Okay, I know that exercising outside in mid-October sounds tortuous, but hear me out— the Squad Training: Fitness FUNdations outdoor workouts are worth braving the weather. Plus, you’ll be sweating soon enough into the workout that the temperature won’t be an issue. At least, that was my case when I took part in the 10 a.m. Saturday workout at the Varsity Pavilion.
To be perfectly honest, I am usually skeptical of group workout classes, as I find they are rarely able to provide a tough workout that meets the attendees’ range of strengths. But this class pushed all my doubts to the side. As part of Sport & Rec’s Fitness and Performance program in partnership with MoveU, Squad Training is built around five sets of 10-rep exercises and an AMRAP (“as many reps as possible”) finisher. This workout is easily adapted to any skill level while still remaining challenging. A big part of what makes Squad Training so adjustable is the equipment available. As a gym rat missing all the bells and whistles of Goldring and the Athletic Centre, I was thrilled to be told I could pick two dumbbells of varying weights upon my arrival…what an adrenaline rush! But seriously, getting to work out with a range of weights that I could adjust depending on the exercise definitely elevated my workout… let it be known, I will be unbearably sore tomorrow. If you’re someone who is looking to shake up the at-home-workouts routine, I can’t think of a better to do so than by checking out Squad Training.
More so than having long-awaited access to weights, Squad Training felt like a team workout. Since many intramural sports have been cancelled, I’ve been craving the feeling of pushing myself physically with a group—of knowing that everyone else is enduring the same challenge that I am. And boy, did Squad Training deliver in that department. The Sport & Rec trainers running the class didn’t hesitate to offer individualized tips, ensuring that everyone was forced to think about form and intent with each movement. Not only were the trainers attentive and knowledgeable, but they were fun, keeping the energy high alongside a great playlist. To get in on the action, you can register via the utrain.utoronto.ca website, where the Squad Training workouts become available 48-hours in advance of their scheduled time.
After my Saturday workout, I had the chance to quickly chat with Vanessa Treasure—lead coach on the Fitness and Performance team—who assured me that she, too, is loving the outdoor workouts. While neither Vanessa nor I can be sure how long the weather will be kind enough to allow for Squad Training to continue, I can’t think of a better way to have started off my Saturday morning…and will definitely be back for more!