“There have been a lot of emotional nights, where I tell myself I just want to work out. I just want to feel good again.” 

Like so many people across the country, Melissa Duncan of Sudbury, ON says the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on her mental health. She says she attributes this toll to the fact that she hasn’t been able to use the gym. 

While Melissa started working out in 2012, her fitness journey really began in 2018, when she started to prepare for a Tough Mudder run. 

“At first, I used GoodLife to prepare for my run, but I then I started making a habit of it, and going to the gym became part of my regular routine. When I needed something to do, or needed to release frustrations from work, I would just go to the gym.” 

A pinched nerve in her back meant Melissa needed to take special care when exercising. BODYPUMP and RPM classes at GoodLife were safe ways to sweat without aggravating her injury. 

When the pandemic forced gyms to close in 2020, Melissa bought some weights to use at home, but says the experience is not the same. 

Without specialized equipment at home, I can’t do the exercises I want to do. Virtual workouts and classes help a lot, but nothing matches the sense of connection and community of my gym. Every time I see my weights at home, they make me miss the club even more.

Melissa works in a retail environment that has relied heavily on curbside pickup throughout the pandemic. This means long, repetitive and tiring hours of work. She often feels a lot of stress and frustration by the end of a shift, and would normally work off those feelings at the gym. 

Physical labour at work does help Melissa stay active. She’s also an avid cyclist, and enjoys biking to and from work each day. 

Melissa says she’s looking forward to returning to GoodLife, and that she hopes getting back into the gym will help her and other Canadians find the stress relief they’ve been missing for so long. 

“I became friends with a lot of people at my gym. Having spent over a month of the pandemic in hard quarantine, I can’t believe how much I miss those connections – knowing that you’re all there to do the same thing. Different goals and different journeys, but a shared purpose. Gyms are vital to people’s mental health, and I can’t wait to go back. I need to go back.” 

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