◊ THE CLASS: Fuel Training ◊
WHAT YOU NEED
Fuel Training Club isn’t quite a studio, and they’re not quite a gym; they offer intimate group personal training classes to groups of no more than twelve so that everyone can receive high quality training in high intensity interval training, conditioning, and strength training. Founded by an ex CFL football player, they have three great locations throughout Toronto that all have a distantly different look and feel but all successfully give off the vibe that you’re about to get your ass handed to you. There’s no doubt they encourage memberships rather than drop-in clients with their fee structure, but it’s because they built on their classes and workouts week on week. Their existing clientele is loyal, the classes are so damn hard, and they have dogs. Enough said.
Fuel Roncy – 1974 Dundas St W Unit A, Toronto
Fuel Training Club now has three locations in Toronto; the original location Fuel West (45 Camden Street), their second location on the east side Fuel East (366 Adelaide Street East) and their latest to open in Roncesvalles and the one we’re talking about for the next two minutes, Fuel Roncy. They’re all really great locations actually and easy access no matter what your mode of transportation so we’re giving full fruits for this section. Fuel Roncy is located just off of Dundas Street before the bridge and without the giant yellow Fuel Training Club sign, it’s almost easy to miss because it’s located in what feels like a mini industrial park. Parking is available on site though and if it fills up, there’s street parking within walking distance on the surrounding streets. They recently added bike racks right out front, the Sorauren streetcar stop is right outside the gym and it’s about a 800m walk to Dundas West Subway. See, full fruits.
CLASS SCHEDULE + PRICE
The classes offered at Fuel are either Fuel Training or Fuel Conditioning and are all 50 minutes. The Fuel Training classes are held during the week and they follow a monthly periodized schedule, which means they change the workouts every day but follow a weekly progression, introducing new skills at the beginning of a month and progress towards the end. They typically focus on strength training three times a week and athletic/HIIT training twice a week. Fuel Conditioning is only held on the weekend and focuses more on HIIT and athletic conditioning. Even though these are definitely intended for members, it’s completely possible to drop-in for a class at any time as all classes are designed to be scaleable for all levels. Class times are decent with a 6am class offered every weekday at every location, a few more morning slots like 6:50am, 7:40am and 10:00am, a lunch time option and then typically three classes in the evening with the last at 7:10pm. Weekend classes are super lean though, usually with two classes on Saturday mornings at 9:10am and 10:00am and only one on Sunday. They’re basically gearing to people who can make this part of their weekday routine.
One of the most interesting and forward thinking things Fuel is doing though is their Fuel Moms program. Knowing that their target audience is in their 20’s-40’s they’re also aware this is a demographic that likes to have babies, and instead of forgetting about those clients, they’ve recently launched a program that focuses solely on them. Fuel Mom classes are also 50 minutes, are kept to the same size of twelve participants, and they’re held on Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays at 11:00am at Fuel Roncy and Tuesday/Thursdays at Fuel East. They’re for any post partum mum who wants to focus on rehabilitating her core, and move in a safe and effective way after pregnancy and childbirth. Classes are lead by Stephanie Sibbio, who is a specialist working with the postpartum body, mums are welcome to attend class with or without their baby, and you have to be at least six weeks post partum and cleared by your OB to attend. Just thanks for thinking of us guys. So much thanks.
As far as pricing goes, these guys are unmistakably trying to sign-on members. Drop-in rates are pretty pricey at $35 per class, which is the highest across any category of fitness class, and across Canada for that matter, that we’ve seen yet. There are a number of membership routes you can take though, and one of the best deals (the Fuel Advanced) drops an individual class rate to $15. All memberships automatically renew, can be used at all locations (although some have limitations as to when), a certain amount of classes can be rolled over to the next month, and you can track your workouts online.
- Drop-in: $35
- Monthly Fuel Starter: $110 (4 classes, $27.50pc)
- Monthly Fuel Novice: $190 (8 classes, $23.75pc)
- Monthly Fuel Intermediate: $230 (12 classes, $19.16pc)
- Monthly Fuel Advanced: $250 (16 classes, $15.63pc)
- Monthly Fuel Elite: $265 (unlimited)
The Vibe at Fuel Roncy is like a garage. No wait, it actually is a garage. Having taken over the space from a previous business that was an ACTUAL garage, they kept a lot of the original decor like the color of the bricks walls, the exposed ceiling and some of the “art” like the air conditioning and electrical tin signs in the washroom. We were pretty into it. There’s a simple front foyer with an iPad to check-in at the main desk, a fridge with water (and beer for when they have events – points!), and a teeny tiny merch area with a bit of lulu product and protein powder. Of course. It’s an open-concept gym space with equipment on every wall of the gym, a padded floor, and weight bars in the middle of the space. The equipment is impressive with self-powered treadmills (which is like a hamster wheel for humans as they describe them), kettle bells, barbells, free weights, ropes, benches and sticks (lolz). Lockers are located along one of the walls, the mens and womens change rooms (that have showers, towel service, washrooms and a few extras like hair straighteners) are at the back of the gym, and two of the four walls are able to completely open up to outside. Pause here. With the free flowing air to outside and the sun shining in when you’re listing to a wicked playlist and pushing yourself to your physical max is kind-of perfect. New bar – all studios need to have walls that open to outside to earn full fruits. Just kidding, we live in Canada. That’s not always possible. Anyway, Fuel nailed it.
- All equipment provided
- Retail boutique that includes protein bars & powder, and lulu product
- Womens and mens change room with bathrooms, showers, blowdryers, hair straighteners, shower products, and towel service
Fuel Training Club is the brain child of Greg Hetherington, a former CFL slotback and one of Toronto’s top 10 trainers, excuse me very much. In addition to his experience and deep rooted knowledge, he brings an approachable and attainable attitude to fitness advocating that anyone can feel like a full time athlete, so long as training is integrated into their life as a priority. He’s a huge proponent for proper form and technique and he’s made that one of the key cornerstones of Fuel. Together with Jamie Snow, the assistant Club Manager, they have built a team of eight others with incredibly diverse backgrounds in everything from pre and post natal fitness (Stephanie) to specialising in personal training in your condo (Jerome). All up, you’re in very good hands no matter what.
Sean has been with Fuel for over four years and he’s become a bit of jack of all trades in fitness. He has apparently participated in everything from obstacle course races, to mixed marital arts, powerlifting, rock climbing, triathlons, yoga, and gymnastics, just for fun. If that isn’t enough, he’s also a firefighter in Hamilton, like ya know, in his spare time. Calm down ladies, he’s taken by a gorgeous veterinarian. Actually. So anyway, besides being super qualified for pretty much anything fitness related and having all the muscles to prove so, his teaching style is full of smiles and all about technique. He ensured that we were completely comfortable and clear about how to do every exercise properly before we started the workout, example barbell back squats or tricep bench lifts. Once we got started, he walked around the gym encouraging everyone to push harder while constantly eyeing our form. He called out every single one of us at one time or another to correct something about our technique, especially as we started to fatigue. Really into that. Full fruits, Sean, full fruits.
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY
WAY HARD | HARD | MIDDLE OF THE ROADSIES | CHILL | HELLA CHILL
We’re rating this Hard and giving full fruits because this was most definitely a full body workout that challenged our cardio just as much as our strength. The best part about this kind of class that incorporates a lot of high intensity interval training (HIIT) is that the pace and weight you set is completely up to you so you can push yourself as hard or as fast as you like. As mentioned, the Strength Training classes vary from week to week as they build on the workouts but all classes will include the same three principles; athletic, strength, and HIIT. Athletic being various athletic movements that mimic sport and functional movements, strength being things like deadlifts, squats, pulls and presses and HIIT is like tabata protocol that uses 20 seconds of work and 10 seconds of rest. For our class we started off with full body stretching to get us limbered up. Sean then took the next five minutes to explain to us what the first workout would be and helped us all get our stations set up with the appropriate equipment.
The first workout was the strength portion that included three exercises; a back squat, a ‘bird dog row’, and a kneeling press. The back squat required holding a barebell on our shoulders to do a squat, the ‘bird dog row’ was a tricep lift with a free weight bending over a bench while balancing on one leg, and the kneeling press was kneeling on one knee using both arms to do a shoulder press with free weights. The workout was doing each one of these movements eleven times in a row before moving on to the next station. And once one full set was completed, we could wait until the end of the five minute timer finished before starting again (so how fast you moved through the set, impacted how long your break could be). Then we repeated that four times.
And that was only the first twenty minutes.
We then moved into the cardio portion which was our personal favourite and the section of the class that sufficiently kicked our ass. We had three exercises again; kettle bell swings, squats with a kettle bell, and pushups – all pretty self explanatory. Here though, there were no breaks and we had to do eleven rounds of this with each exercise being repeated ten times. In total, it took us about 10-15 minutes to complete the whole thing and, especially towards the end, we had to go somewhere deep in our souls to get through the final rounds. Probs our favorite part at the end was when those who finished were cheering on the rest of us until we’d all completed the workout and then the twelve of us congratulated and gushed over each other like we had just survived 100 days on Everest and had become lifelong friends. Which is basically what happened.
To try this class or anything else on their schedule, see Fuel’s schedule here.