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Toronto gyms offering livestream classes for house-bound fitness freaks

Toronto’s gyms have closed their doors, but many are offering free online classes. Some gyms are hosting group meetups through Zoom, others are posting live daily sweat sessions on Instagram, and a few gyms with paywalled online workouts are offering their videos free for the month. Here are our favourite local gyms giving back with at-home, equipment-free workouts.

 
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Barry’s This global boutique boot camp brand is keeping the party going with live-streaming workouts on Instagram. Without treadmills or the crimson glow of the Red Room, Barry’s trainers still manage to turn up the heat with burn-inducing sets that combine lunges, squats, hip thrusts, curls and presses. While an activation band and free weights are useful for the workouts, Barry’s chief instructor Chris Lewarne says that, in a pinch, you can also use books, even a chair or another person as a weight.

 

 
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United Boxing Club After a few years operating on a shoestring budget, this no frills Bloordale Village gym was recently updated to a modern facility offering everything from cardio classes to fight camps. Although the doors are now closed, the gym is streaming free daily workouts on their Instagram. Expect sweat-inducing sessions that target specific areas. Your core, upper body and lower body will be isolated and pushed to the brink with plyo movements (lunge jumps, kick-throughs) and space-conscious cardio exercises like mountain climbers.

 

 
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Bolo This hybrid gym normally runs its high-intensity cardio box workouts alongside its sleek hair salon and cafe. With a shuttered 7,000-square-foot downtown space and no deep-pocketed financial backers, owner Caleigh Rykiss, a spritely writer who ditched deadlines for deadlifts when she decided to open Bolo a year and a half ago, is struggling to pay the bills. They’re still giving back to the community with free Instagram-posted workouts. In these creative videos, trainers use couches, walls, and even tea towels to keep things fun, fresh and doable from home. Bolo is also hosting live chats on IG that discuss everything from nutrition to mindfulness.

 

 
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Lift Although box jumps, battle ropes and deadlifts aren’t exactly condo-friendly exercises, Corktown’s Lift is editing their CrossFit routines so that they can be done in scant square footage and with little equipment. While only Lift members can borrow kettlebells and dumbbells from the gym, if you happen to have a few weights at home, their Instagram Live workouts will keep those muscles toned, even if 90 per cent of your day is now spent pacing between the couch and the cupboard.

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Misfit Studio

Ossington’s beloved movement studio is known for dance-infused workouts that combine elements from Pilates and yoga. Misfit is offering two weeks of free access to their online class subscription: they have more than 35 pre-recorded workout videos that range from five to 45 minutes in length. On top of this, Misfit instructors are hosting live classes on the studio’s Instagram. Their Get series of classes (Get Up, Get Hot, Get Worked and Get Shifted) will push up your heart rate.

 

OpenMat MMA

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Learning a new skill as a family might be just the ticket to defusing some of the tension and frustration that comes with being cooped up at home. Professional martial artist Elliott Bayev has set up a YouTube channel of classes this week, which include Brazilian jiu jitsu classes for parents and kids to learn together. There are also equipment-free movements for strength and conditioning, as well as intro classes in Muay Thai.

 

 
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6ix Cycle

It’s still a bit too brisk to hop on your bike. Instead, tune in at 5:45 p.m. on weekdays for spin instructor Julie Harrish’s high-octane live workouts on 6ix Cycle’s Instagram page. With just a yoga mat and a resistance band, Harrish whips viewers into beast mode as they squat, plank and burn out high knees right in their living rooms.

 

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Miles Nadal JCC

The JCC’s engaging group fitness classes have now migrated online with live workouts streaming throughout the day on Instagram. Programming thus far includes core routines, stretching sessions, total-body workouts and even virtual cardio kickboxing classes.

 

 
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Fit Squad

This 5,800-square-foot Entertainment District gym has a reputation for intense workouts that might include box jumps, rowing machine sprints, deadlifts and sled pushes. Most of their exercises require a lot of expensive equipment. With the studio closed, they’ve opted to run a four-week at-home kettlebell course. (Members can borrow a kettlebell from the studio.) They’re also hosting daily equipment-free workouts live on Instagram at noon; expect side planks, challenging stretches, lunges and creative push-up variations.

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Surf the Greats

This Leslieville surf shop and café is all about getting people to surf Lake Ontario. Now, they’re running mindfulness meditation sessions as well as movement classes over Zoom. Tidal Flow, their movement class, combines elements from Vinyasa yoga and body weight training, for a workout that challenges your balance, strength and breathing.

 

 
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Saana Yoga

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Finding inner peace is tough right now, but this King West yoga studio is aiming to share some grounding mediation practices through their twice daily Instagram Live classes (at 12 p.m. and 7 p.m.). Saana’s serene yoga instructors will also be hosting more intensive workouts that include Pilates and yoga.

 

 
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Yoga Tree

Yoga Tree Studios is running a range of free classes on their Instagram and Facebook. Those with corona-induced anxiety will benefit from a few guided meditations, and if something more upbeat is what you’re after, they’ll also be live-streaming continuous flow classes like Hip Hop Flow, an energetic class featuring classic vinyasa poses.

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