Tuesday, November 10, 2009

The Gym

Last night I went to the gym near our house. We received a “free pass” in the mail last week inviting us to try it out, and since I’ve wanted to join a gym since leaving our apartment (and it’s free mini gym) I figured I’d make use of the pass.

I knew that using the free pass probably meant that I would get the whole membership spiel and club tour. And I did. Unfortunately for Justin, the guy who tried to sell me a membership, as an intern during college I’d sat through over fifty similar sales attempts and club tours for another major health club chain. In fact, I had also gone through an intensive sales course in which I learned the ins and outs of selling club memberships (just as an aside, this is funny for several reasons: 1) I took the class with people who were certified personal trainers and devoted their life to the gym – I am clearly not that person, and 2) this training included several days devoted to learning how certain pieces of gym equipment exercise certain muscles and required a final “exam” in which each person would walk the other personal trainers through the gym and have to explain/demonstrate how the equipment worked (not my cup of tea) – you can only imagine my relief when the instructor of the course informed me that I didn’t have to lead a tour)). As a result of my experience, I have a pretty good idea of what kinds of questions to ask, and I think I have a decent idea of what contract no-nos are. While I cannot be entirely certain, I’m sure my salesman was bending a few rules when he offered me a higher priced membership for a lower enrollment fee, and then told me that my husband could join the club in February (two months later than I would be joining) for no registration fee. “No worries,” he said, “just tell ‘em Justin said it was okay.”


Anyway, I met my friend R at the gym. She’s great. R thought we should start our workout on the stair stepper machine. I hadn’t been on one since college, and after about 6 minutes of thigh burning pain I remembered why it had been that long: stair machines are brutal. You feel great when you’re done, but getting to that point is challenging. Then we hit the elliptical machines for a while, which provided us with an opportunity to talk normally (meaning I wasn’t panting or randomly interjecting the conversation with “this is so painful,” “how much time do we have left,” or “this really stinks.”). We ended our trip to the gym with a trip to the mat pilates class.

Mat pilates was 100 times worse than the stair stepper.

The instructor led us through a series of what I would consider super intense yoga poses. The music was faster, she was louder, and the poses were at least twice as fast as they were in my old yoga class. I made it through the first 15 minutes of class with minor complaining. It wasn’t until we started a particular sequence of motions (on back, neck up, calves 90 degrees to the floor, hands next to knees and then you stretch your legs out straight just above the floor and move your arms straight back behind your head) that I really started to feel uncomfortable. She kept going and going. Every time we finished a set I though to myself “thank god,” and then she would start counting again. And again. And again. We must have done 10 long sets. I was ready to bail out, but every time I looked in front of me I saw R pushing right through the motions like a pro, so I kept going (but I’ll be the first to admit I didn’t keep my neck elevated – painful, painful). Our ab workout was followed by some thigh exercises that involved this metal ring that you put between your lower thighs. Then we “pulsed” (pushed the ring in and out) for what felt like forever. R had to leave 30 minutes into the class, and I had to go with her since the husband was hanging out with her husband at her house. We left, laughing about how much our legs hurt and how poorly prepared we were for the class. It turns out that we had both been watching each other during the class – after I told R she kept me motivated, she said the same thing. I guess that’s why they say you should go to the gym with a friend.

Despite how horrible it sometimes feels when you're working out, the euphoric feeling that immediately follows a workout session is incredible. I love it! The husband and I are looking into our health care plan's contributions to gym memberships - hopefully I'll have one sometime this month!

In other news, I think we’re finally going to buy a couch tonight. Yes!

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