For those of you who don’t know me, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Sabrina, I am a Flight Attendant, Writer and the world’s newest Gym Rat.
When 2013 rolled around I decided to make a few changes in my life. For starters, I kicked off the year with Sober January (an entire booze-free month) and a vegan cleanse. Though a month without booze doesn’t sound like a long time in the grand scheme of things, it has been years that I’ve gone any longer than one week without a drink. Just typing that out makes me feel guilty and mildly ashamed, but it is what it is and I wouldn’t doubt that many of you out there have lived your life the same way.
Sometime during my Sober January stint I went out for dinner with a girlfriend of mine. She completed her first fitness competition at the end of the previous summer and was talking about gearing up for another one. Somewhere along the line she suggested I try one too and my new found health kick had me enthusiastically agreeing, which brings me to this post.
I want to start by mentioning that I’ve always been a healthy, active person. I competitively danced for a decade, played left-mid for an Ontario Premier Soccer league for years, regularly exercised via the gym or Pilates classes and ate healthy; except for when it came to popcorn. Theater-style popcorn drizzled with butter is my kryptonite! Oh, and KFC. I just can’t help myself sometimes.
Considering the aforementioned, I’ve never overly challenged my body before. Doing a TRX class here and there is probably the closest I’ve come and if you’ve done one before, you know what I mean. It’s a real ass kicker!
With a new goal in mind and an extra dose of eagerness I took my first steps towards beating my body into competition form. First on the docket; finding a gym!
Choosing a gym sounds like such a simple task, but there are so many factors to consider. I wanted a place that I felt comfortable, had lots of equipment, had equipment that was in good shape (something that can be shockingly hard to find) and was reasonably priced. I also wanted something that wasn’t too far from my apartment because I knew that the farther I had to travel, the less likely I’d be motivated to do so.
There were two gyms in my area that fit the bill. When I walked into the first gym the ambiance of unfiltered snobbery threw me off immediately. There’s almost nothing worse than walking into a gym with buff elitists who sit there in their Under Armour gear hogging the equipment and silently judging you behind their steroid charged eyes. Hard pass on that one.
Like I often say, onwards and upwards! My next stop was at a GoodLife Fitness center. Conveniently located a 15 minute walk away. I was crossing my fingers it worked out. When I first walked in, the staff greeted me kindly and promptly gave me a tour of the gym. The layout is what really caught my attention. It is designed almost like a honeycomb with separate sections separated by glass windows and overlooking the busy worker bees in the offices below.
The first section is a huge cardio room. It is packed with ellipticals, treadmills, stair masters and several other machines, along with a nice view of the outdoors. Nestled in the corner is a Spin room stocked with lots of fans!
The next hub hosts a group exercise room and the change rooms. Both are adequately sized and equipped with everything you would need.
Third up is the weight room and TRX station. With a whole bunch of recently updated equipment and mirrored walls upon walls of free weights, you rarely have to worry about waiting for equipment or bumping into your neighbour. I also like that this section is separated from the cardio room. For some reason cardio and weights in the same room bother me. Cardio equipment can be so loud and when I’m smashing weights I enjoy the quiet sound of determination with just a hint of guttural grunting for good measure.
Besides having a killer layout, the staff and gym goers gave off the friendly, judgement free atmosphere I was looking for. To top it all off, they gave me my first two weeks free, waived the initial sign-up fees and ensured I had a cross-Canada membership so I could workout even when I was flying domestically. Score!
Like I said, choosing a gym sounds like such a menial task but so many factors play a role. It’s important to find a gym that fits your lifestyle and makes you feel comfortable when you walk in so you can focus on getting the most out of your workouts. Though you may be excited to get your fit-on, take the time to find a place that’s right for you and I promise you’ll feel the difference. It will make going to the gym all the more enjoyable and even convert you couch potatoes into gym rats like me!
If you’ve ever gone to a less than stellar gym share your cautionary tales in the comment section below…