I went to our new gym for the first time today. We joined the legion of gym rats that flock to the Wal-Mart of gyms that is 24 Hour Fitness. It is funny what dictates which gym we belong to now versus what used to dictate to which gym we belonged. Here is a little breakdown of how we have chosen gyms over the years.
Evansville, IN Years : Plain and simple, we had one requirement - minuscule payments. We joined what was the dirt cheapest gym in the tri-state area, the Evansville YMCA. It was dirt cheap and possibly constructed from dirt. It was so crusty and cave like - it made me depressed just to enter the door. The thing I remember most about that gym was the ramp which descended towards the weight room, it had a paint-chipped blue hand rail. I tried purposely never to touch it. I attempted to do Body For Life there, the first of my many yo-yo dieting tries after getting married. I hated that freaking gym.
Carmel, IN Years : We upgraded to having three requirements - cheap, clean and windows to the outside world. Cardinal Fitness won our golden ticket. I remember my biggest beef with that gym was the lack of towels (they didn't supply them at all) and this weird lady who, and I swear I'm not exaggerating, was there all of the time. She had an over processed, over hair-sprayed eighties style do and she monopolized the 5 pound weights. She and my sister actually got into a car accident - she was not a nice lady. It's OK that I snap-judged her and her bad weightlifting technique.
Los Angeles, CA (B.C. - before children) : Sports Club LA won our hearts and our wallets. We affectionately referred to this mecca as Globo-Gym. It had everything we could ever want, a pleasant spa-like smell, cardio equipment with personal televisions, unlimited towels, amazing group classes, delicious protein shakes, eye candy, famous clientele, enormous locker rooms with free razors and luscious bathroom products. We actually cut back on our shampoo budget while we were there because sometimes I would go there just to sit in the jacuzzi and shower. It really is an amazing place, where I can honestly say I never once felt inspired. Alas, I got pregnant with Lucy and it was the first area we chose to save money. It was the easiest decision we ever made.
Los Angeles, CA (A.C. - after children) : Number one requirement, good childcare. I think my husband could workout in back lit alley if he had a fully charged ipod and some free weights. He's not so picky but, especially after being spoiled by the decadence of Globo-Gym, I wanted something better than an alley way. I didn't want to go back to the Evansville days of minimum payment, maximum torture. We settled on something middle of the road at Meridian Bodies in Motion. I loved this place and I have never, NEVER loved a gym. But I'm coming to realize that I may not have loved the gym itself. I love what I was able to accomplish there. It was the birthplace of my love to spin, it was where I poured sweat and tears successfully losing weight and being proud of my body - for the first time as an adult. Sadly, it was bought out by some disgustingly wealthy Persian guy who is tearing out the boxing ring and replacing it was 24 karat gold dumb-bells. We might have even stayed but they are closing their childcare service and we are no longer welcome. No kids allowed.
I must say, I was really nervous to switch gyms, but after today I just feel excited. This evening I had the best workout I've had in months. I kicked my own butt and it felt amazing. I still need something fancier than a back lit alley but I have finally come to realize that has never been about the bricks and mortar of the structure - it's about the bricks and mortar that I'm made of - and today... I felt like a woman of steel.