Tri-campus Gym Breakdown: Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport

How to stay active at Goldring.

Tri-campus Gym Breakdown: Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport

The Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport looks like a cross between a cartoon villain’s lair, and a charred, over-sized diamond. While the $58 million building’s bold, sleek appearance lures students inside, it also begs the question: what exactly could be inside?

Housing FIBA-certified volleyball and basketball courts, a strength and conditioning centre, fitness studios, research and teaching laboratories, and a sport medicine clinic, the gym has something for every aspect of exercise, and can guide you through physical training, host varsity games, and help you treat sport-related injuries. Goldring is open seven days-a-week from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm, allowing students to workout before, after, or between lectures.

In many ways, the interior of the building is just as mysterious and unusual as its exterior. For one, weights are on the metric system, so you’ll be lifting kilograms instead of pounds. In addition, the floorplan is organized in tiers; each tier has different machines, equipment, and weights. The top tier is often reserved for varsity athletes or kinesiology students. The lower three tiers are for everyone. 

The bottom tier has cardio machines, a patch for doing sprints and other high-intensity exercises, and free weights. The middle two tiers include lifting machines, as well as squat and bench racks. Staff are always present if you need a spot or assistance using a machine. During the few times I’ve been, music — usually modern hip-hop, was playing softly over the speakers.

On sunny mornings, the sun shines right through the large front windows, warming the gym and making an otherwise ordinary workout ethereal. The large windows and natural light are possibly the most appealing feature of the gym and contrasts heavily with the claustrophobic Athletic Centre weight room.

If you want to branch out and learn something new, Goldring also hosts seminars on nutrition, weightlifting, and other related topics. On February 26 at 6:00 pm, Goldring will host a free talk titled “Nutrition for Strength, Endurance and Sports Performance.”

Ultimately, Goldring provides students with a happy medium between the antiquated Hart House gym and the intense Athletic Centre and is conveniently located a short walk from the Bar Mercurio cafe, Robarts Library, and Graham Library. Goldring can serve as a productive pit-stop, a place to gather yourself, warm up, and refocus before heading out into the cold.

Tri-campus Gym Breakdown: Athletic Centre

How to stay active at the Athletic Centre

Tri-campus Gym Breakdown: Athletic Centre

The Athletic Centre (AC) stands as a large red and beige brick at the corner of Harbord Street and Spadina Avenue, accessible for students and Toronto residents alike. Classes, training sessions, and drop-in programs are available to all members throughout the week.

The building hosts more activities, people, teams, and classes than I will be able to list. Even though indoor track season and a wide assortment of activities at the AC can create a sometimes hectic environment, it goes to show that the gym is incredibly well-used. National swim meets and track meets have been hosted by the AC. Olympic and professional athletes go through its doors to use the facilities.

It holds an Olympic-sized pool, a smaller pool, three different basketball gyms, a gymnastics room, a dance room, a fencing room, squash courts, ping-pong rooms, and spacious locker rooms. Members of the AC create a welcoming mix of young and old people who get to come together and use the facilities to gain strength, play games, swim, run, and much more.

Starting at the third and highest floor is the field house: a large room with a 200-metre track surrounding four full-sized basketball courts. On the edges, there are various workout machines that are almost always available for use.

If you want to play basketball, volleyball, tennis, or attend drop-in classes like Zumba, be sure to check the AC’s online schedule and look at some class reviews in The Varsity.

If you’re into basketball, after 4:00 pm, there is almost always at least one court available for basketball, but on Monday through Thursday after 7:00 pm, there are always intramural basketball games while classes are in session.

Also, before waltzing onto the court, be careful and look both ways! There are often incredibly fast members of the track team sprinting, older gym members trotting, or young children running on the track, none of whom you want to bump into.

On the edges of the field house, there are several mysterious big yellow doors. Most of them lead you outside of the building, so to all the explorers reading this: be warned, for you may end up outside in the cold wearing your gym clothes. If you have any other questions or concerns about using the field house, you can always consult a blue shirt for assistance.

The second floor has an additional basketball gym where the varsity basketball and volleyball teams used to play before the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport was built. The gym now hosts the badminton program, field hockey practices, and various other programs and teams throughout the week. In addition, there is the Clara Benson student lounge, a dance room, and many offices.

The first floor welcomes guests with friendly staff at the help desk where there is a customer service desk to talk about membership, a café, a lobby with couches, and the pool gallery. However, the strength and conditioning centre is the cornerstone of the first floor.

This is where people go to improve their strength using a wide array of push, pull, and lifting machines. There are plenty of free weights and benches for nearly everyone to use the weight they need. This part of the gym tends to get very busy, but most exercisers are very cooperative and friendly when asked to share equipment, so feel free to communicate with your fellow gym-goers.

Staff members in red shirts keep track of how many people are in the room and ensure that people are using equipment properly and wearing close-toed shoes. When it gets full, they will post a sign telling members that they are at capacity, and members must wait until some people leave. Unfortunately, there is no natural light, and the lighting is very white, which can turn some gym-goers away.

The sweaty smell and stuffiness can become overwhelming, so if some of your workout can take place elsewhere, I recommend retreating upstairs to the field house. Or you can take advantage of women’s only hours or quiet hours to make your workout experience more peaceful.

Once again, if any challenges arise or if you have general questions while working out, staff members are certified physical trainers and will always be happy to give some workout advice or act as a spotter.

Finally, we enter the basement. The basement has both men’s and women’s locker rooms, which include showers and steam rooms. This is also where to go when accessing the pool deck. Also hidden along the east side of the building’s bottom floor are the fencing and gymnastics rooms, which I will not attempt to explain how to get to.

As a basketball player, occasional exerciser, and staff member at the AC, I am incredibly grateful for the recreational space that it has provided me, and for the friends I have met while playing and working there throughout my years as an undergrad.

Disclosure: Isaac Consenstein works at the AC.

Tri-campus Gym Breakdown: Hart House

How to stay active at Hart House

Tri-campus Gym Breakdown: Hart House

Working out is hard. U of T is hard. Between countless hours of class, readings, and assignments, who has time to work out? You do.

Whether you live downtown or commute, there is one place where you are always welcome to work out — Hart House.

The gym and rec centre is located in the heart of UTSG, steps away from University College and a short walk from Convocation Hall. Included in sessional fees, the Hart House Fitness Centre is free for all students attending the university in a given session.

Hart House Fitness Centre is open from 7:00 am to 11:00 pm on weekdays and 7:00 am to 9:00 pm on weekends, allowing students plenty of time to work out, even with their hectic schedules. The Hart House pool schedule, however, is staggered on weekdays: 7:00–9:00 am, 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, and 4:00–10:30 pm. Due to weekly water maintenance, it is only open from 10:30 am to 8:00 pm on weekends.

Hart House also has a variety of fitness options available. This includes a weight room with all the free weights and machines needed for bulking season, several rooms dedicated to cardio for burning calories, as well as a basketball court, a squash court, and various studio rooms that are free to use in between classes.

If you don’t like working out on your own, are not sure what to do in the gym, or simply want to learn a new skill in 2019, Hart House offers a variety of classes that everyone can join, regardless of skill level. Classes include but are not limited to swimming and scuba, yoga, Mitzvah, Pilates, cycling, martial arts, archery, and running.

If you are interested in learning a skill but want individual attention, members are able to pay for private workouts with professional trainers. The impressive staff of Olympians, world-class runners, bodybuilders, yogis, and kinesiologists will make sure you never feel lost in the gym, as someone is always there to guide you through your fitness journey.

Going to the gym isn’t all about lifting heavy weights, drinking protein shakes, and running till you can’t feel your legs, though. It’s about staying active, feeling good, relieving stress, and living your best life. The Hart House Fitness Centre understands and embodies these values. Hart House is a gym for everyone; a welcoming place that will encourage you to push yourself. Take advantage of all the things you pay for — don’t only use that money for your mind, invest in your body as well!