Get ready to sweat: Vancouver’s toughest workouts

by Aurea Dempsey

Among Canada’s metro-havens, Vancouver leads the way when it comes to fitness. And for good reason. In-addition to its picturesque mountains and water, beaches and hiking trails, the city boasts the most yoga studios per capita, with no shortage of leading fitness chains and boutique studios too. For those looking for a serious sweat, here are five ways to experience Vancouver’s toughest workouts. [Image courtesy of Equinox Vancouver; Photo credit: Luis Valdizon]

Get ready to sweat: Vancouver’s toughest workouts


Those who know Equinox know this is a big deal. With locations in New York, London and Toronto, it’s about as high-end as they come, right down to the Kiehl’s products you’ll find stocked in their beautiful change rooms. Besides their stellar amenities, it’s the workouts, specifically Equinox’s signature classes that keep clients coming back for more. For a full-body, high intensity class, the MetCon3 is the ticket. Done in a series, it moves fast, targeting all (and we mean all) major muscle groups, right down to the burpee finale. Squats, planks, and everything in-between, it’s painful, alright. Now imagine doing it three times (hence the “3” in its name)! For downtown dwellers, the slick Georgia Street location is right on the mark, offering state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, a café and juice bar, dedicated Pilates, yoga, cycling studios, and much more.

Pure Vibe Fitness

It’s got Hollywood buzz factor and it’s easy to see why. With a vibrational platform under your feet, Pure Vibe Fitness delivers a pulsating (albeit, punishing!) workout in just 20 minutes. Think squats, lunges, mountain climbers and planks – and you get the idea. Ideal for those who detest long workouts, or uber-athletes seeking fast and effective cross-training, Pure Vibe is your place. Besides the physical gains, trainers push mental fitness, demanding an ‘I-can-do-this’ attitude to survive. Suitable for nearly all fitness levels, after one beginner class, you’re good to go. Twenty minutes never felt so long, hard – or rewarding! No wonder celebs like Madonna and leading athletes are said to be vibrational fans.

Lagree Fitness

Often referred to as ‘Pilates on Steroids’ and created by celebrity trainer Sebastien Lagree, Lagree Fitness is slowly taking over North America, with its latest studio in Gastown. Using marquee Lagree M3 mega-reformers, you get a high-intensity, low-impact workout to strengthen and tone, elongate and tighten every muscle in the body – in under an hour. Like Pilates, it incorporates a sliding platform with bungee cords and cables. But that’s where the comparison ends. Lagree features lunging, extending, curling and planking at a pace that’ll challenge even the fittest of the bunch. In addition to the physical perks, clients love this fast-moving class for its electric music, hands-on instruction and friendly vibe. If you’re ready to ‘embrace the shake’, this is your workout.

RIDE Cycle Club

In a beautiful space, complete with hipster branding, clothes and amenities, RIDE Cycle Club is more than a boutique spin studio; it’s an institution. For those who are familiar with Soul Cycle and its cult-like following south of the border, RIDE is pretty much the Canadian equivalent. Featuring high intensity classes led by super-star instructors, the class moves at a lightening pace in a studio that can only be described as super-dark, set to music that’s super loud (so much, they provide ear plugs if needed). Aesthetics aside, not only does RIDE deliver a super challenging workout (including a weight-section for arms), it leaves you with a ‘rider’s high’ of the best kind. Insider tip – classes fill up quickly, so early sign-up is recommended.

Pure Barre

Yes, there’s a barre. And yes, prepare for some ballerina-like moves. But before you think Pure Barre is all dance and leg warmers, think again. These ballet-inspired fitness classes are fast becoming one of North America’s most popular workouts, and it’s easy to see why. Not only does it give your legs, arms and core a good workout – it targets the smaller muscles underneath to reveal a tighter, longer physique. Featuring a standing sequence with floor-work using a ball, resistance band and light weights, the class moves quickly from one series to the next. Shaking muscles are welcomed, same for keeping core engaged throughout. Don’t be intimidated by the challenging pace and choreography either. It’s a workout that can be enjoyed by all, and totally worth the booty-raising-results.

Whether you’re a super athlete like most Vancouver dwellers – or not, there’s certainly no shortage of options to get your sweat on in this West Coast city. Along with winning a fitter physique, just think of the brunch bragging rights you get to enjoy too.

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