Between flat tummy teas, Khloe Kardashian’s Revenge Body and the seemingly endless stream of problematic #fitspo that fills up our feeds, women are constantly bombarded with the pressure to be skinny. Real talk: this narrow definition of what a “fit body” looks like (rock-hard abs, zero body fat and a cellulite-free booty) is wrong on so many levels. But, there are tons of reasons to work out that have nothing to do with weight loss; according to science, exercise can lead to better sleep and a stronger immune system, it can help manage your mental health—it can even make you smarter! So, if you’re looking for a safe space to celebrate your body’s strength and resilience, here are the best body positive fitness studios across Canada. From sultry dance classes to all-female fitness studios, these empowering workouts will get you stoked to sweat.
Find it: Vancouver: 677 Davie St., The Dance Centre, 54 E 4th, Second Floor, One Thousands Rivers; Calgary: 121C 17 Ave. NE, Ballroom & Country Dance Studio, 504 42 Ave. SE, The Studio Space; Toronto: 226 Queen St. W, Second Floor, Dance Teq, rsvp33.com
The vibe: This judgement-free dance company is all about “showing up for yourself and… being accountable to your goals,” which is why the name of the company (réspondez s’il vous plait) literally asks you to show up. How cute right?
Classes: Hip hop dance class workshops, like their signature Beyoncé class (which features *all* of your fave hits from Queen Bey), plus a Good Girl x Bad Girl class featuring divas and pop princesses (we’re looking at you Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift) and a Throwback class with early aughts bops you thought you forgot about.
Cost: $20 for a drop-in class, $55 for a three-week workshop, $105 for a six-week workshop, $120 for six classes
Find it: Vancouver: 119 W Broadway, idancevancouver.com
The vibe: Raise your hand if you’ve always wanted to try out a dance class but never have, because all you know how to do is flail your arms around (same). This welcoming dance studio is “for the dancer in all of us,” so no matter what level of experience you have—0 to Beyoncé—you can get your groove on.
Classes: Inclusive dance classes—like K-Pop, Dancehall Fusion, Zumba and more—that are a fun workout for beginners and veterans alike.
Cost: $10 for your first class, $20 for a drop-in class, $85 to $150 for one month unlimited, $135 per month for an unlimited membership, $165 for 10 classes, $275 for 20 classes, $650 for 50 classes
Find it: Vancouver: 855 West 12th Ave., VGH Wellness Centre; Calgary: near Westhills (contact for address), bodyexchange.ca
The vibe: For a more intensive fitness journey, founder and personal trainer Louise Green has got you covered with her body-inclusive bootcamps that will push you to your limit and show you how strong you really are.
Classes: A personalized bootcamp-style group program with certified personal trainers that focuses on your own fitness journey and empowers you along the way.
Cost: The first class is free, $90 for five sessions, $180 for ten sessions, $165 to $185 per month for one month, $155 to $175 per month for three months, $145 to $165 per month for six months, $135 to $155 per month for one year
Find it: Winnipeg: 2855 Pembina Highway; Ottawa: 1821 Robertson Rd., 1642 Merivale Rd.; Toronto: 1245 Dupont St., 1000 Gerrard St. E, plus more locations across Canada, planetfitness.ca
The vibe: Known as “The Judgement Free Zone,” this inclusive space is a perf option if you’re looking for a traditional gym atmosphere without the stuffy, elitist attitude.
Classes: Aside from their cardio machines and expansive weight room, they also have a roster of kick-ass classes, like Burn, Refresh and Strength, plus ones that target a specific part of the body (see: Legs and Shoulders or Back and Triceps).
Cost: $10 to $22 per month for a membership
Body Positive Fitness
Find it: Toronto: 1374 Queen St. W, bodypositivefitness.ca
The vibe: Created for women, trans and non-binary folks, this fitness company is an inclusive space for your sweat sesh. Fitness trainer Jenna Doak believes that “we are chasing unrealistic body images” and she wants people to “measure their physical success by the way they feel, and what they can do.” Preach it, sis!
Classes: Size-inclusive body positive movement classes where it doesn’t matter what your number on the scale is—it’s all about loving your bod just the way it is.
Cost: $10 to $15 per class for movement classes and $18 to $25 per class for lifting classes
Find it: Various locations across Toronto, like The Underground Dance Centre (220 Richmond St. W) and Dance Teq (226 Queen St. W); check out which classes are coming up at @sensualheeling
The vibe: Owner and dance veteran Kaela Faloon—who has danced onstage with Rihanna, Drake, Fifth Harmony and more—knows that heels can immeds put you in a sexy state of mind. That’s why she opened up her company, which offers workshops and drop-in classes for beginner babes and heel aficionados alike.
Classes: If you’ve always wanted to learn how to dance in heels without breaking an ankle, these sultry classes are for you.
Cost: $15 for a drop-in class, $175 for a six-week workshop, but prices may vary depending on the instructor and length of workshop
La Femme Strong
Find it: Toronto: 794 Broadview Ave., lafemmestrong.com
The vibe: This women’s-only health club celebrates women’s physical, mental and emotional strength, which we are *so* here for. The bright studio, uplifting atmosphere and one-on-one service will make you wish you discovered this gem sooner.
Classes: Strength-training classes, like Ballet Body, Kettlebell, Jujitsu that focus on building muscle and power (you’ll want to take a selfie of yourself flexing after every workout sesh).
Cost: $12 for a drop-in class, $105 for ten classes, $135 per month for one month unlimited, $120 per month for three months unlimited, $110 per month for six months unlimited, $90 per month for one year unlimited
Fit Zone Plus
Find it: Toronto: 475 Danforth Ave., fitzone-plus.com
The vibe: If you’re *s0* over working out in a jam-packed class, you’ll love the boutique feel of Fit Zone Plus. Each class is tailored to your fitness goals, injuries, age and mobility, so you’ll never have to struggle through a cramped yoga class again.
Classes: An eclectic mix of dance and yoga classes, like Zumba, Yoga Detox and Mindful Movement that are perf for beginners, plus group fitness training.
Cost: $20 for a drop-in class, $180 for 10 classes, $300 for 20 classes, $90 per month for six months unlimited
Find it: Various locations across Toronto, like Steps Dance Studio (819 Yonge St.) and Elevation Dancenter Studio (979 Bloor St. W), so check out which classes are coming up at beyography.com
The vibe: Calling all “naughty girls” and “baby boys,” if Beyoncé doesn’t put you in the mood to shake what your mama gave you, nothing will. Choreographer Nick Nasrallah is our unsung hero for creating a dance class *solely* dedicated to Queen Bey.
Classes: These tribute dance classes will teach you Queen Bey’s most iconic choreography, including her epic Coachella performance.
Cost: $20 for a drop-in class
Find it: Toronto: 577 Yonge St., 721 Queen St. W #202, brassvixens.com
The vibe: As Toronto’s premier pole dancing studio, this smokin’ hot space will immediately leave you feeling more confident, sexy and unstoppable after just one class. Praise be!
Classes: Confidence-boosting classes that are oozing with empowering female energy, like Burlesque Babes, Pu$$y Power, TwerkOut, Erotic Chair Dance and more.
Cost: $30 for a drop-in class, $210 for 10 classes, $380 for 20 classes, $750 for 50 classes, $70 to $179 for one month unlimited, $520 for four months unlimited, $720 for six months unlimited, $1,350 for 12 months unlimited
Body Love Inc.
Find it: Toronto: 364 Richmond St. W, bodyloveinc.com
The vibe: Meant for busy ladies, this millennial hotspot-slash-fitness studio just opened in July and already has Toronto It girls buzzing. After your workout, you can refresh your roots at their salon with a quick blowout and then catch up on work emails at their cafe.
Classes: Created by personal trainer and former competitive fighter Caleigh Rykiss, these brand spankin’ new workout classes—like Bolo Boxing, Hot Core Quencher, Power Hour and more—are designed to get you hooked on boxing.
Cost: $25 for two credits, $110 for ten credits, $210 for 20 credits, $185 to $225 per month for one month unlimited, $220 per month for three months unlimited, $210 per month for six months unlimited, $199 per month for one year unlimited
Cherry Blossom Aerial Dance Studio
Find it: Ottawa: 427 St Laurent Blvd., cherryblossomstudio.ca
The vibe: Feminine vibes abound at this aerial dance studio with hot pink walls and a roster of classes that will make you feel like the hot tamale that you are.
Classes: An enticing roster of female-empowerment workouts, from pole fitness to burlesque to belly dancing and—the one we’re most stocked about—aerial silks.
Cost: $18 for a drop-in class, $90 for the six-week class, $75 to $90 per month for a membership
Fit For Her
Find it: Moncton: 1201 Mountain Rd., fitforhermoncton.com
The vibe: As Moncton’s only all-female studio, the atmosphere is uplifting, positive and empowering.
Classes: For ladies looking to shake what their mama gave them, they offer confidence-boosting Zumba and Cardio Blast classes, plus brand spankin’ new core-and-butt-burning classes that seriously kick-ass.
Cost: $10 for a drop-in class, $60 for 10 classes, $100 for 20 classes, $80 per month for unlimited classes