When in Toronto, I make a point of hitting as many fabulous fitness classes as I can. It’s where I first tried Zumba before the craze caught on in the UK, and where I first realized a fondness and affinity with kettlebell workouts! I’d always loved the ‘idea’ of yoga, but had yet to find a class that was a perfect fit in Edinburgh.
I have my old stalwarts, the failsafes that I head to time and time again. I have my favourite yoga studio, which I’m mostly faithful to. But I love to try new places as well, and this summer i found myself at Brass Vixens, Barreworks and Totum Life Science.
Totum Life Science
At Totum, I tried my very first spin class. This may be hard to believe as a cyclist, but spin was utterly new to me. I’m not sure what exactly I was expecting, but I definitely wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I did! I have to say, I much prefer exercise that tests the limit of my strength and endurance, rather than technical skill; especially in the beginning! I can push myself hard, harder, hardest til I nearly keel over, but ask me to balance or perfect a particular move and I’m flummoxed.
Totum is a boutique gym, and the King West location was super-convenient; I planned my other workouts most days around spin classes at Totum. I found the yoga classes lacking but that seems to be the case with most gym-centric yoga workouts. For yoga I’ll stick with my favourite vinyasa flow classes at Octopus Garden that I’ve been enjoying for years.
A few of my friends have tried pole dancing and they all love it, so when I found a studio specialising in pole classes in Toronto I jumped at the chance to try it.
I am not a girly girl, and taking that into account I think this type of workout was never going to be my style. I’ve never been great at choreographed dance, and deep down I’m suspicious of exercise that claims to be fun.. I prefer ‘hard’ workouts such as kettlebells and spinning, where I feel immediately my efforts are doing something. If I want to party I’ll go to a club!
I attended a total beginners class here, but the other girls had at least a basic knowledge of the moves. Maybe the instructor sensed I wasn’t that into it as she emphasized the ‘fun’ aspect of the workout, but I was told to improvise whatever I couldn’t manage which felt a bit half-hearted to me.
I’ve saved my favourite for last here, but I’ll admit I found my first Barrworks class very difficult despite having a good base in lower body strength.
This workout combines aspects of Ballet barre work, Pilates, flexibility and strength training, but though there were moves that may feel familiar, these are variations that work your muscles in very different ways! Take the classic plank, for example, which is modified with a torso-rotation to tone the obliques.
I could barely move after my first workout here, but noticed significant changes in muscle tone and strength after just two weeks of almost daily classes. This was definitely one of my favourite workouts in Toronto and one I wish someone would bring to Scotland in the near future!
Totum Life Science
445 King Street West, Suite 101
416 979 2449
721 Queen Street West, Suite 202
625 Queen Street West, 3rd Floor
2576 Yonge Street, 2nd Floor