What is Good Gym?

About a year ago I heard about this great initiative – an opportunity to get fit while ticking off your ‘good deed’ for the week. I immediately decided that I needed to get a piece of that but to my great disappointment there was no Good Gym in my hometown yet. So imagine my excitement when in January 2017 it was announced that there were enough interested people in York to start one!

How to get started?

In all the excitement I had conveniently forgotten that in essence Good Gym is a running club and I am not a great fan of running. As a result I miraculously came up with an excuse after excuse to postpone giving it a go. Due to their active social media presence it had been easy to keep an eye on their activities before committing to anything and when a shorter beginner run was advertised I knew it was now or never – I hit the ‘register for a run’ button.

Before I knew what was going on I received a ‘cheer’ in my inbox from the trainer leading the run. Great, they’ve got the basics right! I also got registration confirmation and a timely a reminder from Good Gym about the location and time of the meeting – there’s clearly a lot of thought and effort put into making sure that the systems work so people feel welcome and supported all the way.

First mission

Meeting at Premiere Inn, Blossom Street. Luckily the team were nice and easy to spot all clad in their eye-catching GO Good Gym red tops – excellent group feel as well as a great marketing ploy when jogging around the streets of York.

We headed to St Clements Church, where a local organisation called Planet South Bank look after a community garden. The task was to get the open green space neat and ready for Edible York open weekend. After a short tool-talk and an encouraging ‘Let’s do this!’ from the trainer the team were engulfed in activities like power pruning, energetic edging and extreme weeding.

Jaanika power pruning

While keeping the height of the bushes under three feet, cutting back the branches encroaching on the pavement and munching on red currants and gooseberries this was also a great opportunity to meet new people and get to know the local community. The social aspect of Good Gym is at least half the fun of the entire enterprise.


Task completed we headed into a nearby park for a bit of fitness work and another opportunity to get to know fellow team members while doing some partner-work and push-pull games. For a full mission report by the run leader have a look at the Good Gym website.

What is Good Gym good for?

  • finding a reason to stick to running
  • getting into volunteering
  • learning about your local community
  • feeling good about yourself – a double whammy of endorphins from exercise AND from doing good
  • meeting new people – I already feel part of the group

After my first mission I have a team of supporters!

GoodGym_your team

Restrictions and limitations?

  • group runs take place at a set time each week and if this isn’t a good time for you it is difficult to get involved
  • tough to get involved or feel included if you’re not technically minded
  • the initiative needs a strong group of leaders, positive sporty people
  • it takes a lot of time, effort, networking to line up suitably energetic outdoor volunteering tasks for groups of 20 or more people