At the beginning of his fitness career, Conor Kelly was a walking paradox: an out-of-shape personal trainer. Though he had taken part in powerlifting and strongman competitions, he found that much of the weight he had gained over the years was fat rather than muscle. So, he became his own client. He observed how lean, toned people conducted their workouts, paying special attention to practices that weren't mentioned in mainstream gym classes. He spoke with other trainers to learn which strategies produced results, and which were ineffective fads. Eventually, he combined all of his research into a new philosophy—one that banished his excess weight, and became the founding principle of Evolution Fitness.
The method he created relies on personalization. Clients meet with him or another certified personal trainer for an initial assessment, during which they identify their goals and take several measurements. The trainers then plan workouts to address specific aims, whether it's weight loss or muscle sculpting. They coach their clients in a private studio with a mix of cardio intervals and strength exercises, keeping the routines varied and, to the best of their ability, fun. Nutritionist Dr. Abazar Habibinia also contributes dietary advice. His manageable tips work within the client's lifestyle, and refrain from stressful rules that prohibit your favourite foods unless you're eating them while doing a wall-sit. And, for those that can't commit to an ongoing, customized program, Conor and his team also host group boot-camp sessions.
Reshmi Chetram has been dazzling audiences on the dance floor with vibrant costumes and explosive movements for more than 16 years. Following the fancy footsteps of her mother—who founded both the Tarana Dance Centre and Natya Arts Productions—she has studied classical Indian dance, Kathak, in New Delhi under the guidance of renowned Indian-dance guru Pandit Birju Maharaj. She has also studied Bollywood and contemporary Indian dance in Toronto and abroad. In 2008, she channelled her dance skills to create BollyFuze (formerly known as BollyFit), a full-body conditioning program that helps students of all ages and abilities get whipped into shape with a blend of traditional Indian dance moves and aerobic exercise steps. She and her team of certified BollyFuze instructors lead clients in burning calories and sculpting fitter physiques in classes including the high-intensity BollyFuze Cardio, low-intensity BollyFuze Rhythm, and fun-filled BollyTots.
Extending her knowledge beyond the workout studio, Reshmi hosts her own BollyFuze television series. She and her instructors lead Bollywood-dance-inspired workouts that patrons can join in the comforts of their own homes without needing to make 1,000 friends.
Named after the word tula, which signifies balance, Tula was created to promote guests' inner and outer harmony and well-being. After a Pilates or Hatha- or flow-yoga class—available in a hot or temperate studio—patrons can indulge in spa treatments ranging from herbal body wraps to Ayurvedic facials and massages. Each location evokes a soothing, nature-inspired look, characterized by wood flooring and water fountains. The studios' radiant heating panels, natural cleaning products, and organic spa products also speak to a desire for balance with the earth.
Tula has built a loyal local following for both its yoga classes and spa services. The Tula West location made a list of Best Health magazine writer Kat Tancock's favourite yoga studios. Studio director Isabel Lambert's "meticulous approach" to sugaring was praised by Fashion Magazine in 2010, and the establishment was voted Best Hot Yoga by BlogTo in 2012, along with Toronto's Best Workout Studio by Now.
How does an old glass factory become a must-book venue in Toronto Life's annual wedding guide? 99 Sudbury’s owners would say, give it a makeover. They swapped the factory’s noisy machines for elegant furnishings, repurposed three sections of the building, and turned the straggling ghosts into coat checkers. The three sections they repurposed include a baroque lounge area, an art gallery with 17-foot ceilings, and a plush loft space aptly named the Glass Factory.
With the leftover space, they added a health-and-wellness centre and a 30,000-square-foot fitness club that has three weight rooms, two exercise studios, and a spinning loft. It even has a cross-training room with monster-truck tires, fire-truck hoses, kettlebells, punching bags, and TRX-suspension-training gear. The idea behind all of these additions was to create a hip atmosphere where people could socialize and have fun while statistically increasing their ability to lift up their cars when they drop keys under them. The effort helped 99 Sudbury catch the eye of various press outlets, and the Food Network even held its 10th anniversary at the spot.
Danielle Chevalier likes how exercise makes her look, but she loves how it makes her feel. That’s why she started Adrenaline Xtreme Fitness—to help others achieve a natural high that’s good for them and those around them. Exercisers of all levels, including members of the Windsor Spitfires hockey team, flock to her functional fitness classes, which challenge the entire body with boot-camp-style plyometrics and bodyweight exercises. Most workouts take place inside through the winter months, though they move outside in warmer weather, allowing participants to soak up sunshine as they jog up hills and whisper sweet nothings to earthworms during planks and crunches. Between classes, Danielle leads personal-training sessions that target goals such as weight loss and sports performance. She also posts free fitness videos to the studio’s website, which helps clients and their friends hone push-ups, squats, and core-toning manoeuvres.
A gold-medal winner while on the Canadian National track team, director Okiki Akinremi puts all of his 17 years of athletic training experience into running Xplosion Fitness. During his time with both the track and bobsled team, Akinremi observed the use in fusing multiple training methods to achieve the level of fitness needed to push a bobsled through the long jump pit. He has honed his ability to work with both seasoned athletes such as Bruny Surin and Robert Esmie along with those with little to no experience, infusing individual fitness goal plans with his own passion and commitment. By harmonizing core and resistance training with a combo of stretching, cardio, and nutrition consultation, his customizable programs and drop-in boot-camp classes result in shedding weight, complete body toning, and a more positive, less frowny way of life.