Minto Sports Complex
I don’t like going to the gym when it feels like an obligation. Photo: Hannah Vigneux/Fulcrum
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Stress-free workouts

That pre-pandemic feeling of adrenaline we used to experience when buying concert tickets online is a level of anxiety I definitely don’t miss, although getting to see my favorite artists live made it all worth it. At the University of Ottawa, registering for a gym session at the Minto Sports Complex or at Montpetit Hall creates those same emotions, but instead of getting to see Harry Styles live on tour, I get to exercise.

Having to set an alarm and log in a few minutes before 9 p.m. each night makes my heart rush. Organizing my schedules with my gym buddies and aligning suitable time slots is always quite the challenge. Even so, every evening when the clock strikes nine, it’s every person for themselves. That split second where that page glitches in the middle of the registration is a moment I never want to live again! And then, having to go through all that trouble, only to be potentially waitlisted? Nothing worse! I used to organize my days and make sure I was home between 8:40-9:10 p.m. every night, just so I could secure a spot at the gym two days in advance To book a session, I was prepared to make any sacrifices, even if the only spots were at 6:00 a.m. or at 10:00 p.m. 

Starting March 1, the tedious registration process had the potential to change! With Ontario’s proof of vaccination policies and COVID-19 restrictions being lifted and relaxed, why should we still have to endure this horrific experience of registering for the gym? 

While only some restrictions for the gym were lifted at the start of the month, the number of registration spots doubled. Still, even while having twice as many people allowed at the gym, I notice that more than a third of the workout machines remain untouched at all times! Although, it is quite the initial shock to see so many people in one room, as opposed to the social distancing capacities seen in the weeks prior, I truly believe that the gym won’t be reaching full capacity this semester. 

I think that the registration system for the gym should cease almost entirely. I agree that some time slots fill up faster than others, but for the most part, overflowing capacities won’t be a problem. I say we should stop needing to register for the gym and instead adopt a new “first-come-first-serve” system, where every time a student card is scanned, a spot gets taken. Once the maximum capacity is reached, no one else is allowed to enter for that session. This new system would not only save time and stress for students wanting to work out, but it could also relieve some of the staff members from having to answer every phone call from students who cancel their sessions minutes before starting. 

This ingenious student card system could update the number of spots available every five minutes for the first 30 minutes of the workout, and then every 10 minutes for the rest of the session, as everyone usually arrives at the beginning. This way, students will be able to see if their desired time slot is still available and go whenever they please.

Personally, I don’t like going to the gym when it feels like an obligation. I go to work out, to sweat, to relieve stress, and to maintain a healthy lifestyle. With that being said, I get motivated during different times of the day and it’s hard to know two days in advance the exact times in which I want to workout. If I suddenly feel the motivation to go to the gym at 10 p.m. one night, I want to be able to go and not have to be worried about registering. 

Going to the gym should be a fun activity to work out, relieve stress, and enjoy oneself. The less stressful this experience can be, the more motivated students will feel to continue exercising.