Finding Fitness in Suburbia
The heroic story of one man’s journey to find a gym, and breakfast.
Apparently, I’m pretty high-maintenance when it comes to working out. I expect certain things. A checklist, if you will. So in a desperate attempt to jolt me from suburban despair and winter doldrums, I decided to find a gym. I say my checklist had only two main criteria, but that turned out not to be true. At first, I thought it just needed to be within walking distance and have weights; as a bonus, it could also be close to a breakfast place — that way I can enjoy post-workout bacon and eggs when the mood struck me.
After some quick google-fu, I learned that there were several gyms close by and a breakfast place, and it was +3° and Chinook’ing again. Score. New jacket? Check. New sneakers? Check. Backpack with a notebook so I can plan my week over eggs? Checkity-check.
My first stop was ANYTIME FITNESS. Walking up to the doors, I strapped on my mask and pulled open the door. Nope. The door didn’t open even one little bit. How weak am I? Is this a test? Will a personal trainer suddenly appear, “Having a hard time opening doors? I can help. My name is Chet Bufferton, Personal Trainer.” Chet continues, “For a one-time sign-up fee and our low monthly membership fee, along with my standard hourly fee, I’ll make it so you’re never embarrassed trying to open a door again!”
Fortunately, someone was coming out of Anytime Fitness who was able to open the door just fine — chalk up a win for being an Anytime Fitness member, their motto “You’ll be able to open doors™.” I nonchalantly caught the door and gave the guy a nod and a look that said, “I am completely able to open doors. I just choose not to today,” and slipped in.
Aggressive signs said, “WEAR YOUR GYM GEAR TO THE GYM” and “NO OUTSIDE SHOES BEYOND THIS POINT.” There was no desk and no one to talk to. There were, however, several very serious-looking people working out with the intensity and confusion of moist, half-starved, freshly-shaved badgers. I smiled and waved. No one smiled and waved back.
Fortunately, there was another helpful sign, “WANT TO JOIN OUR FUN AND INCLUSIVE GYM AND LEARN HOW TO OPEN DOORS?!?! JUST CALL THIS NUMBER.” So I called and got a message that said to join, I needed to send an email to something weird like openDoorsNow83712–42calgNWfirstname.lastname@example.org. Apparently, I should have had my notebook open and a pen at the ready. At this point, I realized that Anytime Fitness was probably not a fit for me, waved a friendly goodbye to the sweaty and elite badger gang and headed to the next place on my list, F45 Fitness.
F45 Fitness boasts circuit training and science all crammed into a retail space roughly the size of a food truck. I peaked in the window and saw only one person, I assume one of the trainers, staring forlornly at a solitary medicine ball in the middle of the floor. Part of me really wanted to know what they were thinking, then another part of me said, “keep walking.” So I did. The sheer sadness in that trainer’s eyes still haunts me — the weight of that medicine ball was more than physical.
I’ll keep this brief and to the point: the staff was amicable, the food was inexpensive, but if they want to make money at this venture, I’d suggest using $4 less salt per order of hashbrowns. I have also never seen an over-medium egg with a yolk that is almost clear-yellow — I don’t want to say “three-day-old blister-puss yellow,” but that is what came to mind; there you go, I said it. And yes, I did use my multi-grain toast to soak it up and eat it because I was not going to waste food; you truly get what you pay for with the Early Bird Special for only $6.95.
My next stop was Melcor YMCA. As soon as I walked in, I knew this would be my place. A helpful lady at the front desk answered all my questions; there are change rooms, a pool, saunas, hot tubs, weights, ellipticals, treadmills, courts, towel service, and more. The people I saw there were regular-looking, friendly people who could easily open doors independently.
I wondered how much this would cost; fearing the worst, I asked.
“For the full membership, it’s about $100 per month,” the awesome and helpful lady at the front desk replied.
She went on to tell me that for February, they were waving the sign-up fee, and I learned that the Extreme Plus Membership of Destiny (full membership) was still less than what I paid in Kensington’s tiny (but excellent) Urban Athlete. And not only that, but Jenn could also get a membership at an insane discount because I was already a member.
It’s about a 1.5KM walk from the YMCA to home, and along the way, there’s a Safeway and a CO-OP where I can buy my own fresh produce, bacon, and eggs. Then, when I get home from my badger-free workouts, I can cook up a healthy breakfast and never eat puss-eggs again.