The Best Gym in Canada
Gyms can be intimidating, we get it. That’s why we’ve launched the Best Gyms awards program: to highlight excellence in Canadian fitness and provide guidance on how you can find the best gym for you needs.
After scouring gyms for the ultimate fitness experience, our editors shortlisted three Canadian establishments for the title of ‘Best Gym in Canada’ — GoodLife Fitness, Orangetheory Fitness and YMCA — and then encouraged readers and gym goers to support their faves through social media. The result? Over 8,000 Canadians voted. Here’s what you had to say —>
With over 350 locations across the country, GoodLife Fitness has got the active living market cornered. This chain has something to suit everyone, from personal training to group classes, including yoga, aquatics and even a HIIT program (at select locations in Alberta and Ontario). State of the art equipment, expansive workout floors and studio spaces and even squash courts make the options for exercise almost endless. Plus, many locations are open 24 hours a day for the ultimate in convenience.
We’re pumped about…
There’s plenty to admire at GoodLife, but we’re most impressed by two of their newer initiatives: the MindDen meditation studio (offered at three Ontario clubs so far and on the GoodLife app) is designed to help members focus pre- or post-workout and improve how the body responds to exercise. Another cool option: virtual fitness. You can actually try a class virtually, whenever you want, to get the feel for it or to better fit your schedule.
“The classes are fun, effective and led by talented, friendly and caring instructors!” —Sandra Morrill
“Affordable, accessible and clean!”—Julie Johnson
“The staff make GoodLife a great experience. Everyone who is employed at the gym is positive, encouraging, warm, helpful and knowledgeable. The classes, cleanliness and equipment are all great as well, but it is the staff who make me want to keep coming back.” —Louise Mel
While GoodLife Fitness took top honours in our Best Gym Awards, these 14 other gyms received honourable mentions thanks to offerings like childcare, a juice bar, women-only workouts, and more.
This 60-minute guided workout is led by a personal trainer and broken into intervals of cardiovascular and strength training. Members use a variety of equipment including treadmills, rowing machines, TRX suspension training and free weights to burn an average of 500 to 1,000 calories per workout — including “the orange effect.” The goal is to reach this optimal zone with every workout, where you are said to achieve more energy, visible toning and extra calorie burn for up to 36 hours post-sweat sesh.
We’re pumped about…
Although the OTF workout is a group experience, you’re still encouraged to exercise at your own pace, which accommodates people of different ages and fitness levels, creating a non-competitive and diverse environment.
“Orangetheory is not only the best one-hour workout in the world, but it’s backed by science, leading the industry and changing lives!” —Nicole Gould
“For me it’s not about the workout but the accountability. I suffer from depression and making the commitment to a class gives me a reason to get out of bed some days. I feel better mentally when I go and the fact that I feel better physically is a bonus. Plus, the fact that Orangetheory Red Deer has become a supportive family is a really huge reason to show up.” —Lesley Wakefield-Zariwny
It’s tough to find a Canadian who has never set foot in a YMCA. Whether it was for childhood swimming lessons, kids’ summer camps, to use a walking track on a winter day or participate in a sports league, most of us have benefitted from their programs at some point. YMCA boasts some pretty fantastic fitness facilities, but they’re also much more than just a gym: They offer Canadians of all ages and backgrounds access to health and wellness support through their membership assistance program, new immigrant support services, youth skills and development training.
We’re pumped about…
The Toronto YMCA’s “Sweat for Good” campaign, promoting inclusivity and acceptance of all members regardless of sexual orientation, income level, religion, race, size or shape.
“Love the YMCA! We’ve been members since 2005, and we’ve always been treated really well. We’ve become a volunteering family as well, with three of us volunteering in different ways.” —Beth Cubitt
“The YMCA is the best by far. Very warm and friendly and offers much for families. Great place to get connected with other people and get healthy in body, soul and mind.” —Lisa Jordan