Friday, February 10, 2017

My Thoughts on Gyms

Recently, a good friend of mine gifted me a seven-day pass to her gym. To say I was surprised when I received the phone call from the gym person explaining that I was invited to come try it out, is an understatement. You see, gyms have never been on my list of places I ever want to visit, and I’ve been pretty vocal about it according to my husband.  

CC Image courtesy of The Library of Virginia on Flickr

First of all, they cost money. If you know me even just the tiniest bit, you know I’m quite the cheapskate. In the grand scheme of things, the cost of the monthly gym membership can buy a lot of coffee. Or sponsor sports for the children. Or contribute to our vacation fund. Or go toward a nice date night. Or here’s a wacky thought-save the money. It was just too much for my frugal self to justify.

Secondly, one can get in shape perfectly fine without all that fancy equipment. Want to jog? Push the kids in the stroller around the block. Need to lift weights? Use soup cans from the pantry. Even pesky pull-ups and lunges can be done at the local park (don’t be a creep, though, and be sure to wait for a time when less children are present).

But what about those fun classes that the gym offers? You might ask. Why hello, OnDemand television. You don’t even need to get dressed to do a workout program in front of the television. Just roll out of bed, hit a few buttons on the remote, and you’re set. You can customize by time, workout type, or just sit there and scroll through while you imagine yourself growing healthier by the second.

If OnDemand isn’t your thing, we have this amazing invention called the internet. With that comes YouTube. Park yourself in front of the computer and work that body. There are a plethora of workouts to choose from on the internet, many for free of charge. If you happen to find something that asks you to pay, just keep searching. Your cheap self will thank you later.

There are also a ton of apps available to download on your phone that will give you a daily workout routine. Prop your phone up to view, squint your eyes for a better view, and copy that instructor to your heart's content. You can also rewind if the instructor goes too fast or does some type of crazy move you couldn’t quite copy. You can’t really rewind the instructor at the gym, now can you?

Of course I can’t forget to mention the self-conscious factor. I’m not gonna lie, I freak out a bit at the thought of someone watching me sweat and grunt in public. No thank-you. I would rather pretend to be put together (as much as a mom of three young children can be), when you see me out of the house.

Then there’s the comparison game. Watching the fit 90-year-old great-grandma in the best shape of her life while she conquers spin class makes me think I have a problem if I can’t even lift my butt off the seat. Or the guy with muscles benching five times his body weight. You go, buddy, but that is some serious stuff and a bit too intimidating for me.

Oh yes, intimidation. All the machines with their fancy cables and wires and imposing heavy weights that slide and pull and push and turn. I have no clue how to use any of that and I don’t want to look like an idiot when I accidentally make the whole thing topple over or end up sitting on something when my head was really supposed to fit in that spot. I’d like to keep my dignity, thank you very much.  

Another issue- and this is a big one for me as well-germs. The bacteria that might be breeding in that hot, sweat-laden cesspool of human secretions just grosses me out. I know they sanitize equipment and all that, but some germs are sneaky. I don’t want to walk away with MRSA or some other mutated virus having snuck in through a missed spot on the gym floor.     

To conclude my story, I did end up using the free pass for the week. Hello, it was FREE! And would you know, I did convince my husband to sign the entire family up for the monthly membership. I know, what was I thinking? But the reason that won me over, that conquered all fears of money-wasting and toppled my arguments of convenience and inferiority and overcame the dreaded avoidance of all germs, was….


Consider me a convert now.