◊ WHO THIS IS FOR ◊
grown-ups looking for full body hiit, conditioning, & the opportunity to lift a barbell or run on a treadmill into the sunlight
WHAT YOU NEED
Water bottle, running shoes
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 HIIT (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. They encourage memberships rather than drop-in clients with their fee structure, but it’s because they build 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.
Read on for the full article of Fuel Training Club.
Fuel Training Club has three locations in Toronto; the original location Fuel West, the second location on the east side, Fuel East, and their latest gym (and the one we’re referencing in the rest of this article) Fuel Roncy. They’re all great locations and easy access no matter what your mode of transportation. Fuel Roncy is 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. There are also bike racks out front, the Sorauren streetcar stop is right outside the gym, and the Dundas West Subway station is about a 800m walk.
The main classes offered are Fuel Training and Fuel Conditioning which are both 50 minutes. The Fuel Training classes are held during the week and 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 3x/week and athletic/HIIT training 2x/week. Fuel Conditioning is only held on the weekend and focuses more on HIIT and athletic conditioning, and there’s also a Super CircuitHIIT class on Sundays.
Even though these classes are intended for members, it’s completely possible to drop-in for any class as they’re all designed to be scaleable for all levels. Class times start at 6am 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 3 classes on Saturday mornings and only one on Sunday. They’re clearly gearing to people who can make this part of their weekday routine.
One of the most interesting and forward thinking things Fuel is doing is their Fuel Moms program. Knowing their target audience is in their 20’s-40’s, they’re also aware this demographic is often having babies. And instead of forgetting about those clients, they’ve created 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 and Thursdays at 11:10am at Fuel Roncy. 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. So thanks for thinking of us guys, so much thanks 👏🏻.
Fuel Training Club is NOT on class pass.
As far as pricing goes, these guys are unmistakably looking for members. Drop-in rates are pretty pricey at $35 per class, which is the highest we’ve seen in this category yet. That said, they’ve recently added some pass options to appeal to those who can’t fully commit – see all pricing below. One of the best deals across all of them is the Fuel Advanced membership that drops an individual class rate to $15. All memberships automatically renew, can be used at all locations (although some have limitations as to when), classes can be rolled over to the next month, and you can track workouts online.
- Starter: $110/month (4 classes, $27.50 per)
- Novice: $190/month (8 classes, $23.75 per)
- Intermediate: $230/month (12 classes, $19.16 per)
- Advanced: $250/month (16 classes, $15.63 per)
- Elite: $265/month (unlimited)
- 3 Month Fuel Elite: $720 every 3 months (unlimited)
- Drop-in: $35
- 8 Class Pass: $248 ($31 per)
- 16 Class Pass: $464 ($29 per)
- 30 Class Pass: $840 ($28 per)
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 tin signs in the washroom. 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 – well done), and a small retail shop with lulu product and protein powder.
It’s an open-concept gym with equipment on every wall, 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 available and the mens and womens change rooms have showers, towel service, washrooms and a few extras like hair straighteners. The best part – two of the four walls are able to completely open up to outside. Take that in. With the free flowing outside air 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. Just kidding, we know live in Canada. Anyway, Fuel nailed it.
The crowd at Fuel is mostly working professionals in their 30-40’s that are damn committed to their health. It looks to be a very even split of males to females, and the experience levels are diverse with some people working with injuries, or getting back into fitness (like the new moms), and the loyalists who attend 3x/week and who also probably cycle 40k on the weekends. Given the open concept and free-flowing structure of the classes, the energy is very welcoming and it’s easy to chat up your fellow fitness brotherin.
THE CLASS 🍍
FUEL TRAINING W/ SEAN CHILTON
WAY HARD | HARD | MIDDLE OF THE ROADSIES | CHILL | HELLA CHILL
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.
We started the class with full body stretching to get us limbered up. Sean then took five minutes to explain the first workout 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. 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 of the class, which was our personal favourite and also sufficiently kicked our ass. We had three exercises again; kettle bell swings, squats with a kettle bell, and pushups. Here though, there were no breaks and we did eleven rounds with each exercise being repeated ten times. In total, it took us 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. Probably our favorite part was when those who finished cheered on the rest of us until we’d all completed the workout. And then we congratulated and gushed over each other like we’d just survived 100 days on Everest. Which is basically what happened.
Tabs is a freelance brand and marketing strategist, co-host of The After30 Podcast and creator of Fit-City Guide. You can find her in a fitness studio every week, chatting up the instructors and fellow class goers on their experience, and generally being a creep in the background taking photos of everything. When she isn’t writing for Fit-City Guide, Tab is chasing her toddler son, drinking bubbly (likely at the same time), and eating popcorn.