As Toronto’s fitness scene continues to be hit hard financially by the pandemic, local gyms are coming together to keep the community alive and engaged amidst the lockdowns. Despite the restrictions preventing fitness lovers from gathering in person, the owners of 416 Fitness Club, CrossFit YKV, Tidal Fitness and 6S Fitness+ have made it their mission to help people stay motivated, healthy and encouraged with a three-week virtual fitness competition called the Toronto Throwdown At-Home Series.
With 11 of Toronto’s most frequented fitness clubs on board including Academy of Lions, Lift Corktown and Delta Train Liberty Village, the competition includes three CrossFit-style, functional workouts over three weeks and is open to people of all ages, abilities and fitness levels. There is both a bodyweight and limited equipment option, and at the end of the three-week series, the winning woman and man in each division will be gifted with prizes.
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Owner and CEO of 416 Fitness Club Dan Vientin created the event not only to help replicate the sense of camaraderie gym-goers are missing due to social distancing restrictions, but also to celebrate and give thanks to the community members who have supported them every step of the way.
“We’re closing in on our tenth month of full closure,” Vientin says. “This has impacted not only the gym owners and staff but also the loyal members of each gym who have been forced to take their fitness routine to their homes. We as a community have been hanging on by a thread, and our gym members have been right there with us. The Toronto Throwdown is a way to celebrate what we have overcome as an industry and community.”
The organizers of the event say that although the industry has been decimated by the pandemic, Toronto’s boutique gym community has only been brought closer together by the challenges. Co-founder and head coach at CrossFit YKV Blair Lyon says he’s looking forward to welcoming people back to in-person workouts, and he’s hopeful the fitness community will bounce back swiftly post-pandemic.
“We feel confident that we’ll see an increased interest in fitness when this is all over. People want to get back into shape after staying at home, where it can be difficult to self-motivate,” Lyon says. “We already saw an increase in interest this past summer when we were able to open inside for a few months, so we expect that trend to continue.”
The competition runs Thursday, Feb. 18 to Monday, March 8. It is $25 to register, or $50 to receive a T-shirt and swag bag with registration. Workouts are released Thursdays at 10 a.m. and participants have until 8 p.m. on Monday to post their results. Competitors can workout on their own, or join the daily virtual classes to workout in a group. Sign up at app.throwdowns.com.