Don't let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game. Image: Bardia Boomer/Fulcrum
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Since September 2021, working out at either Minto Sports Complex or Montpetit Hall has required registration for specific timeslots. Unsurprisingly, since September 2021, working out at these U of O gyms has been nothing short of a headache.

The booking system was initially set up to abide by appropriate COVID-19 restrictions, as having only a select few time slots limited the amount of traffic at either gym. This system was effective at the time, as people were still able to use the facilities while limiting the spread of COVID-19. 

However, in March of 2022, the Ontario government eased provincial restrictions — no more masks, and no more limits on indoor gatherings. Following these announcements, the University began to ease their restrictions as well. Now, students are attending lectures with over 100 students — and, yet, they continue to register for gym slots.

This decision to continue gym registration was puzzling, even back in the spring. In fact, the Fulcrum published a piece on this topic as early as late March 2022. That piece reflected many of the same frustrations that, months later, students continue to have about booking gym sessions. The 9 p.m. stress when time slots go live, the glitchy website, and of course the “holy shit I won the lottery” sensation of securing a time between 12–4 p.m. 

As a student with typical university stresses, working out is a quintessential part of my day. Part of these student stresses comes from having an unpredictable schedule — it’s always possible that my professor will ask for an 800-word discussion post on a book I didn’t read.

In these frequently unpredictable situations, attending a gym session at an inconvenient time becomes a real challenge.

And when these inconvenient gym times no longer work in a student’s busy schedule, students are required to call the gyms and let them know. If they don’t call in, students are given a strike. After three strikes, students are given a temporary ban from attending either gym, even though they still pay a sports fee.

The expectation that students should be diligent enough to call in when their day gets away from them is almost as unreasonable as enforcing a punishment when they don’t. 

So, what should the solution be? How should the University move forward with students using their gyms?

Simply put, I think they should open gyms completely. I believe the University gyms should open at 6 a.m. and close at 11 p.m., without requiring any pre-planning on behalf of students. This schedule will encourage students to work out consistently without requiring them to plan their day around potentially inconvenient times. 

One could object to this and say that opening gyms up fully would make them busier at peak hours. To this, I would say that having an open gym schedule, one without strict time slots, would allow people to come and go as they please. Students wouldn’t be restricted to the same time slots — they could instead go to either gym on their own time. And as a result, I think peak times would spread out over different hours of the day. 

Dropping gym times would undoubtedly make going to the gym as a student much easier. It would allow students to fit working out into their schedules comfortably without having to worry about ”striking out.” This current system makes me wonder if the university thinks students or baseball players are using their gyms.

Seriously, it’s time to end booking gym times.


  • Matthew is a fourth-year student studying philosophy and political science at the University of Ottawa. This is his first year as the Fulcrum’s Opinions Editor, and he looks forward to hearing opinions from all his fellow students.