A Practical Guide to On-Campus Gyms

A Practical Guide to On-Campus Gyms

Lessons learned from a student that lifts




At U of T’s St. George Campus, there are quite a number of options available for students who weightlift. But don’t be intimidated, I’m here to tell you what I wish I had known.

Any student who pays compulsory athletic incidental fees automatically gains membership to the facilities this article speaks of (Hart House Fitness Centre, the Athletic Centre, and Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport). That is, nearly every full and part-time student incurs these fees.  

However, it must be mentioned that students in some programs, such as the School of Theology, don’t necessarily pay these fees. It’s worth checking either online through ACORN or with your department in order to confirm your eligibility to these facilities.

Of course, some of you may also already have a preferred gym. But for those of you on a tight budget (and let’s be real here—that includes most of us) having a number of free options available opens up the playing field, not to mention lessens the strain on your wallet.

For those of you unfamiliar with these options, allow me provide you with a basic lowdown:

If you ever find yourself in the weight room at the Hart House Fitness Centre, leave. Seriously, if you know what’s good for you, never return. Don’t be fooled by its central location or the glossy pictures online: this place will break you. While I wouldn’t avoid the Hart House Fitness Centre entirely — some of its other aspects, including its walking track, are actually quite nice — I’d suggest steering clear of this 30×60 patch of underworld if you can. Unless however, you’re a fan of trading breath and sweat with 50 other people in a cramped space with no A/C. (Last I checked, the A/C consisted of a couple of fans.) On top of all this, the Hart House Fitness Centre itself is actually quite difficult to locate and navigate.

A much better option for the average weightlifter is the Athletic Centre at the corner of Harbord and Spadina, which is much easier to find. It has more machines and usually less people, which in turn means less waiting around to rotate in. It also has more space and – you guessed it –  working A/C. Depending on your program, the only real downside is its location.

With travel distance in mind, there’s also the Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport, located just south of Bloor – and St. George subway station – across from Varsity Stadium on Devonshire Pl. Its spacious, state-of-the-art facility has A/C and is, perhaps most importantly, conveniently located. Despite its name, the Goldring Centre caters to all types of weightlifters — though it especially suits more serious ones.

Happy lifting!