Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My Gym: Comfy Sweatpants

Up until last week, I didn't appreciate my gym to the fullest extent.

Gold's Girl

When I moved to Maryland in 2009, I naturally joined the gym that J belonged to. I also got a job there (free membership anyone?). J's taken me to see a couple different gyms in the area, and quite frankly, I liked some of them better than my own gym. I've belonged to Gold's for most of the 10 years that I've been training, so naturally, I feel most comfortable amongst the black and yellow logos.
I even have a Gold's sticker on my water bottle!
Switching gyms wasn't an option, though (remember the free membership thing?), so I just settled in at my gym and secretly lusted after the shiny, newer equipment at all the other gyms in town. (Srsly, my gym has the world's oldest equipment. Ever hear of Trotter equipment? Me neither.)
Equipment at my gym
A couple weeks ago, an LA Fitness Signature Club opened just down the road from my gym. Being the curious (and nosy) critter I am, I convinced him we needed to take a tour and train there one time "just to see what it's like."

The Tour

The gym. Was. Beautiful!
Ooooh ... purty!
My mouth hung open during most of the tour and I kept exclaiming, "Ooooh! This is so NICE!" Everything was new and all shiny and sparkley (and srsly, what girl doesn't like new, shiny, and sparkely?!). The gym manager gave us the tour, pointing out all the amenities and features that neither J nor I would ever use (pool, basketball court, digital lockers, lounge in between locker rooms), and making a point to mention their current membership deals.

I wasn't sold on the gym until we checked out the cardio deck. Every piece of cardio equipment had an attached TV. There were four stepmills. FOUR! And four new Woodway treadmills. I was in lurve!
Awesome for knees and shins!
I'll admit it - I was almost won over by the tour and the sales spiel. J, however, wasn't so easily convinced. We went back a couple days later to train delts.

The tour was one thing ... training was an entirely different experience

When we got there, I was in a hurry because we were running late. (Remember that free membership? I needed to be on time for my shift.) By the time I'd found the locker room, realized the fancy schmancy digital lockers were smarter than me, run back to ask J how to operate the lockers, run back to the locker room again to fiddle with the stupid locker, and then back out to the gym floor, ten minutes had passed and I felt like I'd already finished my cardio for the day.

The weights were pretty and the equipment was smooth (I heart smooth cable machines), so in that respect, my workout was good.

What wasn't so good were all the stares I got from other gym members. Of the ten people who were there, I felt like nine of them were starring at J and me more than was polite. Instead of feeling comfortable and being able to focus on my training, we both felt uncomfortable and distracted.

After training, I gave the Woodway treadmill a try. It was so smooth and cushioning! I fumbled my way through the digital screens and began walking. Tried to change the TV channel, but the channel button was apparently just for looks, because it didn't work on my machine, nor on the treadmills on either side of me (had to check them out just to make sure mine wasn't the only broken one). So I set up my DVD player and started watching an episode of Sex & the City (I'm on Season 6).

And then the treadmill stopped. What the heck?! Turns out the DVD player had lightly brushed the Stop button. Several minutes and three stops later, I was ready to throw the stupid Woodway over the railing into the basketball court below. Apparently, there was no place to set my DVD player that didn't shut off the machine. I have no idea how much cardio I did because I had to keep resetting the machine, and there weren't any clocks in the cardio area (srsly?!).

I left frustrated and late for my shift.

Newfound appreciation

Lesson learned: While all the bells and whistles of a new gym can seem appealing, it's best to try out the gym for an actual workout.

Sure, the equipment was new and the treadmill felt like walking on air, but I didn't feel comfortable in that gym. It felt like a new pair of shoes that just won't get broken in, while my gym feels like a comfortable pair of sweat pants.
Comfy ... just like my gym
Even though I train on old equipment in a gym without digital lockers, I'm happy there. The members are all people who are serious about their training and about reaching their goals. I'm not saying no one at LA Fitness is serious about training, but it's a much smaller percentage than at my gym. And there's nothing more motivating than being surrounded by other motivated people! I appreciate the fact that I don't get starred at (and never did, even when I was a new member) and I can focus on my training without getting interrupted.

I've stopped whining about my gym, and am now so very thankful I have such a comfortable, welcoming, and motivating place to train for my Pro card!

2 comments:

  1. Good post. I went from working out at a local "family" gym to LA Fitness to Golds....huge difference but one that I think was good for where I was at during that time. There is a new LA Fitness that is about to open in my part of Maryland but I am not sure when. I think they are still in the middle of construction.

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