As you know, I’ve been running…and running…and running training for a 15k. I am not naturally drawn to running, I don’t particularly enjoy doing it, nor am I that good at it. However, while Googling ‘run training’, I was ecstatic to see that the topic of cross training [disciplines outside of running] came up quite a bit. In addition to the many benefits cross training offers runners, it helps break up and adds variety to the monotonous miles of pavement pounding. I am all for that!
B E N E F I T S O F C R O S S T R A I N I N G :
.builds strength + flexibility in your non running muscles
.prevents injury by correcting muscular imbalances
.adds variety to your training
.improves overall fitness
Before I committed to training for the Nike 15k, fortunately, I purchased a 6 month Class Pass – a monthly pass that allows you to class hop at a variety of gyms and studios around Toronto (and now, also in other cities) for a monthly fee. Since I signed up for 6 months, I got a $69/month deal and as drop-ins usually range from $15-$20+, I get my money’s worth in 4 classes.
Im now into my 2nd month of the pass and since running and class hopping take up so much of my week, I decided I would share some of my Class Pass studio experiences; the fun the interesting and the what did I get myself into.
Barreworks – Queen St. | 625 Queen St. West | $21
A fitness method that sculpts + lengthens + leans out your body through a combination of core conditioning, dynamic yoga, pilates, and dance –essentially working to make me look like a Victoria Secret model right?
To date, I’ve taken barre, yoga, and rolling/stretching classes at this studio. I found the classes challenging [especially when you accidentally grab the heavier of the toning balls and are stuck with them or the duration of the class] and offer a variety of movement within each session. Depending on the class, you move from the barre to the centre to the mat with the use of resistance bands, balls, and other props. After each class, I felt that much closer to my angel wings. Ha
CYKL | 68 Bathurst St. @ Wellington | $22
I knew CYKL as “that sweaty + foggy studio” on Bathrust that I would pass on my walks to and from Queen St. – then I signed up for my first class.
Once my bike had been adjusted to my measurements, I hopped on the saddle, strapped in and started to freak out as the bike immediately started to teeter from side to side. This wasn’t your ordinary stationary machine. These bikes have the ability to lean emulating turns and forcing you to engage your core and upper body to stabilize it. So, not only was I dying from the sprints and uphills but I was extra dying from the added core and arm work. Ultimately, at the end of the 40min ride, I was dead and my legs were jello for the following 48hrs. Now I know that those sweaty windows are actually screams in the form of condensation form burning + screaming legs.
Misfit Studio | 761 Queen St. West | $20
It’s the studio on Queen right beside/atop the new Anthropologie. So if you’re ever early for class, you can kill time smelling delicious candles and perusing colourful plateware.
I have attended this studio the most frequently out all on the list. They offer quite a bit of classes and their schedule works best with mine. Misfit is a smaller studio in an old church where your practice is in a space that’s filled with its original 19th century essence -you trikonasana toward exposed brick walls and swan dive toward tall stained glass arched windows over looking Queen Street. So far, Ive taken restorative + pilates + stretching classes. I opted for the lower impact classes as to not over do it on the pain train.
The Extension Room | 30 Eastern Ave. [Corktown] | $18-$20
This was the first studio I’ve dropped in on outside the West End. As a former dancer, my balletic heartstrings were lured all the way to the East to check this place out. Contrary to Barre method and like studios, the Extension Method utilizes more classical ballet fundamentals in their barre and centre workouts.
With a weight in hand we stood at the barre and did grand battements, ronde jambes, attitudes…. and with each tondue I quickly came to the realization that all my balletic ability and strength no longer existed. My 90º+ grand battements have been reduced to 45º and I’m pretty sure my developpe extnesions were at a hover just off the floor. The inability to do what I was once fully capeabable of doing was internally frustrating enough to motivate me to get it all [or at least 1/2 of it] back. I left the class with exhauseted legs and, to quote my friend Morgan [also an ex-dancer who attended this class with me] a sore ego.
Studio Lagree | 788 King St. West | $17 [initial drop-in] / $32 [following drop-ins]
My interest in this gym was sparked by a recommendation from Morgan and when I saw it on the Class Pass studio list I knew I had to check it out.
As I was walking in to my first class, Morgan was actually walking out of hers. We chatted and she ended the convo by asking if I was taking the same class she just finished. I said yes and her parting words were “you’re going to die” [insert squiggly face emoji here]. Every word she said was true. I didn’t actually die but I definitely thought I was going to; on several occurrences.
The entire Lagree class is done on a megaformer machine [similar to a Pilates reformer machine but on
crack steroids] to a sound track of up beat energizing music led by instructors who, by the looks of it, definitely practice what they preach. As you transition from exercise to exercise [while trying to figure out what pulley goes where or where to place your arms + legs] you are working out every muscle in your body…at the same time!
The class was extremely challenging. Each exercise included moves familiar to ones I’ve done before..but on crack. It wasn’t just a plank but a plank into a pike; not just a lunge but a lunge with 1 leg on a slider with weights. This 50min class was one of the hardest workouts I’ve EVER done. The only thought that crossed my mind after class, on my walk home, was “this gym is not really life! Can anyone actually do this? How does it exist?”. P.s. I can proudly say that I have completed 2 more classes since
So, that’s where I’ve been and what I’ve been doing over the last 2 months; working on my fitness. If you like taking classes than I would highly recommend getting a Class Pass [or something similar]. It offers a great value and allows you to try out new classes that you may not have without it.
When in doubt, CROSS TRAIN!