The Great Urban Race is a one-day event pitting teams of two against one another in a race combining physical challenges, scavenger hunts, and puzzles. Up to 700 twosomes will traverse 4 to 8 miles of Toronto terrain on foot and by public transportation as they solve 12 challenging clues in a fun quest to reach the finish line first. Sample clues and challenges from past Great Urban Races include charades, bubble-gum chewing, pig Latin deciphering, bicycle races, and word scrambles, making this race ideal for competitive eaters and cryptographers alike. Teams are encouraged to dress up in matching outfits, and prizes will be awarded for best costume. Prizes are also given for race results, with $300 going to first place, $200 to second place, and $100 to third place. The top 25 teams will qualify for the National Championship in New Orleans in November, with the top three teams receiving free entry. Each participant gets a T-shirt and postrace refreshments of fruit, granola bars, and a run through a Perrier sprinkler. Read over the rules and FAQs for more information.
After four years spent playing football at the University of Illinois, and three years in the Canadian league, Morris Virgil circled back around to become a fitness coach. “Each client is a direct reflection of me,” he says. “Not in their physique, but in form, effort level, and dedication.”
He springboards off that philosophy during his 45-minute sports-inspired workouts, challenging patrons through functional training methods designed to improve overall health rather than just build washboard vanity abs or butter-churn biceps. Each workout divides time equally between cardiovascular routines, strength-training that leverages body weight, and muscle-sculpting exercises with free weights. The focus of each session alternates by the day of the week, so students can arrive daily for an all-around fit-‘em-up routine or drop in on specified slots to focus on slimming down, toning muscles, or building strength.
As a ballet dancer, David Gensheimer didn't need much help becoming lean, limber, and lithe. But when he found himself recovering from knee surgery, he knew he needed to find something that would keep him strong without compromising his healing process. In addition to physical therapy, he turned to Pilates and was won over by the sport's ability to strengthen core muscles and enhance flexibility. Though he was back to pirouetting in no time, David never lost the Pilates bug and went on to complete his Pilates training while serving as a company member with Ballet Austin and Nashville Ballet and dancing with the Houston Metropolitan Dance Company and Stillpoint.
Today, when he's not busy dancing his way through guest performances around the country, David helms Simply Balanced where he helps others strengthen, rehabilitate, and challenge their bodies through Pilates and yoga classes. Students can also try Gyrotonic classes, which blend elements of gymnastics, yoga, dance, and tai chi, performed on a weight and pulley machine that engages the entire body. Beyond transforming the way visitors look, move, and feel about spandex shorts, the Simply Balanced studio also showers them with feel-good perks such as complimentary beverages, free parking, and access to a team of highly trained massage therapists.
Personal trainers Matt and Emily Hecker teach clients how to sculpt and strengthen their bodies using cardio, resistance training, and nutritional plans. The team of trainers—including a former Marine and a professional gymnast—lead one-on-one training sessions and small-group weight training, soothing yoga, or invigorating kettlebell classes .
The kettlebell workout, one of the trainers’ specialties, traces its origins to Russia, where for 350 years the round weight with its sturdy handle has been used to build functional strength and flexibility. At Hecker’s Fitness, teachers lead dedicated, supportive groups of students as they tone their cores and condition their muscles through this time-tested workout.
Energetic music pumps bodies into motion on treadmills, stationary bicycles, and elliptical trainers. Meanwhile, patrons heave dumbbells and heft weighted balls. And in the group fitness studio, classes punch and kick their way through high-intensity kickboxing routines or breathe steadily as they bend into yoga poses. Such scenes play out daily at each of Better Bodies' three locations. In addition to group training, the gyms also offer one-on-one training from personal trainers with years of experience in the fitness industry, including former Cleveland Indians and Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Mike McGuire. The trainers also boast masters degrees in fitness-related disciplines, including physical therapy and flaming bowling-pin juggling.
Though Perfekt Fit is an intimate studio, it houses an impressive and diverse selection of fitness classes. Sunlight pours through its lofty windows as trainers motivate students to pedal furiously atop stationary cycles. During other classes, students twist into yoga poses, dance to energetic Latin-inspired Zumba routines, or work their abs in pilates atop the glossy hardwood floor. Groups line up along ballet barres during innovative barre classes, practicing traditional ballet exercises to strengthen muscles and improve coordination. The studio's expert trainers also offer private training sessions, where they work with students individually to accommodate unique fitness goals and overcome restrictive issues, from recovering from injuries to coaxing a stubborn tarantula out of their gym sneakers.