Torontonians fall back into fitness


Fit for Fall took over the Distillery District Sunday, October 4, with Torontonians working up a sweat at free outdoor fitness and relaxation classes.

Top Toronto fitness instructors from studios such as Spynga, Stott Pilates, and Yoga Tree taught the sessions – which included yoga, meditation and high intensity interval training.

This is the first year of Fit for Fall, a spinoff of Tonic magazine’s Yoga Summer Solstice held every June.

Tonic magazine publisher Jamie Bussin has hosted the summer solstice event for three years and now also hosts Fit for Fall.

“The setup is very similar,” says Bussin. “It’s eight free classes over the course of the day at the Distillery District.”

Bussin says there are already a lot of consumer shows that have people walking up and down aisles, but they can be boring.

“I think what’s missing or I think what we can do better with it is experiential events,” he explains.

“This is more about bringing people together to sort of experience the city,” says Bussin.
People were welcome to join any of the varied classes.

“It’s a great opportunity for somebody who’s thinking about getting fit,” says Bussin. “Some people take all eight classes, which is crazy, because that’s a lot.”
The average class size was about 300 people.

Also on hand were food samples, drinks and clothing vendors.

Although January is the traditional time for resolutions, some think of the fall as a good time for a fresh start.

“A lot of people think of fall as the beginning of the new year,” says Bussin. “You know, back-to-school, back-to-work. It’s a time traditionally where people are starting to think about making changes.”

The idea for Fit for Fall came from a similar event in New York, where Times Square is shut down so people can do yoga in the streets.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), instructor Tanya Carinci from Spynga studio taught at the event Sunday.

“What it is basically is just body weight exercises,” she says. “You don’t need any equipment, and it’s for all fitness levels.”

Carinci’s class was the first of the day, starting at 9:20.

“I don’t want to call my classes boot camp classes, cause they’re not boot campish. We won’t be pulling sleds or doing battle ropes. These are like all body weight exercises like burpees, mountain climbers, jumping jacks,” she says.

Carinci’s class is followed by a yoga class, which she said is the perfect combination.

“Once you’ve done sort of the high intensity version of exercises, it’s great to lengthen the muscle, and stretch it because you have a lot of lactic acid build up doing these types of exercises,” she said. “Stretching out your muscles is very important to prevent injury and to strengthen yourself.”

Carinci says that this is a great introduction to something that will have you step out of your comfort zone.

“To a lot of people fitness is so intimidating, especially the high-intensity classes,” she says. “And I think when you add the words ‘high intensity,’ people go ‘Uh, I don’t think I can handle it.’” But Carinci says it becomes a lot more bearable when it’s a free, outdoor event.

“There’s no pretense, or judgment,” she says. “You can come in to the outdoor event, and just kind of wing it and see where it takes you.”

Katharyn Telford and her friends came to try out some morning classes.

“I’m new to the city so it’s just a great way to get involved and do something that’s a part of Toronto and get active,” she said.

Her friend Danielle Norton says she will definitely be trying yoga later, especially after Carinci’s class.

“After today I don’t think I’ll ever be able to lunge again,” said Norton.

Bussin says that part of what makes the event so great is that it takes place in an historic setting.
“You know cobblestone, and old buildings,” he said. “And the vibe is just great. It’s just a day where everyone is happy.”