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Former Gym Rat: It’s Official

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the endIn my career as a person who works out, I’ve always worked out at a gym. I’ve been a total gym rat for, well, a long time — 15 years or so, now that I think about it. Today was my last day as a gym rat.

My gym, which I really like, has this thing where the price increases every year. This year, it got to the point where the cost was more than I was willing to pay. I thought about joining another gym, and then I thought about setting up a home gym. The idea of setting up a home gym was kind of crazy, especially considering the math:

  • 3 people + 7 animals + 950 square feet = not really enough room for a home gym
  •  1 treadmill + weight equipment + whatever else I need = $$$$$.

But hey, I’m nothing if not crazy, so I decided to move from a gym to a home gym. I did this for a number of reasons, which I’ll share with you soon. Right now I feel like dwelling on the sad part of breaking up with my gym.

I’ve said this before, but I consider location very important. I think the places we live and go all the time are kind of like friends and family. I know that’s weird. But seriously, I’ve been to this gym 395 times since I joined in September 2010. That’s a lot of times! I’ve seen my gym way more often than I’ve seen most people I know outside my immediate family. We’re close. So as lame and no-friend-havey as it makes me sound, I feel like leaving the gym is like losing a friend. I know. Next I’m going to drown in a pile of cats and hoarded newspapers.

The things I’ll miss most about the gym are the super-nice equipment, especially the treadmills, and the see-and-be-seen aspect of it, especially in the weight room. As with most gyms, the weight room is a total sausagefest, but I’ll miss the hell out of it. I love the weight room and man, the female representation in there is going to decrease by like 50% without me. Oh well. I’m sure they’ll find a way to go on.

Today as I was leaving the gym, the super-nice guy who works at the front desk said, “See you tomorrow?” and I said, “Possibly.” Then I wanted to cry. I could go tomorrow — it’s my last day as a member. But I figured I’d go out on a high note (nice, mellow Sunday) instead of a low note (crowded-ass Monday). Plus Ben busted his ass getting my treadmill set up today and I can’t wait to use it. Even though it’s going to be weird as hell working out at home.

Written by Tracy

April 29th, 2012 at 10:20 pm

Posted in and life,Working out

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WTF Wednesday: The Super-Secret VIP Gym

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Way back in the day, I used to hate the new year’s resolvers who crowd gyms after January 1. During law school (when I started working out) the gym would fill with tiny girls who didn’t have two fat cells to rub together from January 1 until spring break. At the Oak Park Athletic Club, they used to have a complimentary valet because the small parking lot would fill up with cars until as late as February. That was nuts.

I’ve mellowed with age. I don’t hate the resolvers any more. Although I’m no health or fitness professional, I think it’s super awesome when anybody starts working out and I appreciate the effort. Seriously. This is totally dorky and will make me sound like a freak, but I like people I see at the gym (as long as they’re not totally annoying, which is a subject for another day and doesn’t happen very often — protip: don’t blow your nose in gym towels). Even though we never speak, if I see you running on the treadmill every time I’m running on the treadmill, I think you’re pretty cool.

So yay rah let’s all sing gym kumbaya and get that shit out of our systems so I can admit that I do sometimes get a tiny bit annoyed when the gym gets super crowded for a while in January. I suppose that’s bitchy but maybe somewhat understandable, too. I get a little tense if there’s any chance of someone coming between me and an open treadmill or if someone is hogging the leg extension machine. (I know machines are lame and don’t use many of them but I’ve found that if I don’t do the leg extension machine I’m more likely to have knee pain and then if I do the leg extension machine I also have to do the seated leg curl machine for balance. Also I’d rather cheer for Tim Tebow than do squats. I hate squats.)

A few years ago, I came up with the idea of The Super-Secret VIP Gym. (Clearly, it was such a great idea many gyms have implemented the concept since then.) The Super-Secret VIP Gym is a gym within a regular gym. The trick is that you can access it only after you’ve established yourself as a regular of the regular gym. Now that Foursquare exists, this would be easy. You might have to check in (No cheating!) at the gym at least X times a week for at least X weeks to unlock The Super-Secret VIP Gym Badge. The badge would, as you might guess, allow you to access The Super-Secret VIP Gym. Only other regulars would be in there with you, so it would be like old times or, well, December.

This wouldn’t be too hard to do, space allowing, of course. Maybe there’s a vacant storefront or former restaurant near your gym, or maybe The Super-Secret VIP Gym could take over the stupid yoga studio for two months or so. (Just kidding about the yoga studio, although is this the right time to tell you I’ve never done yoga in my life? My theory is that you either like weightlifting or you like yoga, and I love weightlifting.)

Anyway, I hope your workouts, if you do them, are going well and you’re having an awesome time and kicking ass and all that good stuff. I won’t really be annoyed to see you at the gym. Seriously.

Written by Tracy

January 4th, 2012 at 9:22 pm

Posted in and life,Working out

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Sun Salutations

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Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured. –B.K.S. Iyengar

The Criminal Minds team is called to Denver, where three women have been killed in the past month. Members of the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) arrive at the crime scene of the latest victim to find the body of a reasonably fit blond woman in her mid-30s, still wearing workout clothes and one expensive running shoe, on her living room floor. The body is wrapped in a yoga mat.

This is a case for the BAU because it appears the same unknown subject (unsub) killed all three women. All victims were found wearing workout clothes and one expensive athletic shoe and were wrapped in yoga mats.

The first victim was found in the living room of her home and the second was found in her kitchen. All victims were home alone when the unsub attacked. The crime scenes were tidy, the yoga mats were neatly wrapped and fastened around each body, and no weapons were found. The unsub takes a shoe from each victim as a souvenir. He clearly is organized. He is of average intelligence and is considered attractive and outgoing by the community, meaning that he can fit in to any neighborhood and move freely without suspicion. Although he craves human contact, he feels superior to others and knows that if they would only submit to his control and live their lives the way he dictates, they would be much happier, healthier, and fulfilled.

Aside from being reasonably fit blond women dressed in workout clothes, the victims had nothing in common. Even Penelope Garcia, with her quirky fashion, fuzzy pen, awesome glasses, and mad-crazy computer skills, can’t find a connection.

While the team delivers the profile to the local authorities, another body is found, just one day after the last murder. He’s escalating.

Garcia determines that, although the four victims didn’t know each other or frequent any of the same establishments, they all were regular gym-goers. She cross-checks lists of employees of all gyms in the downtown Denver area, focusing on front desk staff and cleaning crews. Nothing.

While going through the computer of the first victim, Garcia finds that she had a blog wherein she posted about a creepy personal trainer who bothered her. Subsequent posts revealed that, after quitting one gym because of the creepy personal trainer, the first victim went to a second gym, which she later quit because the creepy personal trainer started working there. Later, the creepy personal trainer taught a class at her office, then at her third gym. The posts don’t reveal the name of the creepy personal trainer, but Garcia knows he is the unsub. She uses her mad-crazy computer skills to piece together which gyms the first victim frequented, and then found the one personal trainer/fitness instructor who taught classes at all those gyms within the past several months. Why nobody from any of these gyms questioned why the creepy personal trainer had to work at every gym in downtown Denver was a mystery even the BAU wouldn’t be able to solve.

Garcia finds that the unsub is due to be teaching a yoga class at an upscale downtown gym in an hour. The team rushes to the location and finds him in the parking garage with a blond, ponytailed woman at knifepoint.

“I’ll – I’ll do yoga!” she says.

“Yoga is the answer!” the unsub yells. “You cannot do yoga.  Yoga is your natural state.  What you can do are yoga exercises, which may reveal to you where you are resisting your natural state. Why are you trying to deny your natural state?”

The woman screams. “I’ll do yoga!”

Derek Morgan steps in and talks to the unsub. “Yoga is important for living a well-adjusted life. When I was a child, I always wanted to do yoga but it was prohibited by my domineering father who believed the only worthwhile form of exercise was running 12 miles first thing in the morning.”

“Oh my gosh,” the unsub says, his hold on the knife weakening. “That is so terrible for you. I can sense that your flow is constricted.”

“Yes, my flow, it is constricted,” Derek Morgan says, a small tear forming in the corner of his left eye, reflecting the bright Colorado sun. “It took me a long time to recognize the importance of yoga for a balanced and healthful life.”

“Yes! Balanced and healthful! Yoga is so important!” The unsub drops the knife and lunges to get into a parparivrtta parsvakonasana pose. (I don’t know if that’s how you say it. As you might have gathered, I don’t do yoga.) Before he can extend his arm, Derek Morgan handcuffs him as the rescued victim cries and says, breathless, “He wanted me to do personal training sessions with him and go to his yoga class but I didn’t want to! He wouldn’t leave me alone after that and followed me out here, going on and on about how it would be beneficial to me. He was going to make me do yoga and then kill me!”

On the plane on the way home, the new random blond woman who apparently has become part of the BAU gazes wistfully out the window.

“What’s wrong?” Aaron Hotchner asks.

“I don’t particularly care for yoga, either, and sometimes there’s a personal trainer at my gym who talks to me when I don’t want to be bothered. Next time, I’m going to punch him in the face.”

Hotchner smiles a half-smile, as he is wont to do in an effort to appear benevolent, as well as exacting. “A punch to the face is the best way to deal with creepy personal trainers.”

Written by Tracy

December 29th, 2010 at 11:07 pm