While 2020 was a year many would rather forget, North York high school teacher Andreea Ionescu says it will always be a special time for her. It was the year she decided to finally take her health and fitness seriously.

“I was on vacation in late 2019, and kept describing myself as the least athletic person in the world...that I was not at all ‘fit’. I realized this was a ridiculous thing to say, and that it didn’t have to be true.”

Shortly after her trip and with a hope to stop feeling so disconnected from physical activity, Andreea joined GoodLife with her brother. She signed up to try personal training, and discovered that it was an excellent way for her to learn and have fun while working out. She started doing sessions with a trainer three times a week.

Andreea saw an immediate, positive change in her fitness abilities, and says she was surprised at what she was able to do so quickly.

I could lift heavier than my own body weight, which was mind-blowing to me. Fitness was something I had always just convinced myself I couldn’t do, and for no real reason. I soon understood that wasn’t true at all.

Following gym closures, Andreea could no longer meet with her trainer, and had to resort to other means of working on her fitness.

She began exploring her community through cycling, often riding 20km or even 40km on good weather days. Andreea says she struggles with written workouts, and instead relies on videos and virtual fitness sessions.

“The more lockdowns we had, the harder it was to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and the harder it was to get moving. I texted my trainer the moment I heard of gyms possibly reopening, and was in line at my GoodLife every chance I had.”

Andreea says going to the gym is “an event she always looks forward to”, and that her gym gives her structure and goals to work towards throughout the week. This became especially true after COVID-19 hit, as online teaching meant spending long hours at her computer.

She can’t wait to get back to the gym, and hopes more people who may not have a positive relationship with physical activity can use gyms to improve their health. People have felt the pandemic’s impact on their health for well over a year now, and many without previous gym experience may want to explore how fitness can improve their enjoyment of life.

“As adults I think we all need to learn to try new things that scare us. I did, and I couldn’t believe how quickly I came to love it. While I do my best to treat each day like a normal day and not let the pandemic change my living habits, I know getting back is going to be a huge benefit for my physical and mental health. I hope more people can find that benefit too.”

The pandemic has been full of challenges and triumphs for our Members and Associates, especially in areas where gyms have faced frequent and lengthy closures. 

Throughout June and July, we'll be using our channels to share your stories. We want to hear from you. Tell us what you missed most about gyms being closed during the pandemic and how it impacted your health. How did you adapt your fitness routine and what are you looking forward to most when Clubs re-open?

Please submit your story here