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FitnessTO, One stop source, directory, blog, & guide to Fitness in Toronto
FitnessTO, One stop source, directory, blog, & guide to Fitness in Toronto

Review: StriveLife (Fitness in Toronto)

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StriveLife is the brain child of Ryan Caicco and  Martin Reader, both who come from professional sport backgrounds; Ryan, a former Pro Hockey player and Martin, a former Olympic athlete.

Martin and Ryan like to describe StriveLife as a ‘movement’ not a fitness program, their mantra is ‘We are all athletes and life is our championship’. They run 3 different weekly fitness classes focusing on: Circuits, Movement, Athletic Tabata (Tabata is a style of training, which is basically H.I.I.T high intensive interval training) Note: this is one of my favourite styles i like to throw into my own program sometimes, great way to get a sweat on!

FitnessTO sent out our anonymous reviewer, 9-to -5 Jane (young 30 something, professional woman, likes to workout, tries to be consistent but struggles with motivation and confidence. She represents a huge portion of the population here in Toronto, trying to live the healthy lifestyle, and that’s why her review may be more relatable to you then mine, a fitness professional who lives and breathes fitness/exercise) to review one of their classes. 

9-to-5 Jane

Strive is one of those bootcamps I’ve heard about, not from anyone in particular, but just one of those places you ‘know about’ and I have to say, I was intimidated by the idea of it. Fitness run by 2 pro-athletes… there’s no way it’s going to suit little me.
As I turned up to The Great Hall (Queen West at Dovercourt) for class there were a number of people waiting outside, including Ryan and Martin (R & M) who promptly introduced themselves, noting that they’d not seen me before and wanted to welcome me.
After we got inside and R & M had set up the circuits for the class they pulled the newbies to one side and explained their philosophy for Strive and wanted to make sure that we all felt confident to ask questions and that the class was our own to push ourselves as easy or hard as we want.
The class was incredibly busy for a Monday evening, I believe it was at capacity. There really wasn’t any spare room and it made a couple of the exercises a little more of a group bonding exercise than I was comfortable with.
I got a really good full body workout, there was lots of attention from R & M, coming round to keep people motivated and ensure that our form was correct. The class focussed a lot on using your own body weight to achieve results and R & M helped people adapt exercises to suit their own fitness and strength levels.
The feeling of success at the end of class was great although for a Brit, a little cheesy, with lots of high 5’s from fellow exercisers and also from R & M, followed by the standard team photo which is taken at the end of each class.
I enjoyed my session at Strive and I know that if I would get results if I was able to commit to their 3 times a week classes, unfortunately the West end is not convenient for me and my schedule.

fitness toronto


Another side to StriveLife, is the creation of their FREE fitness events called The Social Sweat, the second one was on April 18th 2015 at Lamport Stadium here in Toronto.

FitnessTO got invited to The Social Sweat 2.0 which was basically exactly what it sounds like,  a high energy workout class followed by a meetup aka Social for drinks and socializing after. The main ethos behind the StriveLife ‘movement’ is the desire to build a fitness community based around supporting each other as a team, and inspiring each other to do better in all aspect of life.  So they created this event to bring people together under the banner of fitness. I like it!

We arrived at the stadium around 8.30 as requested to get signed in with the class kicking off at 9pm. It was kinda cool to be inside Lamport Stadium with the dome on it. DJ Frank Walker had donated his time to play some tunes through out the event and he had some pretty good house music playing as we stood around waiting to get the class toronto

Unfortunately the boys were plagued with every instructors worst nightmare, major sound system issues, and with a big crowd of about 200 people, we couldn’t hear a word they were saying. Just when I was thinking, ‘Ok I’m going to call this a night and retire to my couch’, they ditched the faulty system and by used their voices with lots of demonstrating, the class ran smoothly and effortless.

One thing I really appreciated about their workout was the extended warm up, something that often is quickly brushed over. R & M put the group through a complete functional warm up, focusing on all movement patterns, very important to help warm up all the joints of the body and ensure everything is moving correctly. I know this is a big part of their regular program as well.

fitness torontoThe workout it’s self was well thought out, I could tell they had done their homework and had a created a nice progressive circuit that built on top of each round of exercises. It was easy enough to explain to 200 people yet challenging enough to get a decent sweat on and feel like you had done a good workout. To be perfectly honest, come Saturday night, after I’ve spent a week of full time personal training and teaching my own classes, I probably participated at about 50% of my capabilities yet I was surprised I had a really good sweat on at the end of it, a testimant to a well structured class.

FitnessTO caught up with Martin & Ryan at the end to ask them a couple of questions about StriveLife:



1.What was the motivation to creating StriveLife?
After we both retired from professional sport there wasn’t a group that worked on athletic training and personal development in a team environment. We missed pushing ourselves with healthy likeminded people in an enjoyable and high intensity format. With nothing out there like it we set out to create the best group training program and fun community to grow with. It is amazing to see how we have progressed over the last two years and this summer is going to be exciting as we transition into our third season outdoors!
2. What would you like people to get the most out of coming to StriveLife? 
The definition of Strive is the pursuit of something better. With that in mind we have created a unique opportunity and positive environment to build people up physically and mentally. This has created a culture that lives within our brand and is representative of each person in our community. As a result we have seen all kinds of amazing transformations, but it all starts by committing to the process of bettering yourself through athletic physical training. How that reflects into the rest of your life is up to you but our message lies beyond “fitness”.
3. What do you get the most out of StriveLife personally?
What we get is the honour of leading people to discover they are capable of more in all facets of life. We are so proud of our teammates for embracing a winning culture and pushing themselves to new heights while elevating those around them. Seeing people progress their health, gain confidence and become leaders is what we pride ourselves on. Its all about building people up and giving them the tools to Strive towards their personal success.


To sum up StriveLife, don’t let the flashiness of pro athletes and big corporate sponsors like Lululemon fool you into thinking this is a money focused fitness program. Ryan and Martin are passionate about bringing people together, making sure everyone feels included, and they have great love for this city, Toronto. They will go out of their way to welcome anyone of any fitness level into their program, as they help motivate and train us in this game we called ‘life’.

Jay Quarmby – Personal Trainer,  Owner of FitnessTO, Buns of Steel Bootcamp


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