3 Great East Side Independent Gyms

There’s nothing worse than trying to find the right gym for you. With so many options and locations, making a choice can be more irritating than the guy that drops the weights after every set. This is exacerbated by the fact that corporate gyms monopolize the market despite the fact that they can rarely offer the benefits of their smaller, niche counterparts. Luckily, Toronto’s east side is brimming with high-level independent gyms that appeal to a broad range of fitness fanatics. These are our three favourites.

Fortis Fitness (11 Carlaw Avenue, Unit 1)

Fortis Fitness is a serious gym. Having recently moved to a warehouse-sized location, the gym is able to house an unfathomable amount of equipment. The gym features 17 power racks, 7 Olympic lifting platforms, 4 deadlift platforms, and 2 chalk bowls. This is on top of many specialized pieces (multiple bar types, punching bags, prowler/sled) and a uniquely designed bench press that can only be found at Fortis. Essentially, if you’ve dreamed it, Fortis has it. All of this equipment means that any person, from any fitness discipline, can find something that will benefit their workouts. More than anything, the atmosphere at Fortis encourages hard work. It is an old-school iron gym with a plethora of world-class lifters as members. To add to all of that, they have a monthly payment structure that does not require a contract. Fortis Fitness sets itself apart from almost every other gym in the city.

Riverdale Fitness (835 Danforth Avenue)

Riverdale Fitness prides itself on being the neighbourhood gym, and it delivers. It is a staple of the Danforth area, having opened in 1949. What sets Riverdale Fitness apart from most other gyms is its commitment to its customers. Riverdale Fitness does not employ sales people; instead, the staff are all dedicated and knowledgeable fitness professionals that work to orient the gym atmosphere to meeting their clients’ needs. The space itself offers free weights, machines, and cardio equipment that is well maintained. The atmosphere is friendly and welcoming but still caters to anyone looking to lift hard and heavy. One of Riverdale’s most noteworthy decisions was a commitment to the uncommitted. They have ditched the standard contract format and now offer month-by-month payment options. After 66 years in business, it’s a safe bet that this gym knows what it takes to keep clients happy.

Bomb Fitness (1502 Danforth Avenue)

At Bomb Fitness they preach that “health and fitness is the baseline for everything”. I shouldn’t have to write another word in order to convince you to get up and check this place out–but I will. Bomb Fitness is a lifestyle gym (as in a full commitment to fitness) that specializes in small group classes and one-on-one personal training. The trainers are well educated and certified to lead boot camp style classes as well as design workout and nutrition programs. Bomb also offers a unique after school program that encourages kids to get fit. Bomb has a large studio space that features cardio machines, free weights, and a TRX workout area. Their classes are small–14 people or less–which allows for a better connection between clients and their trainers. It doesn’t get any more motivating than having your class instructor call you out by your name (because they actually know it). Additionally, if you’re on the fence, Bomb Fitness offers a free class in order to get you acquainted with the butt kicking they’re offering. Check this independent gym out if you are serious about losing weight and getting fit quickly.

Photo courtesy of Skitter Photo

Ethan Lipson is a writer and reader that has a passion for weight lifting and pro wrestling. He is an expert couch surfer and will never turn down a slice of pepperoni pizza. If you like failed sitcoms and awkward pauses, follow him on twitter and instagram.

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