Why I left Goodlife Fitness some years ago

The recent post on Five Things Every Gym Should be Doing reminded of me of why I abandoned the last traditional fitness centre of which I was a member. I blogged about it then, in 2006. I decided to re-post it here, since the reasons still largely apply:

Goodbye Goodlife

This week I said goodbye to my health club membership. In part, it’s for the usual reason. I am not there enough to justify the cost. I have a Y membership and like lifting weights at the Y better–more free weights and less attitude.  I also prefer my cardio outdoors–biking, cross country skiing, running along the river. And I’ve fallen in love with the Velodrome and track biking. Pure speed and pleasure. Yum.

But I did love the Bodyflow classes at Goodlife–nice mix of tai chai, yoga, and pilates. Fast paced for attention deficit disorder exercisers  like me. If I could have tele-transported into the classes, avoiding the ads and the locker room, I’d have done it. But I really couldn’t take  the emphasis on weight loss and physical beauty, where that means skinny and 20. It wasn’t even presented as one of the many goals one might have.

I’m okay with some people wanting to lose weight and that being their reason for going to the gym. It’s one goal among many: get faster, lift your kids without pain, staying flexible and keeping your balance in your 80s…. But the quest for the perfect body and weight loss was the only thing promoted in the women’s change room.

I love the Y locker room for its range of body shapes and sizes, tattoos and wrinkles, all ages, physical and mental abilities. In Goodlife the mostly pretty, mostly 20-35 year old, women hid behind towels. Too modest for me. I made a point of stripping naked there, walking across the room, and talking to friends naked, any excuse to change the norm.

Anyway, I complained about the weight loss posters. Emailed head office. No reply. Talked lots to my friends and to the instructors and got sympathy but no progress.

A staff member at work tried their weight loss program which consisted of a 1400 calorie a day starvation diet. She was told she’d be too weak some days to do much exercise.

Final straw? A spin class instructor-skinny minnie–talking to a class about how fat she was and how many calories we’d burn in an hour. Did I care? No. I was there as a cyclist to maintain speed, fitness over the winter. She was the thinnest person there! Did she think the women in that class would find that motivational?

ARGH. I quit. Having discovered what I love about being fit and about exercise–speed,the outdoors, being strong, going fast and hard for as long as I can–I thought I could reenter a traditional gym and keep my healthy body image intact. I was wrong.

Bye bye Goodlife.

About Sam B

Philosopher, feminist, parent, and cyclist!

9 thoughts on “Why I left Goodlife Fitness some years ago

  1. Sarah C says:

    You have to find the place that’s right for you – and it sounds like you have been happier since moving on! That’s the beauty of our world today – there’s constantly a new health club (or studio) popping up. If you aren’t going to be happy at your gym, you aren’t going to want to go there!

  2. 3zigs says:

    Could not agree more. I also really hate fitness classes/studios with names like “Booty Camp” and “Knockout Babe”. Totally offensive. I love the diversity of the Y and the sense of community.

  3. [...] after I reposted my story of why I left Goodlife Fitness in 2006 two super posts appeared on the problems of working out in public while [...]

  4. [...] I talked about body shame in my post about why I left Goodlife Fitness. [...]

  5. [...] I took a group fitness dance class at Goodlife more than five years ago (before I quit, read why here) that featured so-called “stripper moves.” I didn’t go back. Nothing wrong with [...]

  6. Adam says:

    I agree with Sarah C. If you,re not happy where you are then you aren’t going to have the motivation to work out. At least with biking, running and skiing you get to keep fit doing something you enjoy while getting the best of the outdoors.

  7. [...] have both written about our negative locker room experiences–A Tale of Two Locker Rooms and Why I left Goodlife Fitness some years ago–and we are relatively privileged gym [...]

  8. NoName says:

    If you’re there for your health, what does it matter about anything else.

  9. Dave says:

    As many others pointed out, you found the gym that satisfies all your need, and it does not “offend” you. So that is the good thing!

    If there is anything else to mention, it is your inner peace, that you would/should accept your body shape and size, regardless of any TV commercials, billboards, ads in any gyms, not just Goodlife. So it is an “option” for you to complain about such unwanted messages (body image) from anywhere and everywhere. As long as you keep yourself active, as much as you can, that’s all there is to it!

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