Am I An Official Gym Rat Yet?

As both a point of principal and a point of poverty, I have never had a gym membership. It’s one of the things I hear people say – “Oh, I can’t lose weight or get fit because I don’t have a gym membership.” and I have always enjoyed responding with, “I don’t have one either and I still was able to drop a lot of weight and get strong again, so YOU CAN DO IT TOO!” 🙂 But, I won’t be able to use that one anymore, I suppose. When we moved to this new neighborhood in November, I was pretty excited that our rental came with a free pass to the nearby fitness center and the four swimming pools (which I will make good use of this summer!) Today was the first time I actually went to the gym!

I almost didn’t make it in the door! I stood outside, holding my little plastic entry card, without a clue about how to use it! I had expected something like a swipe machine and instead, I saw a doorbell, a surveillance camera (I’m sure those watching were wondering about the crazy lady standing there looking befuddled) a little plastic box with a tiny light near the doorbell (but no swipe spot) and a very locked door. Hmmm…. Thankfully, a lady was just leaving and saw my dilemma. I told her I was new to the neighborhood and it was my first time. She showed me how to lay my pass on the plastic box with the little red light and wallah — the light went green and the door unlocked! Wowzers! What will they think of next …yeah, yeah, Wayne (my IT, super technical husband – I know you’re laughing at me!!)

I had brought along a water bottle, my mp3 player and a copy of Runner’s World. Turns out, I used the first two items, but the third was useless since the recumbent bikes they have didn’t have a magazine/book holder spot. Once I chose a bike, adjusted the seat for “shortest person possible”, then I sat there baffled again. Um…. how do these things work?????? I’m a RUNNER! An outdoor runner! I am clueless when it comes to machines I’ve never used before (as evidenced by the whole entry pass situation.) Thankfully, I happened to push the pedals with my feet accidentally and that woke the machine up and it sprung to life! I had been pushing buttons on the screen but nothing had happened until that point. I was about to hop on another bike assuming mine was broken, likely amusing the other members there who knew better and just didn’t tell me! It offered a few workout options (none of them what I really wanted to do, so I’ll still need to work on that), but I went with the 20 min, rolling hills option at level 1. I figured – I’m new to this and just want to stretch the legs out and get in some cross training. I’ll ramp things up in a few weeks when I know what the heck I’m doing. I had wanted to workout for at least 40 minutes, so I actually did the entire workout twice, since I couldn’t figure out how to tell the bike to let me ride for 40 minutes from the get-go. Oh well..

It was actually a pretty darn good workout too!!! It had a heart rate monitor and when I pushed on the “hills” I registered up to 160, though most of the workout was as I had intended – around 130-135. I worked up a good sweat, ENJOYED the feeling and annoyed the lady next to me when I was riding like a maniac when certain songs (long live the 80’s!!) came on my mp3 that made me just feel HAPPY and made me push harder. The bike was literally wobbling I was riding so fast a few times. I also have a tendency to lip sync when I hear a song I really like! Well, I prefer to sing out LOUD, but lip-syncing is my second favorite option when in public. The lady next to me kept shooting me sideways “You are CRAZY” looks until she finally ended up cutting her workout short and moving to the other side of the gym to get away from me I think. I guess she wasn’t interested in racing next to me OR joining in on the 80’s tunes for a nice duet!!!!  Oh well…

I kept thinking, “This thing is a ZILLION times more fun to ride than my actual bike!” I love riding bikes, don’t get me wrong. I just hate my particular current, clunky, heavy bike and ride it MUCH slower than I did today on this standing-still model.

By the time I finished up, there were only three other people in the center — all dudes. One was about 70. Another maybe 50. And the last one to show up was probably 30. That one seemed to try to stay in my line of vision, giving me the “How you doing” Joey from Friend’s smooth smile. I need to have a shirt made that says, “You’re barking up the wrong tree! I have a husband and FIVE – yes, count them – FIVE kids — go flirt with the old man!”

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