The newly opened facility has gathered over $13000 to support the frontline workers at North York General Hospital

Fitness and health are not just about the physique, but also developing a great state of mind. Aubey Yaphe, the owner of one of Toronto’s newest fitness hotspots named Forest Hill Village Gym, is capturing hearts of Torontonians with this mindful approach to COVID-19. It all started when Aubey had to shut the doors of his newly opened facility merely six days after its soft launch on March 9. 

“I couldn’t sleep the night before I decided to close the new venture down. But, then I started thinking, a lot of people around the globe are going through one of the toughest times in their lives and it was time for me to give back to the community. I didn’t want anyone to risk their lives to stay healthy and nor could I bring myself to charge anyone at this point. So, I moved to Instagram to continue training and opened up classes for anyone who wants to participate for free,” says Aubey, who has been delivering personal training sessions for over a decade. His idea of giving back also involved announcing the creation of a donation drive for the frontline workers at North York General Hospital through his website

But, as the adage goes—do good and reap good? Starting from his landlord who allowed him some breathing room, Aubey has seen the kindness circling back in many ways. As a goodwill gesture to the trainer’s endeavour, his clients got together and surprised him with e-transfers for his free classes. In the past couple of months since he started training online, Aubey has also garnered nearly 2500 followers on the gram! “Having trained face-to-face all my life, this online experience has been a completely new one. But, it has brought blessings I would’ve not received otherwise. This has opened up my methods to a wider clientele from all over the world,” informs the instructor. He asserts that the online format has even changed up his style of teaching developed over the years. “Now I have two variations of the same class – one for people who have access to equipment and another for those who don’t have that luxury. We’ve designed workouts similar to being on a treadmill without having one at home,” he says. As a result, nearly 100 people are flocking to the gym’s live videos on weekends to gain wisdom from this High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and weight training expert.

The donation drive has also found success with over $13000 having flown into the account. To continue his support for Torontonians who want to keep themselves fit during the pandemic, Aubey is lending out his equipment (think weights and resistance bands) since there is a shortage of this paraphernalia in the market. Currently, he is also figuring out the logistics of turning a couple of his classes into charged sessions so he can continue his good work.