year millions upon millions of us, like lemmings, venture into today’s
version of the torture chamber, more commonly referred to as “The
gym”. Or for the more genteel, the spa, the club, the health club
or in some cases..…’my workout place.’
No matter how you name these places, they are anything but houses
of pain and suffering. I’ve noticed that people entering the building,
generally have a smile (although it’s mostly forced in anticipation
of what is ahead of them) but never, ever do you see anyone leaving
with a happy look or as though they’ve just had a pleasant experience.
Now, I always wait until about this time of the year to get really
geared up about exercise. I know we should do so all of the time,
but as usual I keep putting this off until one day I look at myself
in the mirror and wonder…”Who is that?” Then I know in my heart
that the time has come for the annual sweat season.
One interesting fact…I read the other day that there are 14,000
places to exercise in this country. This means places like I mentioned
above, not your garage or places where you work in the yard. It
also does not include any place you are sweating and having fun.
Forced exercise is not fun. There are approximately 22 million Americans
who are active (meaning they are alive) members of these 14,000
health establishments. Now simple math tells me that by dividing
22 million members into 14,000 places means that each place has
the potential to have over 1500 folks in there at any one time or
another. Now the place I work out in can hold about 200, so if those
other 1300 show up to get their turn on the Stairmaster or turbo
jungle gym, someone’s going to be plenty hacked. It’s going to be
tighter than Dick’s hat band.
However tight that is. Something would have to give since there
isn’t any way all of us can fit into those buildings at once. This,
I believe is the purpose in the first place. The owners of the health
spas make the workouts so hard on us that we just don’t want to
come back and the majority of us never do.
Now, I base
this on the fact that 25 years ago, pumping iron wasn’t nearly as
hard on me as it is now. I believe that I’m still the same svelte
Bronze Adonis that I was at that time, but with less hair. So, what’s
Well, for one thing the machines have been changed. Instead of real
heavy weights that you could see. They have all of these machines
which are hooked up to electrical outlets and computers. In the
old days, you could look at a weight and tell if it was 50 pounds
or not. Now, you get onto some kind of a contraption, dial in your
expected weight and some printed circuit board makes the adjustments.
is, how do I know if I’m getting 50 pounds of resistance here? It
seems like 200 to me. This is like computerized slot machines….no
way Jose, Tell me they don’t have those things fixed where you can’t
win as much as the old ones where the wheels turned. I trust things
that I can see. Faith is fine in God, but I need to actually see
those weights to believe them.
This is all part of a grand scheme to get you in, pay your money
and get you discouraged enough not to come back again.
Another thing that I find very particular is the fact that once
I’m there and really getting into the swing of things…some 25 year
old female in one of those exercise suits comes in and grabs the
machine that I’m going to get onto next. Now, picture this, here
I am 56 years old, working out behind a former Playboy of the Month
Bunny type. What she looks like isn’t the point. It’s the fact that
when I get on the machine she just got off, I can see that she has
cranked the weights up to something that would make Mr. Universe
yell calf rope over.
Now, most of us muscular build older guys just hit the re-start
button and try to work our way though this same routine with out
screaming for the cardiac unit to standby. We, of course succeed
in nearly killing ourselves and are too sore to come back for another
Which I think was the purpose of the ‘shill’ getting in the workout
line to begin with.
odd to me is that after this Workout Goddess does 2-3 machines,
she conveniently disappears and you don’t see her again.
I’m wondering if they have those mirrors in the ceiling like the
casinos so they can watch to see if you are showing up too regularly.
I can see it all now…”Look Boss, there’s old Peary back at it again.
This is his 3rd time this week. What do you want to do about it?”
Bruno thinks for a moment and says “Send Lola down and have her
crank up the weights on the toe lift machine to 500 pounds, that
usually stops him dead in his tracks and keeps him from walking
for about 3 weeks.”
I’m going to
checkout the ceiling next time I’m back in there.