Functional Fitness is an innovative new program for small group training offered only at Hart House. Fitness Instructor and Olympian Alicia Brown gives you the scoop on the program that she helped create.

Whether you are an absolute beginner or a seasoned veteran, you will be challenged and you will see results.

Tom Moss, Manager, Recreation & Wellness

As a Functional Fitness instructor, what can you tell us about this unique program?

I am currently the only female instructor for our 12-week functional fitness program. I offer a fun women’s only class as well as a developmental beginner class—but don’t let that name fool you! Many participants enter the program feeling a little gym-shy and walk out with their heads high, showing great improvements to their strength and aerobic conditioning as well as body awareness and core stability.

It’s super exciting and inspiring to watch participants build strength and confidence, and even more exciting to see the same participant sign up again and walk into class the following semester.

As an instructor, my job is to make exercise challenging yet fun and to ensure my participants are safe while discovering their physical limits and building mental toughness. There is a great camaraderie that is built along the way!

How do you approach the classes?

Each instructor brings their own personal flair to their sessions—that means each registered class is unique. Generally, I run my sessions as circuit training. We start with a quick, active warm up with a ton of dynamic movements and mobility exercises. As the weeks progress, I invite the participants to take turns leading the warm-up. It’s a fun way to allow participants to demonstrate their learning as well as give them an opportunity to lead. From there, we jump into circuit training that typically consists of 5 stations per set. The exercises are a combination of resistance training, cardiovascular training, balance and core stability, plyometric and agility drills. The goal is to create synergy between the mind and body and to do so, we work on strengthening all the moving pieces.

I have been a part of Functional Fitness class since Fall 2017. This class not only helps me in achieving my goals to become fit, but also challenges me to improve and work hard every day. None of this would have been possible without our extraordinary instructor Alicia Brown. She is a great instructor and a delight to train with. She is highly detail oriented and enthusiastic about her work. She not only provides instructions, but also provides constant motivation and encouragement to excel in this tough class.

Manpreet Takhar

Joining functional fitness at Hart House was my decision to get fit and healthy, and having a trainer like you was what made the experience exceptional. Since day one you have encouraged me and boosted my confidence so that I can continue to exercise with zeal and in the correct way. Your constant enthusiasm has made this rigorous fitness class an enjoyable experience, which I hope to continue in the coming semesters.

Randeep Gabhi

I really enjoyed my functional fitness classes with Alicia Brown. I particularly appreciated her experience and knowledge in sport. She was always making sure that our technique was good, and helping us adopt the right position. It made me feel very confident about doing sport without hurting myself (my back especially).

Agathe Rabayrol

Who are these classes for?

These classes are for everyone and anyone! If you’re new to working out and looking for a place to start, this class is for you. If you’re looking for some fitness inspiration or looking to build a network of like-minded individuals, this class is for you. If you are an experienced gym-goer and want to be challenged further, this class is for you! There really are no limits on who can join. We ensure every participant is being challenged appropriately and sometimes that means offering several variations to a particular movement to ensure everyone is getting the workout they need. Keep in mind, however, these classes are designed as small group training (about 8 participants per class) so the classes fill up really quickly. The purpose of keeping the classes small is to ensure all participants are well looked after.

What can a participant expect to develop or improve?

Committed clients can expect to see improvements in their cardiovascular health, strength and overall fitness, improved core stability, mobility, and increased energy levels.

One of my objectives is to help build confidence in every person that joins my class. I want participants to walk out of my sessions feeling like they’ve accomplished something they’ve never done before. The endorphins released after a good workout are amazing!