Thursday, January 10, 2008

ode to the basement bomb shelter

Recently I read an article about how gyms are what are making people fat. I don't really buy the substance of the article, but it got me thinking. A lot of the gist was that the modern bells and whistles of a gym do more harm than good. People think they are supposed to be entertained at the gym. Overweight people are intimidated by the skinny people, giant mirrors, and complicated machines. They think that doing a few reps on a weight machine will do the trick. I have found that for me, the gym environment really does make a big difference about whether or not I go.

My current gym is a perfect example of this. Its on the first floor of a federal courthouse in a drab windowless room. It was built in the space where the day care would have been, except, I work in the first federal courthouse built after Oklahoma city, and well, they decided that a day care was a bad idea. There are two tv sets that are constantly set to CNN. There are no mirrors. There are four fans in the place, and the magazines are whatever other people have brought in and left behind the desk thing by the door. There is no pilates room, or separate weight area
(the Marshals have their own training room - not to be shared with the common folks), or juice bar, or laundry service.

Its pretty basic stuff: six treadmills (only four that can take running, two are for walking only), two regular bikes, one recumbent bike, two spin bikes, six ellipticals, two rowing machines, a pair of stair climber, weight machines, and free weights. That's it. There are no personal trainers or membership fees. No time limits on the cardio equipment.

I love my gym. Its simple and easy. Its never crowded after work (although lunch time can be busy). I never feel like I'm being judged for my workout. On days like today, its perfectly ok for me to run two miles and then hop on a bike for 20 minutes.

I think I do best with simple places with people who leave you alone. Last year, I joined a 24 hour fitness. The manager guy who always remembered me and said hi, creeped me out. I dreaded going to that placed lined with windows to the outdoors, mirrors, hundreds of televisions, and blasting music. Just walking into the brightly lit interior made me feel inferior. I don't know why. It was a beautiful gym, but I never belonged there. My membership lasted all of six months. Even though I had that beautiful gym that was available 24 hours a day, I instead mostly headed down to the basement bomb shelter that was the free gym at work. I felt safe and secure there. It feel good to be spending a significant amount of time down there again - it makes my mom sad though, cause no way am I meeting any guys at the gym...

Miles: 2
Weight: 170.2 (don't know why its up right now, I'm still doing WW and I've been good - gonna keep trying - I know weight can fluctuate and its not the end of the world)

1 comment:

Travel Girl said...

I agree, having a gym that you feel good about helps the workout process. My fitness center is part of the local hospital. It lacks the intimidation and creepiness found in most workout places. There are 70 year olds with oxygen tanks working out next to the ultra fit cyclists trying to stay in shape over the winter months. I'm inspired each time I visit.