Happy 2011! So I joined a gym. Not a Fitworks, Urban Active, LA Fitness, Globo-gym. I joined my local Cincinnati Recreation Center gym. It’s $30 for three months! Such a steal! The hours aren’t wonderful (9:30 AM – 7:30PM), but then again, who am I fooling in thinking that I’m going to the gym before 9:30AM or after 7:30PM? I’m not going to, and I know that.
After one week of working out, this is what I have learned about Madisonville Recreation Center and it’s fitness center (and in a circuitous way, about community):
- Downtown Eddie Brown, the check-in man, looks forward to when I arrive. When he signed me up we chatted. He didn’t ask about my “fitness goals” or try to persuade me with enticing add-ons for personal training (there aren’t any). When I do not come in, say because my legs were killing me last Wednesday and I felt like I was going to die/never move again, he lets me hear about it the next day. “And where were you?” he’ll probe with a smile. But he’ll also encourage, “Gotta ease back into it, you know.”
- Older woman with styled hair and blue spandex pants is nice. She encourages me at the end of the day. “Done already?” she’ll ask. And I’ll nod, breathless as she continues biking on infinitely, her hair never moving.
- No one wear super attractive workout clothes (except for maybe blue spandex pants lady, and really, it’s just the pants). This is good because I’m a fan of wearing out high school t-shirts and sweat pants I’ve painted my house in. And also, I don’t own super attractive workout clothes.
- Old high school t-shirts are a conversation starter at the Madisonville Rec Center. “Purcell, eh?” “Yep…” “You know that guy that went to the Air Force for football” “I do! He’s my fiancé’s cousin” “No way!”
- There is one treadmill. While some may see this as inconvenient, it also creates a great motivational tool. Can I run 3 miles faster than 30 minutes? If so, that means I can run farther without imposing on Mr. Monroe’s cardiovascular time.
- Mr. Monroe, a friend of mine’s childhood neighbor arrives every day about 5:00PM. He eyes me like a hawk while I’m on the treadmill, waiting for me to stop so he can begin. When I go to get a drink of water, he’ll ask, “are you done with it?” And I’ll smile and say, “I hope she’s nicer to you.” We’ll laugh and continue working out. He also notices when I’m not there. That’s good, because I know I’m sort’ve being held accountable by others to keep at it.
- There aren’t scary weightlifters there. No one cares how much you can bench-press or if you’re super buff. I like that because I can’t bench-press anything, and I’m not super buff, nor do I have any delusions that I will be super buff in the near future, or any aspirations to bench press for that matter.
- There are on any given day a total of 4 people in the fitness center. This is great because at other gyms I’ve always been overwhelmed by all the equipment and all the people who are better than I am at seemingly everything there. No one here really pays attention to you other than to be friendly and have a conversation. This is good, because I pretty much suck at most fitness related indoor workouts and I’m happy people aren’t noticing me struggle with 15 lb free weights. If they are noticing, they don’t offer random work out advice, supplements, or protein shake recipes. And they politely don’t stare at how red my face gets after a mere 30 minutes of cardio. I like that.
- Madisonville Rec Center is less than 1.5 miles from my house. I like to dream that my future healthy and in shape self will run there, or bike there, or walk on a nice afternoon. Maybe Downtown Eddie Brown will hug me if I do. I’d probably let him.