to stay healthy and active. With the tightknit and incredibly supportive community growing, both in the gym and on social media, FitClub Bootcamps has quickly become a fantastic spot to get your sweat on.
Neighbourhood: Old East Village 1025 Elias St, (map) http://powerhousetraining.ca/
Powerhouse Training Systems lives up to its name in every way. This Old East Village gym is easily the most physically demanding gym on this list, pushing an emphasis on being greater than average. Their approach utilizes a combination of open gym and structured training sessions, either strength training or dynamic work, in small groups. This style of training gets the attention and coaching of personal training and the motivation and morale of training in a group, as well as the benefit of being a fraction of the price of personal training. Powerhouse may not be for every person, and they know that. They pride themselves on catering to an upper tier of fitness, beyond the everyday need to stay fit. Their style of training is intense, modeled after the kinds of training that professional athletes do and they don’t hold back. Their relentless approach to fitness has brought over 40 CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) and NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) athletes into the gym to use their programs over the last couple of years. That’s not to say that you have to be an athlete, but you do have to be ready to train like one. Training at Powerhouse takes dedication and perseverance, it’s more than just heading to the gym for an hour on the treadmill. For some, it may be excessive, for others it could be exactly what they need to excel in their fitness goals.
Neighbourhood: Hyde Park 1175 Hyde Park Rd. (map) http://rev3k.com/
Rev3K Fitness Refined is an all-around facility that realizes fitness is more than just physical exercise. The programs at Rev3k offer entire lifestyles to help improve your nutrition, motivation, and, of course, your physical fitness as well. Owner and coach, Leija Koeman, is a former Dutch Olympic athlete turned fitness instructor, sharing her training, knowledge, and experiences with the London community at their Hyde Park location. Their training style combines Olympic training, modern circuit training, anaerobic pathways and metabolic conditioning. Koeman has multiple programs to target people’s various goals, whether you’re looking to lose weight, gain strength and muscle mass, improve your cardio, or some combination. The various programs involve different circuits and offer nutrition guides to help you meet your goals and make sure you aren’t reversing those gains with every meal. There’s also a program for kids to ensure they’re up and active this summer and throughout the school year. Rev3K also has a “cardio cousin” on Windermere, which offers spin classes multiple times per day. The classes are conducted in the dark, lit only by candles. They believe that this environment allows you to lose yourself in order to push past barriers – whether physical or mental – and exceed your own expectations. If you’re looking for a gym that helps all aspects of a healthy lifestyle, Rev3K is a great one stop shop for all-around fitness.
Neighbourhood: Hyde Park 1695 Wonderland Rd, (map) http://combinefitness.ca/
Combine Fitness, up north at Wonderland and Fanshawe Park Road, is a premiere training facility for developing and enhancing adults and youths alike. Their variety of classes and extended programs makes them suitable for most people looking for something new in their fitness regimen. The name “Combine” stems from the structure of their classes. There are seven varieties, each with their own combination and ratio of cardio, resistance, weight, and core training. For instance, if you want a heavier emphasis on cardio, the Classic Combine class offers a 50/50 split of cardio and weights, or Combine Boxing has a 70/30 split of cardio and strength training. Depending on what you’re looking to get out of your workout, any of these seven programs could be the one for you. For the athletes out there, Combine also offers specialty programs tailored to improving your fitness in a way that will also improve your game. They offer programs for football, soccer, hockey, and volleyball currently, with plans to implement basketball and track and field programs in the future. They’ll even train your whole team at once because what helps boost team morale more than a hard workout? Whether you’re an athlete or just looking to get fit, Combine Fitness has all the best elements of other gyms combined into one package and is worth checking out.
Neighbourhood: Soho 180 Simcoe St. (map) http://www.andfit.ca/
ANDFIT is one of the most specialized gyms on this list, being a women’s only gym with dedicated classes for pregnant women and new moms. Owner and operator, Andrea Merucci Hsiung, has multiple certifications that contribute to her success in this niche market, including a Bachelor’s Degree in Women’s Studies and Psychology, a certification in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, and of course, a certification as a personal training specialist from the Canadian Association of Fitness Professionals. All of this education has cumulated in ANDFIT, a fitness experience tailored for women to build strong bodies and minds. ANDFIT’s mother focused classes include both pre-natal and post-natal yoga, mom and baby strength classes, and stroller boot camp, a six week program with two classes per week, which takes place in Springbank Park for a nice change of pace. But don’t feel excluded if you currently don’t have children, there are plenty of options for classes. Women’s Bootcamps, Strength Lunch classes, and Sunday Sweat Sesh classes run regularly, and regardless of your parental status, you’re welcome to join in and get your sweat on. Andrea’s goal is to create a group of women supporting one another and acting as motivation to believe in a happier and healthier self, and from the look of things, she is succeeding. The ANDFIT community is growing rapidly with no signs of stopping, so get into a class while there’s still space.
Neighbourhood: Berkshire Village 460 Berkshire Drive (map) https://joinfcf.com/
Forest City Fitness is the only 24 hour gym on this list. This place never closes. Weekends, holidays, you name it, they’re open. Since they use key fobs to access their facilities, they never have to close! The ease and convenience of a 24 hour gym is not lost on anyone. Go whenever it suits you, even if that’s 3AM. Forest City Fitness offers more than just open gym time though, there are also a number of classes scheduled throughout the day, some of which are irregular to say the least. They offer gym classics such as bootcamps, Core and Strength classes, and beginner yoga, but they also offer oddities such as Kangoo Jumps class and POUND Rockout Workout. The former being a workout aided by Kangoo Jumps rebound shoes, a high end version of Moon Shoes from the 90’s, but for adults. The rebound shoes reduce 80% of the impact of a typical workout on your body’s joints, allowing people with bad knees and other joint issues to still get active. The latter uses the power of music to get you moving, but not just listening to Eye of the Tiger and other pump up jams at loud volumes – you make the music. Using lightly weighted drumsticks, the POUND system turns drumming into a full body workout, incorporating cardio, conditioning, and strength training with yoga and pilates-inspired movements. For the intrigue of completely new styles of workouts, as well as the convenience of a gym that’s always open, Forest City Fitness could be the perfect fit for your exercise needs.
Neighbourhood: Downtown 238 Dundas St. (map) https://bpmfitness.ca/
At BPM Fitness, their number one goal is self-love. In their eyes, working out shouldn’t be perceived as a punishment or a chore, it’s a way to prove to yourself that you are worth putting in effort for. Self-love is a motivator to stick with diet plans, fitness regimens, and other healthy habits that take work – you do it because you believe you’re worth it and are proud of your accomplishments. BPM offers group classes and personal training with their fitness staff, working with you through circuits of high intensity exercises, a routine they call “burn, build, and bike,” that will dissolve those pounds and shed those inches off your waist. Despite the high intensity, the trainers never feel like drill sergeants that are there to demean and punish, instead they are supportive and knowledgeable, helping you succeed and feel the right kind of burn when you exercise. With plenty of classes throughout the day and an app to help you schedule your upcoming workouts, finding the right time to get out to their downtown location and sweat has never been easier. The environment at BPM Fitness is a great way to get into exercising if you’re just getting back into it or starting a workout regimen for the first time. The BPM team is inviting and supportive to keep you motivated through their intense workouts. For a positive experience from bottom to top, BPM fitness will get your heart pumping with good vibes and exercise.