◊ THE CLASS: Full Body ◊
WHAT YOU NEED
Core is one of the newest studios to hit the Toronto fitness scene and it is unlike anything we’ve ever been to. With every class designed to specifically target your core, the exercises and movements are unique, dynamic, and specialised to create a 1-hour circuit training class that will kick anyone’s ass no matter how fit they think they are. The gym utilises some of the newest and best equipment in the industry including treadmills that, when in dynamic mode, need to be operated manually to maximise the workout. Core offers both group fitness classes and personal training and with brand new facilities, the space is light, bright, modern and simple. The staff are lovely, all good looking and fit as hell, and will keep you motivated while keeping your form in check considering you’ll likely find yourself doing movements you’ve never done before. Although pricey, this was one of the most challenging classes we’ve been to in Toronto and worth the price tag for the big sweat. If we lived closer, we could see ourselves becoming regulars and we would count the days until we could count all 12 of our new abs.
Core is located in the beautiful neighbourhood of Forest Hill, right in the heart of their local shopping strip, Forest Hill Village, on Spadina Road in between Eglinton and St. Clair. The gym is situated across the street from Studio Lagree and above the Starbucks on the west side of the village. The stairs are accessible on the left of Starbucks and Core shares the building with other businesses (including the bathroom). The parking lot is across the street at the north-east corner of the village, or street parking is also available out front. If taking public transport it’s still very accessible even if you don’t live in the area, being a 10-minute walk from St. Claire West subway station or the number 33 bus stops on the corner.
Core has two studios, one for open classes and one for personal training. Core used to be a personal training gym only, but in the last few months as they outgrew their small space for how many clients they were acquiring, they moved across the hall and have added open classes also. Four types of 1 hour classes are offered; Full Body (and Teen Full Body), Lower Body + Core, Upper Body + Core, and Double Core. All classes follow the same circuit training format, utilising various equipment in the room like “tread”mills, weights, balls and resistance bands to do a sequence of 6-8 exercises for 60 seconds before repeating. One thing you can be sure of, all classes will be centred around your core. For personal training, you can book directly with Core founder, Joshua Lipsey, who is somewhat of a celeb in the fitness industry PS, or you can book with some of the other trainers they have available. Class times are quite good with Monday-Friday being the heaviest up with options running ~7 classes per day from 6am – 9pm. Saturdays and Sundays are a little leaner with 3-4 classes running until ~1:30pm.
Group class rates are pricier than what we have been seeing at $30 for a drop-in before tax. Core is most definitely positioning themselves as a boutique gym that doesn’t mess around with a serious workout and encourages you to sign up for bulk packages; driving the price as low as $21 per class. The only thing about such a high price tag is that we expect additional amenities to accompany that, like at Equinox and SoulCycle. But because Core is such a small space and they have shared washroom space with the building, there isn’t even enough space to shower, and when you get SO sweaty a shower is essential. That said, the price point matches the neighbourhood and considering how killer the workout is, you’re definitely paying to transform your body and many consider that alone money well spent. Surprisingly memberships aren’t available, but maybe that would be something they would offer in the future as they pick up steam. Core also has a rewards program similar to Underground, where you can earn points for your birthday (5), for referring a friend (2), posting on social (2), going to class more than 3 times a week (2) or purchasing any packages (2). it will take 50 points to earn a free class, 100 to earn a free personal training session, and 500 for a Core Concepts bag.
- First-time drop-in $25
- Drop-in: $30
- 5 Class Pack: $140 ($28 per class)
- 10 Class Pack: $260 ($26 per class)
- 20 Class Pack: $480 ($24 per class)
- 50 Class Pack: $1050 ($21 per class)
- Teen pack ages 13-17: $220 ($22 per class)
- per 1 session: With Joshua $200. With other trainers $120
- 5 sessions: With Joshua $900 ($180 per). With other trainers $550 ($110 per)
- 10 sessions: With Joshua $1600 ($160 per). With other trainers $1000 ($100 per)
- 20 sessions: With Joshua $2800 ($140 per). With other trainers $1900 ($95 per)
- 50 pack: With Joshua $6000 ($120 per). With other trainers $4500 ($90 per)
One of our favorite things about Core is their moto; the first thing you see on their website and the first thing you read on their wall in between the two studios. It calls out the showey gym goers, the lazies, and the half-ass workout baes doing it for social media and it sums up how committed they are to a really really hardcore workout that will always be centred around your core (get it, get it).
“Treadmills aren’t runways. Kettle bells aren’t for making tea. The mats aren’t for taking naps. The bench press isn’t were you sit to do your hair. You don;t go to the gym to make friends, or to tell people you went. You don’t come here to text, tweet, talk or timeout. You come here to work hard. You come here to sweat hard. You come here to leave feeling better than when you came in. You come here to work on your core. Because when your core is strong, everything else follows suits.”
The space itself is brand new, modern, and compact. Taking up the majority of the gym space are the two studios that are filled with some of the best equipment in the industry including dynamic treadmills, weights, resistance bands, suspension trainers, half bosu balls, and strength bands. The foyer/lobby is small, white and simple with succulent terrariums as simple decor and modern details like mini iPads to sign in, a filtered water station and a tucked away phone charger station. The biggest downside is the lack of change rooms and shower space. The washroom is down the hall and shared with other businesses in the building but it doesn’t have a shower, which is a necessity after such hardcore, sweaty classes. It’s definitely recommended to come to class ready to go in your gear, and be prepared to head home straight after, unless you want to show up to your next destination glossy and salty. It’s no surprise that a lot of the clientele at Core are Richmond Hill locals who can pop home right afterwards.
- Programmable lockers
- Filtered water
- Phone chargers
- Washroom (in the building)
The entire team at Core is incredibly lovely. They’re strong motivators, are insanely fit themselves and are keen to help you achieve your fitness goals. For our class, we were lucky enough to have multiple instructors be a part of it so we got a glimpse of what everyone’s style is, and suffice to say no matter who you take a class from they will challenge you, ensure you’re form is correct and push you to your limits.
Joshua Lipsey discovered Core Concepts, which was the personal training gym that proceeded Core. They outgrew their space with over 200 clientele because they had such a specialised approach to fitness that Joshua likes to call ‘transcoremation’ that ensures every muscle is working toward establishing a strong and balanced core, therefore paving the way to expand and create Core. Josh is a former basketball player that suffered a slipped disc in between seasons when playing in Europe and he recovered by focusing on the core of the body. He’s been featured on programs like Extra, Access Hollywood, and Entertainment Tonight promoting his method of ‘transcoremation’ that’s received considerable buzz and interest. Joshua’s teaching style is quick, clear, and relentless. He’s a great motivator, will watch your form intently to make sure you’re doing the movements correctly to avoid injury and get the most out of them, and he is non-stop. Offering water break rarely, it’s clear that he sees his role is to challenge you and keep you moving for the full hour that he has you. Joshua is worth every penny and we could see how regular time with him (or anyone at Core) would transform your physique and your fitness.
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY
WAY HARD | HARD | MIDDLE OF THE ROADSIES | CHILL | HELLA CHILL
We’re rating this class Way Hard. Probably not a surprise from what you’ve read so far but let’s explain a little more about why. The Full Body class was split in two with one half of the class on the dynamic treadmills and the other half on the floor in front of an equipment station facing the mirror. The treadmill team (us) started out with ~10 movements on the treadmill, not really a warm-up either we might add, that included things like “kick-stands” (where you stand on the side of the treadmill with one foot and push on the treadmill with the outside foot to get it moving) and “running” (that requires you to hold onto the handles to push). See below for a video on how the treadmills work so you can visualise. The benefit of the dynamic treadmill is that it engages your entire body to be able to get it moving, not to mention the movements were unlike anything we’ve done before and had us profusely sweating after only a couple minutes. After the first round on the treadmills, we moved to the floor to do the same sequence the floor team did, which involved a ton of resistant band work, weights, planks and squats. Although, many of the movements are complicated to explain, one thing you can be sure of is that they will keep you moving the entire time and focus on getting our core to reach it’s functional threshold. For example, side planks are not a simple side plank to hold for 30 seconds; they are side planks holding a resistant band directly overhead thats attached to the wall and as you pull your arm along your body, you raise your hips further to the sky. The class continued on with switching between treadmills and floor work, with 4 swaps in total, very few quick breaks, and a very short stressing sequence at the end.
Overall, because the movements are so unique and likely not something you’ve done before, form is the most important thing to ensure you’re doing it correctly, don’t injure yourself, but also so you can get the most out of it and push yourself. The beautiful part about the style of circuit training is that every exercise can be done at a variety of levels and you can go at whatever pace your comfortable with, there’s not goal number of reps, it’s all timed, so no matter what fitness level you’re at, you can always find a challenge. It was one of the toughest hours we’ve put our body through and we were soar in unexpected places for days after, like mid-back muscles, inner thighs, glutes and low abs. Yah low abs!! The holy grail of ab soarness!! Woot woot.
Web: www.bewithcore.com E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org PHONE | (416) 901.8821 Instagram | Facebook