140 8th Avenue Sw,(Stephen Ave), Calgary, Alberta, T2P 1B3
Opening times: 5:00 Mon until 22:00 Fri – open 24 hours. Sat and Sun: 7:00-19:00
Cost: 3 day free trial – register here and input the postcode above.
GoodLife Fitness Calgary – Stephen Avenue
This large gym is located downtown, a couple of minutes walk away from “Centre Street”, which is handily within the free train zone. As I was staying only one stop away near City Hall, I hasten to add I didn’t wait for one!
Please note, upon arrival, I was given a form to fill in with my address. It might pay off to know your “address” in Calgary off the top of your head (including postcode) so that you can fill this in easily, if you’re hoping to pass yourself off as a resident. I filled in my hostel details. There was however nothing in the small print about needing to be a resident, but it’s not unusual for clubs to claim this as a condition upon arrival.
Unusually for me, the first thing I noticed about GoodLife Fitness Calgary was… the ceiling! It’s pretty fancy, along with the lights – check out the pics! For a moment I thought I’d entered a posh hotel, but then I jolted back to my reality – hostels and squats. On this occasion, I (also unusually for me) braved attending at 1700 on a Wednesday evening. Of course this is the standard busy time for gyms and it matched expectations. The club was extremely busy, though coped well in terms of provision of cardio machines even with the number of people present.
Although well-equipped with a variety of weights, the cardio area certainly dominates the space, occupying the majority of the ground floor. There were a large number of treadmills, bike, ellipticals (incl laterals), arc trainers, stair climbers, steppers and rowing machines to mention a few.
The weights area is split between the remaining ground floor area and the whole of upstairs. On the ground floor you’ll find mostly resistance machines, incl Hoist and a matted floor area, whereas upstairs contains mostly free weights and racks, Smith machines etc.
The upstairs area was extremely busy, despite being well-equipped with a large range of dumbbells and two full sets of barbells. These are located in one room along with numerous benches. You’ll also see a further room containing a Smith machine and several multi-functional squat/pull up bar stations. Additionally I found an assisted chin ups machine and a few other resistance machines up here, along with numerous types of adjustable barbells.
At 17:00, I often had to wait for equipment, despite duplicates of popular machines.
Training at 730 the following morning (Thursday) was surprisingly quiet in contrast, there were generally few people around – I guess Calgarians train after work and not before, in the main!
There’s no shortage of functional training equipment here! I spotted some Free Motion resistance machines which are ultimately more functional than standard resistance machines, allowing movement in all directions. In this way, they behave more like resistance bands, but without users needing to fix the middle. Other than that, expect all the usual gym toys – a range of medicine balls and kettle bells, BOSUs, Swiss balls and stepboards.
Although there is a matted floor area, I didn’t find a more general floor area, though there is ample space around the sides of downstairs for floor work. I even saw personal trainers using some of that space with their clients for this purpose. I even knocked out 100 burpees next to the mats myself.
There is a studio located in the basement, which mostly seemed to be used for Les Mills classes. See timetable above. It was however closed temporarily when I attended, due to smoke from forest fires from the Western part of the country. We’d all noticed smoke in the air generally, but staff and clients alike seemed confused why it was particularly evident in the studio. Hmm, perhaps all that strenuous cardio in smokey air isn’t such a good idea.
All in all, GoodLife Fitness Calgary is an excellent gym, particularly for cardio machines, in terms of the number, range and ability to accommodate in peak periods. Still excellent for weight-training but avoid peak periods. Oh and did I mention the impressive ceiling?
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