Sweat and Tonic is bringing the best of boutique fitness and wellness

I spent the whole day at one of Toronto’s most luxurious fitness studios, Sweat & Tonic

Here’s how my day went with three back-to-back workouts and one meditation session

It was a rainy Friday morning in May. My alarm went off at 6 am and I jumped out of bed with a suspicious amount of energy. I zoomed through my morning routine, threw on my favorite mint workout set and made my way over to Sweat & Tonic, a buzzy fitness studio in downtown Toronto. I was invited to spend the day there and participate in a few of their exercise classes. I couldn’t settle on one class, so I decided to squeeze three into one morning by taking advantage of their $50 three-class intro pack.

I ran up the steps at Dundas Station and quickly made my way towards Yonge and Shuter, where I saw a sleek brick building with “Sweat and Tonic” written out in gold letters. The main foyer was bright and airy with an ultra-chic yet minimalistic design. My first class was at 8:15 in their cycling studio, “The Beat: Jack Harlow and friends.” I checked in at the front desk, which handed a pair of cycling shoes and then led downstairs towards their changing rooms. Everything looked pristine and smelled like fresh citrus. Their changing rooms had multiple beauty stations packed with essentials, from q-tips and period products to moisturizers and even Dyson blow dryers. And their showers were fully stacked with shampoo, conditioner, face and body wash. All you need to do when working out at Sweat and Tonic is bring yourself and a change of clothes.

I threw my bag into one of their lockers, put on my cycling shoes and headed towards their ride room, which was also on their lower level. Nariko Chaffe, our ride instructor, came out like a ball of energy and invited us all into the room. After a quick warm-up, Nariko dove us into our workout and track after track; she led us through different tempos, rhythms and circuits. The energy in the space was incredible—it felt surreal to be so in sync with a room full of strangers. What’s better, the light show taking place in the room during the class kept the energy up for everyone. I was sweaty and exhausted by the end of our 45-minute session but pumping with adrenaline.

Exiting the ride studio, we were handed essential oil-infused face towels—what a lovely treat. I wiped my face and quickly freshened up before making my way back to the main level to meet Angie Wong, their marketing manager, for a full tour of the three-story studio.

Karoun Chahinian during her visit to Sweat and Tonic.

When I arrived, she was working on her laptop at “nutbar,” their in-house cafe open to both gym members and the public. Founded by a Toronto-based holistic nutritionist, everything on their menu is made with high-quality, nutrient-dense ingredients—from smoothies and juices to bowls and salads.

On their upper level, they also have Tonic Bar—a nod to the building’s history, originally opened in 1947 as the Silver Rail, Toronto’s First Cocktail Bar. During the day, the Tonic House serves as a spacious and modern workspace, but from 5 to 9:30 pm on weekdays, it’s a full-fledged cocktail bar.

With their “work hard, play hard” mantra in mind, you’ll also find their wellness-centred classes and sessions on their third level, including their saunas and hot yoga studio, which were next on my schedule. You can easily spend your whole day at this studio without skipping a beat, especially if you opt for their unlimited $250 monthly membership (which is month-to-month and doesn’t require a long-term contract), giving you unlimited classes, saunas, and somadome meditation sessions. It also comes with early booking access and one monthly guest so that you can bring your friends along with you.

Before making my way to my 10 amclass, I refilled my water bottle at one of their many water stations (they have both sparkling and still water on tap) and grabbed a towel. This was not only my first hot yoga class but my first yoga class in general—besides following a few beginner youtube videos from home. I walked into the room, and the air felt thick and sticky; I could already feel my curls frizzing up from the humidity.

I sat down at my pre-selected mat and began stretching and warming up my muscles (which wasn’t that hard considering it was 40 degrees celsius).

“Alright, everyone, we’ll now be beginning our practice. This is a beginner-friendly Vinyasa Flow,” said our instructor Odeta Kasa. Hearing the words “beginner-friendly” immediately put me at ease.

We went through a variety of movements and stretches. After five minutes, I was already dripping and trying my best not to slip off my mat during downward dog. As someone used to quicker-paced workouts, I also kept having to re-centre myself and not let my mind take me elsewhere, but Odeta always seemed to chime in at the perfect time with mindfulness reminders to help me refocus. I walked out feeling refreshed and zen.

After that sweaty session, I only wanted to take a long shower, but I knew I needed to hold off until my last class, the one I dreaded the most: my Booty HIIT (high-intensity interval training) class with Frances Ahn. I chugged my water and refilled it once more in preparation. I walked slowly towards their HIIT studio, which was on the main level across from the check-in desk.

The all-black workout room was as intimate as it was impressive. A lineup of treadmills surrounded it, and it also had aqua punching bags hung from the ceiling on one side and dumbbell racks on the other. It’s designed for classes to split into groups and rotate from station to station. After multiple rounds of squats, lunges, jumps, thrusts, mountain climbers and everything in between, I was ready to KO.

Frances was as motivating as she was strict. I tried to sneak in my mini-breaks in the middle of sets whenever she was focused on other students, but she always seemed to catch me—that may have had something to do with the wall-to-wall mirrors in the studio.

As we approached the end of our last set and the only thing I wanted to do was starfish on the rubber-matted floor, she screamed out over the upbeat hip hop music: “Remember why you decided to come in to work out today! These last 20 seconds are your enemy, don’t give up now.” Those words gave me the push I needed and I was thrilled to finish off on a strong note.

It was 1 pm and after successfully completing three workouts, I was beyond ready for a shower. I ran downstairs to the surprisingly-empty changing room and freshened up before my last appointment—a relaxing, non-exhausting, 20-minute meditation session in their somadome machine.

This technology-enabled meditation pod allows you to pick between different meditation sessions for a customized experience. Options included managing stress, attracting intention, and enhancing focus and physical performance. I opted for managing stress and then picked their “confidence” session. I cozied up in this little tech-cocoon with a blanket, put on my headphones and was guided through a relaxing meditation session which consisted of ocean sounds and subliminal confidence-enhancing messaging. It was exactly what I needed after my busy morning.

Along with the somadome machine, Sweat and Tonic also offers different wellness and recovery services, including massage therapy, acupuncture, physiotherapy, vitamin injections, osteopathy and naturopathic medicine—all courtesy of Lemon Water Wellness.

I spent the remainder of my day in Tonic House, catching up on emails and completing a few tasks before the weekend. By 4 pm, I was ready to say goodbye to Sweat and Tonic but was already thinking about when I could go back.

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