body image · fitness · weight loss

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.

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

  1. 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. 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. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. Hello I saw this a little late it seems. Years late, however here is my comment.
    I agree with no name. Everything you experienced there doesn’t matter. You must find inner peace with your body. Peace with who you are mind body and soul. No judging others or yourself. Walking naked around a bathroom to “stir the pot” is a little disturbing. I’m there to relax and de stress. Aren’t you?
    You are there for your health. Period. Goodlife fitness doesnt sell memberships to only beautiful people. This is something you have perceived and not what is.
    I am happy you have found a place that you are more comfortable. A place you don’t have be angry in.
    I am in my mid 40s and found the GoodLife to be an amazing place for people to meet and motivate you. I have never attended a gym before. I am an avid hiker extreme hiker to be honest and needed a boost of fitness for my next adventure. Advise and technical support so I don’t injure myself. I don’t want an unfit person teaching me a class. Not sure why a fit person would offend you. Not sure why a qualified instructor, people with fitness education degrees would offend you. Also along with teaching a class they participate. They do it all day long. Why wouldn’t they be fit? That’s why I like the GoodLife. They have qualified individuals give you expert advise on how not to hurt yourself while you try to achieve your goals. Again not sure how this offends.
    You should read up on the owner of GoodLife it may just put a different spin on his philosophy for the GoodLife fitness centres for you.
    I wish you well in your outdoor fitness regime. I hope you achieve your goals.

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