I have done the unthinkable, the unimaginable, the unexplainable. I have joined a gym. That’s right. I’m paying money to sweat. I am trying to think of something funny or clever to say about it, but I am at a complete loss for words. Horror has taken over my body and I have no words.
But I had to do it. I’m tired of not fitting in my clothes and not wanting to buy any new clothes because “I might lose this weight.” Well, I’m not losin’ it by eating Fritos and watching Michael Phelps’ ears so this was really my only other option. Besides, I hear if you, like, run marathons and stuff you can eat whatever you want to eat. And since I’m a huge fan of eating whatever I want to eat, I must sweat. And I must pay to sweat. I must sweat expensively.
About a year ago, I tried to join a gym. This particular gym, who will remain nameless because I am about to bash the crap out of it…(cough)…LA Fitness…(cough)…was horrible. I walked in the door already 90% sure I would join. I mean, why else would you go into a gym if you weren’t interested in a membership? But these people acted like they had found me in a McDonald’s lobby, eating Big Macs by the handful. Like they needed to save me. Or convert me. They took me on the tour of the gym (which, to be honest, I could care less about. Just give me a treadmill and a few yoga classes, and lets call it a day). Then they introduced me around to a bunch of people I could also care less about. Then they brought me into this tiny little room, and the guy starts pegging me with questions – Whats is my current workout schedule like? (Do you think I’d be in here if I already had a current workout schedule?) What is my eating regiment like? How much energy do I have in the day? Do I work out in groups or by myself? What body part am I the most unhappy with? How much weight did I want to lose exactly? It was like he felt the need to shame me into a membership. I already know I suck, health-itarily speaking, but I’m here so just take my money and give me one of those swipy cards and I’ll be on my way.
So we go through this whole song and dance thing where he asks me questions and I pretend to be more fit than I am, and finally it gets down to what I came for – the price. I wasn’t keen on the idea of a gym anyways, and after the price he gave me I would rather pay money to have people inject fat directly into my fifth chin. So I kind of make this little face like, “That’s not really the price I had in mind…”
And that’s when he makes the mistake of all mistakes.
“Is that too much money?” he asks. “I get it, I get it. You’re young, probably don’t make much money to do anything really important, not stable yet. I’ll see if I can find something cheaper for you.”
Now, at this particular point in my life, I am working full time at a good paying job to support BOTH myself AND my husband while we are in graduate school. The absolute wrong thing to tell me at this point is that I’m young, don’t make much money, and am cheap. Suddenly, every annoyance I’ve had with this guy for the last hour comes rising out of me. The pointless gym tour, the introductions that don’t matter, the belittling about my healthy lifestyle – it comes pouring out of me and I can’t stop it.
I stand up in his tiny office, sending my chair flying.
“I’m sorry, what did you just say to me?” I ask.
“Well, I just meant most young people we see in here…”
“Let me tell you something, honey,” I say. “MOST young people you see in here are not supporting TWO tuition bills every month on ONE salary. MOST young people you see in here are not working full time during the day and going to school at night. But I am. How about you? You’re young. Are you working on a degree and working full time right now? Are you putting two people through school on your one paycheck at the age of 24? No, I didn’t think so. So let’s not take this to the level of how much money I make or what I choose to do with my money, because I’ll tell you one thing I am NOT going to do with my money and that is give it to this gym. Now, where is your manager?”
I proceeded to cause a scene like I’ve never caused before…and I’ve caused some scenes in my life. And when I left there, I was so angry I wrote a letter to the corporate office. And then I wrote a letter to my newspaper and the local television station, asking for someone to please investigate the age discrimination that was taking place at this gym. I’m telling you, I went crazy. But I felt so wronged. First, you’re going to waste my time, then lay on guilt about my eating habits, then you are going to charge me a ridiculous amount of money, and on top of all of that you are going to accuse me of being young and cheap? I’ve got two words for you – (explicative explicative).
Needless to say, a few months later when my blind rage subsided a bit I was a bit gun-shy around gyms. So you know if I decided it was time to face that situation again, I must be desperate. When I went into the gym closest to my house – a Bally’s – and the first thing the membership guy said was, “Let me take you on a tour of our gym,” I may or may not have broken out in hives. But I went through it and it wasn’t so bad. He wasn’t pushy, he wasn’t intimidating, he didn’t ask personal questions, and he listened when I said, “I’m really just here for your treadmills and yoga…” So I joined. I wrote my big, fat, ridiculous check, and he handed me my shiny new swipy card, and I was on my way. Now, wasn’t that easy?
Yesterday I went to the gym for the first time. I got right on my little treadmill, turned up my music, and started running. Incredibly, I ran for 2 miles straight right off the bat. I wasn’t even winded. But I decided it was a fluke and that I better ease up so that I could get out of bed in the morning. And I was noticing my ankle was hurting a little. And so were my calves. And my neck. And my back. And my pinkie finger.
That night as we watched TV on the couch, I asked Chris to rub my calve because it was hurting. He started rubbing it and then said, “Your leg is swollen.” Sure enough, my ankle looked like it had an innertube around it. I put some ice on it, but it is still swollen this morning. And I can’t get out of bed.
“This is so exciting!” I said to Chris. “Its my first sports related injury!”
“I think that’s a little extreme,” he said. “Its probably just that the force of your body weight on your ankle was too much weight at one time.”