We're the ones your mother warned your about...No, seriously. We are.

Street Cred - the Ins, Outs, & What Abouts...

Music that will make you do your abs :
Britney Spears. Sorry, Ruffy, but it's true. Just the mental visualization of the Abs of Doooom! is enought to remind me that I need to go do some more crunches, trust me.

Exercise that's kicking my ass right now :
Assisted dips & pull ups on the bar. Every so often I'll think "I can lift over half my body weight! suh-weet!" and then someone will come along and do them unassisted, and yah. I've got a long way to go.

The one item I am ashamed to say I often just leave in my car because otherwise I tend to forget it :
Would you believe...sneakers? Sadly, it is true, my friends.

The one thing that I must buy for the gym this weekend no matter what :
Lifting gloves. I'm starting to get calluses again.

The one thing that I wish I would buy for the gym this weekend but cannot :
The 15GB iPod! Damn you finances, daaaamn yoooouuuuuu!

Somethings change, others stay the same :
I moved 3,000 miles, & a year & a half after the last time I went to a gym, I got on the elliptical for the first time at my new gym and had half an eye on the videos they were playing. My mind idly noted, "Hrm. On the tape at Amerisports, the next video would be Britney doing 'Overprotected'. The next video? You guessed it. I moved across the country, & the video reel at the gym is still the same.

It's not fair to the other kids if you don't :
Bring a towel. Just a dishtowel will do. I dunno about you, but I sweat like a pig. I know this, and I'm okay with it, but I also have this peach handtowel (my grandmother gave it to me, don't ask) that goes to the gym with me, and when I'm done, the machine gets wiped down. I read a letter that was sent to Sars over at Tomato Nation about wiping down machines, & as much as I like Sars, the far less burdensome answer is - bring your own towel. Any decent gym has people whose job is it to go around and spray the machines several times a day, so unless you're carrying the bubonic plague, it's pretty much okay to just wipe off your sweat marks & move on.

Instrcutors make you count with them because...
That way we don't have to remind you to breathe. No, seriously. A lot of people have the habit of holding their breath when they're working out, and just because I know CPR doesn't mean I want to have to get that up close & personal with any of you. Well, okay, maybe the cute guy in the back with the dark hair...heh.
I'm sorry, where were we? Right. Breathing. If you're counting out loud with me, you're breathing. You're also now paying attention a hell of a lot more. Why? Because if you haven't been in my class before, about ten minutes in you'll have figured out that when I say if I can't hear you counting we'll do more sets, I mean it. Twenty more squats, please, let's get to it.
In truth, the other boon to this is that it ups your endurance and lung capacity, even if you're only mumbling numbers under your breath. I wrote in my LJ last week that I ended up startling a couple people on Santa Monica Blvd. because I was singing with my CD as I finished the last half mile of my run, so trust me when I tell you this works. Think about it - if you feel like you're about to die, try being the instructor, because now you not only have to do the exercise, you have to PROJECT your voice at the same time. To borrow from Closet B & Ruffy - that'll put marzipan in your pie! *snerk*

and for my friends that have said, "Can't I just fly you out here & have you find a gym for me?"

What membership salespeople don't want you to know :
If you're going to shop for a gym, do it on the 13th & 14th of the month. Most gyms have sales cycles that close on the 15th. Why the 15th? Because we like things simple, and while not every month has a 30th or a 31st, every month has a 15th, so it's easier to do the math to just have the commission cycles close that way. So when you go shopping for a new gym, set aside one night, & go to three or four gyms that you might be interested in all in one shot. And don't be afraid to let them know that you're doing that, because then not only do they want your membership to up their stats for the month, they know they'll have to hustle for it.

Easiest way to separate the wheat from the chaff when looking for a gym :
Be honest. Brutally honest if need be. I was polite when I first started looking for a gym, and it got me nothing but so annoyed that I finally just walked out of one location of Bally's. The night that I did what I recommended above & went to four gyms in one shot, I didn't pull any punches. When the salesperson did that thing where they try to get to know you & asked, "So what did you do back East before you moved here?" I just started answering - "Your job." I joined my gym that I have now because out of the gyms I went to, this was the only one where the guy stopped, blinked for a second and responded with, "Okay then. Let's cut the crap and I'll show you around before we talk prices."
If you express interest in kickboxing before you begin your tour, & in the course of outlining their aerobics program the girl doing your tour says, "...and our boxing classes are extra, but I wouldn't worry about it because most girls don't bother with that" - that's not a gym you should go to. Yes, that would be one reason I did not join Bally's.
Listen carefully to what they're saying. If the logic sounds kind of hinky, be wary. I listened with great amusement one night to one guy who, after I explained that I'd already worked in the industry for four years, wanted to make sure I understood that their trainers were the only ones in the area nationally certified to set up a nutritional program for me in addition to my workout schedule. Let me let you in on a little secret here, folks - you can't get a national certification for personal training unless you can do that. It's part of the exam. So not only was he trying to snow me and anyone else that came through, he obviously wasn't paying attention when I told him that I used to do his job. Needless to say, they didn't get my money.

The most important thing to remember is :
They need your business. Every gym is going to try to push personal training on you when you join. That's a given. However, if they're being pushy even after you've said no thanks, feel free to walk. If the showers aren't clean enough that you're okay with using them - don't join. If you just don't feel comfortable there, & it's beyond the normal "I have never been here before & I'm not entirely sure of what I'm doing" vibe - don't join. After all, it's your money, and in most cases, they're probably not the only gym in town, so unless you want to be there, don't sign jack shit. I had one gym call me back a week after I'd joined my gym in LA to try & follow up on the sales pitch, and I literally had to tell them "I'm not interested in your gym because I joined another one. And the reason I joined another one is because your salespeople are pushy and rude. Goodnight." and hung up. Do it! Now, I'm not giving you permission to walk in & slap people around, but the truth of the matter is, it's just like buying a car - you've got choices, no matter what they're trying to sell. If they're not willing to write the prices down for you and give you 24 hours to think about it and come back (ask for their card though, because these people do work on a partial commission basis), then there's a rat in Denmark & it's time to leave.

~ Claris
June 14, 2004

Are you bleeding? Are you broken? Are you dead?
Notes of a bi-coastal gym rat

Because I can bench press you, that's why.
(tips tricks for general gym survival)

What Keeps Me On The Cardio Machines -
what's spinning in my CD player right now...

~ Claris' Archive