Latest Reviews

6ix Cycle, Toronto | 5

◊ THE CLASS: Spin ◊


PINEAPPLE SCORE
5 PINEAPPLE SCORE

WHAT YOU NEED

 Water bottle

Socks

(shoes provided)

OVERALL REVIEW

If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you. That’s 6ix Cycle’s motto, and we are so totally into it. 6ix Cycle is new to Toronto this year, having opened in the beginning of 2017 in a prime location on Queen Street West, just past The Drake Hotel. The studio boasts some serious Toronto love with, not only a name that pays homage to champagnepapi’s favorite city, but a theme that’s carried throughout the studio with Toronto skyline shower curtains and Canadian made products. The space is clean, fresh and just as approachable for men as it is for women with graffiti spattered lockers with words of motivation and a simple no-fuss, high sweat, street vibe about it. This will be our first *UPDATED* post, as the instructors we reviewed a few months ago are no longer teaching at the studio so we wanted to refresh the class experience to give you the best indication of what they have to offer today. Our return class with Adam was truthfully way more difficult than the previous rides we had experienced, and so much fun. We got that spin high thing that you see on Pinterest memes. A must ride. 

1 PINEAPPLE LOCATION 

1163 Queen Street West, Toronto

6ix Cycle is conveniently located on Queen West just east of Dufferin Street and immediately west of the lil’ ice cream and milkshake bar, Hollywood Cone. There are no accidents friends; this means a 600 calorie burning 6ix class can be followed by a 600 calorie butterfinger ice cream takedown. It’s about balance. Getting to this area just south of Little Portugal and down the street from The Drake Hotel is easily accessible on the #501 streetcar along Queen or the #29 streetcar North-South along Dufferin Street. The nice thing about this studio being further down West Queen West is that street parking is easier to find with free parking until 1pm on Sundays. Woot. 

1 PINEAPPLE CLASS SCHEDULE + PRICE

6ix Cycle’s signature class is the 50 minute SPIN where you can expect a dynamic ride on and off the saddle, with weights, sprints, hills, choreography and high high energy music. There are usually 4-5 classes per day with most mornings Monday to Friday offering a 6am class, which we’re huge fans of, giving us enough time to get ready and commute to el worko. Weekend rides are similar to what we’ve seen from other spin studios in the area, concentrating classes in the early part of the day with the last one at noon. They also host themed classes, like fundraiser rides for cancer, Throwback Thursday classes at 6:45 every week or (our fav), Thug Life classes on Sunday mornings at 9:45am otherwise referred to as Spin Church. YAS. 

It’s not a bad idea to sign-up for classes ahead of time online. They have sneaky daily offers that drive down the price for last minute classes if you pop online, so make sure to take a peak. It’s also advised to arrive 15 minutes prior to ensure you’re all set with your spin shoes, bike and gear. 6ix is also big on being a team. They encourage starting and finishing rides together, therefore they recommend if you’re not able to stay the full 50 minutes that you don’t commit. They won’t allow late entries at all. We like the discipline. 

Considering 6ix includes clip-in shoes, towels and a lot of amenities in the change rooms, their fees are incredibly reasonable for a spin class in Toronto. For a drop-in class, they’re sitting in the middle for what we’ve seen in #thesix, with Torq Ride being the lowest at $22, however not as many things are included at Torq. 6ix also offers the best deal in the way of multi-class packs, with the 30-ride pack dropping each class to $15 which is the best value we’ve seen yet. Memberships are a bit high as they only make sense if you’re planning to push the pedal to the metal more than 3-4 times a week . Newbie tip – it’s totally worth trying the 2 weeks unlimited for $60 to test the waters with different instructors as they have over 16 teachers, you’ll get a very different class each time.  

  • Drop-in $25
  • 6ix pack $126 ($21 per ride)
  • 10 pack $180 ($18 per ride)
  • 20 pack $320 ($16 per ride)
  • 30 pack $450 ($15 per ride)
  • 1 month unlimited membership $225/mo
  • 3 months unlimited membership $199/mo
  • 6 months unlimited membership $175/mo
  • Promo: 2 weeks unlimited $60 

1 PINEAPPLE VIBE

The design aesthetic of 6ix Cycle is the perfect balance of male/female, being just as approachable for the guys with details like graffiti walls and lockers, a black and white vibe with a pop of lime green (major male favorite); but the chicks are considered in the details too with the space being clean, organised, with a great flow and all the required beauty tools to get ready from the studio. Much like SoulCycle with the rules, 6ix sets expectations of their riders too with things like no phones in the studio (love it), respect eachother, don’t be smelly, don’t be late, etc. The love for Toronto comes in a little bit throughout the studio with local artist, Toronto skyline shower curtains in the change rooms and leggings for sale in the main lobby. Considering 6ix has been able to secure such a boss name, there might be opportunity for them to differentiate themselves even further from the spin competition with a deeper tie to their new home. But in a cool way, like get Stroman to pop-in for a class. NBD. The facilities are well laid out, with tons of secure locker space, two showers and plenty of space to get ready in each change room. 

Like many other spin studios these days, the spin room is dimly lit to allow you to push hard without the vanity, and lined with blue lights to provide a bit of club feel. With a capacity of around 60 bikes, the spin studio is a great size and we could totally see how a full class would generate incredible energy. Our classes were fairly lean, with only about 6 riders in each, mostly female and it all newbies since the studio is so fresh itself. The one thing that came up for us while riding is that the bikes are fairly close together, and considering they’ll need a bit of time to build up for a max capacity class, they could thin out the rows and remove ~4 bikes to avoid riders knocking elbows during pushups on the handlebars. That said, the bikes themselves were our favorite and the most comfortable that we’ve seen yet, which might seem trivial but a comfortable saddle sans padded shorts is no easy thing to find. Clipping in and out of the bikes was super easy also which we uber appreciate since we are no strangers to the awkward still-attached-to-bike dismount.

AMENITIES

  • Spin shoes provided (Shimano). Recomend to wear in spin room only so you don’t slip all over the place
  • Towels provided (both shower towels and sweat towels for the class)
  • Shampoo, conditioner, body wash
  • Blowdryer, straightener, spray deodorant, hair ties
  • Toronto products by Nadia Lloyd 
  • 6ix Cycle branded gear and Calgary made leggings, bras and tanks for purchase

1 PINEAPPLE INSTRUCTOR (S)

Despite the name of the studio, the owners at 6ix Cycle are fairly new to the 416. Julie and her husband, Sheldon, are the kind of small business entrepreneurs you want to get behind. Having left their corporate jobs in Calgary to move across the country and take a risk to pursue their true passion, to run a fitness studio that has the power to change lives through sweat, fitness, positive energy and hard work. One of the coolest things about how these guys got started is that they trained from scratch all 16+ instructors from the coziness of their personal living room. Yah, actually. They brought in 18 stationary bikes into their apartment and trained their team every day for 6 weeks. Now that’s a team. Since then, they have gone through the typical growing pains of starting a new business, but they have learned, grown and become a massive contributor to the fitness scene in TO. So much so that they were just nominated for this year’s Notable awards! Congrats guys!  

Adam Deunk

Adam is also a born and bred Calgary man, so we automatically heart him. #loyalty. But really, Adam is such an incredible source of energy, positivity and sheer fitness, that he made our return experience to 6ix Cycle even more enjoyable, and hard. Very hard. Adam had the energy of the room on ultra-high from the moment we started the class. Calling out nearly half the class by name of people he personally invited or regulars he knew, he also ensured he introduced us to a few fellow riders that were other instructors including Julie, the owner. It was a nice touch and showed the connectivity to the community and you felt part of something. From then on, his teaching style was loud, shouty (but in a good way) with high energy the entire time, think spinning your towel above your head like a fan to the beat while riding. Adam incorporated choreography throughout the class to the beat of the fast-based music and his playlist was a motivating mix of pop, rap, and dance. Adam teaches Tuesdays and Thursdays during the day, Saturday afternoon and (our favorite) Friday mornings which has become a personal branded #DeunkNDonuts ride that leverages his wicked relationship with Glory Hole Doughnuts to provide you with a few sneaky treats post ride.

 

0.5 PINEAPPLE LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY

WAY HARD | HARD | MIDDLE OF THE ROADSIES | CHILL | HELLA CHILL

We’re rating Adam’s class Way Hard without a doubt. The class was so high-energy from the moment we stepped on our bikes until about 42 minutes later. Preggo note –  this is the 3rd or 4th spin class that I’ve taken since being pregnant and it’s completely ok to do (always ask your doc). Ensuring to take it at your own pace and drink even more water than you normally would, bring a little snack pack of almonds or something for after class and ensure your not pushing yourself to the same standards your normally might. You might find that your legs just won’t quite move to the quick beats as easily as they did before, and that is totally ok. I adjusted the class by keeping the pace but not pushing my resistance level so hard so that I was challenged and sweaty, but in a way that I felt comfortable. The most important thing is to stay connected to your body and listen to what it needs, always.  

The class structure at 6ix are like the modern spin styles that we’re starting to see more often. High energy, dark room, music playlist is playing just as important a role as the instructor, and full-body choreography and weights woven throughout the high intensity, low-impact class. The class had a mixture of sprinting and hills, mixed with off the seat hovering, tap backs (where you drive your toosh and hips backwards and hover over the seat to activate the glutes) and arms that includes 2-3 lb. weights. The thing to caution with these fast-paced style of classes, especially for the intimidated beginner, is that the instructor can only assist so much with corrections on form so it’s key to keep your shoulders down, not to hunch over the bars, get your bike set up properly before class, and as silly as it seems, remember to breathe. You can adjust the difficulty level at your discretion, and although the instructor will encourage you to ride to the beat and with the rest of the class, you do you. There were two of us attending this class for FC and we were of different levels and both experienced a challenging sweaty ride that left us feeling our glutes and inner thighs days following. 5 pineapples guys, 5 pineapples.

To try this class or anything else on their schedule, see 6ix Cycle’s contact info below.

6ix Cycle
Web: www.6ixcycle.com
E-mail: spinfo@6ixcycle.com
PHONE | (416) 901.7746
Instagram | Facebook  | Twitter

Mile Zero, Edmonton | 3.5

 ◊ THE CLASS: Contact 


PINEAPPLE SCORE
3.5 PINEAPPLES

WHAT YOU NEED

Long sleeve shirt

Pants or leggings that are easy to move in

Water bottle

Knee pads (optional if you have knee problems)

ACS_0586

OVERALL REVIEW

When we first talked to Mile Zero Dance about taking a class, I was equal parts excited and terrified. I’d heard of ‘contact dance’ before but never really attempted it. Coming from a dance background I thought I’d be able to hold my own, but little did I know that not even my years of plies and sashays could soften the blow of getting knocked WAY out of my comfort zone. Mile Zero kick started in 1985, originally linked to McEwan University, and has since grown into its own company that encompasses dance, interdisciplinary work, and performance art. They actively host live performances and opportunities for artists to experiment and explore their ideas in a welcoming space. The studio itself is full of chaotic character and you can tell from the moment you walk in, it’s a space for artists of all kinds to come and create. Though this class didn’t leave us gasping for breath, it definitely fulfilled its purpose in connecting mind to body and forcing us to take time to understand how they work in partnership and to the world around us. Also, there was a HUGE test in trusting others – strangers nonetheless – which was a lil’ life reminder unto itself.  Coles notes – watch out for each-other and don’t be selfish dicks. See, life reminder. 

1 PINEAPPLE LOCATION 

Spazio Performativo, 10816 95 Street, Edmonton

Located in the heart of Little Italy, this sweet little studio is sandwiched between a beautiful greenhouse/cafe and a quaint barber shoppe just out of reach from the downtown core. The signage outside the building is a bit covered by trees ATM and it boasts ‘Spazio Performativo’ above the door, which is a shared space among a few arts collectives in the city. So when looking up the address and more then one dance school comes up, yes, its confusing, but I promise you’re in the right place. If getting there by public transit, there are a few bus routes that take you from downtown to 95th street; walking is easy peasy and a nice 30-40 minutes from downtown, and if driving, parking can be a little tricky to find if the spaces in front of the studio are taken – your best bet is the closest neighbourhood side streets. Be careful of any parking restrictions or spots that require a parking pass though; with this class being two hours long we had to seek out a spot that didn’t have a time cap on it. 

 CLASS SCHEDULE + PRICE

The majority of the classes at Mile Zero run during the week and, on average, only have one class per day. There isn’t a large number of classes to take and with them only being once a week you run the risk of missing that particular style of class and having to wait a full week. On the flip side, every class is a different style which allows you to switch it up and try something new if you’re going to the studio multiple times a week. In addition to the classes, Mile Zero has a series of workshops that run throughout the year with local artists and featured artists that get brought in by the studio. The Summer 2018 schedule has yet to be released but is coming soon! Since their class schedule is petite, we give you the goods below;

  • Monday
    • Contact class (7-9 pm)
  • Tuesday:
    • House/ Hip Hop class (6-7 pm)
    • Butoh with Sonja Myllymaki (7-9 pm)
  • Wednesday
    • Noguchi Taiso with Gerry Morita (10-11:30 am)
  • Thursdays
    • Authentic Movement (10 am-12 pm)
    • Kids Dance (1- 1:45 pm)

Prices for drop-in classes and memberships are super reasonable and of the lowest that we’ve seen compared to other dance studios in Edmonton – although a tad confusing. The gist is – it’s $15 for a drop-in class, or $12 for drop-in if you’re a MZD member, which only costs $15 annually and includes a bunch of other benefits like discounts at all performances and invites to backstage events. Instead of paying for the class up front and having to ‘check-in’ at a front desk, payments are handled at the end of class by the instructor. I found this format a little odd but with it being such a small class size and no other classes going on at the same time, it was pretty seamless. 

  • Annual membership: $15
  • Drop-in for non-members: $15 pc
  • Drop-in for members: $12 pc
  • 10-Class Pass: $100 ($10 pc) 

0.5 PINEAPPLE VIBE

From the moment you walk in the door, you can tell this is an artists haven. Watering cans and wheelbarrows hang from the ceiling among the chandelier light fixtures, and paintings created by local artists line the walls. A vending machine that dispenses poetry stands at the front entrance and a large art installation made up of globes and kaleidoscopes hang in the front window. Aside from the entry way and the large dance studio that takes up half of the building, the space isn’t very big and every inch is used intentionally. The chaotic clutter and interesting decor is definitely not everyones cup of tea, but we could see how it was ideal for the artists that love a random mish-mash of things to spark their creativity. The vibe is calm and relaxed with people stretching in the lobby and others working at the central desk on their computer waiting for the class before to finish. I couldn’t help but look at the huge community board on the wall near the entrance of the studio with posters of different classes/workshops and shows that are going up in the area. A++ in my book! There isn’t a lot in terms of amenities, no showers, or lockers or any such things, so be sure to bring all of your belongings and the idea is to leave your stuff in the giant studio during class. One of my favourite things about the studio was the large abstract mural on one of the walls in the dance room. That wall is repainted each month by a different artist to display their work for the month – how cool is that?!

AMENITIES

  • Water station
  • One unisex washroom
  • Boot rack + coat rack
  • Mini fridge and microwave (perfect if you’re running from work to a class and need to heat up a little snack!)

1 PINEAPPLE INSTRUCTOR

Richard Lee

Richard is an Edmonton-based performer, creator, and educator working in contemporary dance, theatre, and the spaces in between. Along with a B.F.A. in Acting from the University of Alberta, he has also trained in contemporary dance and contact improvisation across North America and Europe. From the moment Richard entered the space, you could tell he has a very calming vibe about him. In a class like this that’s a bit out of my comfort zone, it was awesome having a teacher like Richard who got right in there with us, breaking down the movement and demonstrating with us to show how to do everything safely. He was always willing to answer any questions and contribute some laughs when things got a little awkward – more below. Richard is extremely knowledgeable in the style of contact dance and he shared words of wisdom throughout the class that made us feel confidant in our movement. “Dance with the body that you have now” was the first thing Richard said to us before we started class and that little piece of advice is EVERYTHING. An amazing reminder that body acceptance and self-love is king.

1 PINEAPPLE LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY

WAY HARD | HARD | MIDDLE OF THE ROADSIES | CHILL | HELLA CHILL

I was a little worried that a two hour class was going to kick my ass, but within moments the vibes were so chill, my nerves were put to bed. With a class size of only six dancers, we had the huge studio space to ourselves. The beginning of class started with us introducing ourselves to one another – bc we were about to get REAL friendly – and sharing our prior experience with contact dance. There were people who had years of experience and people (like myself and my girl, Brittany) who had a limited understanding as to what contact even is – so fear not beginners, everyone is welcome.

Class started by laying on the floor and re-centering our bodies… and let me tell you, after a long work day, it’s exactly what I needed. We shifted our focus to feel where our bodies were making contact with the floor, how it felt and how we could move the focus to different parts of our bodies. The class naturally flowed into us doing body rolls across the floor, but staying on the ground focusing on what parts of the body we were using to lead the movement and how we were using our breath. Then we broke into partners. I was v glad that I brought a gal pal with me so that we could work out the awkward movements as a team. Depending on how you feel about getting physical with strangers after 3.5 seconds, I suggest if you try contact for the first time, bring a friend along to figure it out together. We started rolling over each others legs and morphed it into one partner being a base on their hands and knees while the other partner found a balance point on their partners back. Thought it doesn’t seem like much of a sweat provoking workout, focusing on understanding your body and having communication with your partner was kinda tricky and really made us listen to our bodies.

The next part of the class was not for people who are protective of their personal space. The partners got mixed up and we moved into the space as a group and started mini jam sessions that lasted no longer then 30 seconds and had us constantly switching partners. All of a sudden, we were very close to the other strangers in the class and the personal bubbles were tossed out the door. It was kind of thrilling to put the trust into other people and I even had a few moments where the trust was so mutual that I could do little lifts and balances with the other members of the class. The mini jam sessions turned into bigger and longer ones where instead of everyone improvising; we could actually sit back and watch others work. This was the part of the class that I loved because it was like having a ticket to a private dance performance.  After a few more jam sessions with different partners, all of a sudden, just like that, two hours flew by without me even thinking about it. The class closed with another little meeting between all of us to see how everyone was feeling and what they took from the class.

Overall, I’m handing out a full pineapple and considering this guy a Chill for Level of Difficulty. Although it wasn’t a big sweat pumper, it got my heart rate up and had me connecting to my body in ways that I hadn’t before. I would totally suggest the class to people who aren’t afraid to try something new, push themselves out of their comfort zone and spend a little extra time understanding how their body moves and grooves.

S

To try anything else, see Mile Zero’s contact info below:

Web: www.milezerodance.com
Phone: 780.424.1573
E-mail: admin@milezerodance.com
Instagram | Facebook | Twitter 

 

Barreworks, Toronto | 4.75

◊ THE CLASS: bAAAre (Arms, Abs, Ass) & Glide Barre ◊


PINEAPPLE SCORE 4.5 PINEAPPLES

WHAT YOU NEED

Barre socks (optional) bare feet are totally appropriate too

OVERALL REVIEW

We’ve now had the pleasure of attending Barreworks’ a few times bc every time we turn our heads, they seem to continually evolve and update their schedule with some new damn amazing thing. In addition to the time we went last year (when I was preggers and needed modifications for the AAA class) we’ve since returned for one of their newest inventions, Glide Barre. Let me say this, we were even more impressed than the last time we went and this super approachable studio will take the time to explain the fundamentals, walk you through visualisations (if you don’t know what that is) to get the most out of the technique that will make you leaner, longer and stronger. We’re big fans and now have goals to be a barre beast (you’ll get it if you keep onnnn reading).

1 PINEAPPLE LOCATION 

3rd Floor, 625 Queen Street West – Downtown

Barreworks has 2 locations in Toronto, one on Queen Street West and another in Midtown on Yonge Street (2576 Yonge Street, 2nd Floor). Both are easy to get to, Queen even more so for us since we’re west enders, but both have quick access to major arteries in Toronto. Barreworks Queen is located just east of Bathhurst, in between one of our fav pockets of the city between Early Bird and CB2. Our recent move has me frequenting that little strip more than our credit card (and my husband) care to see. Street parking can be tough on Queen St. as per usual, so if it’s possible to take transit or walk, it may make your life easier. Located on the 3rd floor, Barreworks Queen is actually a massive space, with 3 studios (one currently under reno), a large lobby, changerooms and tons of extra space. The location on Yonge Street is quite a bit smaller but boasts the same lovely vibe.

1 PINEAPPLE CLASS SCHEDULE + PRICE

Barreworks offers a nice variety of low-impact, high-toning classes with over 11 styles to choose from; Classic Barre (that includes Mixed Level, bAAAre, and DripBarre), Yoga (YogaStrength, YogaStrength + Beats, & Yoga Flow), Stretch N’ Roll, and a few new classes that have been added for 2018 that include BarreBoxing & GlideBarre. Each style has a few choices for level of difficulty or to hone in on even more targeted areas of the body such as bAAAre – Abs, Arms, Ass (what we did), Mixed Level Barre and YogaStrength – with Beats. There are also themed classes each week that include #throwbackthursday and BeyonceBarre, which are obviously both amazing. There are 5-8 classes offered during the week that focus more heavily in the evening, and they have recently added to weekend schedule with 7 classes each day and the latest class starting at 1pm or 1:30pm.

All styles are appropriate for beginners, can be modified for injuries and can be done for pre or post-natal. Let the instructor know and they’ll modify the class appropriately for your needs. Barre classes are great options for pre-natal workouts actually, quickly becoming one of our favorites, because they’ll still challenge your arms, glutes, and core but in a way that doesn’t make you feel like you’ve had to slow down and be lame. They claim that after attending 3 classes a week for 2 weeks you’ll start to see changes in muscle tone and feel the difference in strength. We believe it, considering one class worked our inner biceps more than we care to admit. Its recommended to show up 15 minutes prior to class if you’re brand new to the studio, and at least 5 minutes before, even if you have signed in online prior (which we also recommend). Late entry is strictly prohibited, #respect. 

As far as pricing goes, Barreworks has recently increased their prices and they’re now in line with Barre3 for a drop-in rate, but the membership options and bulk class passes are really where it’s at. They have seriously worked the local scene on your behalf for the membership benefits, offering 10%-15% discounts on some of our ultimate favs like the Detox Market, Fresh, iQ Food Co, Kupfert and Kim, OJ’s juices and way more. Check here for a full listing of the companies they’ve partnered with. Students and seniors receive 15% off select packages, private classes and personal training are available, and there’s such a thing as the BarreBride package for $575 that includes a 40 class pass, suggested workout and nutrition package, tank and water bottle and deeper discounts on private classes. SO great for the bride-to-be to feel fierce for her big day.

  • Drop-in: $25
  • 5 Class Pass: $110 ($22 per class)
  • 5 Class Pass Auto-Renew: $89 ($17.80 per class)
  • 10 Class Pass: $210 ($21 per class)
  • 20 Class Pass: $380 ($19 per class)
  • 50 Class Pass $850 ($17 per class)
  • 1 Month Unlimited: $225
  • 6 Month Unlimited: $1,200
  • 1 Year Unlimited: $2,170

1 PINEAPPLE VIBE

The design aesthetic of Barreworks flagship studio on Queen West is big, beautiful, clean, and very very put together. You get your first calorie burn ascending the 3 flights of stairs to get to the top floor oasis where they’ve modernised the heritage building with dark walls and white washed brick while keeping it’s original character. With 3 large studios, including a spin studio that is currently under construction for a re-launch in the new year (spoiler alert, it’s not going to be a spin studio anymore because it’s going to be even BETTER), there is plenty of space for class sizes upwards of 30 people. Both men’s and women’s change-rooms are spacious, with multiple showers, bathrooms, lockers and room to change and they’re equipped with tons of amenities if you need to carry-on after class (blowdryer, shampoo, conditioner, hair ties).

The attitude of the community at Barreworks is supportive, positive and friendly and it’s clear they’re invested in you being there and getting the most out of your experience. With a loyal member base, the walls display the barre bad-asses of the community who have reached braggable status attending more than 100 (Starre), 200 (Boss) or 300+ (Beast) classes. We love when studios celebrate their members so personally, sharing on their social channels and having it out there for everyone to see as a motivator but also to acknowledge the massive accomplishments they really are. The class we attended was all females in their 20’s to 30’s, not a huge surprise given the location, and there was an encouraging mix of fitness levels, beginners and seasoned barre stars. Modifications were given to a few of us in the class, including 2 preggo ladies and a few other students who let Kathia know about injuries they were working with. We loved that it was so approachable for any of us working with extra stuff, any seasoned hard core barre stars, and anyone brand new to barre all the same. 

AMENITIES

  • All required equipment (including mats for yoga) is complimentary
  • Men’s and women’s change-rooms including showers and washrooms
  • Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, lotion, feminine products, hair elastics
  • Blowdryers
  • Membership discounts
  • Lockers (with a key now!)
  • Filtered water
  • Complimentary towels
  • Barreworks product for purchase

1 PINEAPPLE INSTRUCTOR

Kathia Wittenborn – AAA

From the moment we walked into the studio, Kathia approached us, congratulated me for my growing babe, and asked us what our experience with barre was like so she could explain what to expect. She took 5 minutes to show me modifications such as going on all 4’s and doing cat/cow stretches or opposite arm and leg balances while everyone else was doing hardcore abs. She told us what to grab for props (resistance bands, ball, and weights) and she went one by one around the room to do the same with everyone else. Kathia started the class promptly at 8pm and she kept the energy high for the whole hour. Calling out students by name wherever she could, she did the entire class with us demonstrating every move and explaining the sensations we should be feeling using visualisations while her headset could be heard clearly above the pumping dancy, top 40 playlist. Kathia’s technical dance background shone through her instructions as one of her priorities was ensuring posture was correct for everyone in the room – which we super appreciate since barre exercises can easily, and often, be done incorrectly. By Kathia taking the time to connect with everyone one-on-one, her technical dance experience, not to mention her fierce and highly motivational toned-as-hell gorgeous physique made her one of our favourite barre teachers to date. Seek her out, barre babes. 

Britanny Larusic – Glide Barre

Ok, so Brittany is like a major babe – as all instructors seem to be at Barreworks. First off, she took the time to personally speak to every single person in the room, which was at least 20+ people to introduce herself if she didn’t already know them or say hi if she did. She spent time with each person understanding if there were any limitations or modifications she should be aware of and she was chatting with everyone until the moment the clock turned for the class. Starting promptly on time, she got right into it and did the ENTIRE class. Not out of breath once, with perfect dancer form and very clear instructions, the class was easy to follow – with the exception of one part of the class where the music was too loud, we were on the mats and it was difficult to understand what was going on. We found it helpful that she demonstrated 99% of the class, but sometimes we wish we had some hand-on adjustments because we could see how some of the students weren’t working the best form (ourselves included probably) and injuries are never good. That said, Britanny had an easy, lovely way about her that made the class fly by and only had us checking the clock once. So, well done. 

1 PINEAPPLE LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY

WAY HARD | HARD | MIDDLE OF THE ROADSIES | CHILL | HELLA CHILL

AAA

We’re rating the AAA class a Middle of the Roadsies, because although there were plenty of pockets that had us feeling the burn and needing to take a pulse break, we weren’t really sore in the days following or feeling like we had the most killer workout. That said, barre is an interesting beast because it’s not very often that barre classes are structured as a high-calorie burn or high-intensity cardio workout. The benefit of them is that they’re actually geared towards lengthening, toning and sculpting muscles for a slender but strong physique (think ballet dancer) and are great for those who want low impact, are recovering from injuries, or are pre or post natal. So although we weren’t as challenged as we have been in other barre classes, we still appreciated the concentrated focus on key muscles groups that don’t get a lot of toning in our cardio routine.

We took the bAAAre class, which plays up Arms, Abs, and Ass and it’s intended to sculpt and chisel, stabilise and strengthen those targeted areas. It’s a reduced cardio class for low-impact, and after each section where a particular muscle group is the focus, Kathia led us through a stretch sequence to immediately relieve and lengthen those muscles. Because the Barreworks technique was developed by a team of local Toronto dance and fitness professionals, its roots in dance definitely shine through in that all arm and feet positions (first, second, third, etc.) and ballet basics like tendues, releves and plies are the building blocks for each exercise. We’ve been to a few other barre studios (Barre3) that provides more of a blend of Pilates, yoga, and dance or Pop Physique that can be more aerobic, whereas Barreworks feels very rooted in technical dance. We’re biased, but we like that. Good technique is the most important thing, guys. Or so snobby ballet dancers like Maureen Cummings say. Centre Stage – anyone?    

 

Glide Barre

We’re throwin’ full pineapples (so the total section is getting 3/4 for both classes) and rating the Glide Barre class a Hard for Level of Difficulty. The class started in the middle of the room with no equipment and just our bodies, to roll from side to side, doing versions of plies and side steps to warm up every little inch of our bodies that were about to get worked. After a good ten minutes of aerobicise type warming up, we had our first dose of the gliders, which are round discs with a super slippery side and a more grippy side for your body parts to cling for dear life on the other. They’re used in various ways throughout the class to basically make everything harder. Think slide push-ups where you start with your hands on both gliders doing a regular push-up, and then move into the ACTUAL exercises which requires you to slide your hands to meet each other at the bottom of your push up, and slide them back under your shoulders as you push up. I did, like two. The class moved through a legs section at the barre that had us repeating the same small pulsing movement we’ve come to love at barre class, an arm section that utilised the deceivingly small but killer weight balls, and an ab section towards the end of class on the mat. Overall, the class had a nice flow and each section challenged us without lingering too long to have us stare at the clock (which can often happen in a barre class). The gliders, no doubt, took the difficulty to the next level so if you’re looking for a deeper challenge than a regular barre class, this is your babe. For that reason, probs not something you want to try if you are brand spanking new to barre, but modifications could always be made. Which is what we did, as non-beginners. But who’s keeping score. 

T

To try this class or anything else on their schedule, see Barreworks’s contact info below.

Barreworks
Web: www.barreworks.ca
E-mail:info@barreworks.ca
PHONE |416.36.BARRE/416.362.2773
Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | Vimeo

Keep Cool, Toronto | 3.75

 ◊ THE CLASS: Open Gym, Prenatal, Elliptik, and Trek 


PINEAPPLE SCORE
4 PINEAPPLES

WHAT YOU NEED

Water bottle

Running shoes

OVERALL REVIEW

It’s not very often that we review gym’s, but Keep Cool is like, a cool gym, so it made the list. The truth is, as soon as we heard that it’s a gym “concept” (key word) from France, we were even more intrigued bc anything that makes us feel French we’re into. The nuts of it is, Keep Cool has the makings of a typical gym with a bajillion treadmills and ellipticals, but its virtual classes, super high tech equipment, unique equipment that we’ve never seen before, and attitude that preaches acceptance and balance, sets it apart from every other member only gym that we’ve been to. Direct quote – “in France the importance of fitness is matched by the importance of wine” – YAS. Also, the fact that this is the first Keep Cool gym outside of the 200+ locations scattered across France, had us paying attention. If we were the betting type, we’d be putting $$ down that you’ll be hearing a lot more about this franchise in the near future.

1 PINEAPPLE LOCATION 

530 Yonge St., Toronto

Keep Cool is located a tad north of the downtown core of Toronto, just south of Wellesley on the second floor of 530 Yonge Street. It’s not a bad location but it could probably get more foot traffic if it was a bit closer to the core, and since parking in the area isn’t super easy to find, being accessible on foot/public transport is important. The good news is, it’s easy access from the TTC with the Wellesley subway station up the street and tons of buses and streetcars running on Yonge. Apparently they’re planning to open a second location in Toronto soon (timing not known yet) but the location is rumoured to be downtown but further west. Oooooo.

0.5 PINEAPPLE CLASS SCHEDULE + PRICE

Since it’s a gym, the class schedule is a bit different. First off, there are a number of facilities and sections of the gym to cater to everyone’s tastes and workout goals. There’s the cardio section, a ladies only fitness area with standing circuit training machines, a stretching and bodyweight area, a HIIT zone that includes a training wall, TRX, medicine balls and daily WOD’s (workout of the day) from the trainers, and six virtual class rooms. Mouthful. The most impressive thing to us was the caliber of the equipment. There are ultra-mobile bikes that have gaming options with handlebars that move from side to side, the treadmills and ellipticals have TV, games and internet access including netflix, instagram, and Ted Talks, and there are a ton of machines that we either rarely see (like self-operating treadmills) or we’ve never seen (like a better version of a foam roller machine).

Now for the classes. Of the six virtual classrooms, one room uses Cyberobics® workouts which are v Hollywood and we’ll explain more later, and the other five use Keep Cool proprietary workouts. What that actually means is that because Keep Cool is a mega brand in France, there’s a giant library of workouts they create in the motherland. This is one of the most appealing things about KC that had us squealing in delight (actually). The gym room, for example, has nearly 15 categories of workouts, such as strength, postnatal, yoga, dance, abs, etc. and within each category are multiple workouts that range from a few minutes long to an hour. You can select by type of instructor if you’re really favouring one, or you can select by level of difficulty. There is a TON of flexibility here, no doubt you’ll find something you like, and there’s also hundreds to choose from that even if you did one everyday it would take you a while to try them all. Plus, they regularly add to the videos, whenever KP headquarters shoots another. 

OK – so, I can’t believe we’ve gotten this far into the review and haven’t mentioned this yet, but the thing is EVERYTHING IS IN FRENCH. All of the workout screens are in French, but they use little graphics that make it intuitive, and half of the actual workouts are French. Also more on this later in the instructor section, because either the workouts are actually in French, or the instructors are super French and speaking english (with the exception of the v Hollywood Cyberobics® classes). Also worth noting, staff are onsite from 9am-11pm everyday but the gym itself is open from 5am-11pm everyday of the week. 

As far as prices goes, the membership options are a tad confusing, or maybe it’s just the French way, but this is where we shaved half a fineapple. First off, there is a free trial, so I would say to everyone you should do that and check it out, second there is a $15 drop-in rate, and thirdly there are membership options. For memberships you can either go the commitment route which means you can cancel at any time with no additional charge as long as you do so within 21 days notice before your renewal date, or you can commit and save $7 per month. There is also a Live-In Partners deal that takes an additional $20 per month off the price tag of a commitment membership, BUT there is a non-commitment option (Two Cool) that basically does the same thing anyway? Either way, all memberships include towel service and are transferrable/useable in all 200+ locations in France. We break down the pricing options below cuz we were confused;

No Commitment Options:

  • Cool: $49.90/mth – incl towel service
  • Two Cool: $59.50/mth – incl towel service, bring a friend whenever you want but they have to be with you, pause memberships one month a year

Commitment Options (12 month min):

  • Cool: $42.90/mth – incl towel service
  • Two Cool: $52.50/mth – incl towel service, bring a friend whenever you want but they have to be with you, pause membership one month a year
  • Cool + Live-in Partners Promo: which means essentially two memberships but one is at a deeper discount, therefore 1) $42.90 and 2) is $22.90 = $65.80 per household for two memberships (or do the commitment Two Cool if you’re always going to workout together for $52.50/mth per household)
  • Students: Save $10 month from the commitment option so either (Cool) $32.90/mth or (Two Cool) $42.50/mth

Personal Training (All packages include a fitness test and a personalised exercise program)

  • Initial Consultation: $50
  • Comeback: 3 one hour sessions – $135
  • Revival: 10 one hour sessions – $400
  • Reborn: 20 one hour sessions – $700

1 PINEAPPLE VIBE

As far as the vibe – these guys describe themselves as being community first, and an open and welcome place without judgement and intimidation.  The best part – we actually felt that. One of the members that was working out during our visit came up to us and gave us an unprovoked ggloooowing review saying that her love was so fierce because they made her feel comfortable first and foremost. She used to be a member at World Health and Gold’s Gym, but both hard body institutions made her feel less than bc she couldn’t match her treadmill mates’ bulging 8-packs (our words). With the video game bikes, multi-tasking treadmills, private virtual classes, and trainers that are waiting in the wings for anyone that needs guidance, there is an undeniable chillness and acceptance for any body at any stage in their fitness journey. Like actually tho, because a LOT of studios claim this but the existing clientele and target market for Keep Cool is diverse with everyone from students, to retirees, to suits to people who have never owned a gym membership before and are in their 50’s. 

The layout and flow of the gym is really quite nice. They have this green theme going on with a bit of a rando grass decor that separates each section, cute inspirational quotes on the walls (like “either oar” in front of the rowers – CUUUUUUTE), but the most striking thing about the space is that there are NO MIRRORS. Whaaaaaaa. Playing into the no judgement ethos, they’ve made the space an intentional no-comparing zone. The entire gym is quite large but it’s broken up into smaller, private sections so the space seems to go on forever and could hold a TON of people if it were full. There is also a small foyer with magazines and food and drinks for purchase, and the facilities are genderless, with individual change rooms that have a change space and private shower in each one. Also cool, is the key cards that you use to get into the building are also the same key cards that lock the lockers. 

AMENITIES

  • Full towel service
  • Filtered water station
  • Free internet access
  • Individual change rooms
  • Access card that also opens and closes locker
  • Selection of healthy snacks and drinks for sale
  • All equipment provided

0.5 PINEAPPLE INSTRUCTOR

Since this section is a lil’ different to report on than a typical one-and-done fitness class, we’re focusing on the instructors we had for the four virtual classes we sampled (vs the personal trainers – I’m sure they’re great, but you’ll have to test those waters for us and let us know). The instructor for our Elliptik class was a very very French dude but taught the class in English and actually had us in stitches saying things like  ‘move like your floating on ze cloud’  which is my new favorite way to think about doing anything on an elliptical. For the Trek class, we had a blonde bombshell that was so French cuz she was natural and gorgeous but not too perfect and her hair was all messed up but damn we loved her anyway, and she taught the whole class in French. And then our third Keep Cool class was in the Gym room and we tried the post-natal class (thanks L for sticking with your homegirl on that one) and the instructor taught the class in French as well.

So here’s the thing. If you speak French, then absolutely no problem. If you speak a little bit of French, then your probably still good bc you can pick up enough “allons-y” and “bien jue” to know what’s going on. But if you speak basically zero French, the full French classes are gonna be tricky. Interestingly, for the Trek class where we were facing a giant projection screen and following the instructors movements, it was actually very easy and intuitive to pick up what they were doing, but for the post-natal class where 90% of the exercises were on the mat with our heads down, it made it super difficult. Especially for a class where people are recovering from having a baby, correct form is paramount, and to be wrenching our heads to the side or up from downward dog constantly cuz we couldn’t understand her verbal instructions – it definitely took away from the class. Unfortunately, there isn’t the ability to choose the French speaking classes and just have them translated, which would be really amazing and resolve all of this. Hence, half the pineapples. For the fourth virtual class we took, we sampled an hour long Cyberobics® yoga class and this was all in English and the classes were filmed with an instructor on some cliff in Hawaii looking like she eats kale for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And although we have to admit that it felt nice having a giant screen of Hawaii in front of us, this reminded us more of a typical yoga video that’s been around since the 80’s or that you see on TV on the channel no one watches at 5am. Although the English speaking was great, we still preferred the uniqueness of the Keep Cool classes to the Cyberobics®. 

One thing we will say, is that all four of those instructors were working their ASSES off. They were sweating hard, and unless they were filming in a sauna, it was super encouraging to know that if you did the exercise right, and pushed yourself hard, you can get a lot out of the classes. 

1 PINEAPPLE LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY

WAY HARD | HARD | MIDDLE OF THE ROADSIES | CHILL | HELLA CHILL

During our time at Keep Cool we did a few things. First off, lemme tell you about the gaming bicycles – which are the secret key to getting any couch potato gamer off the couch, or the secret to burning a high amount of calories and having absolutely no idea that you’re doing so, or just anyone in the general population bc they are SO FUN.  I only rode for five minutes and in that time I was sweating and panting an embarrassing amount bc the Coin Game makes you ride faster and increases your tension every time you hit a certain level of coins or snag a lantern. Told you. FUN. Anyway, after that they impressed us further with the hooked UP treadmills and ellipticals that are fully loaded with Netflix, Instagram and Facebook, Ted Talks, BBC, the list goes on. Then finally we tried the four different virtual classrooms. 

Trek – 20 minutes

The Trek class was our first impression of these virtual classrooms that hold 2-3 machines max and have giant projector screens on both the front and back of the walls. The Trek machines are like the self-operating ones we tried at Core (review here) where they only move if you start walking on them and half the exercises are about you manipulating the treadmill, like standing on the ground with one leg and pushing like a skateboard on the Trek machine with the other. Actually SUPER hard. We chose the 20 minute full-body workout and it included a warm-up, short cool down and then at least 18 minutes in between of cardio that included walking backwards uphill, the aforementioned skateboarding move, jogging, high knee walking, and galloping. We’re giving this one a Hard. Also super ideal for anyone looking for a low impact but high heart rate calorie killer.

Elliptik – 20 minutes

The Elliptik class is winning the award for most unexpectedly awesome – if such a category existed in high school. It should. K so, full disclosure – I hate ellipticals. To me, they have only ever been the lame cardio machine you only go on if all the other machines are taken and where I’ve witnessed too many a passive gym goer working on a level 1 and might as well be wearing jeans. But, alas, our French friend taught us a thing or two about being judgey. Ellipticals are AWESOME. This class was by far our favorite because it had us using these machines to their FULL POTENTIAL. We were squatting, doing intervals with increased resistance like a spin class, alternating between using our upper body to push through vs the lower body. And we were SWEATING. Full pineapple, Way Hard. 

Gym (Post Natal Class) – 15 minutes 

Reminder – you can choose from a ton of different kinds of workouts, but we chose the post-natal class, bc I’m still six weeks out from having my little bub, and L just did it with me for the support. Unfortunately, this was our least fav. This was one of the classes that was only in French and surprisingly it was very very very focused on core. One without a baby might think, oh yes, this makes sense to focus a post natal class on getting back your core bc you haven’t had one for nine months, but then anyone with a baby will tell you that doing that COMPLETELY depends on where you’re at in your recovery process.  Rehabilitating your core after having a baby is a big deal, and should be done right, starting with your deepest and most isolated pelvic floor muscles before any kind of “ab” work. Best advice I ever received PS was to see a pelvic floor physio. They will help you understand how to properly rehab your core so you’re building it back up the right way. Anyway, the balls part about this class was that because it was in French we could have been missing a lot of direction about how to work our core properly, or even if she had different modifications depending on what stage you were in, but bc we couldn’t understand her, we were just trying to follow along and the entire 15 minutes was major ab work, so I only could do 1/4 of it. Anyway, we’re docking a quarter of a pineapple for this one cuz the very last thing you want is to get injured. 

Cyberobics® – Yoga 60 minutes

Cyberobics® are the only workouts offered at Keep Cool that are not their own workouts and you can immediately tell the difference. The marketing is much more Hollywood, as mentioned, and instead of the instructors being in a Keep Cool gym or in front of some green screen, they’re in an exotic ultra-humid location meant to “motivate you”. We took the 60 minute Vinyasa flow yoga class and it was great although started off VERY slowly for a Vinyasa class. We felt this would be a really great option for those new to yoga, or wanting a gentle flow bc the instructor did a great job of explaining what you should be focusing on in each position in addition to demonstrating full-out.  On the flip side, it wasn’t the heat building vinyasa style that we have come to know because it was at a slow pace, think 2-3 breaths in each position – swan dive, 3 breaths at the bottom, half-way lift 2 breaths, release 2 breaths, step-back to plank 2 breaths and on and on. We’d rate this one a Middle of the Roadies for Level of Difficulty but it was nice being in a small room with a giant screen of Hawaii. It low-key reminded me of California Adventure vr rides.  

Finally – *a country known for its pastries, probably knows a lot about exercise*

T

To try anything else, see Keep Cool’s contact info below:

Web: www.keepcool.ca
Phone: 647.812.1202
E-mail: 530yonge@keepcool.ca
Open: 7 days a week 5am-11pm
Instagram | Facebook 

CycleBar, Edmonton | 4.5

◊ THE CLASS: Hip Hop (45 Mins) 


PINEAPPLE SCORE
4.5 PINEAPPLES

WHAT YOU NEED

Socks

Water bottle

Form-fitting bottoms, and you’ll likely want a loose fitting top

(Shoes are provided)

OVERALL REVIEW

CycleBar is one of the newest spin studios to the YEG fitness scene and we’ve been hearing A.LOT about them since their big red fanciness opened on March 26th, 2018. CycleBar is a spin lover’s classic, but with a lot of techy plus’s that make it standout from the crowd. This hella successful ‘premium indoor cycling’ franchise started in 2004 in Boston and have since spread across North America, influencing how people experience spin all over the damn place. Although the drive to Mexico Windermere was quite the journey, the sweat ended up being totally worth the trip. The impressive studio is red and black all over, comes with all the amenities you can think of and includes instructors like, Farha Shariff, who’s an Edmonton fitness legend. In a word – we’re impressed.

K, that’s two words… 

0.5 PINEAPPLE LOCATION 

5242 Windermere Boulevard, Edmonton, AB

You may have already picked up, the drive to CycleBar was a bit of a trek. We’re partial to studios in the core, and we typically award full fruits for a location that’s easily accessible to everyone no matter how you’re getting there; bus, car, bicycle, or foot. CycleBar is located in Windermere, which is one of Edmonton’s most southern communities, making getting there from the core quite the endeavour for some. The studio itself is easily accessible by car, and is located just off of Edmonton’s ring road, meaning that you should be able to get there in under 40 minutes from anywhere in the city (depending on traffic or time of day). We attended a 6:15pm class and definitely struggled with getting to class in time with rush hour traffic. So beware, while this studio is without a doubt WORTH THE TRIP, leave yourself plenty of time if you’re coming from downtown or Whyte. Also worth noting, this is one of only two studios in Canada <what what> with the other in Toronto’s Leaside (we’re coming for you).

1 PINEAPPLE CLASS SCHEDULE + PRICE

From the research we’ve done, we can see that CycleBar Windermere caters the class schedule to their neighbourhood demographic, and we’re giving them the full nod for that. On a daily basis from Monday-Friday, classes often start at 5:30am, catering to the early morning 9-5ers, and there’s a mid-morning, lunchtime, and two evening classes (6:15pm and 7:30pm) for the after-work crowd. On weekends, there are fewer opportunities to spin with all classes in the morning. You’ll need to sign-up online prior to class to reserve your bike, and you should arrive 15 minutes early to get set up properly. If you’ve never been to the studio, the staff will 100% show you around and get you settled (legit, they’ll walk you through ALL THE THINGS). When you book online, you pick your bike number and enter your shoe size and they’ll have everything reserved and ready for you when you get in (oh hey, streamlining, we see you and we like you). Seriously, about the streamlining – when you check in on the iPads, you’ll get a confirmation of your bike number and then you find your shoes in a cubby marked with your bike number, and then find the locker that corresponds with your bike number. Pfffff.

The prices at CycleBar tend to be on Edmonton’s steeper end, with drop-in rates at $25 and a 10-ride pack working out to approximately $22 a ride. That means that the 10-ride pack will work out to more, per ride, than most of the competition’s drop-in $. Ouch. However, we’re thrilled at CycleBar’s monthly fees, which is where the cost savings really are. With an unlimited monthly pass at $179, if you visit 10 times in a month, it will even out to just under $18 per ride. Overall, while the prices are on the top end in Edmonton, with all the extras this studio provides, and the seriously talented instructors, we still think you’re getting great value for your money. Oh also – memberships are not transferrable to other locations (there are over 200 in North America) :(. 

  • Unlimited (monthly recurring): $179
  • 20 Rides (4 month expiry): $400 ($20 pc)
  • 10 Rides (2 month expiry): $220 ($22 pc)
  • Drop-in: $25

1 PINEAPPLE VIBE

This studio provided us with all the good spin vibes. The building itself caters so well to what we’re looking for in a spin studio bc there is space for DAYS, and the décor and flow is on point. There’s plenty of open space for riders to transition in and out of classes, with a great sized waiting area just outside the spin-room and programmable lockers to store your things. We also have to stop for a minute and talk about the smell. Yes, you read that right, THE SMELL. CycleBar Windermere has a signature scent that is beyond good smelling. For a place that’s always filled with sweaty humans it smells damn heavenly. The change rooms are all individual, which is super convenient and gender-neutral (another nod), and offer lots of privacy to de-gross yourself after class. In total, there are three showers and three bathrooms, and each of the shower rooms are stocked with tons of extras like blowdryers, hair ties and plenty of product. The design of the studio can be described as red-done-right, with a lot of white to set everything off beautifully. The cycle studio is set in a dark room with a ton of red light and the COOLEST CycleBar light which leaves the room mostly dark except for lights just above the instructor. Pair this with the killer beats and sweaty bodies, and you’re bound to have a good time.

There were two really cool aspects to CycleBar that really set them apart. One – there are TV screens in the spin room that report on your performance in the class and will show results for the races, which really spoke to our competitive nature. After class we even got a nifty email with all of our metrics from our ride. Second – instead of dumbbells for the upper body workout, we had actual weight bars. Cycle-BAR. Get it? So clever.

The crowd for our class was another pleasant surprise. We won’t lie, while driving to the burbs, we had an idea of what we might see in the class (think soccer moms) – but DANG were we wrong. There was an awesome mix of ages, genders, body types, fitness levels, skill levels. Everything. We have to say, this was one of the most diverse classes we’ve seen in YEG and we were hella proud to be part of it.

AMENITIES

  • Gender-neutral, individual change rooms, three washrooms, and three showers (is it weird to say that the showers are a must-try?)
  • Shoes are included
  • Filtered water (custom and beautiful, with different temperature settings, oh yes)
  • Full towel service including towels on the bike and bath towels in change rooms
  • All the extras (blowdryer, product, hair ties, etc.)
  • Guys, there was a fruit basket, enough said.

 INSTRUCTOR

We’re used to the staff at studios being helpful and welcoming, but the crew at CycleBar Windermere are next level. They were absolutely the friendliest and kindest we’ve run into yet. CycleBar has a small roster with only eight ‘CycleStars’ instructing in Windermere, which is great because it means you’re guaranteed an experienced and well-trained instructor when you go to class. We really want to point out that our experience at CycleBar was one of the best we’ve gone to where our safety was a concern. If you’re looking for a super technical ride with an instructor who truly understands how your body should be moving, and how to use this workout to maximize the benefits for you – this is it.

Farha Shariff

We already knew of Farha before attending this class, because she’s basically a YEG fitness icon at this point, and she’s been involved in establishing some of Edmonton’s best spin programs. To say we were excited to finally take a class with her is a bit of an understatement – we fan girled out a bit. Beyond being the picture of fitness goals, she’s an impressive human all-round. She is a mother of three kiddos, and teaches at the University of Alberta’s faculty of Education (of which yours truly is an alum), focusing on critical pedagogy for social justice. We were especially interested when Farha told us that she isn’t the biggest fan of group fitness, but instead chooses to focus her energy on promoting community fitness – as she explained, you can be in your own zone but use the energy of others to build on. We like this philosophy, a lot, and we totally see how this ethos helped shape her instruction and allow every single person in her class find their limits and crush them.

1 PINEAPPLE LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY

WAY HARD | HARD | MIDDLE OF THE ROADSIES | CHILL | HELLA CHILL

What we found both from attending this class and from talking to Farha, was that all CycleBar classes follow a sequence, and will be approximately 45 minutes including a stretch. What happens within that sequence will depend on the type of class you attend;

  • Classic (what we did): There’s a lot of focus on form, choreography, rhythm and gears so that people know where they are the whole time.
  • Rhythm (Connect): These classes leave out the metrics and focus on the beat of the music and the resistance on the cycles to work it out.
  • Performance: This class is extremely structured and will have the screens on to track how you’re performing throughout to cater to the super competitive folks among us.

One of the things we found most interesting about CycleBar is that we believe it’s a suitable studio for people of ALL fitness levels and experience. If you’re crazy experienced and want to get a super intense workout, you’ll be thrilled. If you’re brand new, not sure what you want and just don’t want to die or embarrass yourself, you’re also set here. It’s so well rounded that we’re confident you will both enjoy yourself, and get a killer workout. For that reason, we’re rating the class full fruits and a ‘Middle of the Roadies’ – the difficulty is entirely based on what you want. Suffice to say, we’re thrilled with our CycleBar experience and can say we’ve found you a new reason to leave Edmonton’s core.

A

To try anything else, see Cyclebar’s contact info below:

Web: www.windermere.cyclebar.com
Phone: 780.760.7746
E-mail: windermere@cyclebar.com
Instagram | Facebook 

Good Space, Toronto | 4

 ◊ THE CLASS: Still – Saturday 12:30-1:00pm ◊


PINEAPPLE SCORE
4 PINEAPPLES

WHAT YOU NEED

Dress in whatever your heart desires as long as it’s comfy enough to sit in for half an hour

That’s it – all other gear and chillness provided

OVERALL REVIEW

Good Space is one of the newest studios to open in Toronto and they’ve entered the market with a calm, feminine and soft *bang* as they bring meditation to the mainstream. Being a yoga and meditation studio, there are only three classes offered; Move, Ease, and Still (meditation) which means meditation is getting more air time. There are definitely places to meditate in Toronto, many yoga studios for example, have a meditation class on their schedule, but none that have brought it to the forefront quite like Good Space is doing. Having opened in early April, this beautiful space is located in the heart of Parkdale in Toronto’s westend in a historical building that’s kept all the old brick and wood foundations but brought it into 2018 with perfectly placed plants in pastel planters (holy alliteration) and turkish towels mindfully scattered throughout the space. Yoga mats are provided for every class, which is a lovely touch, and they’ve rounded up a wonderful team of some of the city’s best meditation teachers. Our class with Gizem was interesting because it was L’s first meditation experience ever and it was my third so we’re both tooootal newbies. It’s so interesting to try and explain/review guided meditation classes because a) it is SUCH a personal experience but mostly b) because it’s hard as hell to try and remember what even happened during that half hour of mind wandering, breath focusing, quiet goodness. And finally, we’re pretty obsessed with their philosophy;  “Life can be tough. Yoga and meditation can help you through it. Abundance will flow from a clear and attentive mind.” So there. 

1 PINEAPPLE LOCATION 

Unit #106, 360 Dufferin Street, Toronto

Good Space is located in Parkdale in the historic Radiator building on the southwest corner of Dufferin and Queen. Once going in the doors of Unit #106, you’ll see a sign for Good Space and it’s up a small set of stairs to the right. Easy access by public transport, the Queen 501 streetcar and Dufferin 29 bus go right by the studio and if driving, there are a handful of paid street parking spots in front of the studio on Dufferin. Otherwise Melbourne, Gwynne, and Elm Grove are good side street options. Bike parking is also available on Queen Street in front of the West End Food Co-op or, alternatively, the building has a bike rack located in the parking lot out back. This beautiful space can also be rented by the by, so email them directly to enquire (contact info below.)

0.5 PINEAPPLE CLASS SCHEDULE + PRICE

Good Space offers three styles of classes; Move, Ease, and Still. Move, which is broken down into either Move Light or Move More, are most similar to traditional Vinyasa yoga classes, that move through strengthening sequences with an emphasis on the coordination of your breath to postures. The Ease class is a yin/restorative yoga style with postures being held up to five minutes for maximum chill and a deep stretch. And finally, the Still class (what we took) is solely focused on meditation. Always thirty minutes, these are guided meditation classes and are suitable for everyone from total meditation virgins to gurus. Although we totally appreciate that the style of guided meditation will vary from teacher to teacher and that this is also a very intentional simplified schedule, we kind of wish we saw a little bit more variety in the classes offered for meditation specifically, perhaps different lengths or different styles for example!? There is also a 45 minute Good Space Fundamentals class which is a combination of Move, Ease and Still with approximately 15 minutes to focus on each style. Instruction is a little more clearly and slowly outlined, making it an ideal class for beginners. 

There are typically three to four classes offered per day from Monday to Friday and only one on Saturdays and Sundays (Move More and Move Light respectively). Although this is quite a limited class schedule right now, we’re sure that as they’re open for a few months and uncover the best times that suit their community, the schedule will expand, but until then be sure to sign-up ahead of time online. We were a little sad to see that the Still class isn’t offered every day since this is one of our favourite things about Good Space and what we believe sets it apart, however, we loved to see that they offer a pay-what-you-can Still class two-to-three times per week, geared towards those who want to dip their toes in the meditation pool for the first time and are hesitant to commit to a full drop-in price or membership. Finally, in addition to their core classes, Good Space hosts regular workshops, lectures, and events in the beautiful space that will always focus on mindful engagement and collective learning. Like this guy – every second Sunday of each month starting in June they’ll be hosting 2 hour Still Life Drawing classes with a model and materials provided. How amazing is that!?

As far as prices go, Good Space also has a simplified menu with a 10 class pack, drop-in, and two membership options. Prices are pretty in-line with competing yoga studios in the area, but the by-donation option gives them a leg up. There’s also a current intro offer for three weeks unlimited for $40. 

Drop-in

  • Single Class: $22
  • 10 Class Pack: $170 ($17 pc)
  • 10% discount for students and yoga teachers

Monthly Memberships

  • Light (up to 6 classes per month): $75 ($12.50 pc)
  • Unlimited: $120
  • 15% off merch and workshops for members

1 PINEAPPLE VIBE

The vibe at Good Space is easily one of our favourite things about the studio, full fruits fer sure. The decor is everything we would want in a yoga and meditation space because it immediately evokes feelings of simplicity, serenity, and openness, no doubt by design. Walking into the open concept, bright space you’re greeted with a simple sign-in desk and a nook to the right for shoes, bags, and coats (no lockers here but there is always staff at the front desk during classes to watch everyone’s things or doors are locked). It then unfolds into a wide open room that acts as a lobby/hangout space containing washrooms, change rooms, and a wicked metal barn door. The space consists of one studio and it’s a beaut with it’s glass walls to one side, white brick walls to the other, and windows looking onto Dufferin the other way. 

The crowd for our Still meditation class was a wonderful mix of all walks of life. Guys, gals, fresh faced teens, elegant grandma’s, and a number of denim clad hipsters sprinkled in there for good measure. It was so awesome. Standing out immediately was how everyone wore completely different garb, everything from jeans to yoga gear, to PJ’s to dresses – literally anything goes as long as you’re comfortable. Our class was full with about twenty people and we were comfortably spaced out. 

AMENITIES

  • Two washrooms
  • 3 changerooms
  • Yoga mats provided for all classes
  • Water is always available from the water dispenser; no water for sale here. Cups are not (yet!) available so bring your own water bottle.
  • Mini retail space with candles, Gold Apothecary products like their steam facial (amazing), turkish towels and Good Space branded merch

0.5 PINEAPPLE INSTRUCTOR

Good Space was founded by Megan Alexander who had dreamed up the idea of this kind of studio and has been working tirelessly for over a year to make it a reality.  Megan believes “we do our best when we feel our best” and she wanted to create a space that encourages mindfulness in all practices and aspects of life. She’s rallied up a team of nine instructors of yoga and meditation specialists, who also teach in other studios around the city. Many of whom teach more than one style of class at Good Space, but all of whom have a super cute bio on their website. 🙂 

GIZEM URALLI

Gizem was our instructor for our first ever Still class and her smiley face and exotic accent make her hard to forget. She specialises in the Ease class but describes all of her classes as “centering, opening and connecting”. As are all classes at Good Space , Gizem led us through a guided meditation class, meaning she talked us through ways we could focus on our breath and body rather than our wandering thoughts. Her thick ___ accent, although gorgeous, was difficult to understand at times which had both of us feeling a bit lost and trying to make sense of her instructions rather than allowing the guided meditation to act as more passive and soothing background noise. She broke the class up into three chapters (which we’ll talk about later in the Level of Difficulty section) with each chapter bringing a different focus to our breath, but she also fell silent for a lot of the class, letting everyone focus on their practice in their own way. It was very interesting, because I have attended a few guided meditation classes before and, although no guided meditation is ever the same, I have been more guided than what Gizem offered us with so much silent time. I found that hard for me, personally, because my mind wandered like crazy (which is the whole thing with meditation) but in my experience the more constant verbal queues from the instructor brought my focus back to “meditating” more than with the abundant silent time. On the other hand, L, who has never tried a meditation class until this, found Gizem’s guided meditation more distracting than helpful and would have preferred even more silence.So it REALLY depends on your personal preferences, and all we can say about Gizem’s style is that she has a very calm and soothing voice, an open and sweet energy, a killer accent, and hangs out somewhere between full guided and totally quiet.

1 PINEAPPLE LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY

WAY HARD | HARD | MIDDLE OF THE ROADSIES | CHILL | HELLA CHILL

We’re rating this class Hella Chill and a full pineapple but it’s VERY subjective as to how difficult you may or may not find meditation as a practice. So first off – what even IS meditation, really?! We are by NO means experts or have any kind of technical training in this field but we get that it’s about changing your relationship with thoughts and feelings. It’s about learning to view them with perspective and take time out of your crazy busy lives to sit in stillness for anywhere from one minute to however long you want (but in this case half an hour) to purposefully dedicate your attention to learning about those thoughts and feelings. It’s likely, and normal, for you to get distracted while you meditate, and half the journey is being able to acknowledge that with zero judgement and train your mind to come back to focusing on your body and your breath. We also learned there are many different styles of meditation –  it seems like it’s one of those things that once you dive into it, you uncover an ocean of deeper meaning, knowledge and technique. So for our half hour class at Good Space, Gizem broke the class into three “chapters” which we thought was cute. Each chapter was about seven minutes and introduced a different way for us to focus on our breathing. For example, in chapter three we would count before each breath and go from one to ten and once hitting ten we would start again. If you lost track, you would start over at one. That’s IT, very simple, and after each chapter we would sit and see how/if we felt different in our bodies and our mind. We both finished with the sense that we could let anything roll off our backs in that moment and we wouldn’t have the instant need to react – which apparently is a common result and hella important for ALL HUMANS TO DO. Overall, we are officially hooked and have since crowd sourced the best apps so we can manipulate the free trial periods for the next year (when we can’t get to a class) so we can be in a perma state of, in the words of Good Space, it’s all good. 🙂

T

To try this class or anything else on their schedule, see Good Space’s contact info below:

Web: www.goodspacetoronto.ca
Phone: 416.840.4262
E-mail:hello@goodspacetoronto.ca
Instagram | Facebook 

YYC Cycle, Calgary | 4

◊ THE CLASS: SPIN, Sunday 8:00am-8:50am ◊


PINEAPPLE SCORE
4 PINEAPPLES

WHAT YOU NEED

Socks

Water Bottle

Form-fitting bottoms, and if you have a sensitive derrière, padded shorts

(Shoes are provided)

OVERALL REVIEW

We were in Calgary for the weekend, so we checked out a studio that’s been on our list for the longest time because we know a TON of people who frequent this sweaty establishment on the regular. We also brought along a bunch of friends, which made the whole thing more fun. Friends who spew spin together, stay together…or something, right? YYC Cycle is one of Calgary’s top spin studios and they now have three locations in Calgary: Kensington, Mardaloop and Avenida.  We checked out the Kensington studio, since it’s their OG, and they successfully brought ALL the high-sweat, high-energy, high-calorie killing heat that we love about spin. Within minutes of walking in, we felt warmly welcomed and part of the crew and Mackenzie (aka The Motivator – as they call their instructors) totally lived up to the name. She kept us going hard for the entire 50 minutes, even when we didn’t want to (but did?). We finished the class with a round of high fives and a stroll through Kensington in search of strong-ass coffee. Not sure a Saturday gets much better?!

ôÔ LOCATION 

1117 Kensington Rd NW, Calgary AB

As mentioned, YYC Cycle has three locations in Calgary; Kensington, Mardaloop and Avenida and they’ve also expanded to YEG where they have two locations, on Whyte Ave and 124th Street (review for those here). We wanted to check out their roots at the original Kensington location, which is RIGHT in the heart of Kensington. If you’re familiar with Calgary, you’ll definitely be familiar with Kensington, but if you’re not, Kensington is the city’s cultural hub – filled with restaurants, coffee shops, independent boutiques, and cool people. One downside to the otherwise sparkly location is parking. There’s a variety of parking options on Kensington Road and the surrounding streets, some streets are free before 9am and after 6pm, and others are completely free, but be sure to check the street signs and arrive early since this area is always busy. There’s also paid heated underground parking accessible via 10A street. 

0.5 PINEAPPLE CLASS SCHEDULE + PRICE

This is a spin only studio offering straight up, uncomplicated, sweat-it-out spin. All classes are 50 minutes and, with the exception of different instructors that may switch it up a bit, you can expect a very consistent ride from class to class that will incorporate sprints, hills, and some arm work like tricep dips and push-ups. This is where things get interesting. That style of class and the consistently of it can be what a lot of people really want, and it was challenging for sure – see more below in the Level of Difficulty section – however we did shave the top off the pineapple here because after much chatting with our peeps in Calgary, there’s a feeling that the classes don’t change a lot from this hills, sprints, dips formula. Again, that can be enough and totally perfect for a lot of people, but if we were to go back again and again, or if we compare it to many studios we’ve been to in Toronto, we would love to see more freshness being brought to the classes and the choreography. 

As far as the schedule, classes start at 6:00am during the week with the last class usually at 7:45pm. On weekends, classes don’t start until 8:00am but they shut things down early around 2:00pm. All riders need to sign-up online to reserve a bike prior to class and it’s recommended to arrive at least 15 minutes before class to give you time to properly set-up. Each of the bikes in the studio is numbered, so when you check in you can reserve the bike you want on a chart located on the corner of the desk. Had we come alone, we might not have truly appreciated this – but it was an amazing perk when rolling with our homies (not even going to apologize for the Clueless reference). 

Prices are great for a spin studio and with extras like shoes, and towel service, it’s worth every penny. They offer a 10% discount for students and the more you buy, the cheaper the ride – such as the 20-ride pass which works out to $15 per ride. Monthly memberships only make sense if you’re a committed rider.  The Monthly Membership for example is only a better deal if you see yourself hitting the pedals more than three times a week. One thing that we really loved is YYC Cycle’s community love. Every Friday is a “GIVE’R” class with a $10 drop-in rate, with 100% of the proceeds going to their current charity of choice. The YYC spinners certainly take advantage of these discounted Fridays, because YYC Cycle is currently on track to donate 2 million dollars! Woot!

  • Single Ride: $20
  • 5 Rides: $90 ($18 per ride)
  • 10 Rides: $170 ($17 per ride)
  • 20 Rides: $300 ($15 per ride)
  • 1 Month Membership: $199
  • Intro Offer $65 for 3 weeks unlimited and 1 year for $1500

1 PINEAPPLE VIBE

While this studio is quite small, it’s also bright and really well laid out. The lobby has plenty of open space for riders to transition, with a large amount of seating outside the cycle studio to act as a waiting area. We love the programmable lockers to store your things (bye bye, BYOL… bring your own lock) and the change rooms offer lots of space to de-gross yourself after class and get ready for the rest of your day. The walls are covered with inspirational quotes, exposed brick (hearts for eyes), custom art, neon lights and lots of character. The cycle studio is set in a dark room with tons of lights, which “The Motivator” will adjust throughout class, and the entire class is based around killer beats and motivated humans. It’s like a healthy nightclub and just as sweaty. Side note, and listen up because it’s important: we have taken a lot of spin classes and the seats on these bikes are SOFT. Like, much better than usual. We’re confused because they don’t look different, but the classic next day “ouchies” we usually experience were not there. What’s up with this YYC Cycle, tell us your tricks?? Either way, your bum will appreciate it.

The crowd for our class was a mix of mid 20’s to early 30’s, with almost a 50/50 split of male to female and 75% full. Capacity for the studio is 43 bikes, so when it’s full, it’s a fun ride. A few rules at YYC Cycle that we’re also totally into: no phones in the spin studio and keep talking to a minimum. You’re there to focus on your hills, homies.

AMENITIES

  • Shower facilities with all the extras you need (shampoo, conditioner, hairspray, hair dryers, straighteners, etc)
  • Lockers with built-in programmable locks
  • Towel service
  • Earplugs
  • Cycle shoes provided
  • Little touch – bubble gum at the front desk – scoring points

0.5 PINEAPPLE INSTRUCTOR

The staff at YYC Cycle are super helpful and welcoming. This is especially true for first timers, as the staff spend the time to ensure that riders are properly set up. YYC Cycle was established about four years ago, and now has roughly 55 instructors on their roster (holy amazing). Each instructor will offer a different experience but they will always bring high energy, a curated playlist and tons of inspiration.

MacKenzie Allen

Let’s start by saying; Mackenzie did not have it easy in this class. There were serious issues happening with the audio, meaning our beats were crackly and too quiet for our liking. It’s a shame, because part of the allure of YYC Cycle is the amazing beats and accompanying tempo of your workout. That being said, Mackenzie did an amazing job keeping us all full of life even in the poor circumstances. We were seriously impressed with how smoothly she managed to sync the lights with the music, even while she HAD to have been frustrated. Her music ranged from EDM and remixes of top 40 pop, and we can only imagine how much cooler the entire thing would have been with full volume and quality. Mackenzie rode the class with us the ENTIRE time, which is super impressive because we consider ourselves pretty fit and we could hardly breathe – seriously, kudos M. One suggestion we had for the class is to potentially integrate more knowledge based instruction. There were two things we struggled with in our first ever YYC Cycle experience. First off, we had a hard time finding a gauge on how hard we should be going. This is both the beauty and the curse of spin, you choose your own adventure, however, there wasn’t much instruction for us on how hard we should be pushing at specific times. Mackenzie did, however, give us plenty of cues to protect our knees for certain movements, which was definitely appreciated. The second thing we struggled with was when we had to change up our hand/arm movements. YYC Cycle refers to different numbered hand positions and sometimes Mackenzie had us dive into various patterns of those numbered positions. We definitely could have used a refresher because we were lost. We’re already uncoordinated, and uncoordinated and confused left us super grateful for the low lighting.

1 PINEAPPLE LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY

WAY HARD | HARD | MIDDLE OF THE ROADSIES | CHILL | HELLA CHILL

Before starting the class, we had to set up our bikes. The YYC team was super helpful ensuring we set the bikes up properly for our bodies, and they also have a wicked video on their website to break it down. Once we were clipped in with our fancy cycle shoes, we were set. If you’re not used to these shoes, clipping in can be QUITE the challenge but Mackenzie was on hand to make sure we were good and ready.

There was quite the mixed bag of skills levels in the room, with some individuals definitely new to YYC Cycle (us included) but many seasoned members of the Bikergang, which we appreciated greatly because it gave us people to follow cues from when the dips and hand movements got a little confusing.  For the 50-minute class, Mackenzie had us out of our seat almost immediately and into sprints to get our heart rate high. We transitioned into hills to work our legs and glutes, and the “resting” time was a mix of arm work, little mini dance parties, and throwing out words of encouragement and back-pats to our neighbours. This class forced us to dig deep and push through doubt and fatigue, and we definitely appreciated the low lighting so we could hide the serious struggle that was our lives. We wrapped it up with a hard push to the finish line and a short cool down and stretch. This one belongs on your must try list.

A

To try this class or anything else on their schedule, see YYC Cycle’s contact info below:

Web: www.yyc-cycle.com
PHONE: 403.229.0737
EMAIL: info@yyc-cycle.com
Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

Dance Code, Edmonton | 4

◊ THE CLASS: Burlesque Boom & Beginner Pump ◊


PINEAPPLE SCORE
4 PINEAPPLES

WHAT YOU NEED

For Burlesque Boom: Running shoes, yoga mat/towel and a water bottle

For Beginner Pump: A pair of pumps you can dance in and a water bottle

Pumps Tip: No stress if you’ve never danced in pumps before. Below are a few handy pointers so you can choose the right pair and look like a boss. 

1) Start with a low heel and work your way up. Yes, I know, the higher the heel the closer to heaven… But you won’t look as cute in heaven with a broken ankle, so start low.

2) Aim for a thick heel. It will give you a better base to stand on and more comfort in the long run. Bonus if they have a platform under the toe. Even if the platform is slight, you’ll be on less of an incline and will be able to wear them for longer.

3) Go for a bootie or straps. Something that has a strap across the foot, or ties you in like a bootie, will give your ankles more stability and feel less like you could kick your shoe right off and hit the instructor in the face. It’s happened. 

4) Tread. The tread of a dance shoe is super important cause if there’s too much, it can limit your movement. Most shoes will have a minor tread or a simple leather sole, which is great. Steer clear of anything with a toothed or thick boot-like tread on the bottom. Yes, it may give you more grip, but for turns or quick steps you’ll likely have too much traction and not move as quickly. 

OVERALL REVIEW

Dance Code Studio Inc. is one of the most talked about and visited dance studios in Edmonton. With a wide range of drop-in classes, a plethora of dance styles, and a vibe that oozes inclusiveness, it’s easy to understand why. Tucked behind the up-and-coming Brewery District, this small studio provides quick workouts for students and working professionals that frequent the area. The small studio is packed to the brim with spacious dance studios, bumping music and hundreds of people coming in and out of the doors to take classes. Everyone from children to bad-ass babes in their 60’s, this place is a mecca of di.ver.si.ty. and I LOVED THAT PART. The initial plan was to take the Burlesque Boom class – an hour-long, high intensity fitness class that incorporates burlesque-like movements to engage all body parts – but after chatting with the owner she invited me to stay for the Beginner Pumps class as well (something the studio is known for) to get a complete idea of the energy of the studio. And holy balls, I’m glad I did. Both classes were so full of energy and #positivevibes that I had a smile on my face the ACTUAL whole damn way home. 

0.5 PINEAPPLE LOCATION 

10575 115 Street NW, Edmonton, AB

Dance Code is located north of Edmonton’s downtown core, in the Queen Mary Park area. The studio itself is in a shared building north of Oliver and a stones throw away from the up-and-coming Brewery District. With the new MacEwan Building opening down the street, the studio is perfect for students to walk to and a short and easy commute for anyone coming from downtown. Within a few blocks of Dance Code are dozens of options for food and drink, including our favorite grocery store ever: Loblaws City Market. We know Ontario, old news. But City Market is next level grocery shopping for YEG. The parking situation is plentiful in front of the building that houses Dance Code, and for public transportation peeps, it’s just a short walk from 104th Avenue that has many bus options from all directions. The not so great thing about the area is that it can be a bit dicey, so we would definitely recommend driving to the studio if you’re coming in early morning or late at night.  Dance Code is located on the lower level of the multi-unit complex but is clearly labeled and easy to access.

0.5 PINEAPPLE CLASS SCHEDULE + PRICE

Dance Code has a wide range of drop-in classes for adults of all levels of experience and they have pre-registered training programs for young dancers (ages 2-18). Open seven days a week, most of their adult classes are concentrated in the evening to cater to the after work crowd. The schedule changes weekly depending on what instructors are teaching, but it generally sticks to the same timetable so you’re able to take the same class from week to week.

Dance Code has a very basic pricing structure for adult classes, with only a drop-in, 12-class pass or unlimited membership available. We’re shaving half a pineapple here because having more variety in the passes offered would be more ideal, especially for new students to see if the studio is a fit for them, like a one-week or one-month pass. Bonus for newbies though, DC offers the first class free if you’re brand spanking new.

  • Drop-in: $20
  • 12 Class Membership: $189 ($15.75 per class)
  • Unlimited: $80/month (best bang for your buck!)

1 PINEAPPLE VIBE

Dance Code is on the smaller side of some of the other dance companies we’ve been to and actually doesn’t include a ton of amenities (no showers, lockers, or a lot of space to get ready), but it’s bursting at the seams with energy which is why I’m still awarding a full pineapple for vibe. Good vibes conquer all – that’s a saying, right? The decor is all about red and black and everything is completely colour coordinated including the three studios that vary in shape and size but are all well-lit and exactly what you expect dance studios to be; full of mirrors, bars, and plenty of open space to dance your face off. There’s a small hallway connecting the studios where students wait for class and the whole time I was there, the hallway was never empty. It was constantly bursting with uplifting energy, chatter, and So You Think You Can Dance feels. I do wish there was more space for the guys and gals to get ready; but it was clear with the constant flow of students coming and going, the small space worked for the transient nature of the studio. 

AMENITIES & EXTRAS

  • Two large unisex washrooms
  • Coat hooks and cubbies for personal belongings

1 PINEAPPLE INSTRUCTOR

Sarah Torkoly

Sarah is the studio owner and also the instructor for both classes I took – no pressure to nail the steps. She opened Dance Code in 2010 after traveling the world as a professional dancer and since then has founded The Codettes, a 12-week pumps training program for all shapes and sizes to learn routines and gain strength and confidence. She is a two-time contender for So You Think You Can Dance and took her concept of Burlesque Boom Inc. to the popular TV show Dragons’ Den in 2015 – #bossbabe. You can tell she pours her love for dance into the studio from the moment you walk in the door. With her personal desk set-up right behind the check-in desk, she welcomed everyone that entered the studio as if they’d known each other for years. Something I really appreciated about Sarah’s teaching style, was how she was right beside us doing the whole class with us. She worked it just as hard as she was encouraging us to, while giving positive reinforcement to keep going and push ourselves. Sarah said one amazing thing at the top of her class, that since then I’ve been telling myself before every work out; “I want you to push yourself until your body is shaking and you feel like giving up. Then think of all the people sitting at home on their couches who didn’t come out to class… and then do five more reps.” Damn. That no-excuses motivation set us up for an hour of non-stop movement that we were going to push through no matter what.

1 PINEAPPLE LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY

WAY HARD | HARD | MIDDLE OF THE ROADSIES | CHILL | HELLA CHILL

Burlesque Boom

So, disclaimer. I moonlight as a burlesque dancer so I, like, kinda know, and I was SUPER keen to try the Burlesque Boom class and see how Sarah would interpret burlesque into a workout class because burlesque can mean very different things to different people. To me, burlesque is a celebration. An opportunity for anyone of any size to celebrate their body and feel sexy in their own skin. At Dance Code, they’ve created Burlesque Boom to be a super high-energy and interval based cardio class that requires you to push yourself as hard as you can athletically while trying to look sexy and flaunt your inner Cher/Christina. NBD. The class started with getting our heart rate up with jumping jacks, high knees and jumping lunges. The loud, top-40’s music was pumped to the max to keep the energy high, and we took short and sweet water/stretch breaks between every song so we didn’t cool down too much before moving on. We then did a series of turns paired with tuck jumps and linked the moves with a box step. Here’s where we started to see a little burlesque flare come into the workout because you could literally add your own sexy flare, and you could feel the excitement in the room lift. We continued to move through every section of the body (legs, arms, and abs) by doing sit ups, bicycle crunches and planks etc. and although I’m rating this as Hard, sadly, I didn’t see as much burlesque integrated into the movement after the cardio section because we were so focused on our cardio and form. Overall, I love the idea of giving people a taste of burlesque by combining it with a tough, fun workout but there were only a handful of moments in the class where it was possible to incorporate the sexy tease that burlesque is known for into the movements. I would 100% go back to try another class, even with a different instructor to see how they interpret weaving burlesque into the workout. 

Beginner Pump

So I, most def, sweat the most in this class and it’s earning a Hard for cardio. Having experience dancing in heels before, I found the combinations that Sarah taught fairly easy to pick up, but for anyone taking a pumps class for the first time, this would be a perfect place to start and will challenge you for sure. We started with a warm up to get everyone limber and heart rates going, and then we jumped into choreography right away. Song for the class: Filthy by Justin Timberlake, and TBH I’m still jamming to it every morning since. The think I really loved, was how Sarah created the combo as we went. It meant she could adjust the sequence based on how the room at large was reacting to the choreography, i.e. if some people were struggle street, she would tone it back – if we all clearly had it, she would make the next part a little more difficult. This also gave her an opportunity to adjust the choreography for anyone with an injury. The class was very much structured like most professional dance classes; start with a warm up, learn the choreography, break into groups and then perform (and sometimes film – if you’re decent). When you break into groups to perform the choreography you just spent 45-minutes learning, it allows for people to get inspired by the other dancers and see how each person makes the dance their own. At the end of the class, Sarah filmed a few of the girls that were SLAYING the dance and she finished the class by saying she’ll add onto the combo the following Monday – making me want to go back to perfect what I learned. So fun, guys. 

S

To try this class or anything else on their schedule, see Dance Code’s contact info below.

Web: www.dancecodestudio.ca
E-mail: dancecodestudioinc@gmail.com
PHONE: 780.916.7095
Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

Yogaspace, Toronto | 3

◊ THE CLASS: Prenatal Yoga, Sunday 9:30am-11:00am ◊


PINEAPPLE SCORE
 Slide05

WHAT YOU NEED

Water Bottle

Mat (rentable for $2)

Nothing too valuable (no lockers)

OVERALL REVIEW

Yogaspace is the last studio review in my prenatal journey, since I popped a few weeks later (eeep!), and I’m so happy I was able to squeeze it in considering this is one of the oldest yoga studios in Toronto, and THE oldest pre and postnatal program in Toronto – perdy cool. They’ve been in biz for over 20 years and they’re also known for being a hub for teacher training with a 200 and 300 hour Yoga Alliance Registered Teacher Training School. Earning a full pineapple for being easily located in Ossington, our fav, and for their class schedule and price with over 60 drop-in classes per week and the lowest drop-in rate for yoga classes in the city (that we’ve seen so far) at $20. They also offer yoga retreats in cool-ass places like Italy, Greece, Portugal, Costa Rica and Mexico that are often sold out. Next up for 2019 is Goa, India which is one of my faaaaaavorite places so I heart that. There was a lil bit left to be desired in the crammed spaces, lack of lockers and hour and a half prenatal class that landed somewhere between a restorative class and a flow class but without really letting us get our groove in either.  Plus, that meant we (and the rest of our class) had to pee at least once bc bladders are hella squished when pregnant and an hour and a half is equivalent to 465 hours non-pregnant. It’s science. 

1 PINEAPPLE LOCATION 

148 Ossington Avenue, Toronto

Yogaspace is located in the heart of Toronto’s Ossington coolness, right on Ossington Avenue across from Ossington Chiropractic and Rehabilitation (which gives us life on a weekly basis PS) and just north of Belwoods Brewery. There’s quite a little hub of fitness studios in this two block radius with Academy of Lions, Misfit (review here), Ride Cycle Club, and The Local at the lulu’s men’s store all within a one-minute walk of eachother. Getting here is relatively easy, even if you’re not a West Ender, with it being a five-minute walk from Queen Street West and plenty of TTC options along Ossington Ave. and Queen West. For bikers, there’s tons of bicycle ring stands along Ossington, particularly in front of Yogaspace, and if driving, there’s free parking on Foxley, Halton, Argyle and Givens Street’s, all minutes away from Yogaspace. If really stuck for parking, like on the weekend when this place is jammed, there’s a self-pay parking lot one block north of YS on the south side of Dundas, east of Ossington. Two-hour paid parking is also available on both sides of Ossington in front of the Centre. Considering all the convenience, we’re giving full fruits for location all DAY. 

1 PINEAPPLE CLASS SCHEDULE + PRICE

Yogaspace has over 60 drop-in classes running every week with the majority of them focusing on yoga, but with a few snippets of non-namaste options. The yoga types range from the vigorous yang yoga styles like Vinyasa and Flow Yoga, to the yin yoga styles with Mysore/Self Practice, Hatha, Pre and Postnatal, and Restorative Classes. The non-yoga classes include Functional Strength Classes and Yoga/Pilates Fusion if you wanna switch it up. In total though, there are over 60 classes per week, and they’re very specialised within the yang yoga, yin yoga and non-yoga class styles so it’s best to check their schedule online to see what you’re most in the mood for. Overall though, out of our friends who have attended classes at YS and our experience of the prenatal yoga class, the yin styles seem to be more where their expertise lies vs a hardcore sweaty yoga sesh. In addition to the massive drop-in class schedule, they also offer pre-registered classes that are often 4-week courses, specialty workshops on the regular, local and international yoga retreats, they’re BIG on yoga teacher training (200 and 300 hour training courses) AND they have a wellness centre. There’s a lot going on here, which is why we’re giving these guys a full pineapple for class schedule! Woot! 

There are usually about 10-12 classes per day at Yogaspace between the two studios, starting as early as 6:00am Monday-Friday and running as late as 8:30pm. Weekends are jammed with classes until 5:45pm on Saturday and 6:00pm on Sunday as well and we heart this, since there are tons of options no matter what you’re hectic sched. Class prices are great with a $20 drop-in which is in line with their Toronto friends at Pure Yoga and Octopus Garden, and if you’re watching your pennies they have a community class for a $5 donation every day that ranges from the 8:15am to 11:45am time slot. 

  • New Member 1 Month Pass: $49
  • Drop-in: $20
  • 5 Class Pass: $90 ($18 per class)
  • 10 Class Pass: $160 ($16 per class)
  • 1 Month Drop-in Class Pass: $165 ($22 per class)
  • Monthly Auto-Renew Membership: $129/mth
  • Students/Seniors/YTT Grads: $14
  • Community Class: $5
  • Monthly Auto-Renew Membership: $95

0.5 PINEAPPLE VIBE

The vibe at Yogaspace is interesting and you get the sense immediately that they’ve been there for a long time, have a committed community of regular yogis and aren’t too crazy fussed about making sure you have the lay of the land if you’re a newbie. When we arrived for our class, the main foyer quickly became clogged up with people checking-in as there isn’t a ton of space and the coat/shoe rack is past the sign-in desk so the flow stops at the front desk. The coat rack/shoe area isn’t overly large either, so there was a lot of bumping preggo bellies, which made for a fast way to make new friends! The flow continues into a small, dark, calming and quiet waiting area for the two studios on the main floor; Studio A which is large, bright and full of the beautiful old brick walls that the whole studio boasts, and Studio B which is smaller, darker and used for the hot yoga classes. In the basement, just off the waiting area, are the mens and womens change rooms which contain yoga mat storage, washrooms, two showers in the women’s change room and one in the men’s that apparently have great water pressure. There’s a small space to change in the change rooms but no lockers. Overall, we left wanting more out of this space and the vibe, as things felt really crammed, not overly friendly, and not super functional with nowhere to store our belongings. 

As for the crowd, there were 20 people in our prenatal class in Studio A and that still gave us enough room to feel comfortable and spread out, so the space is nice and large. The students were all female, obvi, but we did notice a handful of yogi men in the other classes. For our prenatal class, most women were in their second and third trimesters, some very fit and clearly regular yogi’s before being pregnant but many others that seemed new to it all together, so overall it’s very friendly no matter what your previous experience. 

AMENITIES & EXTRAS

  • Tea station
  • Filtered water 
  • 2 washrooms
  • Mat storage available for $5 per month or $50 annually
  • Yoga mat rental for $2
  • Towel rental for $2 (hand) or $3 (bath)
  • Wellness Centre
  • Retail boutique with yoga gear like mats, bolsters, straps and blocks from Half Moon, Manduka, and Samyoga (who have THA best eye pillows by the way)

0.5 PINEAPPLEINSTRUCTOR

Yogaspace is one of the longest-standing yoga studios in the six, having been in operation for over 20 years, since 1996 actually. For the first eight years, Yogaspace was located on an alley just off Bellwoods Avenue north of Queen Street, but they moved to the current location in Ossington in 2004, back when the hood was filled with Vietnamese Karaoke Bars. Kathryn Beet, the founder, saw Ossington as the new frontier – what an eye Kat, what an eye. Other fun fact, Kathryn founded Toronto’s first pre and postnatal yoga program in 1993 after 10 years of working as a doula. Yogaspace is also known for training new yoga instructors in the 200 and 300 Hour Yoga Alliance Registered Teacher Training School that’s been pumping out instructors for over 18 years – and the extensive wellness centre that offers services like thai yoga and foot massage, facial stretch therapy, acupuncture, osteotherapy, pelvic health physiotherapy, and infrared sauna, among other things. I actually went for a postnatal massage here with Kristen Emberley, and she was fantastic! She’s so knowledgeable about the pre and postnatal body, has a background as a paramedic, and she was great at explaining what she was noticing going on for my body. I would definitely recommend popping in for massage services. With over 35 yoga instructors on their roster and another 12 therapists as part of the wellness centre, it’s a very seasoned team as many of them have been with Yogaspace since the beginning or have graduated from the in-house training. 
 
Danielle (sub for Sasha)
 
Danielle was our instructor for the prenatal yoga class, substituting for Sasha Padron’s typical timeslot, and her teaching style was very calm and friendly. This was one of Danielle’s first classes back to teaching after having a child herself 10 months ago, so she was speaking from experience and mentioned how happy she was to be back into it. She spent most of the class demonstrating, and about 15% of the time doing hands-on adjustments which we love. One thing we noticed that confused a lot of people was that when she was demonstrating, Danielle faced the class and showed the same side rather than mirroring us, which made her opposite the class. Also, it’s quite typical, especially in slower yin based yoga classes, that the instructor provides guided mediation/what to focus on as you breathe through longer stretches and positions, however there wasn’t a lot of support in that area, which we could have really used. We can attest to the notoriously busy mental state of the third trimester mum, in particular, who’s coming down to the wire and has a V BUSY mind about what still needs to be done, the anxiety about labour, being a parent…whatever. Considering we come to yoga to try and calm those thoughts and focus inwards, and we’re in a prenatal class – we thought there was more opportunity to personalise that experience. There was a lot of  talk at the end of class in savasana however, but it was all about your mothers mother, and feeling the existence of a maternal lineage, which didn’t really resonate with myself or my girlfriend so much. To each their own, I suppose :). 

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY

WAY HARD | HARD | MIDDLE OF THE ROADSIES | CHILL | HELLA CHILL

The prenatal yoga classes at Yogaspace are described as classes that will “prepare your mind and body for the most challenging work of your life. A flow of postures and breath work to support your pregnancy and prepare you for labour.” We’re rating the class as Hella Chill, but docking pineapple marks for landing somewhere in the middle between a restorative class and a flow class but not really enough of either that we could find our groove and get a ton out of it. The great news is, these classes are designed for students with any level of experience and it’s also safe for all stages of pregnancy. Also, the length of the class was interesting. An hour and a half pre-natal class is ambitious for preggo bladders considering you pee on the hour every hour, especially into your third trimester, so we were surprised to see that offered regularly on Sundays. Probably 75% of the class got up at least once to scury to the ladies room. There are other one hour prenatal yoga class options during the week. 

These kinds of soft yoga classes are what I fear the most with pre-natal classes, that they’re just watered down versions of a yoga class because there’s an assumption that you’re body just can’t do the same things. Which in some cases might be true, but in some cases it’s not and the choice should be up to the mum to adjust. It wasn’t very tailored to pre-natal either, only one reference to what people should do over 34 weeks, besides that there was no mention of how anyone might alter the positions for their pre-natal bodies depending on what they might be experiencing or what stages they’re in. Granted there were 20 people in the class and it may be difficult to cater to everyone, but there was very little education as to what our bodies need or what they’re going through. I was in my third trimester for the class and my girlfriend was in her first, which is a much more sensitive time and there was no mention of things to stay away from for her, just a general “listen to your body” guidance which isn’t necessarily the best advise if you’re new to working out while pregnant and don’t know what you don’t know.  The class moved through all three warrior positions, a few balances and a lot of floor and breath work, but we felt like we either wanted to hold the poses longer or work up more of a flow in our bodies but we were uncomfortably in the middle, the whole class. I could see it being an ok class for women towards the very end of their pregnancy who are not able to be very active, and a class predominantly focused on stretching and easy, short flows is all their bodies can handle – however if you’re more of an experienced yogi or fitness fanatic and looking for a class that will still challenge your preggo bod, this probably isn’t it. 

To try this class or anything else on their schedule, see YogaSpace’s contact info below.

Web: www.yogaspace.net
E-mail: contact@yogaspace.net
PHONE: 416.516.9940
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Lifestyle Meditation, Edmonton | 4.5

]◊ THE CLASS: LM Reset Sunday 7:00pm – 8:00pm  ◊


PINEAPPLE SCORE
 4.5 PINEAPPLES

WHAT YOU NEED

Wear something comfortable, warm and cozy

OVERALL REVIEW

We’re switching things up a bit with this review. We wanted to slow things down and find something in YEG different than spin, circuit, barre, dance or yoga and when we were sloothing for studios on Fitset.ca it led us to Lifestyle Meditation. We’d heard of these guys before from a friend who told us about how GORGEOUS and NEXT LEVEL cool this place is. So we bit – and took the time for the kind of relaxation and restoration that we didn’t even know we craved. Lifestyle Meditation is Canada’s first meditation studio, and it’s a completely unique experience from any other boutique studio you’ve come to know. Although LM offers some yin yoga class, their business is based on a wide variety of meditation styles, with the overall goal of giving you a stress reducing injection of quiet happiness. Where do we sign-up?! We honestly had no idea what to expect when we walked in the doors, and we had serious post-meditation writers block trying to tell you about how much we enjoyed our time. It’s actually a bit shocking how little we remember from the class itself – it’s truly the lost hour – which means we did something right… right?

1 PINEAPPLE LOCATION 

10937 – 120 Street, Edmonton, AB

Lifestyle is tucked away in the middle of a neighbourhood that we’ve never even stumbled upon, even though our chiropractor is only two blocks north of the studio. While the location is easily accessible, it’s definitely a destination and not a stop along the way. The real treat that you’re exposed to once you find Lifestyle Meditation, is the amazing community complex that they’re part of. This, my friends, is why we’re giving LM full fruits on their location, and why you’ll forgive us for it. Just a few doors down from Lifestyle Meditation is Modern Gravity Float Studio (which is definitely on our list of experiences we NEED to try soon) where you can indulge in the ultimate day of relaxation and introspection pairing a meditation class with a float – just think of all that blissful silence. But the fun doesn’t stop there – while you’re in the mood to treat yourself around the corner (but technically still in the same building) is our favorite Edmonton doughnut shop, Doughnut Party. We’re helpless to stay away. There’s ample free parking, a wonderful bike path across the street, and a number of bus lines that will take you within walking distance of the studio.

0.5 PINEAPPLE CLASS SCHEDULE + PRICE

The studio features seven Lifestyle Meditation signature classes (which can be found here). The classes offer a broad spectrum of relaxation, so you can find the one best suited to your needs. If you’re looking for guided instruction on breathing techniques to help relieve the stress in your body, you can take one of the Breathe classes. If you’re looking for a class that will help release tension and slow down your active mind, try the Sleep class (yes, you read that correctly – sleep class). There’s a maximum of five classes per day, starting as early as 9:30am, with the last class as late as 8:30pm. This means that 9-5ers might struggle to find a class that fits their schedule, unless popping in for a 12:15pm-12:45pm class that’s offered every weekday. LM recommends that you sign-up online beforehand to reserve a spot, and that you show up approximately 15 minutes prior to the start time – which you’ll want to do anyways because of the shopping. Seriously. In addition to the regularly scheduled programming found on LM’s class schedule, they offer a wide variety of workshops, including Calm Kids, Full Moon Ritual, Candlelit Yin, and Community Classes – so we’re pretty sure you’ll be able to find something that fits your fancy. We’re definitely heading back for the two-hour introduction to meditation workshop, which boasts a scientific and discussion-based approach to meditation instruction. Also, for any non-YEG dwellers that are jealous reading this, LM offers ONLINE classes. Facilitated through Namastream (like our other fav steamable site for Pure Yoga), it requires an account membership and you have the choice of purchasing individual classes (noted below) like the one-time Introduction to Meditation class, or you can purchase a monthly membership that gives you access to all live stream classes and recorded classes (if you can’t catch the class time) of over 26 current videos and any future events and classes.

As far as prices, the drop-in rate is on par with many other boutique fitness studios we’ve reviewed in Edmonton at $20 before tax, however with this being the first Meditation Studio we’ve been to, we don’t have anything to directly compare it to. It’s interesting, because you’re not exactly paying for an hour long sweat session like Spinunity where you’ve paid to have your ass handed to you and burn 700 calories, and some may not see value in a $20 meditation class, however we personally get it and need that blocked off, uninterrupted time to be able to truly zen, focus and shut everything out. But it’s a very personal choice as far as what people deem reasonable for this, as we polled it around to our peoples and some would pay even more, while other would rather see a discounted ~$10-$15 class for something like this. We’ll leave with you to noodle.

  • Drop-in: $20
  • 5 Class Pass: $90 ($18 per class – expires 3 months after purchase)
  • 10 Class Pass: $160 ($16 per class – expires 6 months after purchase)
  • 1 Month Unlimited Membership: $85 (30 days – no contract)
  • Monthly Auto-Renew Membership (Minimum 3 Months): $69/Month
  • Intro Offer $40 for 1 month unlimited

Online Pricing:

  • Monthly Membership: $14.99
  • Introduction to Meditation: $19
  • Introduction to Sharing Meditation with Kids and Teens: $19
  • Signature Classes (6): $19

1 PINEAPPLE VIBE

OH, MY, GOODNESS you guys. This studio is beautiful. It’s been sent from serenity right into our Instagram’s dreams. As you walk in, you’re greeted by a large open space that is to.die.for. There’s sitting space everywhere, which aligns with the community that LM is trying to create by inviting participants to hang out after class and discuss their experiences (or not). There’s a tea station to fill up on complimentary tea before or after class and a retail boutique full of amazing merchandise (oh hey, tiny gold anatomy hearts <3). We spent so much time browsing that we almost didn’t get into the class on time. One observation we made, while the practice is quite serious, the vibe was hella chill. The studio takes the practice of meditation seriously but is also open to everyone experiencing their practice in their own way. Discussion was encouraged in the practice room both before and after, and there was a lot of joking and casual discussion taking place – which we really loved. There are no change rooms at Lifestyle Meditation, however there are three bathrooms, two of which are wheelchair accessible. Considering the type of activity (or lack thereof) that occurs here, we’re cool with no change rooms. Just know that this means you should come to the studio prepared in the clothing you want to meditate in. Also, there’s no meditation uniform. We saw everything from pajamas to blue jeans, so come in what’s comfortable to you. Design-wise, the studios are absolutely stunning. There is a main studio (where we were for our class) and a small studio, both of which have a killer aesthetic that feature massive solid brick walls, full cabinets, and large Persian style carpets throughout. The smaller studio is filled with large, cozy chairs to reinforce the idea that meditation is something that can take place anywhere. For our Reset class, the lights were turned off with candles burning throughout the room which made for a lovely, calming atmosphere.

Our class size was very small, with only five of us in attendance, and we were a little surprised with the attendees, even though we weren’t sure what to expect in the first place. That being said, we definitely weren’t expecting the two-middle aged blue-collar type guys that showed up. Proof that these classes are for anyone.

AMENITIES & EXTRAS

  • 3 washrooms – 2 wheelchair accessible
  • Mats, pillows, cushions, blankets provided
  • Eye pillows provided (UMMMM….. YES)
  • Water bottles for sale
  • Tea provided
  • Retail boutique including mats, books, essential oils, crystals, jewelry, clothing, towels – basically we’re going to think of this as the lifestyle section (get the pun, appreciate the pun).

1 PINEAPPLE INSTRUCTOR

Mandy Trapp is the woman behind Lifestyle Meditation. She is a mother of three and has a long list of accomplishments that make her an extremely awe-inspiring force in Edmonton’s fitness and wellness community. Mandy understands the demands of juggling a busy life, and we want to learn all the things from her. In 2008, she graduated from Chopra University with their top distinction of Vedic Master Educator and has brilliantly woven her Chopra education with her athletic training education, various yoga certifications, and several trips to India and Nepal into her work and the vibe at LM. Just another little thing, she founded the India/Nepal Yoga Project; a non-profit fundraiser that empowers healing in those affected by the devastating effects of human trafficking. NBD. Mandy also leads several classes at LM, so check the schedule to find a class and meet this inspiring woman for yourself.

Faye Stollery

Faye was our instructor for the Reset class, and she is possibly the most adorable human we’ve ever met. Faye greeted us with genuine enthusiasm when we checked in and showed us around the entire studio before helping us get set up for class. One of the most wonderful things we noticed about Faye is that she remembered, and used, everyone’s name in the class. Faye is a theater student, who took an interest in meditation and energy work when it proved beneficial for her to prepare for living in the moment on stage. She started her path in meditation modestly, with an app on her phone (who hasn’t tried this?) but inquired further and explored meditation to the point that she’s now instructing classes. We really liked the tone and flow of Faye’s voice, as we were in a dark room with our eyes covered, we feel like this could have been super awkward and bad if the right tone wasn’t used by the instructor. We also enjoyed that Faye started the class, and finished the class, with a quote. Um, we don’t remember what either of them were, but we remember we were into it.

1 PINEAPPLE LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY

WAY HARD | HARD | MIDDLE OF THE ROADSIES | CHILL | HELLA CHILL

We’re rating this class HELLA CHILL, and if we could, we would probably rate it HELLA HELLA HELLA CHILL. The class started very causally, and by casually, I mean that we each set up our own station comprised of mats, pillows, eye pillows, and blankets. How you set up your station is personal preference, but Faye was there to guide us newbies on what worked best and even tucked us in – yes, we were tucked in and it was amazing. Faye led us through a” journey-style” class, which means making your way through your own imagination for 35-45 minutes. For some of us, this meant nap time. From the start of the class, we were laying down and listening to Faye’s guidance and instruction. This was a little disorienting, and when she told us it was time to start coming back into ourselves, we were certain we had only just laid down… We ended the class sitting up, asking questions and carrying an open conversation.

The best way we can explain our experience with LM, is that it’s similar to the feeling you get when you fall asleep with the television on, or in a room with people talking. You know – when you’re not sure if you’re dreaming or listening to what’s happening but the world is swirling around you? That was our experience. It was wonderful. After class, we had a cup of tea with a few of our classmates, and we learned that everyone took something different from the class. Our friend, Katie, couldn’t remember a single thing from the room, and one of the gentlemen that stayed to chat with us had remained alert through the entire class, focusing on exploring his mind. Clearly, he’s done this before.

To try this class or anything else on their schedule, see Lifestyle Meditation’s contact info below.

Web: www.lifestylemeditation.com
E-mail: info@lifestylemeditation.com
PHONE: 780.761.3620
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Boomerang Pilates, Toronto | 3.5

◊ THE CLASS: Made to Move Thursday 7:15pm – 8:15pm ◊


PINEAPPLE SCORE
 3.5 PINEAPPLES

WHAT YOU NEED

Water Bottle

Loose comfy clothing

(all other equipment is provided for you)

OVERALL REVIEW

The best reason to go to Boomerang Pilates is to get personal, tailored and very technical training. Their program philosophy is based on exercising correctly and moving smartly, not just exercising to burn calories. Actually on the flip side, you may only burn about 100 cals in a class but you’ll learn all about your bod and what you’re doing to it. Every class is designed to teach you more about the human body and give you space to explore and understand your personal icky spots. You’ll focus on proper alignment and form, anatomy, and probably the most important element, they’ll teach you tools and methodologies that you can take into your everyday lives and everyday movement, at any age, no matter what your personal challenges (i.e. injuries, pre/postnatal, new to working out or getting back into it after time off, etc.). This isn’t a studio that will focus on instagram worthy poses or decor, but they will support you to live life with health, strength, balance and confidence. So, like, we’re on board. 

0.5 PINEAPPLE LOCATION 

240 Roncesvalles Ave, Roncy United Church – ​2nd floor

Boomerang Pilates is located on the west end of Toronto in one of our fav neighbourhoods, Roncesvalles, right on Roncy Ave across from Lit Espresso and The Ace and just north of Wright Avenue. Although the location is great for West Enders, it’s a bit far for East Enders or anyone not living in the core, making it a definite westside focused studio. Now – the studio itself IS a tad tricky to find because it’s actually located inside the Roncesvalles United Church, with the entrance to the right of the main front doors just off the parking lot, you’ll see a few bright banners for Boomerang, Yoga Village and Zumba. Once inside the doors of the church, the adventure continues as you follow the signs up the stairs to the second floor, down the hall, around a corner where you’ll pass what looks like a re-done second part of the chapel, to finally arrive at two doors that house the Boomerang Pilates studio. There is no sign-in desk or obvious arrival that you’re in the right place, so keep your wits about you and just follow the signs (and probably other people who are regulars that look like they know where they’re going.) If getting to the studio by public transport; the 504 streetcar runs south along Roncesvalles Ave. from Queen Street, or north from Dundas West subway station and will drop you right in front. If driving, parking is only available on Roncesvalles Avenue, High Park Boulevard and Wright Avenue. Although there is a church parking lot, Boomerang isn’t allowed to use it. ☹

1 PINEAPPLE CLASS SCHEDULE + PRICE

Boomerang Pilates has a very impressive class schedule, especially for how small the studio is and the fact that they operate out of one large room that’s split in two with a curtain. Way to make the most out of it, ladies. Classes are grouped into Alignment and Restorative, Whole Body Pilates, Traditional Pilates and Extras (which includes Ab|Rehab, Roll Restore and Refresh and more) with 14 types of classes in total. We took the Made to Move class which sits under the Alignment and Restorative banner and it was all about increasing body awareness to improve daily movement. They’re also very clear, especially on their website, on how to navigate choosing the best class for your needs, whether you’re brand spanking new to Pilates and movement, i.e. check the “For Beginners” section (Body Sculpt, Whole Body Pilates Level 1, Better Bones and Joints, Pilates Fundamentals, and Kripalu) or your looking for something more specialised like Feldenkrais®. What the what is Feldenkraldnaas – yes, us too. Boomerang is the only Toronto studio to offer this method, and Pilates and Restorative Exercise btw, and Wikipedia tells us Feldenkrais® “claims to reorganize connections between the brain and body, and to improve body movement and psychological state”. We’re into strategies to improve our phycological state soooo sign us up.  

If you’re looking for straight-up OG Joseph Pilates Pilates, this is also the place for you. You’ll have to start out with the Pilates Fundamentals class before you move up to Power Pilates (which is where you would rock the Hundreds) or the three-month drop-in series Pilates: The Classics, and they also offer a spin-off of the JP method in the Level 1 and 2 Whole Body Pilates classes. Boomerang also has pre-registered classes like Walking Well, which ACTUALLY teaches you how to walk properly – who knew that was something you were messing up? The class even comes with homework, lasts six weeks and you’ll get outside if weather permits. I know it sounds like something offered at an old-folks home but it’s actually filled with a very diverse crowd – and PS who doesn’t want their very own wisdom filled Tran (a la Nick Miller in New Girl) to air out your latest work woes and relationship drams?! And finally, Boomerang is great if you’re looking for private instruction. You can work directly with the owner, Alison, for one hour uber customized classes, or you can work with one of the advanced instructors in a private or semi-private, two-person class. This is a great option if you know you need lots of attention (and not just the only-child kind of special attention) but the recovering-from-an-injury or training-for-the-Olympics kind of special attention.  Oh, and just one more little thing – Boomerang also has workshops, teacher training, and wellness services (RMT, holistic nutrition, and balance/touch therapy) in this tiny space – NBD.  

Class prices are super reasonable for TO, with a $20 drop-in and passes that decrease prices to $18 per class. A monthly membership makes sense if attending more than twice a week, but if not, class passes are the best bang for your buck. You can sign-up online beforehand to reserve your spot, but the classes are typically quite small so it’s not a huge stress to do so. This is not the kind of place you’ll get turned away if you’re five minutes late or the class is too full. Nahmean.

Drop-in Classes:

  • Drop-in: $20
  • First Week Unlimited Mat: $40
  • 10 Class Pass: $180 ($18 per class)
  • Unlimited Monthly Pass: $190

Tailored Instruction:

  • Private instruction, per person: $75-$85 (per hour)
  • Semi-private (duet), per person: $45-$55 (per hour)

Private Instruction with the Owner, Alison:

  • Single Session: $110 
  • 5 Sessions: $525 ($105 per session)
  • 10 Sessions: $1000 ($100 per session)

0.5 PINEAPPLE VIBE

The design aesthetic of Boomerang Pilates is very different than the studios we typically frequent that are a bit glam, super put together and usually have elements of interior design that draw us in. We knew beforehand though, that wasn’t what Boomerang would be. Knowing that it’s based in a church, and having grown up in a ballet studio that moved to a church’s facilities, we had a preconceived idea as to what the vibe would be – down-to-earth, about the movement and the class above all else, and old. One thing that did impress/surprise us was how many other local fitness jimmy jams were happening in the same church, like Zumba classes and Yoga Village, so there was an undeniable sense of community energy (that sounds *eye roll*, but is actually the best way to describe it). But we’ll be clear, there are no flashy facilities – no showers, lockers, or toiletries provided, two communal washrooms are your change room options (that actually have a toilet and urinal in one room) and the coat rack/shoe area consists of a rolling rack outside the main doors of Boomerang’s room. But again, you’re not going here for the gram. Well, if you are, the best aesthetic game is the chapel itself. As for the studio space, the one room is separated by a curtain with two Reformer Pilates machines set-up on one side, and the open larger studio on the other. All equipment is provided at no extra cost, which is nice, and the room is scattered with said equipment, rando body alignment tools like a full skeleton and other human structural references, a fireplace, and Dr.Suesse-esk feather pot décor things (see photo) to add a little spice. With alignment being their primary focus, the rooms are lined with mirrors in the large studio to keep you in check and considering there are no lockers, people just leave their belongings against the back wall.

The down-to-earth décor is reflective of the same attitude and vibe of the teachers and students that go to Boomerang. Our class only consisted of five students in total, so a very private feel, and the crowd was a bit older ranging from 30-60+. All other students were regulars though, and attend classes multiple times a week and it was obvious by how Petra knew every students limitations or areas they were working on. Above all else though, the vibe oozing out of the teachers is education education education. We’ll get into it more in the Instructor and Level of Difficulty sections, but this is definitely the place to come if you genuinely need to work on your form, want to learn more about how the human body works, or learn how to exercise effectively.    

AMENITIES & EXTRAS

  • Two unisex shared washrooms
  • All equipment provided at no charge
  • Holistic wellness services

1 PINEAPPLE INSTRUCTOR

Boomerang was founded by Toronto local, Alison Crouch, in 2011 and since then she has built a small and mighty team of seven female instructors in Pilates and Restorative Exercise, and holistic wellness professionals that all live by the same ethos; “to explore movement in ways that build you from the inside out and address your need for healthy movement and your craving to workout”. Alison teaches private and semi-private classes as well, and she created the Move SMART program; a Sustainable Movement & Authentic Teaching Program that mentors young teachers in the therapeutic body-work method. 
Petra Fisher
Petra was our instructor for the Made to Move class and she’s been with Boomerang since 2014 teaching that class, the Restore Your Pelvic Floor class and occasional workshops. She has a v cool background that makes her instantly relatable and her bubbly and light energy is contagious and leaves you all smiley. She used to be a lawyer and hardcore long distance runner, cross-fit goer, mountain biker and snowboarder until she experienced some chronic injuries that forced her to slow down. After years of treatment, nothing was really working for her until she discovered Restorative Exercise – which she sites as “a revolutionary new approach to health and movement”. Once she was exposed to the incredible power it had over her body to heal some of the years of abuse she did to it, there was no turning back, she was hooked, and became a certified Restorative Exercise Specialist™.  Her teaching style is gentle, educational and very personalized. She believes that our bodies are made to move, but with a life time of heels (cough cough), sitting, and unnatural positions that we put our bodies through, we’re inherently requiring our fabulous bods to create compensation patterns that can easily lead to injuries and ickyness. Petra is so passionate about righting those wrongs, and her entire approach centers around getting into the nitty-gritty details of our joints, muscles and alignment to re-teach our bodies better habits. Her classes will be slow moving, but very articulate and will require your focus, balance and listening skills. 

0.5 PINEAPPLE LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY

WAY HARD | HARD | MIDDLE OF THE ROADSIES | CHILL | HELLA CHILL

I would definitely categorize this class as Hella Chill and give a halfer pineapple based on the fact that the class is described as a fun and challenging class. Fun – sure, challenging – not so much. The Made to Move class is designed to lengthen & strengthen your muscles, increase your body awareness, improve your daily movement habits, and learn to walk, squat and hang-out safely and with ease.​ We did learn some great tips on how to improve our daily movement habits and we spent a lot of time gaining a better understanding of the areas to improve our personal alignment, which was nice, since we don’t often take the time to focus on those things in a workout class. The class utilized a number of props such as a mat, half foam roller, and chair for balance and slow moving stretches and we predominantly focused on our hips. Petra created a class specifically centered around our hips because we spend so much time in a seated position that the residual effects to our alignment, posture and strength are usually not great. The class didn’t require a typical “warm-up” as all movements were quite slow, methodical, and focused on precise alignment so we just dove into various poses that Petra guided us through for the hour. One of the best things I took away, is Petra taught us how to test for tightness in our psoas muscles where we lied on our backs and felt if our hands could fit easily or with just a small amount of space underneath our mid-back and ribs. If they could fit no problem, the curve of our spine was too much and we needed to work on a psoas release, which we did all class and then came back to it at the end to see if we had an impact. Guess what?! It totally did! At the beginning, my back was arched like a friggin bridge pose and by the end my psoas had clearly significantly chilled out with my hands fitting in snuggly. We also spent time focusing on our feet (on the half foam rollers), our hip alignment in forward fold balances similar to warrior 3 but with a chair to balance, and loosening our abductor muscles in stretches on the floor. This was a great class for those recovering from injury, for me in my prenatal-large-belly state, or for those that are just trying to implement more movement and exercise into their daily lives. 

T

To try this class or anything else on their schedule, see Boomerang’s contact info below.

Web: www.boomerangpilates.ca
E-mail: info@boomerangpilates.ca
PHONE: 416.993.2811
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