My Gym Rat Days Are Over

The Schwinn Clunk-Clunk™ in action. The body odor alone would drive even the freakiest homebody outdoors.
On January 1st, at the same time as the not-yet-surrendering New Year’s resolution crowd, I started a membership at my office gym thinking, “I can use those spinning bikes all year round.” I was excited, since I know I can put together some decent fitness through spinning. But then the spin classes were all at 5:30 a.m. “No problem,” I thought, “I’ll just do my own thing.”

That plan, too, hit a snag when I realized I couldn’t get those darn Schwinn spin bikes to fit me. I’ve come to affectionately call them the “clunk-clunk” bikes, because that’s the sound the seatpost makes as it locks into place … which will inevitably be the WRONG place for your butt, or my butt anyways.

I tried to contain my whining. I focused on out-of-the-saddle work and tried all sorts of different shoes (with different sole widths) to get the stupid bikes to fit me. But it was no use. Nearly every time I spun, I came away with either sore knees or a raw hide.

So I ran on the treadmill. I quickly discovered what you probably already know about treadmill running: it totally stinks!!! It always feels like you’re running downhill—even when you’re running with the gradient set to 15%. Never ending downhill probably sounds inviting to some of you, but when your running forté tends to be uphill, it’s the epitome of lameness.

“So don’t go to the gym,” you say, “problem solved.”

Ah, but you’re forgetting something. This is my WORK gym. It’s free as long as I go X number of times per week and X number of times per month. If I stop going, I get charged money. It’s actually a pretty cool arrangement. Trouble is … I was running out of things I could actually DO at the gym.

This was made worse by the fact that we were having the TAMEST January in recent memory this year. No snow, clear roads, beautiful weather, etc. and there I was in the stupid gym sweating up a storm because the heat was turned up and listening to some teenager’s crappy rock music through some loudspeakers!

After just two weeks of it, I’d already turned into the gym-goer’s equivalent of the Dread Pirate Roberts: “I shall probably quit you in the morning,” I’d say as I’d bump into the gym manager.

Also, as a side note: I finally did make it to a spin class, and it sucked!!! The class leader was obsessed with making sure everyone had a flat back (um … ever seen Lance Armstrong in a time trial?), and he had this crazy obsession with keeping an extremely high (>110 rpm) cadence going. Nice guy, but he could use a few pointers and perhaps a certification. The Kia Ora Fitness spin class I’d attended at Thanksgiving was about 10x better.

So the first week of February, I pulled the plug and dropped my gym membership. You guessed it: we got a snowstorm that week, and we’ve pretty much had a snowstorm every week since. But you know what? I’ve loved every minute of being outdoors since then. One thing I can say for my little gym experience: it sure helped me appreciate the great outdoors.

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