As you can see from the title, I had a bit of a roller-coaster emotion wise this afternoon. For the last little while (and by while I mean weeks and/or months.. I’ve lost track) I’ve been slowly and secretly working up the guts to walk into Fit 4 Less gym and sign up.
My first thought when deciding to join a gym was Fit 4 Less at the Merivale location, there is a “No contract” option so I thought if I gave it a shot and my body was simply too broken to handle a real gym, I could stop my membership without having to fork over a bunch of money. It seemed the ideal place to start, especially since they have an even lower monthly plan I could switch to if I locked in for 1 year, so my original plan was to sign up for the higher rate with no locked in contract, test out the gym, and if I am able to get into a routine and work out properly, I could switch to the lower rate and save a bunch of cash.
With that in mind, I looked online and saw they wanted me to sign up through the website, however I don’t think it’s very smart to sign up to a gym without actually being able to see the inside of the gym. Also, I didn’t think any gym would be so idiotic as to make it impossible to even speak to a receptionist of some kind regarding what the gym is like, or which machines are available.
In my case specifically, I wanted to speak to someone regarding the weight limit of their machines as all home use equipment I’ve found has a weight limit that is lower than the weight I am currently at. So knowing that, why would I join a gym online, wait 3 days for my card to “Activate” and lord only knows where I’d get the card, was it via mail, email and print, in person somehow, GIMME MY CARD…..only to find out that I am out of pocket nearly $55.00 ($44.00 joining fee plus $9.99 for the first 2 weeks) and can’t use anything buy the yoga mats (if there even ARE yoga mats, as I said.. sight unseen). Also I wanted to see which machines I could use, as I currently have some mobility issues and wanted to be sure there would be equipment that could accommodate that (Are the bikes normal, or recumbent, are there machines to help strengthen my leg muscles, are there sufficient upper body machines available for if/when my lower body is in too much pain to work out. These are all things I needed to know before forking over my hard earned money).
So, finally, after weeks of planning and psyching myself up, I revealed my plan to Mike over my lunch hour and resolved to joining Fit 4 less tonight. The whole day my anxiety kept climbing, one of my major triggers is that I don’t like being seen by strangers, and I especially don’t feel comfortable looking like shit in front of them, and I can assure you that me + working out = A hot mess.
The time comes to join, I pull up to a parking spot, and climb out of the car, I’m already in pain from the walk TO my car from my desk, but I’m still determined to do this.
And that is when I hit the wall of exclusion. Upon opening the door, it looks like they are afraid of a zombie apocalypse or think they are situated in some hard core ghetto where drive by’s are a daily occurrence. I stood there dumbfounded, off to my left there was a locked door and what looked like an employee area or office behind bullet proof glass (I realize it probably isn’t… but it looked like it), they all just stared at me like I was some kind of freak. Directly in front of me were giant revolving doors, which you needed your gym membership card in order to open. I looked again to the bullet proof room trying to find some sort of reception or call button to let me in so that I could speak to a human about joining the gym. Nope, Nadda, Zip, Zilch. Just a lot of brightly coloured signs saying to swipe my pass to gain entrance, and a group of strangers watching me making no move to help or address me in any way other than to stare. No where did I see a place to actually sign up to GET a pass, or even speak to anyone inside. Again I looked at the employees (or whoever they were) openly gawking at me. I am not sure how much is my anxiety riddled brain recalling it this way, but they looked disgusted.
Who knows, maybe someone just farted…
But I can assure you that as a morbidly obese person, standing outside of the gym doors, being gawked at by a group of no less than 6 skinny people, all muscular and fit, with what seemed a look of disgust on their face as they watched me for nearly 2 minutes searching for some way to speak to a receptionist or owner or trainer, anyone. I was humiliated, and felt 100% excluded and not welcomed or encouraged to stay. Everything about the way it was set up made me feel as though I was wrong to have thought I could join this gym. It was a horrible experience, especially after weeks of psyching myself up and gaining the courage to walk in.
With that said, there IS a silver lining… because as you should know by now, every situation, even the most degrading evil gym type situations, have a silver lining. Instead of going back to my car to cry and letting that moment set me back years of progress in conquering my anxiety, I got pissed .
I turned right back around, went to my car, and didn’t shed a single tear. Which as someone who is currently at the apex of this month’s bout of PMS is clearly a miracle in and of itself… I mean, I cried yesterday because a group of friends on whatever show I was watching had a happy “we’re going to be friends for always” moment . Right then and there I decided that to hell with Fit 4 Less, they could suck a bag of dicks for all I cared. I was joining something today that would help me avoid dying if it was the last thing I did!
Cue me driving back to Aylmer with a solid plan in mind. What one work out do I LOVE doing, that doesn’t involve a machine with possible weight restrictions, that involves most of my body being obscured while working out.. SWIMMING!!!! There is a pool by my house, available to Gatineau people nearly for free, for non-residents there is a fee of over 100$/year, but even at that it’s cheaper than most gym memberships. I was going to get my Gatineau Access Pass today, and that was that. Who needs an elitist gym making me feel as though I don’t belong.
Let me tell you, not only was the librarian the sweetest most soft spoken woman I have ever met, but when I made an offhand remark on how I still technically lived in Gatineau but was unable to obtain a QC health card or drivers licence at this time, she asked if I have any bills that come to my address with my name.. I DID! Thank you Videotron *Hugs every Videotron bill EVER*. One look at that, and I was able to get the Gatineau resident pricing!!!
You are now looking at someone who has a full year of access to a salt water pool, for the sum of $27.00. (That is half of what I would have given Fit 4 less today simply for the first 2 weeks!!!) It also grants me access to the library and I believe arena’s too.. but let’s face it, I just want the pool man!
So tonight I’m going to be looking at their swim schedule and planning out when is best for me to get in a swim or two, or three, or twenty. The water will make it easier to move without pain, it will provide oodles of cardio which I greatly need, it will help me build up my endurance, burn calories, build muscle and have a physical outlet to release stress.
In summary, I would like to thank Fit 4 less gym for being a useless piece of shit. The anger you instilled in me gave me the wherewithal to gain access to what I really wanted, a pool.
As for you Province of Quebec, thanks to that one librarian being a wonderful human being who was willing to listen and help out someone in need, you have won this round of “Which side of the pond will I eventually settle down on”.
I am off now to make supper and plan out a swim schedule, and track down my gym bag, a clean towel, my bathing suit, and sandals.. THIS GIRL has some weight to lose! HUZZAH!