◊ THE CLASS: GET STRONG ◊
WHAT YOU NEED
Indoor running shoes (members can leave their indoor shoes there)
Form fitting workout gear – you don’t want anything loose to get caught in the equipment
One of the things that set’s the high-end boutique gym, MOVE fitness club, apart from the pack is the men ain’t allowed in. We’ve come across very few ‘women only’ fitness establishments in our day, some that may seem that way like many barre studios or Toronto Yoga Mamas, but none that intentionally keep the guys out (to be fair MOVE does offer a co-ed class so it’s not TOTALLY sans male). And, we kind of love it. A women’s only gym definitely has it’s place for those women who feel intimidated, uncomfortable or self conscious about being in a co-ed space. Plus, this beautifully put together, giant nucleus of fitness and health has thought of everything women want. They consider child minding, bring in the good products, have a nutritionist on staff, high quality hair tools, an infrared sauna and plenty of other extra’s to sweeten the membership pie. We were the most blown away with founder, Kelly, and her kind, welcoming and supportive staff that clearly make it their priority to ensure the women coming through their doors are part of a non-judgmental community. MOVE fitness club is more than just a gym. It’s an inspiring escape from the day to day helping women achieve their personal best.
MOVE fitness club is in Toronto’s East End, on the edge of Leslieville in a beautiful old brick building that spans a good chunk of Carlaw Avenue in between Dundas St E and Gerrard St E. Getting there by public transportation is pretty easy with a ton of streetcar and bus options running along Gerrard and/or Dundas St E. If driving, there’s metered parking on the street out front, free parking on the residential side streets, and free parking behind the building after 5pm. Functional training gym, Primal Movement, is also located behind MOVE next door to the indoor climbing studio, The Rock Oasis Inc., so this area is a bit of a gold mine for gym junkies.
CLASS SCHEDULE + PRICE
MOVE focuses on two types of workouts; small group training and personal training. Personal training is much like anywhere else and is ideal for those looking for the highest level of private one on one attention, and/or those looking to target specific areas of movement and strength. The small group training classes (and what we tried) include eight classes; Get Strong, Get Strong +1 (mother/daughter class – sa cute), Get Conditioned, Get Rowing, Get Conditioned +1 (member + co-ed), Get Fierce (martial arts class), Get Choreographed (dance) and Get Flow (yoga – which is new). Most classes, and particularly Get Strong, which is their most popular and iconic class, will cover proper technique for basic movements that you see in a gym setting like squats, dead-lifts and overhead presses. Those classes are structured similar to a cross-fit gym in that the trainer will show three/four exercise that will make up a full “set”, and that set will be repeated a number of times in a given amount of time. In total, there are often three sets and everyone works at their own pace while the trainers float the gym. There’s a different class every day, but each week repeats for the month – still following? Each month, there’s also a new movement/exercise introduced for a new challenge so you’re always building, always being challenged and always moving your body in a new way. hah.
Because of the structure of the classes, MOVE is obviously encouraging members first and foremost. There’s a drop-in class option (at $27.50 per class) or the ability to buy a 10 Class Pack, but the greatest choices are in the memberships, with four options in total that make per classes drop as low as $19 per class. Considering the amenities included at MOVE, these prices aren’t surprising and they’re competitive with what exists in the market that’s similar (Fuel Training Club, Academy of Lions). All memberships have the option to pre-pay which drops the cost down 10-15% which is great and they’re easy to navigate to decide what is the best membership for you. As for personal training, they break it out in 8 or 12 sessions with an intro option available to test the waters, and they’re designed for people to see their trainer twice a week on a consistent basis. Each session package renews monthly, includes access to the sauna, a personalised assessment, and an intro ‘Nutrition Lifestyle Kickstarter’ package. See below for all da prices;
- MOVE Intro Experience – First Week (up to 3 classes): $45
- MOVE Membership; $110/m (4 classes per month)
- MOVE More Membership: $190/m (8 classes per month)
- MOVE Often Membership: $235/m (12 classes per month)
- MOVE Daily Membership: $275/m (unlimited per month)
- 10 Class Pack (6m expiry): $275 ($27.50 per class)
- Personal Training 8 Sessions: $760/m
- Personal Training 12 Sessions: $1080/m
- Personal Training Intro: $250 (expires in 2 weeks)
The vibe at MOVE is feminine but tough. It’s so well done. They’re making a serious effort to cover every single one of your female needs from having a freaking DELICIOUS smoothie bar, to selling some of the best brands in the retail boutique (think BKR & French Girl Organics) to including child minding, special ass reverse osmosis filtered water, and change rooms with luxe toiletries and beautiful floors, because that matters. They call it the MOVE 360 Fitness Experience where they’re considering women’s needs in ENTIRETY in an effort to give them an escape from their day to day.
The gym is huge (like 5000 sq ft huge) and stunning – which you feel immediately when approaching the giant brick, ivy covered building with a castle-esk fancy iron door. Walking in, there’s an area to leave your outdoor shoes, and the white, grey and rose gold design aesthetic begins at the sign in desk that doubles as the smoothie bar. Further into the lobby is a cozy and cool seating area that feels more like a spa than a gym meant for you to chill and make friends, obviously. Past the sign in desk is the open concept functional training gym equipped with everything from battle ropes, to rings, rowing machines, 34 foot rig and barbells, bumper plates, monkey bars, plyometric boxes, wall balls, kettle bells, punching bags and much more. They have A LOT of equipment. Through to the other side of the gym are the change rooms (women only, remember) that are spacious, so damn beautiful, and include lockers, a couple of showers, washrooms, the infrared sauna, towel services and access to Kiehls products like Creme de Corps and Ultra Facial Cleanser. There’s also space for members to leave their indoor shoes as MOVE is a sans outdoor shoes facility so they can keep the floors clean and smelling fab. In the back of the gym, is a separate kiddo dedicated room for child minding with windows to the gym and qualified supervision the entire time. And finally at the back of the gym is “the den” which is used for holistic nutrition counselling and an office for their newly launched “recovery boutique” that offers chiro services, and (coming soon) Naturopathic services and Fascial Stretch Therapy. The overall aesthetic was inspired by founder, Kelly Taphouse, falling in love with the laid back, beautiful, healthy lifestyle vibes of California. The feeling is “cali dreamin” – direct quote. Adorable.
- Child minding services, including programs like summer camps
- Towel service
- Hair dryers, hair straighteners,
- Kiehls products including shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash, and creams
- Smoothie bar and energy bars
- Reverse osmosis water
- Retail boutique including oils, notebooks, crystals, water bottles, clothing from brands like Spiritual Gangster
MOVE opened those stunning iron doors on October 31st, 2016. The visionary behind this femme sanctuary is Kelly Taphouse; founder, personal trainer, and group coach who oozes ridiculous beauty inside and out. She has a captivating and real background that makes her approachable and endearing as she got her start in the fitness industry relatively “late” in her 20’s as a means to cope with anxiety. She shot straight to the top as a competitive fitness model (NBD) but experienced quick highs and lows of that kind of success (i.e. being featured regularly in fitness mags but struggling regularly with restrictive eating and excessive exercise). She quit and became a Personal Trainer, Goodlife Fitness Club Manager and Area Manager. Her next chapter brought with it another body image challenge. Like so many women do, Kelly struggled to get back into shape after the birth of her RIDICULOUSLY ADORABLE son, Parker and she focused hard on falling in love with balance and a holistic approach to healthy fitness to get there. This new approach to fitness combined with the challenge she faced in finding a fitness center in the East End that catered to women and convenience for moms, inspired the creation of MOVE fitness club. Her ultimate mission is to help women fall in love with fitness and their bodies for all the right reasons and she’s built a small and passionate team of seven that echo the same vision. As their moto says “looking good is just a side effect”.
Monica captured our attention immediately with her striking smile and goal worthy toned arms. She’s an impressive human also, as a former gymnast and cancer survivor, she’s dedicated to living the healthiest and most enjoyable life she can, and she’s deeply passionate about helping other women do the same. She is a CanFitPro Certified Personal Training Specialist, has completed Level 1 of the DTS Fundamentals, and has her diploma in Health and Fitness Promotion from Humber College.
During our Get Strong class, she demonstrated and explained each exercise before the set began, told us how many reps to do (although it was written on the board – thank god) and started the timer. She then walked the gym while we worked, offering up corrections and reminding people what was next. For the first two sets in particular it was harder to hear her instructions over the music and she explained them pretty fast, but the third round we were huddled in nice and tight so we understood better. If anyone looked lost (me), Monica was on us like a dirty shirt to help and when she answered questions mid-workout, I got the most value from her articulate explanations and careful coaching. I felt a tad lost at the beginning of the sets and found I was looking around to follow my fitness friends to know what to do, and that may be because the majority of the students are members and don’t need the workouts to be explained slower, however some of the exercises were fairly advanced and I always worry about potential injury if people are jumping into something when they’re not quite ready/don’t totally understand.
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY
WAY HARD | HARD | MIDDLE OF THE ROADSIES | CHILL | HELLA CHILL
Unlike a traditional gym, MOVE takes the guess work out of knowing what to even do in a gym. We’ve all done it. Walked into a big box World Health, GoodLife, YMCA or some other iteration and headed straight for the treadmill, lifted a few free weights in some bicep curls and then peaced da fuk out. MOVE though, is about strength training and working on your full body in a consistent and regular manner so that you can – hah – MOVE your body to your best potential and in the healthiest way. The Get Moved class that we took is a 50 minute class working your full body using short and sharp strength exercises and equipment not seen in a traditional gym – all geared towards improving your mobility, stability and range of motion.
The class was split up into five sections. A quick warm up (that entailed full body stretching – no cardio), two sets that acted as the bulk of the workout, a third set they called “dessert” (which is so damn adorable) and was the highest intensity in terms of being constant, and the cool down as the fifth section. The great thing – you get to choose your own weight and your own speed so it’s very accessible and appropriate for all levels of fitness. As mentioned in the instructor section, before we would get started, Monica would explain each set to us and we would all disperse and set-up our stations. We’d finish that set, come back for instructions on set #2 and go set that station up for ourselves. Etcetera etcetera.
After we warmed up, we saddled up to the barbells for the first set for six back squats, and then moved to a nearby bench for eight free weight “chest flies” . That’s it, repeated four times. The next set is where they lost me a bit more and where we had to munch away half a pineapple. We did three exercises and repeated for three rounds; a kettle-bell snatch (6 sets), sea saw planks (15), and deadlifts (10). The kettle-bell snatch was the new move added to their roster for that month so in each class they were working on it. Monica definitely took extra time here to explain how to do it, however doing what we do, we know enough about a kettle bell snatch that that is one hella advanced move and its imperative you do it correctly. We did have the option to do a version of a kettle-bell swing instead if we didn’t feel comfortable or ready, which was great. “Dessert” was five ring rows, 10 tricep dips, 15 kettle-bell swings, and 20 rounds of rope throwing for eight minutes straight. With the exception of the kettle-bell snatch, all of the individual exercises were simple enough, and depending on the speed and intensity you apply yourself, you could get a harder or more chill workout. For us, this one was a Hard although we weren’t breaking a sweat until the “dessert” round. All in all, we loved the structure, the full-body engagement and the opportunity to do major “gym moves” that we DEFS wouldn’t feel comfortable rocking by ourselves at the Y.
If you’re into this and want to give them a try, see Move’s full schedule here.
See ya next week, fineapples!