I Compared Goodlife Fitness To LA Fitness In Toronto & Here's Which One I'll Be Signing Up For
One factor made all the difference. 👀
The opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.
I used to love going to the gym, but after the pandemic, I never really got back into the swing of it as I just got used to doing at-home workouts or walks in the park.
Given that I used to really enjoy the group fitness classes but am not necessarily at the strength to do the harder classes, I decided to try classes that each gym described as "easy" on their schedules.
While both gyms and classes had their ups and downs, it's important to bear in mind that this is just my personal take after going to one location and trying out one class. That being said, there's definitely one gym I preferred and am interested in singing up for!
What is Goodlife Fitness like?
A cycling studio at Goodlife.
I chose to check out the Toronto Goodlife at Bloor and Islington, which is the closest location to my apartment. It's an easy 10-minute drive (and you can validate your parking) or about a 15-minute subway trip, with the subway conveniently opening up right into the Goodlife building.
During my initial wander, I found a cycling studio, a group workout studio, an area of cardio machines and general weight machines. There were also two dedicated "recovery" rooms for one person to use at a time where members can swipe their gym tag to use massage therapy guns and reclining loungers.
The change room was spacious and clean and had showers as well as a sauna.
Overall, the vibes were good and the club felt kind of fancy, but I didn't feel too overwhelmed and there were lots of staff around offering a hand whenever I got lost.
It appeared that the location I visited is entirely co-ed (other than the changing areas, washrooms, showers and sauna), but there are some locations that are women only.
What is LA Fitness like?
The women's exercise area of LA Fitness.
For LA Fitness, I opted for the location on Keele near Bloor which is about a 5-minute drive from my apartment or 10 minutes by transit (or a 25-minute walk).
The location felt much busier than Goodlife, which was surprising since I went to LA Fitness on a weekday evening and Goodlife on a Saturday.
While I wandered, I saw a pool, a cycling studio, a group exercise studio, some kind of court (squash, perhaps?) and cardio and weight machines. I think LA Fitness had more machines to use than Goodlife, but perhaps that's to accommodate for how much busier it is.
The change rooms were also clean and spacious, but the thing that I really liked about the LA Fitness location is that there is a dedicated area for women's exercise.
As a pretty self-conscious person, I appreciate that there's a space for people who identify as female and it's a feature I could definitely see myself using.
The class at Goodlife
A stage at Goodlife Fitness.
Sarah Rohoman | Narcity
At Goodlife, I opted to do the BODYBALANCE class which markets itself as "a full-body workout designed to increase flexibility, strengthen the core and create a lasting sense of well-being."
When I entered the class, it appeared to be mostly women aged 50 or older which made me think it was either going to be a fairly easy class or I was about to get destroyed. It turned out to be the latter, but in the best way possible.
The instructor stood on a raised platform wearing a microphone headset, introduced herself and asked if there was anyone trying the class for the first time. Two of us put up our hands, and she kindly told us that if at any point we got confused or tired, to take a break, take a breath and rejoin when we were feeling up to it or just simply sit and watch.
Her advice immediately put me at ease and made me feel less self-conscious about some of the poses I struggled with later. As well, I appreciated that she demonstrated all of the moves as we were doing them and showed various options of them for beginners or those seeking lower impact or less of a stretch. I have a bad shoulder from an injury, and when she saw me struggling with a move, she suggested I modify it to accommodate the lesser flexibility I have and it was much more comfortable.
The music selection was also pretty bumping and I found myself kind of dancing in my spot when I got lost with some of the yoga moves.
Overall, it was a challenging but enjoyable hour and I left feeling pleasantly sore in my arms, core, legs and butt, which lasted for a few days. Later that week, I found myself thinking that I'd like to go back to that class again!
The class at LA Fitness
To match the class I took at Goodlife, I opted for the closest possible option at LA Fitness which was a yoga class. While the class was pretty OK, it definitely paled in comparison to my experience at Goodlife.
There was no platform for the instructor, so she was kind of hard to see and she didn't have a headset on, so at times I struggled to hear her instructions despite the fact that the ambient music was very, very quiet.
As it turns out, it didn't matter that there wasn't a platform because the instructor wasn't doing most of the moves. She was calling them out and people were just doing them, which made me feel a little creepy as I then had to check out what the people around me were doing in order to follow suit. I know what Downward Dog looks like, but some of the other poses like Chaturanga and Baby Cobra were ones I was less familiar with.
Something else that was a little off-putting was the amount of hair on the studio floor. As a woman with a lot of hair, I understand that it's natural that it falls, but there was enough on the ground around me that I felt a little uncomfortable whenever I had to get into a pose that put my limbs beyond the space of my mat.
Overall, the hour seemed to drag, and I booked it out of there as soon as Savasana was over.
The membership options
At Goodlife, there are three membership options: Essential ($33.99/biweekly), Ultimate ($39.99/biweekly) and Performance ($54.99/biweekly) which all have various one-time enrollment fees.
The first option gets you access to one Goodlife location, use of exercise equipment, pools and saunas, but no towel service or access to group fitness classes.
The second option gives you access to all Goodlife locations in Canada as well as group fitness classes, towel service, squash, family add-ons and other perks.
The last option gives you everything the second option does as well as access to classes like REGYMEN, PEAK Training United, Hot Yoga, Craft Boxing and more.
At LA Fitness, there are two membership options: $39.99/month plus a $99 initiation fee or $49.99/month with no initiation fee.
Both options offer access to all LA Fitness locations in Canada, unlimited group fitness classes, access to weights and cardio equipment as well as access to pools, spas, saunas and courts.
Despite LA Fitness having the better price point and being a bit closer to my apartment, I think I'm going to be signing up for Goodlife's Ultimate membership option, which works out to about $80/month.
I felt really, really comfortable at the class I went to and felt excited about going back to that location and trying out other options. I liked that it was easy to see the instructor and that I didn't feel out of place despite being new to the class. In fact, after my Goodlife experience, I was so excited about going there in the future I found myself looking up cute workout outfits.
Yes, it's twice the price of LA Fitness, but if I end up going to one or two classes a week, the money that I'll be spending feels worth it!
This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.
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