My gym is Internet famous.
Last year I came across this BuzzFeed story, which featured a viral GIF of some dude working out while eating pizza. I had a solid laugh, and then moved on with my life accordingly. Fast-forward to this August, when I moved to a new house in the city’s west end. I discovered a gym up the road offering $10 a month memberships, so I jumped at the chance to be frugal and signed up immediately.
It took me a couple of days to make the connection between that GIF and my new gym.
I used to hate working out in public. My first lease in Toronto included a free six-month membership at a gym in the financial district – as well as a consultation with a personal trainer. I went to my appointment with my former roommate (a total babe, nearly six feet tall and less than 100 pounds). The personal trainer raved about her “perfect body,” then tore mine apart and told me how much weight I needed to lose. His technique was brutal, but in my case “it worked,” I guess. While my roommate lost interest and stopped going to the gym after a week, I worked out obsessively every day for months.
Prior to that incident, I loved running, but afterward I struggled, and it’s been a love/hate relationship ever since.
Then – BOOM – catch me casually signing up for Toronto’s Planet Fitness. I wish I’d known what I was getting myself into, but let’s just call it a happy accident.
Here’s a rundown of what you need to know about my gym:
- The first Monday of the month is Pizza Night.
- The second Tuesday of the month is Bagel Morning.
- There’s a bowl of Tootsie Rolls by the door. You’re encouraged to take at least one on your way out.
- The gym is open 24/7, so if you’re a total freak and want to work out at 3:00 am, you can.
- There is a “lunk alarm” that goes off whenever a muscle-dreaming bro drops a weight or grunts too loud, designed to keep beefheads from showing off and making other gym goers uncomfortable.
- Planet Fitness’s mantra: It’s a “Judgement-Free Zone.” They proved this earlier in the year when they rescinded this transphobic woman’s membership. Badass, IMHO.
Why does not going to a high-pressure gym make a difference? Because there’s a woman on a stationary bike with hoop earrings and straightened hair. Because there’s a guy in purple shirt and yellow shorts who presumably doesn’t realize that’s the Planet Fitness equivalent of camouflage. Because there’s a guy, signing up for a membership, wearing a huge clock (!) on a chain around his neck. Because there’s always at least one person wearing jeans out on the gym floor. BECAUSE THERE ARE ACTUALLY PEOPLE WORKING OUT WHILE EATING PIZZA.
I can go to this gym when I’m looking like a complete wreck and not a single fuck is given (by me or by anybody else). I can stop running if I want to, when my body begins to hurt, without worrying that anyone around me is going to (a) notice or (b) care. I mean, the other day I got away with reading an entire graphic novel – hard copy, I might add – while on the elliptical.
I still haven’t figured out if I’m there to get super buff or just to avoid getting a wine gut, but either way, nobody at my gym is going to think twice about it. And that, my friends, is a #blessed feeling.