For many people, the gym is not just a facility to work out. It is a lifestyle, a community of likeminded individuals with the same goals, a place to relieve stress and anxiety after a long day at the office, a place to find and cultivate your happiness, and of course, a license to eat a well-deserved cheat meal without feeling too bad. Genuinely, it can be a motivating and welcoming environment — no matter your fitness level. Once gyms opened in Montreal again after a 6-month break, the positive energy it breaded had come back. It was evident in conversation. 

“I love going to the gym. It helps me feel normal and relieves stress,” Sam Yuelle said, a local Montreal resident. “It was also nice to see all the familiar faces. I was focused on getting in shape more than ever before.” 

“The gym makes a massive difference in the quality of our lives, both mentally and physically,” Elisa Dragon said, another local Montreal resident. “I really hope gyms will stay open longer so we can all focus on our health. Although, I knew there was a pretty good chance they’d close again, I kept embracing it. Our priorities need to be in the right place.” 

Unquestionably, the gym didn’t only help boost morale — it was an incredible step forward for mental health. You were able to feel it when you entered a facility and saw everyone there. An intoxicating spark was relevant, and it was contagious. Slowly, you also felt the muscle memory come back along with your confidence. Summer bodies galore was a running theme. But after only 2 weeks, it was short-lived when Premier Francois Legault decided the gym wasn’t a good idea anymore. Unfortunately, everyone interviewed weren’t that surprised. In fact, even though there were many happy people, there was also a cause of concern for one’s future work out goals. Krystle Spence (@ksfitness1) — a trainer at Monster Gym and fitness influencer with a close to 50K following on her Instagram page — informed us of this in much better detail.

 “The gym was very busy the last 2 weeks. I wasn’t sure if it was a good or bad thing because of social distancing measures alone. But everyone was happy and talking to each other. Even people I didn’t necessarily know were greeting me. The most interesting thing, though, was the amount of people who came to my office asking for workout plans and advice because they were scared of closures happening again.” 

Even in the heat of muscle gains and personal development, it followed with the anxiety of having it all be for nothing. The more Krystle opened up, the more it became quite clear that an entire industry of hard-working people were unjustly led on by the government. It felt like a relationship that ended prematurely — the pain of Legault’s ghosting was real. But despite that, people like Krystle see the truth in it all. She made an excellent point we need to understand. 

“This isn’t about health and safety. It’s more fixated on Covid-19 without even considering what people really need to hear. Honestly, it’s not fair that things like the SAQ remain open and the gym is considered a problem. It seems backwards to me, and that makes us feel neglected.” 

The arguments and overall thoughts presented by Montrealers are vastly similar. It begs the question of why? Evidence proves there was no reason for Legault to open up gyms only to shut them down in less than a month. It brought hopes up only to leave us without it once more. But as we’ve learned to adapt to quarantine, lockdowns, and curfews, there is a chance that outdoor activities like cycling, jogging, and swimming will grow more in popularity this coming summer. Maybe, there are personal trainers and coaches who have already pivoted into the entrepreneurial world. Reach out to them — they need you as much as you need them.  Together, we’ll persevere. After all, the heart of Montrealers is strong. 

 *If you are a Montrealer in the fitness/sports industry or a regular gym goer with a story to tell, please contact me with GYM in the subject line at ian@thesuburban.com. I look forward to being in touch. *

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