Like most people, the start of the year has me thinking about my health, perhaps eating healthier and picking up some better fitness habits. It also has me longing for sun, sand and a trip to the beach, anything but the Canadian stark cold winter weather. Combining fitness and the surf is exactly what came to mind when I was invited to try SURFSET Toronto, the city’s newest fitness club.
SURFSET takes typical floor workout routines and yoga but adds a bit of a twist, and rock, and lean. The program is designed to work on your core through the use of instability training. In this case, it’s the SURFSET board. It looks like a small surfboard balanced on three inflatable balls, which can be adjusted for varying workout needs.
This video will give you a little peek on what to expect:
Not being a regular fitness person and still in my post holiday recovery mode I was a little nervous about attending an organized fitness class, especially one that plans to take traditional fitness up a notch. But as my 2015 Revolution post indicated, this is the year of trying new things and not giving into that inner critic.
The studio is small, located on the second floor above the busy Yonge and Eglington neighbourhood and easily accessible by the Yonge subway line. With just one actual studio the experience feels pretty intimate. There were only three of us in the lunchtime session, myself, Sonya (from @TheCulturePearl and the girl who has been pushing me out of my comfort zone) and another class participate plus our teacher and studio co-owner. The long narrow studio felt quiet airy even with the one window at the far end. I think that’s due to the large mirrored wall as well as the glass wall open to the main reception area.
SURFSET Toronto offers four different programs depending on what you’re looking to get from your workout and your fitness level.
Image: SURFSET Toronto
Balance is yoga-inspired, and also functions as a beginner class since it introduces you to all the signature moves, with a slightly slower pace that allows you to familiarize yourself with the board.
Burn is high-intensity & high-tempo. You’ll really get your cardio workout in with this on-the-board HIIT-style training which torches fat and gives your muscles an amazing burn.
Build is focused on strength & definition. We use resistance bands and free-weights in addition to bodyweight exercises to target muscle groups and get your body pumping.
Blend is our interval-based core session that combines the best of each workout, and is a great option for people on the go!
I opted for the Balance program mainly due to my lack of fitness skill but also as an introduction to the board. The SURFSET boards do take some getting used to.
No time was wasted in our 45-minute class. It was amazing how some standard floor moves, like leg raises or downward dog, took on a whole other sensation when done on a SURFSET board. The class incorporated some fun “surf” moves too, like paddling out and jumping up to catch a wave. I discovered quickly how I have to work on my own sense of balance. Even before the end of the class I could feel various parts of my body but beyond just a program working my muscles I also started to gain some internal focus around my body position and balance.
The workout in the Balance class provided similar movements to traditional floor work but the addition of trying to maintain my balance made the routine more enjoyable and less mundane. It was still a workout (for me anyway) but fun. Definitely bring a friend with you for added fun as I’m sure the laughing we did in the class contributed to the belly workout .
I really did love my Balance SURFSET Toronto class and I’m sure with more practice I would have better control and body awareness to perform each routine just a little better, stronger, and longer but I hope the laughter and joy never leaves.
If you’re curious about the class and are in the Toronto area, join the studio for their open house January 17 & 18, 2015 as they’ll have free classes all weekend. Trust me, after your first experience you’ll be hooked (or whatever the relevant surf word would be)..