On a warm summer evening, it’s nearly impossible to ignore the siren call of an icy, refreshing cocktail, sipped patio-side — hot weather is so short lived, it’s almost a crime not to soak up every minute outdoors. But summer fun; rich BBQ’s, tasty frozen treats and those revitalizing cocktails can sometimes leave us feeling less than our best health wise. Combat the effects of summer’s indulgences with five of the nation’s best and most original workouts.
Ballet-Inspired Grace: The Extension Method
The Extension Method is an innovative and truly beautiful ballet fitness program inspired by classical dance. Founder, Jennifer Nichols is a choreographer, director, and professional dancer who created the Extension Room in Toronto, and it’s unlike any other barre-like workout in the city. Classes are all taught by professional dancers. Incredibly inspiring to watch and (attempt to) follow along gracefully, the Extension Method works on both cardio and toning components for a full body workout that instills elegance and vigour in equal measure. Nichols shares, “The instruction and technique in each workout is of a professional ballet standard, however, it’s adapted in a very special way to be accessible by anyone. Our classes are taught by professional dancers who all have had (and many continue to have) a career on stage. When I designed the program, my goal was to share not only the beauty and artistry of ballet, but its incredibly unique physicality: it’s a rare combination of strength, flexibility, endurance and co-ordination.”
Hardcore Pilates: Studio Lagree
Commonly referred to as “Pilates on Crack”, Studio Lagree classes are not anything like your typically gentle alignment-focused Mat Pilates experience. Using a Megaformer, (a Lagree-developed reformer meant to merge Pilates with cardio in a low impact way), a series of seriously challenging exercises are performed on a sliding bed complete with adjustable resistance, a grid to specifically mark where to position yourself exactly, and handlebars and pulleys for added intensity. While the movements might be small, they are certainly mighty. Expect shaking muscles and a wobbly walk once complete. Find motivation through masterfully complied music and expert instructors who know how to push you to your max with positivity and encouragement.
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Tips on how to correctly activate glutes in a glute bridge 🍑 _ The purpose of this move is to strengthen your glutes. You want to make sure that both your core and glutes are activated in order to lift you up into the correct position. _ Be careful not to lift too high because it can strain your back and actually turn your glutes off. _ Make sure you can feel your glutes as much, if not more than your hamstrings. _ Your arms should either be resting softly by your sides or straight up over your shoulders to maximize the glute burn! . . . . . #lagree #lagreefitness #megaformer #glutes #gluteexercise #fitness #motivation #inspiration
Pro-Athlete Inspired: MyoDetox Performance
Owner of the Toronto-based program. Alvin Maniquis explains, “Fitness exercises and programs haven’t changed in decades. There are minor variations and different names, but ultimately, you can’t change a deadlift. We developed our unique system, which begins with discovering structural balance followed by building unilateral strength, and then introducing functional and natural movement patterns. This has allowed our clients to experience a new world of motion and performance.”
So what sets MyoDetox Performance apart? “We don’t have many traditional fitness machines in our gym; we already have enough daily confinements like sitting in a car or at our desk. We believe in free movement and moving the only piece of actual machinery you will ever need – your body.”
Life-Changing Cardio: SoulCycle
This New York City based spin class is unique in that it combines a candlelit, spiritual workout with a supremely sweaty cardio session. Expect nightclub-level thumping tunes, an insanely energetic instructor, and even possibly some tears. (from either the intensity of the class or the emotional release SoulCycle can sometimes induce). Specifically designed shoes for SoulCycle bikes must be rented for each class, so come prepared to pony up an extra few dollars to participate. Luxe toiletries from Le Labo’s partnership with the brand are an exclusive and a special treat, too: echoing the studio’s signature citrus scent, the products are as entirely uplifting as the class itself.
Surf’s Up: Surf Sister
While Hawaiian dreams of hanging ten are often the ultimate when it comes to coastal fantasies, Vancouver’s very own Surf Sister is the powerful Pacific’s local answer to enjoying vigorous exercise in the swell. Owner and operator Krissy Montgomery says, “It’s a combination of strength, technique, flexibility and endurance, so it makes for the ultimate activity. Surfing is a challenging sport unlike any other, and it’s great in that you can have fun at any level; even catching a wave and riding the board on you belly or knees is fun. Each day is different as the conditions are always changing, so you’re not likely to ever get bored of the sport!” Montgomery can certainly be credited with making the sport accessible to people of all ages and skill levels. “Surf Sister was created in 1999 to safely introduce men, women and children of all ages and abilities to the sport of surfing in Tofino, BC. Our goal is to provide quality surf instruction in a fun, safe and inclusive environment. We offer lessons for kids as young as 6 years old, and there is no age cap — we have taught many people in their 70’s!” A reason to be proud, this year marks Surf Sister’s 20th anniversary.