I’ve had a gym membership pretty much consistently since I was 20. My sainted parents shelled out for gym memberships for me at home in the summers during university, and for one year when I lived off campus and had only two days where I actually went to the university (and its free, albeit totally crappy gym) each week.

When I moved to Ottawa I got a membership at the gym in the building where I worked. Oh man, it was a SWEET deal: $20 a month and I got to watch Question Period on the elliptical every day. I changed jobs and moved to the mothership of that office gym and it was more expensive ($30 a month) but so big! And a hot tub! And the sketchiest change room I’d see for several years! But the personal trainers were cheap and even though there was a signup for the cardio equipment if you went at 7pm every night (when Buffy was on) you could usually finagle going from one machine to the next for a full hour.

Then I changed jobs again, sold my car and had to find a gym more in the downtown area. I started working out near my office at a GoodLife gym in the basement of a mall. Oh, the ventilation was bad. The equipment was old. I struggle to forget the horror that was the ladies toilets (how can there be THAT MUCH HAIR???). But, they had the greatest group fitness instructor ever – a woman who was fit but not skinny and who was so awesome that she did an Ironman. A full one! Loved her.

And then I changed jobs again, and my corporate membership expired and oh man I was so stressed but couldn’t work 12 hours a day AND go to a gym  downtown so I bought a car. Yeah, I bought a car. Also known as a $15,000 gym membership. I bought a car and re-joined the GoodLife as my dad’s family member (discount, holla!) and started to play squash. Because it was a good way to meet people and hit things legally.

I’ve been back at the GoodLife for four years, mostly on a corporate membership for around the equivalent of $35 a month. My branch is a little weird. The people are intense. The gymgoers, not the staff. They line up waiting for the gym to open on the weekends. They line up because it doesn’t f’in open until 8am. And it very inconveniently closes at 6pm, which sucks when I actually generally kinda want to work out either before 8am or after 6pm. Also, insanely busy. So busy that getting a parking spot is a real challenge. They have an agreement with a business next door so you can use their lot after 5pm. Totally doesn’t help – that lot is ALWAYS also full. And they have the usual maintenance issues – broken equipment, broken tiles held on with duct tape, no towels, etc. But that corporate membership is pretty sweet – it’s $25/month cheaper than the regular price, and my dad gets that price, too.

Since it looks like I’m going to have to break up with squash (sob!), I’m second guessing that gym membership. Especially since my new office (same job, new building) is less than 1km from an enormous facility that I toured on Monday that is, hands down, the sexiest gym I’ve ever been in.

You know those American movies when they show people on spin bikes but they’re really nice bikes and they have fancy equipment and shit? That’s this gym. They have spin bikes in the regular cardio area with tvs that will play you your own personal spin class. Fuck me. No having to be there when there’s a spin class. No having to judge myself and fake turning the knob “one big turn”. Nope. Just … c’mon. It’s so sexy I could weep. Every single piece of cardio equipment has its own TV. No more watching an infomercial at 8am on a sunday morning because that’s the channel that’s available.

They have not one, but two pools. As long as there’s no class happening, you can lane swim. They have enclosed individual shower cubicles with doors instead of those nasty curtains you pray you don’t have to touch. They have a warm up and stretching ROOM in between the weights and the cardio equipment, not just one paltry mat that is never enough space for the core and stretching work that needs to be done. And wait for it… they have four squat racks. Not Smith machines. Full, actual squat racks.

Sigh. It’s $30 every two weeks. And I think I’m going to join. I could get up at the same time as I do today, go to the gym instead of the office, workout, shower, and still be at work for 8:30am. That’s one less hour of me being frustrated in my office (cause you know you leave at the same time, no matter what time you start). That’s one less hour of staring at my computer. That’s one more fixed hour of getting healthy.

Even though my corporate GoodLife membership doesn’t expire til mid-July, I think I’m going to get this one started next week. I think it might very well be worth the money. And it might spoil me for all gyms to come.

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