The pretty people at Liberty Village don’t seem to like to open their mouths.

During our trip to Toronto this weekend (while Junkii was off learning how to become a step aerobics group instructor!) I did a step class… and it made me appreciate just what we have in Ottawa.

For years, Junkii and I have both been cheerleaders in class. It’s not hard. You shout “WooHoo” a few times, add a clap here and there, and count down a few of the moves – and the rest of the class starts to join in. In Ottawa, group fitness classes are only enhanced by this kind of class participation. The more people that shout and clap and scream, the more energy you get back and the harder you can work yourself. It’s a positive feedback loop!

I don’t know how Torontonians drag themselves to class week after week. At the Liberty Village gym, they were practically mute! It must be dreadfully boring to do the same thing week on week with no motivation except from the instructor.

I was there with my friend R, and the two of us were trying our hardest to stir up some energy – but the locals weren’t having it. It would have been depressing if I hadn’t been amused by the novelty of being surrounded by so unresponsive a bunch of participants.

In the past, we HAVE had good experience at the tiny gym in the Manulife Building, but I think that’s just because it’s so intimate. Everyone else we know that’s done Toronto classes says “quiet” is the norm, with participants following the same get-in-get-out-don’t-have-fun model that R and I experienced on Saturday.

That’s not to say I ever gave up. I double-clapped whenever I could. I counted down at the top of my voice. I did all the silly-dancey-fun choreography moves that even the instructor refused to do. From start to finish I shook my booty, and still no response.

Toronto is better for a lot of things – food, entertainment, culture – but Ottawa group fitness is light years ahead.

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