The Best Gyms in Toronto: Where the City’s Fitness Pros Work Out

We’re always looking for the best gyms and studios in Toronto, and who would know better than the women who’ve basically made staying fit their full-time job? So we asked seven of the city’s top fitness founders to tell us their (second) favourite places to get their sweat on—when they’re not training on their own home turf.

Lara Marquez, founder of Drop Boxing

“Besides Drop Boxing, one of my favourite gyms is Torq Ride. They are a results- and progress-based indoor cycling studio that allows you to track your mileage on the bike while riding to a heavy beat. I also like One Academy because it feels like an indoor obstacle course. I’m a child at heart and love swinging off ropes and bars.”

Julie Harrish, co-owner of 6IX Cycle

“Outside of spinning at 6IX Cycle, I hit up Apex Training Centre three times per week with my training partner Lauren Ramesbottom. We typically run through a self-programmed strength and conditioning workout, or one programmed by Apex owner Matthew Pasquale. I also absolutely love training at Academy of Lions. The vibe is one of the best in the city. While I both adore and appreciate all the staff at Academy, I am a huge fan of Way of the Barbell, an Olympic lifting class with Justin Santos, and CrossFit Gymnastics with David Yarema.”

Kristin Jeffery, founder of Scullhouse Rowing

“Obviously, I love to take all the classes at Scullhouse, but it’s also great to get into other studios around the city. I believe staying fresh and on top of your game requires you to step outside your own walls and experience different things. I love Torq cycling studio. Torq echoes our own emphasis on form, while having amazing playlists and energy. I love Justine’s classes. She has great music and contagious energy. In order to stay limber and flexible with all my rowing, I also try to take yoga classes as often as I can, and I really enjoy Iam Yoga Midtown. As a yoga instructor, I always appreciate their well-organized flows and attention to detail in poses.”

Caleigh Rykiss, founder and CEO of BOLO BodyLove

“I like to do workouts I can’t get in my own studio. We don’t have spin bikes, so I like to spin at SoulCycle with Ty, or Spokehaüs with the owner, Christine. She does a class called Hot Box—spinning in a heated room—which is right up my alley. I also like to include Reformer Pilates classes at Studio Lagree from time to time. It’s legitimately the best core workout in the city. And because we don’t have treadmills, I’ll do a Barry’s Bootcamp class when I want a serious, no-mercy sweat. I usually try to hit up a class taught by my long-time pal Kevin Yeboah or Hayles Beth.”

Amber Joliat, creator of Misfit Studio

I created Misfit Studio because it’s the only way I desire to move my mind, body and soul. But when I’m craving something refreshing so I can tune in, get really still and become more connected with myself, one of my favourite places to go is The Quiet Company for Natalie Matias’ and Emily Thring’s meditation classes. I feel incredibly calm as soon as I walk in. I start to heal. It’s quiet, serene and the perfect setting to meditate in. I also love the salt cave at Hoame—it feels like sleeping for three days, and I feel tremendous energy and clarity after. The infrared sauna is a place I crave, and I feel it in my skin, lungs, heart and mind. It’s a mini vacation. I also like Float for relaxation, especially just before bed.”

Mia Nikolajev, founder of Body Morph Fitness

“As a strength coach, personal trainer and competitive powerlifter, I don’t often get to visit gyms outside the time I spend with my clients and for my own training. I only get to do classes for fun when I’m out of competition season. My top five faves in the city are: Steph Dykstra’s wicked boxing conditioning class at Iron Lion Training (she times the combos to the music!), Jamie Snow’s classes at Fuel Training Club (she’s a brilliant coach!), Gill Munn’s Jacked classes at Elle Fitness (she’s awesome all around), Emma Brown’s deadly HIIT class at Equinox (her classes at Spokehaüs are incredible, too) and Tia Spowart’s SoulCycle class (it will leave you spent physically and lifted mentally). These ladies pack energy, knowledge and amazing playlists into their classes. They will work you out and leave you sweaty and smiling and feeling so great!”

Heather Gardner, owner of Tribe Fitness

“As a triathlete, I built my studio, Tribe, to be almost everything I need to train for my next race, so I rarely go elsewhere in the city to sweat. Instead, I enjoy taking my workouts outdoors whenever possible. I love when the weather is warmer and I can take my 2k swims from the pool to outdoors at Cherry Beach. Swimming outdoors, in the sun, the fresh air and a safe lifeguarded area, is pretty perfect for a summer day. Plus, the post-workout beach lounge isn’t too bad either.”

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