This week my handsome husband and I joined a new gym. LA Fitness is a national chain and we hooked up at the one near my favorite shopping mall.
A place to work out close to a place where I can buy the clothes that keep me motivated to work out: Heaven’s gates open, cue choir singing.
What I like most about LA Fitness is that it’s not a family-centered gym. I know that will sound like heresy to all parents with young families, but I don’t want to share my water aerobics space with happy little kids being happy little kids in a pool.
When my daughter was young, we joined the YMCA for all it had to offer for kids and adults. Now? I don’t want to dodge toddlers on the running track.
There should be options for everyone at every stage of life and this is the one for me. The place is full of young singles and empty-nesters.
Last night we had our obligatory meeting with a trainer because selling training sessions is part of the business of a gym. While this fellow was very nice, his pitch basically broke down like this:
“See all these cardio machines in here? They won’t do anything for you. Sure, you’ll burn some calories, but as soon as you step off the machine your metabolism — which is already in the negative numbers, amiright? — will plummet and you’ve wasted your time.
See all those resistance machines? What do they all have in common? Seats. You sit while you work your muscles. Sure, you will build SOME muscle on them, but they limit your range of motion and in the end don’t really accomplish anything except making your already hefty ass feel productive.
All those classes you like to take? Yeah, those cater to the lowest common denominator of fitness and don’t really challenge you. Sure, they are fun and you might make friends and work up a sweat, but who needs that, really? You’re here to get ripped, right?
The pool? That’s great…for cooling down after a real workout.”
So what’s a real workout?
Training with a trainer, of course.
After noting our height and weight, he put us on a pair of treadmills, jacked the elevation to mountain-climbing range and let us walk for about 15 minutes. This allowed him to do the math and tell us what we should weigh. Which is, of course, less than we weigh now.
Calculating shit is hard work, yo. If he needed 15 minutes for that, clearly, he wasn’t a math major in college.
Then he had us do squats. In the nicest way possible, he told us we both suck. My hamstrings are too weak and Phil’s are too tight. Our form is all wrong. We clearly don’t know squat about squats.
The we went to a couple of mats where he asked us to do planks. Now I can plank. For a woman with a marshmallow core, I can plank like…someone who can hold a plank for a really long time.
Every instructor I’ve ever had told me to keep my hips low when I plank — that the spine should basically be a straight line, which is not easy when your have round mounds of glutes back there.
This guy wanted my hips higher, which actually makes the plank easier. What? Maybe he just likes middle-aged women with big booties, I don’t know. I’d bet we’d find some interesting sites if we check the browser history on his computer.
TRX: this is what it's supposed to look like. If your face meets the floor, you are doing it wrong.
Then we went to the TRX, which if you never seen or used one is basically straps bolted to the ceiling or to an immovable apparatus. I’m pretty sure was inspired by some S&M porn movies.
He asked me to assume plank position with my feet in the handles. So I did.
I then slipped out of the handles, crashed my face into the floor, crushed my right hand under my considerable body weight, and knocked all the wind out of my lungs.
While I scraped my dignity off the floor and reassured myself that neither lung had collapsed, he had my husband do normal stuff on the TRX — like pushups and bicep curls.
Then the session was over and it was time for him to sell us on personal training for an extra $260 each month. We said we’d think about it.
I’ve thought about it.
No. I’ll spend that $260 at the mall, thank you very much.
But I still love LA (the city and the gym) and I will be there several times a week to waste my time, energy and sweat on cardio machines, resistance machines, group classes and the pool.
And I will wave enthusiastically to this really polite, really sweet lunkhead every time I see him.