In January, this month of new goals and resolutions to get healthier in the winter months, some of you may be contemplating your gym passes. Whether you’ve already bought yours, or are still debating which one to get, allow me to tell you about one of the worst-kept secrets of the Winnipeg gym scene.
While a reasonably priced Bison Rec gym pass will give you access to the Gritty Grotto, pool, weights and other services contained within Frank Kennedy and Max Bell, few people seem aware that their gym pass allows them into another gym — either they don’t know, or they’re being considerate and leaving this gym free for me.
The Joe Doupe Centre is located in the basement of the Brodie Centre, on the University of Manitoba’s Bannatyne campus, next to the Health Sciences Centre. If you’re a med student, live downtown-ish, hate the crowded-ness of the Fort Garries, or just love taking the 36, you may want to check out the Doupe.
The gym itself is somewhat smaller than the gyms on the Fort Garry campus, but because it’s so rarely crazy-busy-full, if you want to use an elliptical machine, there’s one that’s open. If you want to use a weight machine, there’s the odd chance someone might be there, but there’s no line up, so you can sub in. If you and a couple friends want to play some 2-on-2, you won’t have to wait for a half-court to open up, except maybe during lunchtime.
The track is actually at ground level, and runs around the top of the basketball court, eliminating the claustrophobic, what-am-I-breathing-in concerns at other tracks. As for the windows surrounding the track, they fill the area with natural light during the day, but are frosted so random people walking through the Brodie Centre can’t see you getting your sweat on.
While having access to equipment and space is a great advantage to Joe Doupe, some people (like me) need a fitness class or intramurals, in order to get their body moving. Joe Doupe offers a similar fitness class and intramural selection to those found on the Fort Garry campus, although there were a couple of classes that had to be cancelled due to low enrolment last fall. This semester, for the month of January, Joe Doupe is making classes more accessible to cash-strapped students by offering a crazy low rate ($49) for their pilates and yoga classes, rather than the $69-$92 you’d pay at Fort Garry for similar classes.
Joe Doupe also offers classes not found on Fort Garry this semester, like kung-fu, body bar and stroller fitness (who needs a sitter when your baby is part of your workout equipment?), and staff at Joe Doupe said that they are always open to members’ suggestions for new classes.
An additional source of workout inspiration can be found in the story of the gym’s namesake. Joe Doupe was a medical officer during the Second World War who showed a strong commitment to his alma mater, the University of Manitoba. It seems fitting that a no-nonsense guy like that would love to have one of the most welcoming ways to promote health and fitness for students.