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Sports & Play

GoodLife acquires Extreme Fitness

Posted by Staff / April 1, 2013

Goodlife extreme fitnessToronto's two major fitness chains have now become one. In what is surprisingly NOT an April Fools joke, GoodLife Fitness announced today that it has acquired Extreme Fitness. The move adds 13 Toronto area clubs to GoodLife's portfolio which now stands at over 300 locations across Canada.

The move may suggest that GoodLife has largely run out of promising new locations to open in Toronto. It also means it now has a presence in areas such as the Danforth and the Club District but it's yet unclear what changes GoodLife plans to bring to these clubs (GoodLife has posted a FAQ here) and for how long they'll continue to operate under the Extreme brand and rate structure.

Extreme's marketing and business practices have drawn significant criticism on this site so it will be interesting to see how GoodLife plans to address current or past gripes.

This acquisition also means that GoodLife is really the only fitness chain with a significant GTA presence. Snap Fitness and LA FItness are both making inroads into the local market but so far their presence is relegated to a handful of locations.

It's also possible that this move was largely a preemptive strike against impending US competition such as the soon-to-launch Equinox chain. Acquiring Extreme's 13 locations prevents a US competitor from doing the same and therefore quickly establishing a Toronto foothold.

What do you think of the move? Is GoodLife's acquisition of Extreme Fitness good or bad for those of us looking for local fitness options?

Photo by Plane View in the blogTO Flickr pool

Discussion

46 Comments

Aww / April 1, 2013 at 02:49 pm
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Looks like someone is tired from their big work out.
johnsonstarfish / April 1, 2013 at 03:20 pm
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What's the deal with that woman in the photo? Doesn't look like a homeless woman at all.
Janice / April 1, 2013 at 03:30 pm
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Personally I like GoodLife. I love their motto and how they encourage people to be the best that they can be in overall health and wellness, not the thinnest they can be etc. I'm quite happy to see them making a strategic move to keep US competitors out of the Canadian market.
Wes / April 1, 2013 at 03:35 pm
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Hey sweetie, theres a Good Life out there, open up your eyes...
Anna / April 1, 2013 at 04:32 pm
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Whaddaya mean she doesn't look homeless? Poor girl looks like she hasn't had a proper meal in years. You can see the bones in her upper arms for heaven's sake.
rek / April 1, 2013 at 04:34 pm
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Anything would be an improvement over Extreme Fitness.
Critic / April 1, 2013 at 04:45 pm
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They both are terribly overpriced... often too crowded to use. I gave up on the idea going to the gym. A good diet, plus walking / biking all downtown as I live in the core of the city allows to be stay active. You get a set of good weights for home if you want to pump it up a bit. Push ups are always free!
JR / April 1, 2013 at 10:40 pm
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I was gonna say! This happened weeks ago...
D / April 2, 2013 at 12:49 am
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I just had the worst experience with Goodlife/Extreme Acquisition. It's only day one and I'm already disappointed with the gooflife employees inability to transition smoothly. I don't know (IDK) is not a reason for being completely robotic and inattentive. You say you have the best of everything and especially caring employees, and yet somehow each answer is the same unaware I don't care B.Sh*t. Nonetheless, Like robots conforming to details of their job details & the gooflife motto! You certainly should have employees who indeed are how you say "friendly, qualified associates (who) support you in achieving" the best possible transition for this Extreme Fitness acquisition David Patchell-Evans.

Members at Extreme Fitness will speak their minds and have the character to ask knowledgeable questions expecting to receive knowledgeable answers. Not I don't know (IDK) I understand this is only day one of this transition however I and other Extreme Fitness members will fight with knowledgeable facts and not flight with multiple IDK (I don't know)for what is most certainly Right.

Afterall, the customer is always right.

Sincerely,

Extreme Fitness Brock Road Pickering Advocate
arm replying to a comment from Anna / April 2, 2013 at 12:58 am
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you sound like a fat person.
M / April 2, 2013 at 01:48 am
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I had an Extreme membership for years and Good Life for one year. Extreme has much better equipment and classes, at least in North York location. I was really enjoying Extreme fitness and their very good instructors and feel very sorry for those instructors who can't stay.
I can't understand why Extreme lost in the completion, because they are definitely better than Good life, and I don't think this transition will be beneficial for the members.
asasa / April 2, 2013 at 02:02 am
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lol @ the extreme fitness fanboys in here. goodlife is a better run gym and organization even if its cult like. Extreme fitness was only good for hiring good looking women to hand out 10 day gym passes.
Bob replying to a comment from D / April 2, 2013 at 10:18 am
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Extreme Fitness is shit. They don't clean the place up, weights are all over the place for days, the staff is not courteous or useful in any way. I did my fitness test with them and the girl who did it was a condescending bitch who really knew fuck all about health and fitness. Forcing someone to sit through that bullshit sales pitch is bad enough. I find that they seem like douchebags at Extreme. Their billing practices leave something to be desired also.
Bob replying to a comment from D / April 2, 2013 at 10:19 am
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Also, what's with the (IDK), are you completely new to the internet? LOL! (laughing out loud)
Bones / April 2, 2013 at 11:13 am
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I don't mind Goodlife, but a gym is a gym. I don't go there to make friends or put myself in a position where a surly employee ruins my entire perception of the company. My girlfriend likes the classes and her results and commitment to them speak to their effectiveness. I find I never have to wait long to use a bench or machine, and most people are fairly courteous when it comes to "working in" on them. Unlike some other gyms I've been to before - Venice Fitness and Gold's Gym to name two - the place isn't rampant with drug use, and if it is it's well-hidden.

So yeah, if this helps keep the fitness industry a tad more Canadian I'm all for this takeover. Goodlife has given many people an easily-accessible option to improve our fitness levels. Only on blogto could that possibly be considered a bad thing.
Sammy / April 2, 2013 at 11:25 am
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"They both are terribly overpriced... often too crowded to use"
How can they be overpriced if so many people use them that they're too crowded?
Chobby / April 2, 2013 at 12:41 pm
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Terrible news or good news, seems bottom line was soaring on both side! Poor members have to go with the change but certainly not with any increases in fees.
Members' bottom line is to release their stress and calories by going on safe and working equipments in a clean environment, which was not always the case. Members like myself, who enjoying the swimming pool in Extreme's limited locations, hoping that Good Life continues to maintain and add more pools to other locations.
Stanley Tee / April 2, 2013 at 01:10 pm
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I've been a member at Extreme for about 7 years, and Bally before that. I moved clubs when Extreme and Goodlife bought Bally because I didn't want to become a Goodlife member. My main issue is with spinning. I take three or four spin classes a week at different locations, choosing each based on the instructor. As I understand, Goodlife has a conveyor belt approach to spinning - everybody has to teach the same class, using the same music. And according to their website, they only change the music and "choreography" every three months.

It just sounds so utterly BORING!!!! The whole joy of going to different classes was being able to get a completely different experience each time.

Even worse, Goodlife apparently does not allow spin instructors who work for them to work at other clubs, so two of the best Extreme instructors have left. Although I suppose if they had to follow orders, it doesn't really make any difference.

Ah well, at least I'll now have more times and locations to choose from.
Bobo / April 2, 2013 at 02:12 pm
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This will be a welcome change.

Extreme Fitness was built on a high turnover, volume sales proposition. Their focus and culture has always been sales-based - even the environment, equipment, etc. is only there to sell memberships. They have been running the same bait and switch type offers for years. Once they have you, they care little about user experience (until your membership commitment is almost up). Now that all the partners and private equity firm have made their money, it's time for them to move on and hand the reins over to a management team that cares about people and wellness.

Stanley Tee replying to a comment from Bobo / April 2, 2013 at 02:35 pm
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Hope you're right. When I think about it, I know you're right about the Extreme approach - the equipment was barely maintained and they would cancel classes with no regard for member wishes.
Dee / April 2, 2013 at 06:43 pm
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I've been a Goodlifer for years. I love the energy in the classes. The majority of the instructors I have met are enthusiastic, energetic and knowledgeable about fitness. As to the afforability, I recently spoke to the manager of my home gym about costs. I was advised that Goodlife offers a "half membership" at a reduced rate. Perhaps the people that think the memberships are "terribly overpriced," should have actually spoke to a manager.
E / April 2, 2013 at 09:36 pm
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I've been with Extreme for many years now and am very sad to see that Goodlife has taken over. Despite having to pay more for my Extreme membership, I still made the conscious choice to join their gyms. I had tried Goodlife before and found that their gyms are lacking in equipment, and their classes are just not as fun or as challenging. I am going to really miss my class instructors who had decided not to conform and be pressured by the Goodlife contracts. I tried a Goodlife gym yesterday and it really didn't feel the same. And today, I went back to my usual Extreme location, and was very disappointed to see that things had changed there too. I truly hope that Goodlife does the right thing and doesn't make drastic changes to the Extreme group fitness programs and classes. In fact, they should try to build some of that into their Goodlife classes. Nobody wants to be taking the same boring class week after week! How is that supposed to improve your fitness levels?
Skye replying to a comment from Stanley Tee / April 3, 2013 at 09:36 am
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GoodLife is the fast food of gyms. Yes, every class is EXACTLY the same, whether you're in Etobicoke or East Gwillimbury. The idea is that you can go to any GoodLife location and you'll know exactly what you're getting from one of the classes.

Having been a GoodLife member, it becomes deadly dull after a while.

They also pay their instructors below the average rate and to top it off, they demand exclusivity from their instructors as well. There's no way you're going to attract the very best instructors if you offer them poor pay and then say they're not allowed to earn more money anywhere else.
Nancy / April 3, 2013 at 01:52 pm
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I've been a member of both gyms - the Extreme up in Thornhill as well as the one at Wellington and York, and The Goodlife on Toronto Street (starting back when it was Soul Fit) and now the Goodlife Flagship location at Yonge and Adelaide.

Frankly, I prefer Goodlife. I find they keep their gyms much cleaner and have very friendly and approachable staff. While the classes are the same at every gym, the Les Mills classes are popular for a reason - they are effective. Generally they only do the current choreography for a few weeks and then each instructor mixes in old releases so it always seems fresh to me.

I'm also happy they have such a strong foothold in Toronto as it helps keep out the US competition AND it gives me so many options of gyms to go to.
Marie / April 3, 2013 at 10:52 pm
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Yuck! I used to belong to Sports Clubs of Canada - GREAT, HIGH QUALITY GYM... Unfortunately, Extreme bought out the locations I went to, and now this?! It's definitely time to jump ship and find a higher quality gym.
cin replying to a comment from Skye / April 3, 2013 at 11:23 pm
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just to let you know they dont pay their instructors below average wages
how do i know this
I teach for them
Chicago movers Yelp / April 5, 2013 at 03:22 am
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Pups / April 5, 2013 at 10:30 am
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Juxtaposition win.
GL Eaton Center trainer / April 6, 2013 at 01:01 pm
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That's right GL dosent pay at all. I'm a trainer there and all I can says is majority of us have 2 jobs!
frank ocean / April 6, 2013 at 07:08 pm
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Maybe now Extreme Fitness employees will learn how to smile and not be corrupt
GSP / April 6, 2013 at 07:22 pm
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Extreme Fitness was made from the business model Make money at any cost.Whether this meant cheat, steal, or lie. They were less of a fitness centre and spend more money on find beauty faces and making harassing calls. Their contracts are very deceptive and use alot of tactics to take your money. They cared very little of the customer, made it extremely difficult to file complaints or file letters to the CEO or head office...if they even had any. Good Life was the complete opposite. I came for what I wanted and got what I want. Customer service was great and got a smile everytime I came in. The employee douche bag ratio drop immensely. Best part was I spent a year working out rather than spending a year dealing with credit card statements, possible lawsuits, and many many many unwanted calls and meetings with harrassing gym associates. If I had a choice id would've wiped Extreme Clean from their corruption and messed up business model, but an acquisition from a clean company sounds pretty good. Just mop up the dead weight and fire all those who followed the old protocol or make money and be a jerk. I know the Extreme Head is laughing to the bank right now.
sar replying to a comment from Stanley Tee / April 7, 2013 at 04:19 pm
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It is true that there are new classes released every 3 months, but instructors are free to "mix" their classes after a few weeks of a new release. I personally love the les mills classes. They areprofessionally done and used world wide. While I have no doubt there are some Iinstructors that put together their own great classes, I've also been to a lot of bad ones. The instructors always ask what people like and I'm a huge fan of GL classes.
bb / April 8, 2013 at 11:40 pm
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I have been a member at both Gyms. Goodlife is definitely a better run gym. I have been to various locations and the staff are very friendly and courteous. There is a certain professionalism about them, that they try to emulate is most locations. I found Extreme to have its own culture in various locations. Some of the classes at Extreme were very good, though I do enjoy the Body Pump, Body Flow and zumba classes. Some locations have exceptional instructors, some OK. Since Goodlife has acquried, perhaps it would be worthwhile what members liked about Extreme. Me personally I did enjoy the Yoga classes. They were challenging and fun
jj / April 9, 2013 at 11:23 pm
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It seems like goodlife only employes fat people. Because its been just over a week since they moved in and that's all I've seen. I have nothing against, its just when you walk in the front door and there are a couple of XLs greeting you as the image of goodlife...kind of took my motivation.
DeSouza / April 11, 2013 at 10:44 am
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That pic is JOKES!
Aries / April 12, 2013 at 08:33 pm
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Left good life 2 years ago and joined extreme fitness after trying new classes with them.. Now I'm ending again with this guys.. Not happy ..
Adam / April 18, 2013 at 03:34 pm
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Goodlife is just as nasty and crooked as Extreme.
Jim / April 22, 2013 at 09:41 am
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Anyone hoping for a positive change with the transition to Extreme is dreaming. Adam (above) is right...they pull all the same scams.

It's shameful that neither law enforcement or the Ministry of Consumer Services ever did anything to reign in Extreme's dishonest practices. I am sure the former owners and Falconhead Capital made plenty of money ripping off their customers, safe in the knowledge no one would do anything. Now that Extreme is gone they move on to their next scam. The two main execs at Extreme, Jim Solomon, Chief Executive
David Bell, CFO were previously involved in the Crunch fitness scam so they've perfected their scam.
louis vuitton monogram canvas / April 25, 2013 at 11:38 am
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Tharaa / May 16, 2013 at 06:30 pm
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I am writing this as a Review. I was an extreme Fitness member at the Head office in Thornhill Location. I HATE GOODLIFE and their "so called fitness expert" managers. They apparently have terminated my extreme fitness file. Dont even have my name on their system but still have all the information to be charging me every month. Cannot help me unless I come in person and talk to their General Manager Michelle who is "soo busy she wouldn't have time to call you" so now I have to go in to talk to her. They are rude and unhelpful. I am not sure if they know they are in Canada and this is not how customer service works here!
Adam / July 12, 2013 at 08:01 pm
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I used to be a member of the Yonge/Dundas gym but I cancelled my membership about a year and a half ago.
Today I got a letter saying that I now owed Goodlife Fitness $190 for missed payments for April and May 2013.
So I google and find out the goodlife bought extreme fitness and apparently they are just billing anyone who used to be a member that they still have records for.
Great job so far guys.
leo tibbard replying to a comment from Sammy / August 12, 2013 at 05:31 pm
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They are too crowded because of the two-tier pricing system. They charge corporate clients $450/year and all others $880/year...so it's overcrowded with corp. clients but a regular person has to pay a really high price and be stuck there with all those corp. people who paid half the price.
Evgeny(Eugen) / November 6, 2013 at 09:53 am
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I Loved Extreme, but who cares.
Linz / December 4, 2013 at 08:25 am
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There are so many things I can say regarding the comments people have made here...

I have been a customer service employee with GoodLife for more than 5 years now. When I first started the company was called Family Fitness. A month later, GoodLife took over. I was here for the transition and everything that has gone on since. To all the extreme fitness people who are upset regarding the takeover and slow transition, please know that it does not happen over night. It will take time for each club to become a truely GoodLife club. Employees who were with the old company will leave or stay or be asked to leave as was the case with our club. Our manager stayed for the first year and then was asked to leave as she was not performing as a GL GM should be. She was given her severance and it was a possitive change for her. We had another employee who refused to change the way she sold memberships and so GL asked her to leave as well, but they had given her a chance to change from less desireable tactics to the GL way of doing things. Many people have trouble changing their ways when they have been doing the same thing for an extended period of time. It was easy for me because I had only been with the old company for one month, and I found that the GL way was far superior. Since then there have been many changes to the way our company runs and all for the better.
The old company was very much sales driven where GoodLife is not. YES, absolutely we do focus on sales! We would not be a successfull company if we didn't try to get new members into the club or sell personal training and boot camps (and yes, that involves getting out into the community, asking members for refferals, and making phone calls to people who's numbers we have been given). That being said, it is not our sole focus, nor do we employ "sneaky" sales tactics. We offer people a chance to come try our club. We even have a short term trial membership available on-line! We offer monthly enrollment specials, AND we are very clear with our membership agreements. Everything is stipulated on the agreement and each new member gets a copy of that agreement. So even if you aren't paying attention to the things that the associate is telling you when you sign up, you are more than capable of going home and reading the fine print on your agreement... of course, I'm sure none of us sign anything without reading it first. :)
As far as memberships being transfered from one company to the next, yes there have been many hiccups. Any person with an active agreement with the old company will be automatically transfered to the new company. If the membership wasn't cancelled properly then of course we will continue to take payments. Many people don't realize this, but putting a "stop payment" on your gym payments is not a way of cancelling the agreement. ***If you ever have a problem with billing or think that payments have been taken post cancellation or whatever, simply bring in you statement showing the offending transactions and your proof of changes made to your account, and GL will be more than happy to rectify the situation! Any time you do paperwork with GL you get a copy, a copy goes in your file (located at your home club) and a copy goes to our head office. and yes, we do encourage members to come into the club to resolve issues. This way, we can verify your identity, we can get your signature, you get a copy of any paperwork done so you know it is done, AND we can give you one on one help, face to face! And if you aren't able to come into the club, there is a # for our members to call the head office where all calls are recorded. Especially during a transitional period, the managers are very busy and it is not always possible for them to make calls to a member to resolve issues. Phone tag is not our friend during busy times and when a member wants an issue solved quickly!*** GoodLife has honoured the membership rates of current members in clubs we have taken over. As long as that membership remains the same as when the club was taken over, the rate will stay the same. Any changes and you will be changed to a GoodLife rate. I do find that GL rates ARE REASONABLE! Please people, it's 2013! It's not like 1980 when you could get a membership for $10/month. That's why those companies don't exist anymore! Our membership are around the price of a daily cup of coffee. Is that not a reasonable cost for your fitness? It's up to you to get the use out of the clubs! Everything is more expensive these days. GL offers many different options to help people get the best option for themselves. We also have integrity and offer the same options to every person walking in the door.
Corporate.... yes, we have many corporate accounts. Some get a discount while signing up in club, some have their employees sign up with the company. The in-club version of a corporate rate is actually the same rate as another option we offer and is not our least expensive option at some clubs. The through-your-employer corporate option is different. WE DO NOT SET THOSE RATES! The employer purchases the memberships from GL and then sells them to their employees at whatever rate (lesser than what they paid) they so choose. If you work for a company that does not offer a corporate rate with GoodLife, then talk to your employer and see if they would be interested in a corporate partnership. GoodLife is always more than happy to set up new corporate accounts so that we can offer our members more options.

Classes... yes they are structured, yes all clubs have mostly the same classes (with the exception that not all clubs offer all classes and some clubs have free style classes that were popular and so carried over from clubs that GL purchased like ours). Yes we have new releases every 3 months to keep it fresh. Yes our instructors change it up and add in tracks from previous releases after a few weeks to keep it changing. Members who attend regularly can always ask instructors to put in tracks that they enjoy and the instructors are usually accomodating as of course, we are here for the members! As far as instructors only being able to instruct with GL... yes that is true. LesMills classes are (in Canada) exclusive to GL and so it is important that our instructors are educated on how to teach these classes and then don't take that knowledge other places. Apart from that, we are not the only company that has asked an employee to work only for us. I have had interviews where I was not hired because I already had another part time job and they didn't want to have to work around my schedule, they wanted me to be always available to them, wanted their job to take precedence. If that type of a job doesn't work for you, then find a different job! I did! Besides, the fitness class instructors that I know, teach it because they enjoy it, not because they are trying to get rich!

I can say that I am 100% impressed with the way that GoodLife runs their company. We do truly care about our members and helping them work towards their goals! We keep our clubs clean and in good working order. We even have member appreciation parties during the year! The employees have many incentives and reasonable pay. When I first started working here, I though, I'll stay for a year, lose some weight and then move on... 5 years later I still don't want to leave!

oh yes, and as far as "overweight" employees go... Of course we hire any body type. We do not discriminate when we hire people. We hire the best people for the jobs. If they don't work out, we find someone else. Some people get jobs at the gym as means of their motivation. It is a lot easier to get to the gym when you are already there to work all day! I find it very motivating to see larger people at the gym, staff and members, because it shows me that there is hope for this society! People are trying to live more fit an healthy lifestyles which is what GL is offering every Canadian. I was overweight when I started working at GoodLife. I have lost, gained (due to outside stressors), maintained, had a child, lost again and still losing. I am happier than I have ever been as an employee with GoodLife and I wouldn't change it for the world.

So please, give GoodLife a chance. Don't judge us on one bad experience or a few days into a transition (and from what it sounds like, there is a lot of work to be done in those new clubs!). We are all human and we all make mistakes. Not everyone is cut out to be a GL employee! Change is not the end of the world! It's just different from what you are used to!
If you do have a comment, concern, complaint, praise or whatever for GoodLife, please refer to our website where there is an online form for doing any of those things. We always welcome feedback so we can continue our goal of constant measurable improvement! goodlifefitness.com

Smile and be happy! you won't regret it! :oD
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