It’s that time of year again, temperatures are rising and you're starting to hate yourself for not working out all winter - or as some Torontonians call it, spring. This is when the reality of pools, bars, beaches and sundresses start to sink in. If you (like myself) want to workout but are easily bored at the gym, the following spots offer some great alternatives to get your workout in the city.
1. Indoor SUP
These days, yoga studios are as common as coffee shops. Indoor SUP or Standup Paddle - Boarding, puts a new spin on things - practicing various exercises on a surfboard; 45 minutes of surf-inspired movements structured in intervals to push past plateaus. Essentially, you're engaging your whole body to create a lean physique similar to that of an athletic surfer. These exercises will teach you to breathe, move, and be present while toning and building stability.
Photo Cred- Boulderz Climbing
2. Indoor Rock Climbing
A safer alternative to climbing outdoors and more fun alternative to the gym. Indoor rock climbing is a great distraction, as climbers are so often focused on getting to the top, you often forget you're working out. Benefits include building muscle and endurance while also burning calories. Rock climbing is considered a mental workout as much as a physical workout since it requires quite a bit of problem solving while scaling the wall.
Photo Cred- Sky Zone
Remember the days of sneaking into your neighbour’s backyard to use their trampoline as a kid? That wasn’t just me... right? How fond are those memories, spending hours jumping as high as you could, attempting a front-flip. Well, trampolines aren’t just for children, they're also a great way to get your workout in. Try sky fitness or skyrobics for a low-impact workout, combining calisthenics, core exercises, and strength-building aerobics. It's also a fun way to burn up to 1,000 calories an hour!
Photo cred- Skinny Mom
4. Ballet Barre Workout
The barre workout is gaining popularity quickly and serves as a great alternative to the gym. If you never were one to enjoy dance class but always admired the dancers' beautiful bodies, barre may be the workout for you. If done properly, this ballet-inspired workout will have you feeling the burn all while feeling like a ballerina. The barre is used as a prop to balance while doing exercises that focus on isometric strength training combined with high reps of small range-of-motion movements. A great workout for muscle sculpting, cardio training, and core conditioning.
Photo Cred- sundialcsun
5. Pole Dancing
When most of us think of pole dancing, a lot of things may come to mind - including 8-inch stilettos or Rihanna’s Pour It Up video. Of all the things that come to mind, fitness is not usually one of them; which is why it's a great way to workout without feeling like you’re doing just that. From aerial, cardio, to burlesque, there are many different types of classes to try - each one offering different workouts. Pole dancing will improve balance and kinesthetic awareness. You become more limber, improving circulation in your joints and flexibility, while decreasing problems such as back and muscle pain. And well, of course, you're burning calories while boosting your confidence.
Initially, it may look a little ridiculous, but once you get started you won't care! This moon boot craze has not yet caught on in Toronto like it has in other US cities or Europe, but it’s a great way to put the fun back in your workout. This intense cardio workout combines dance moves, running and jumping and offers an incredible list of benefits. It’s also a great alternative for those who have problems with their knees as the design of the boot reduces impact.
Photo cred- bu.edu
7. Aerial Movement
Yes, there are classes for this in Toronto! You may not be a pro right away, but it is definitely an activity worth trying and seeing if you’re interested. Aerial silk workouts are an artistic alternative to the gym. Participants climb, twist, spin, drop, and contort themselves on fabric curtain sheets that hang from the ceiling. While it may look graceful and seem effortless, it takes a lot of skill and athletic ability, but practice makes perfect! Aerial silks, also known as aerial fabrics, aerial tissue, aerial ribbons, or aerial curtains, will have you toning your muscles and increasing your metabolic rates - so even while resting, more calories are being burned.
Photo cred- mymodernmet
You may think you're not familiar with parkour, but I bet you are. If you know Assassin's Creed, you know parkour. By definition, parkour is the act of moving from point “a” to point “b” using alternative methods to bypass the obstacles in your path, increasing your travel efficiency. Designed to replicate various locations in cities, The Monkey Vault training centre has everything built specifically to jump, swing, and climb over - leaving only your mind as the limiting factor on what to do with it. Benefits of parkour include: a full body workout, improving your proprioception abilities, and also getting a mental workout as you are constantly thinking on your feet.
Photo cred- Huffington Post
9. Lagree Fitness Method
Called "pilates on crack" by some of the clients, this fitness method is a new approach to full body conditioning. Sebastian Lagree created a hybrid machine known as the Megaformer which features various handles, straps and accessories that allow clients to blend pilates, cardio, and strength training. The machine uses a system of resistance and counter resistance to place muscles under constant tension and work them to failure point - a key to the method’s delivery of swift results. Classes from 25-50 minutes offer a new alternative to hitting the gym, but prepare to be sore the next day. Benefits of the Lagree method come from combining your core, endurance, cardio, balance, strength and flexibility training in every move.
Photo cred- The O Course
10. Obstacle Course Training
Well, you definitely won't be bored at the O Course, an obstacle training course designed by former U.S. Marine Corps drill instructor Sgt. Tony Austin. Testing participants' physical strength and mental willpower, the course is based on actual U.S. Marine Corps fitness training. You will see results. Note: This workout is last on the list, as you may not be able to move after. You have been warned!