After years of working together in the fitness industry and searching for the right location, Paula Ryff and Vlad Radanovic have finally realized a long-standing dream of launching their own facility.
Ultimate Athletics combines the boutique feel of a private gym with the scale of a corporate gym.
“We have the big space but all our instructors are really personable and we level classes up so the person that’s not the athlete can come here,” Ryff says at the newly opened multi-level facility at Yonge and Summerhill. “Even my mom this morning, 75, can come here and do a class.
“Old, young, fit, nonfit — I think that’s what makes us really dynamic.”
Radanovic, active in the fitness industry for 16 years and certified in weight training and kettle bell, stems from a background in competitive ballroom dance and amateur boxing. Ryff studied at the National Ballet of Canada and the Russian Academy of Classical Ballet, and is a certified holistic nutritionist and Pilates instructor.
“She’s covering one part of fitness — Pilates, yoga, ballet — and I cover another part of fitness — spinning, aerobics and weight training, so we kind of complement each other,” Radanovic says minutes after wrapping up a course, a bead of sweat trickling down the side of his face.
“We’ve been together for 12 years now, so as partners it just made sense to do something grand and offer a convenient and high-end fitness facility that would satisfy everyone’s needs and ours.”
Although they wanted to open a place that met their personal standards so they could work out at their job, Radanovic says their main priority is providing top of the line fitness and helping people get in the best shape of their lives.
The 10,000-squarefoot space offers monthly memberships and pay-as-you-go options for drop-in classes, personal training and a spa providing facials and Botox treatments, as well as physiotherapy, chirotherapy and massage therapy. The gym features daily group exercise classes, including yoga, circuit training and Pilates for different fitness levels.
“It’s kind of a full one-stop shop,” says Ryff, who trained professionally in classical ballet and contemporary dance since age 5.
There is a full-size weight room with a turf for slide pushes, a dynamic Pilates program using reformer machines and the ballet barre conditioning class, and all instructors have been professional ballet dancers. Ryff believes that separates them from “the regular barre stuff that’s out there.”
They also apply their training to the courses they teach and develop new fitness classes like kettle bell and mixed martial arts courses.
One unique example is the signature warrior class, designed for more active clients. The class takes place in a studio covered in thick mats.
“It’s like a playground for adults, but very intense,” Radanovic says. “It’s simulating fighter training, conditioning for higher athletes, so we do agility drills.”
He also developed a routine revolving around power slides, a thin black material used to simulate the movement of speed skating.
Don’t think clients are the only ones getting to enjoy the equipment and the routines.
“We work out with this stuff,” Radanovic says. “I’m excited about getting onto a rowing machine and figuring out a new routine for clients, or a kettle bell routine, that’s what we’re excited about.
“We like to keep it edgy.”
He said he finds himself “really looking forward” to going to work each day.
“I love to get into that studio and train my clients,” Radanovic said. “That’s the best. “It’s a high. It’s very satisfying. I would do this even if I wasn’t paid.”
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