When you find yourself frustrated with academics or stuck on a thesis, take a break to explore the ample opportunities to get active on campus; they’re a great way to de-stress, refocus, and feel good. With fitness classes, gym equipment, swimming, and much more, there are on-campus athletic options to suit all interests and needs.
Hart House and the Athletic Centre (AC) hold drop-in classes year-round, every day of the week. Drop-in classes are good options for those looking for something flexible or free. The classes are scheduled throughout the day, and are offered at different levels of difficulty and experience. Class options include yoga, Zumba, spin, aqua-fit, and boot camp. You can find class schedules on the Hart House and AC websites.
Both fitness centres hold fitness classes for which you can register at an extra cost. The classes tend to take place once a week for an hour; sets of classes range from five to nine weeks and cost $35 to $90. Hart House offers classes in dance, scuba diving, and cycle-fit, among others. The AC has similar options as well as tennis, gymnastics, and triathalon classes.
The Hart House gym and pool have a more relaxed environment than the AC, typically inhabited by more casual athletes and gym-goers. Hart House does not have as much equipment or as many facilities as the AC, but it has a unique and comfortable feel to it. It was established in 1919 and maintains a historic atmosphere — perhaps because of its rounded leather track, which has been used by Canadian Olympic legends and everyday students alike. The gym is open for longer than the AC, and the Hart House building itself is open every day of the year.
The AC is a more up-to-date facility than Hart House, with more and newer equipment. Its atmosphere is a little intense, and the demographic tends to include more serious gym-goers and varsity athletes. The field house has a newly renovated track that wraps around a number of divided courts where practices, intramural games, and fitness classes take place. It also has many bikes, elliptical machines, treadmills, and mats, and includes a small weight training area. The main weight room is large and is often crowded. There are also two pools, multiple gymnasiums, a dance studio, classrooms, and more. Parts of the building, if not the entire building, are closed for special events or holidays. The centre also holds women’s hours. If you head to the AC during off-peak times — in the morning or late evening — you’ll have the best chance of avoiding the crowds.
Tips to stay fit
- Drop-in fitness classes are designed to fit into students’ schedules. If you have an hour or two between lectures, check what classes are being held at that time.
- Fitness facilities have long hours of operation so that students are able to find time to go to the gym, so don’t hesitate to go early in the morning or late at night.
- The downtown campus is large and surrounds Queen’s Park, which makes changing up your running routes easy.
- Intramural and tri-campus sports are available for students looking for a more casual sports commitment. Students can check with their college or division heads and the intramurals website for more information.
Tips to eat right
- Students in residence are given a lot of food options. Try to increase protein and vegetable intake, and reduce fat and salt when choosing your meals.
- Cafeterias on campus are packed with fried food and pizza. Try picking a salad from the fridge or a hot meal special, with well-balanced portions of protein, vegetables, and carbs.
- Avoid sugar-filled drinks by carrying a water bottle with you and filling it up at one of the refill stations on campus.
- The University of Toronto Students’ Union and other university organizations hold programs to promote healthy eating.
U of T: Home of the Blues
The University of Toronto is home to the largest varsity athletic program in Canada, with 46 teams in total. All Varsity Blues games are free for U of T students with presentation of a TCard. Home games primarily take place at Varsity Centre, the Athletic Centre, and UTSC. The Goldring Centre, still under construction, will house indoor winter sports.
Sports events occur throughout the year, but there are a few to definitely attend. The homecoming football game will occur on September 13 against the Blues’ rivals, the York Lions. Towards the end of the first semester, the Blues will be holding a toy toss during men’s and women’s home hockey games. Toys will be donated to charities for children in need during the holidays.
At the beginning of the second semester, you’ll notice a lot of pink at basketball and volleyball games for the annual Think Pink Bleed Blue campaign, which aims to raise breast cancer awareness. Athlete Ally, an initiative supporting LGBTtiQq2sa athletes, will also be hosting events, including an awareness week for all students. Visit the website for more information on teams, tryouts, and special events.
Men and women’s swimming
Men’s rank in Canada last season: 1
Women’s rank in Canada last season: 3
Men’s rank in Ontario last season: 1
Women’s rank in Ontario last season: 1
Men’s swimmer to watch: Zach Chetrat
Women’s swimmer to watch: Vanessa Treasure
Coach: Byron MacDonald, entering his thirty-seventh season with the team
Men’s and women’s hockey:
Men’s record last season: 15–15
Women’s record last season: 21–9
Men’s home record last season: 10–5
Women’s home record last season: 11–4
Men’s hockey player to watch: Brett Willows (goalie)
Women’s hockey player to watch: Nicole Kesteris (goalie)
Men’s head coach: Darren Lowe, entering his twentieth season with the team
Women’s head coach: Vicki Sunohara, entering her fourth season with the team
Men’s and women’s volleyball:
Men’s record last season: 6–14
Women’s record last season: 17–5
Men’s home record last season: 4–6
Women’s home record last season: 11–2
Men’s volleyball player to watch: Kyle Fick
Women’s volleyball player to watch: Tessa Davis
Men’s head coach: John Barrett, entering fourth season with the team
Women’s head coach: Kristine Drakich, entering her twenty-sixth season with the team