Gym Dandy

Today is day 4 of my liquid meal week. Although I know you’re dying to hear about my pureed cucumber, lemon and cashew shake that was dinner last night to tell you about my gym.

My gym is totally ghetto. I love to tell people about – it’s like an over-the-top parody of a bad gym in a sitcom. It’s cheap, and I mean crazy cheap. Let’s put it this way, taking my kids to Starbucks for a hot beverage and a pastry each would cost more than I pay per month. But never have the words “you get what you pay for” rang so true.

It’s a hideous building. I think it used to be a tire store or something. I know the aerobics room used to be a liquor store, and when that went out of business, the gym annexed it and now I do body pump and an occasional yoga class where people used to buy plastic bottles of Popov vodka. I have NEVER showered at the gym, and unless I’m looking to get a staph infection, I never will. It’s just plain not sanitary. The gym is staffed with lots of incredibly disinterested folks, who seem to change weekly. They’ll sigh and look annoyed if you tell them there are no more paper towels in the dispenser or the ladies room is on fire or anything else that interrupts their conversation. When it rains, the staff place buckets around the gym, on treadmills and rowers, to catch the roof leaks, rendering 20% of the machines out of commission on a rainy day. This is Seattle. We have a lot of rainy days.

The personal trainers are particularly bad, with a few exceptions. They will take each member through a complimentary “customized workout” when they join, during which there will be a heavy sales pitch for more sessions and various supplements and powders that will enhance your workout. The customized workout is always the same. I’ve been there enough that I see when they are doing the twisty thing with a medicine ball, I know squats with the hand weights are next. Never mind if you have back issues, or other problems. It’s all the same. I did my complimentary session with a meathead who had me do something so bad to my back, I could barely walk for a week and my doctor told me I was an idiot to even try it. So now I do my own workout, or the one that I got from an awesome trainer I found outside of the gym.

So why do I go? Beside the crazy cheapness? Well, that is a big part. I’d feel really guilty about not going to an expensive gym. So it makes sense to pay less to NOT go to my gym, right? Besides that, it’s all about the people. Not the staff. The other gym goers. The beauty of the cheap gym, is that it takes all comers. It’s one of the few really diverse places in our corner of Seattle. I used to go to a fancier gym, closer in my hood. Weekday mornings, it was packed to the gills with fit affluent mommies toned within an inch of their life. Evenings and weekends it was the fit daddies working the treadmills. Everyone was between 30-45, and everyone was white.

Not so, my hellhole gym. It is packed with, well, everyone. In the hours I go, it has a ton on senior citizens. I love the old guys on the treadmills, walking so slowly, in their chinos and cotton sweaters. They look like Mr. Rogers. Yesterday, I helped one guy off – his oxygen tank tube kept getting in the way. The old ladies meet for low, low, low impact aerobics, or as a call it, “shuffling around the floor to show tunes” or take turns on the weight machines. One of them has one of those wheeled walker things that is also a seat, and she moves it around, from machine to machine, with her tiny dog sitting in the basket, panting the whole time. No one seems to mind. It’s also cheap enough to get high school and college kids, lifting weights for some teams, I imagine. During the weekday mornings, where my old gym was bereft of men, there are plenty. Some are unemployed – again, it’s so cheap this is do-able, but some, I imagine are waiters, night shifters and other service industry folks. Sometimes I have to wait for a treadmill when the Muslim women in their headscarves are on a roll. The Chinese women hog the crappy sauna, and never lower their voices, despite the sign. A heated discussion was happening yesterday when one woman jabbed me in the leg while I was near dozing in the heat. She wanted to know how to pronounce the last name of her new doctor. Her English was ok, but she was going to meet a Dr. Cao after and she didn’t know if it was “Cow” or “Chow.” The locker room is like that – all ages, colors, ethnicities. It’s fun.

I see my neighbors at the gym, the ones I like. The ones who don’t or can’t pony up for the fancy one nearby. My friend L., regularly picks me up so we can go together or sweat through a class. We motivate each other. My husband is being swayed by the brand spanking new facility down the road that is CLEAN and has crazy amenities like towels. But I think I’ll stay with my ghetto gym. Besides, the new one is 3 times as expensive and then I’d really feel bad about not going.

So today, I’m enjoying not going to my filthy, cheap, diverse gym. Tonight I’ll be having a blueberry and spinach smoothie for dinner. And since diet and exercise are the key to healthy, I’m feeling in pretty good shape.

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  1. #1 by poetintraining on March 26, 2011 - 6:42 am

    Hey, listen, I LOVE our ghetto gym. I’m getting fit (again) at our ghetto gym. I actually found a personal trainer to die for at our ghetto gym. And, best of all, as you mentioned, when I don’t go for 8 months straight? I DON’T CARE! I don’t think I’ll ever join an expensive gym – our ghetto gym has everything I need, including some of my very favorite – and fiscally smart, I might add – neighbors. Thanks for the post – good one!

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