It was nine months ago that we quit our previous gym membership in Oregon shortly before I retired and relocated to Florida. When I last blogged on this topic in November, we were considering using the fitness center at our community’s clubhouse. “Fitness Center” is what those second-rate chain hotels call the small, cramped rooms that hold their exercise equipment. Sadly, our little community here has such a room that contains two declining treadmills, what appears to be an elliptical, and a set of dumbbells that look like they’ve been there since the Ford administration.
When Gorgeous peeked into the room for the first time, she was greeted by two elderly men whose eyes lit up at the good fortune of adding female proximity to their workouts. They welcomed her in an exuberant manner and quickly offered to show her around the equipment. However, my shy wife worried that the good gentlemen might have had a slightly different definition of proximity or even equipment from her own. So she smiled, thanked them, and quickly exited. We decided it might be best if we found a suitable commercial gym instead.
Our efforts have been purposely tardy in that endeavor. With very high dental bills hitting us immediately upon our Florida arrival, we held off from adding too many extra expenses. But with those bills now at least 75% paid, Gorgeous’ new medical doctor found a way to get us to loosen up our wallets: her recent diagnosis of early onset osteoporosis is apparently best treated by regular aerobic activity. “Join a gym,” were his orders. “It’s only $10.00 a month at Planet Fitness.”
Off to Planet Fitness we go to follow doctor’s orders.
This is a good move. I’ve been a gym rat for years, and quite frankly it’s been strange for me of not being in the habit of going to one since our arrival here. The gym’s location is about a five-minute drive from our condo. It is located in a strip center offering decent retail offerings such as a large supermarket and a Starbucks. Hidden from the main road is a secondary shopping area adjacent to the gym that I hadn’t ever noticed. Ironic or not, there is a yogurt shop and a Five Guys hamburger joint within steps of the gym’s front door. After we paid for our memberships the other day, I inexplicably walked over to Five Guys and had a double hamburger and fries. We never eat fast food ever, and for some unknown reason it sounded good at that very moment. I live for life’s incongruities.
With a boundless spirit and energy, we awoke this morning to our morning coffees, a quick check of the computers, and off to the gym for our maiden visit. Since it was a beautiful day we also thought we’d go to the ocean afterwards. It was good to get back on an elliptical again, and also a return to a familiar environment and activity. Because we live in a town with a sizable retired population, there were plenty of Gray Hairs like ourselves. But because it was a weekend morning, many younger folk were there too. This is also good — I do wish to see a mix of people, and I want a reason to curse those who flaunt their six-pack abs and cellulite-free bodies.
Unlike previous gyms, I am also heartened that this one doesn’t have cable news channels playing on the TV’s above the machines. Maybe that was just an aberration today, but I hope not. I really would much rather see ESPN or even the cooking or nature channels instead. No more Bill O’Reilly or Sean Hannity raising my heart rate further than I want it to be, thank you very much.
Speaking of heart rates, I confirmed once again today that I am married to an angel. No, I mean quite literally that I am married to an actual angel. Gorgeous has never been able to get a gym machine to give her a heart reading. The woman literally has no pulse! Yet, her output numbers for mileage, speed, and calories always put mine in the emasculation category. I never like working out right next to her because invariably at the end of my routine, my machine always whispers, “Dude…”
We each had good workouts, and it was a great first start. I always wear an iPod and headphones but Gorgeous does not, so we never actually speak much to one another while at the gym. As is my own gym custom, I spent lots of time on the stretching mat and with the free weights after my elliptical session. Gorgeous prefers to use the leg and arm press machines. I hadn’t had a chance to actually check with her to see if she liked the place, and I was curious if she felt the same as me. I finished before her and sat in the lobby area until she was ready to leave.
As we walked out I asked her, “So? What’d you think?”
“Okay, so I want to run into Tuesday Morning to look for a plastic covering for my painting table,” she said. “I’ll meet you at the car before we head to the beach, okay?”
Apparently it’s just a visit to the gym, not a life experience.