Class Action: We Try the Build Workout at Loft Cycle Club

Welcome to Class Action, FLEETSTREET’s new workout review series. We get sweaty at gyms and studios across Toronto and give you the low-down on what they’re really like. 

The Studio

Founded by Samantha Coelho and Debrah Menashy, cousins with a mutual love of spinning, Loft Cycle Club opened its doors on the Danforth just last month. Beyond its signature workout on the bike (available in 35-, 50- or 60-minute sessions), you’ll also find several “sculpt” classes geared toward helping riders get stronger. Choose from Build (circuits done with dumbbells), Burn (light weights, high reps), Balance (similar to mat Pilates) or Spin + Abs (40 minutes on the bike, plus 20 minutes of core work). There are prenatal and postnatal classes, too—bring your babe for the latter.

The Space

Located at 452 Danforth Avenue (near Chester Station), Loft Cycle Club is a bright two-level space, with two studios—one for spinning, one for sculpt classes. Post-workout, you can hang out or catch up on email in the upstairs lounge while refuelling; the café offers a concise menu of smoothies, locally roasted Hale coffee, and Almond Butterfly’s gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan cookies and energy balls. Amenities include free Wi-Fi and showers with free towel service.

The Workout

Build at Loft Cycle Club is described as a class with “high-intensity circuits to strengthen the muscles that aid in proper posture, ultimately improving the quality of your rides.” Most moves involve dumbbells or a booty band (or both). Expect to work your whole body.

We Tried It

I’m not a strength-training novice, but I also don’t do it as often as I should, since distance running is my exercise of choice. As soon as I walked into the sculpt room, I noticed that it’s compact and minimalist, with space for about a dozen mats at most. Pro: I could easily mirror-check my form, and the instructor could also keep an eye on us all. Con: there was no hiding my feeble attempts at push-ups.

Overall, I found the class light in intensity (and I didn’t suffer the day-after DOMS), but since you choose your own free weights, you can always go heavier and harder. All the exercises we did were straightforward (think: dumbbell side lunges, weighted squats, Russian twists), and Rachel, our upbeat instructor, made a point of gently correcting technique as needed, and giving modifications for each move.

The Verdict

If ruthless bootcamps in the Red Room are your fitness style, you might find this one too mellow. But if you’re newish to strength training, don’t care for complicated equipment, and prefer a small class with more personal attention in order to master proper form, you’ll appreciate Loft Cycle Club’s approachable vibe.

Loft Cycle Club, 452 Danforth Avenue, Toronto, 416.466.5638, 50-minute workout; $25 for one drop-in class (first class free).