Oddly enough, I don’t think I have ever been a member of a commercial gym. Never really worked out in one either, that I can remember. No Golds, no Powerhouse, no 24 hour fitness. I have heard a lot about what goes on in such places, but since I had never seen it for myself, I dismissed much of it as hyperbole.
This all changed recently. I have always had a bad case of insomnia, lots of trouble sleeping from high school to present day. I had discovered that swimming for an hour or so in the evenings was about the best thing that I had ever tried to induce sleep. A pretty swanky establishment called Club Sport is about 2 minutes drive from my house, and after a week long guest pass during which I swam every evening and slept the best I had in years, I joined.
They do not even call this place a gym, they call it a “resort”. Four outdoor pools. Adults only lap pool. Regular pool. Kids pool. Little kids wading pool. All with guys in nifty uniforms walking around serving you drinks right at your lounger as you lay out and tan. Tennis courts. Lots of rooms with classes going on. A rock climbing wall. Juice bar. A real life bar and grill where you can buy beer and tacos and burgers upstairs. (to be fair, you can also buy beer while lounging at the pool). Four hot tubs. Big flat screen TV’s in the shower and changing rooms. And, of course, a weight room and aerobics room. Other stuff, but i think you get the idea.
I joined for the pool. For a while, I only used the pool. I pretty much kept my head down when walking to the changing room. Today i decided, what the hell, I’m here, I paid for the membership, why not check out the weight room. Work on the guns a bit, or whatever.
I passed the aerobics room (has to be 5,000 square feet with at least 100 various machines) and noticed, not the in shape folks I thought I would see, but woman after woman, and a few men too, in various stages of fatness and out of shapedness. All the way from all out obese, to the even uglier “skinny fat”. All working very hard on stairmasters, and treadmills and various other stuff. I walked past a spinning class, where everyone was sweating A LOT. Next was a room where i saw maybe the biggest cliche in all of fitness, a roomful of women happily pressing tiny little pink dumbells. Next was a roomful of men and women doing half squats with those bars which weigh about 10lbs with no weights on them, led in the effort by a woman wearing a headset like the McDonalds employees at the drive through, looking very official and jumping around and clapping and being very motivational. She looked the kind of lean and vascular that takes a mild drug cocktail for a woman to achieve, everyone else looked like they were of average at best physical condition.
After this, I got to the weight room. Kids, 150lb near 6ft tall kids, supersetting curls and front delt raises in front of the mirror. Women on adductor machines. You get the idea. I had planned on doing some rowing and some pressing, but I ended up just mostly watching.
My friends, the cliches are all true. They might even understate reality.
Tomorrow, if I get the urge to do anything other than swim laps, I’m just gonna go upstairs to the bar.