Top Kick Ass Workouts in Toronto

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I know it is still December, but that means the New Year is just around the corner. If you have made the resolution to lose weight or get in shape for the 10th year in a row and just cannot seem to stick to the plan, I am here for you and trust me I have been there before.

You may not know this about me, but I am actually a former professional athlete. I used to be ranked top 10 in Canada in tennis. I moved to Florida when I was 15 to train and play on the international tennis circuit before taking a full scholarship to a division 1 NCAA school in the States.

As a professional athlete you are constantly working out to get fitter, faster, and to better yourself. My days would consist of 7am weight lifting, followed by 4 hours of tennis drills, finishing with an hour of cardio. Tough work to say the least.

While my professional days are long gone, I still love a good sweat session, so I have put together some of my favourite Kick Ass workouts in the city that are guaranteed to get your butt in shape from the experience of a former professional athlete. Perfect to work off those holiday pounds.

Spokehaus 

If my family and friends ever had to have an intervention for me, it would be due to my addiction to Spokehaus. I was never much of a spin fan, finding the class overly repetitive, but Spokehaus offers something new and different. I love the low impact workout being on a bike offers, but trust me that is the only thing low in this class. The intensity is high for the entire duration of the class.  You are moving and grooving for 45 minutes straight and you aren’t just spinning your legs around. You are doing upper body and core movements, as well as one weight lifting track to make sure every muscle of your body is targeted. Another bonus is the great house and dance music they play. It is pretty much a really intense yet really fun dance class on a bike. When the class is finished you get to wipe of your sweat with a lavender towel, talk about taking care of their clients. I have to admit, 45 minutes is never enough at the Spokehuas.

Sweat factor: 5/5

Intensity: 4/5

Fun factor: 5/5

Where: 70 Dan Leckie Way

Elle Fitness Bootcamp 

Ladies this one is for you. Elle fitness offers a variety of classes for the gals including Lean Machine and Hard Ass, but my personal favourite is Bikini Boot Camp. I first signed up for the class thinking it would be a nice ab workout to get me ready for the summer. I was right about one part, it sure helped me get ready for summer. Describing this class as intense would be an understatement. It is none stop cardio meets plyometric, meets weights, meets resistance training. I know that sounds like a lot because it is. This class truly targets every muscle in your body including ones you didn’t even know existed. My favourite move was the lunges on a slider, definitely tested your balance, strength, and mental toughness all at once!

Sweat factor: 5/5

Intensity: 5/5

Fun factor: 4/5

Where: 580 King St W

Studio Lagree 

If you haven’t taken a class at Studio Lagree yet I will sum up what you are about to experience. It is basically Pilates but Pilates on steroids. The workouts here are done with sliding mats, adjustable bars and resistance bands. The studio itself describes the classes as fusion of Pilates, strength, core, and cardio training. I must say I was a little skeptical heading into the class. I have taken Pilates classes in the past and never considered them a very hard work out, but Studio Lagree proved me wrong. The 50 minute class had me engage my core muscles to balance on the mat, while working my upper and lower body with the resistance bands. The class changed my thinking of Pilates especially since I left sweating more than ever before. You have to try this class yourself to see how truly amazing it is.

Swear factor: 4/5

Intensity: 5/5

Fun factor: 4/5

Where: 788 King Street West

Purre Barre 

While ballet inspired classes may not be quite as cardio driven as the classes above, don’t let it fool you. Purre Barre sure offers a kick ass workout. The classes are a combination of ballet and Pilates inspired movements that ensure a full body workout from the inside of your thighs with plies to crunches with ball squeezes there isn’t an area of your body this class won’t work. What I loved most about Pure Barre is it doesn’t just work your body, but also your mind. I don’t come from a ballet background and so I was forced to really focus and concentrate on each movement of each muscle. I thought this class would be a breeze, but I was gravely mistaken. If you are looking for a low impact class that is going to shape and tone you all around, this is for you

Sweat factor: 3/5

Intensity: 4/5

Fun factor: 4/5

Where: 737 Queen St W

Fit Factory Fitness

I am not going to lie. For the first time in my life I seriously thought about quitting a workout class. It was none stop cardio and weight training from the minute the class started. This isn’t no hip hip hooray, you can do it kind of class. So if you are looking for an easy way out, don’t even bother. Fit Factory is for the serious fitness fanatics.  The class, which is military style boot camps are actually run by former marine corps drill instructors. They are yelling and on you to push yourself harder for the whole hour. The classes take you through a serious of drills to shape your body including pushups, medicine ball drills, and lots and lots of sit ups. Hello six pack.

Sweat factor: 5/5

Intensity: 5/5

Fun factor: 3/5

Where: 373 King St. West

Orangetheory Fitness

I had the chance to sweat with Olympian Perdita Felician at the Orangetheory fitness. These classes focus on getting your heart rate up and guarantee results (I may have worked a little harder knowing there was an Olympic athlete breathing over my shoulder.) The one-hour class combines treadmills, rowers, and weights, all of this while your heart rate is posted on the big screen so there is no slacking. What I really loved about this class is the positive reinforcement. As soon as I felt like I couldn’t work any harder, the instructor informs me that I am strong and impressive. That is one way to get me to run a little harder. I burned nearly 800 calories in just 60 minutes. This is a definitely the workout for anyone with weight loss goals.

Sweat factor: 5/5

Intensity: 5/5

Fun factor: 4/5

Where: 421 Danforth Ave

Best Abs Ever at Equinox 

My whole life I have dreamed of wearing a bikini with confidence and so as soon as I saw the words best abs ever class, well I was intrigued. However, when I saw the duration of the class was just 30 minutes, I was concerned I wouldn’t get the sweat I was hoping for, I was wrong. We barely spent any time doing the repetitive crunches on the floor that I have called an ab workout in the past. Instead it was 30 minutes full of plyometric, jumps, and cardio. I felt like I got an hour worth workout in half the time, and yes I can finally see the slight outline of a six pack starting to show.

Sweat factor: 4/5

Intensity: 4/5

Fun factor: 4/5

Where: 199 Bay St. W

CrossFit YKV

I had always been a little skeptical about the word CrossFit. I am not necessary going for the body builder look here and that is automatically what comes to mind when I think of this workout, however after months of friends trying to convince me to go I decided to give it a shot. I fell in love with this class. The class is an hour long that focuses on various movements at high intensity. While I wouldn’t recommend this for anyone who is new to weight training, I would recommend this for people who are looking to tone and shape. Don’t worry, you won’t get that body builder look if you don’t want it, but you will get some beautiful muscles thanks to the various weight training.

Sweat factor: 5/5

Intensity: 5/5

Fun factor: 3/5

Where:  175 Avenue Rd

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