Life / Health

Buffet-style gym pass lets you sample choices in Toronto

Toronto’s phobic fitness enthusiasts can now sample some of the city’s best gyms and attempt new workouts thanks to the Tryfit pass.

“The angle of the pass is really to introduce people to their next favourite workout and their next favourite studio,” said Jake Stief, a 25-year-old Schulich School of Business student and Tryfit co-creator.

The $49 Tryfit pass allows fitness buffs to join a class at 20 of its partner gyms across the city. Women pass-holders actually get a bonus 21st class at the female-only Flirty Girl Fitness, one of the partner gyms.

Stief dreamed up the business venture when he noticed that most fitness passes stick to one type of training and he yearned to diversify his workout.

The pass includes a broad range of activities from a mix of established and newcomer studios. Over the course of six months, athletes can dabble in obstacle course training, attempt hot yoga and learn some self-defence.

While Stief admits it took some convincing to bring gyms on board, the owners generally seem excited at the chance to bring in new business.

It can be hard to recruit newcomers to Bang Fitness, explains its director Geoff Girvitz. The studio’s specialized programs for individuals and small-group training can be hard to sell, until people actually try it.

Tryfit “could be a great starting point for a much longer term training process,” said Girvitz, who loves chatting with newcomers about their fitness goals. He hopes it will bring serious potential clients into his gym who are doing “a little bit of amateur detective work” looking for the right studio for their training needs.

Bang Fitness once offered a Groupon, but he said the promotion mostly brought in people in a “perpetual discount mode” who were not invested in finding a new gym, but were always hunting for the best bargain.

Tryfit is more of a win-win for businesses and consumers, he said, offering a discounted sample of fitness options so people can make an informed choice on which gym to sign a contract with.

“It’s not something you can ride out indefinitely,” said Girvitz.

Tryfit officially launched this week and will sell up to 1,000 passes during its first six-month trial. After six months, Stief wants to offer his current studio partners another stint on the next round of passes, but eventually aims to rejig the lineup twice a year.

“We want to offer that opportunity to keep on exploring their options here in the city,” he said.

Fast facts about the Tryfit pass

• Costs $49, which works out to $2.45 per class.

• Allows users to try one class at 20 studios.

• Expires in six months.

• Can be purchased once every six months.

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