Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Things I Wish I Knew Before Choosing a Gym

Most people are aware of how much having a kid screws up your body. You get stretch marks, saggy boobs and cellulite, yet (thanks to the likes of celebrity moms such as Heidi Klum and Angelina Jolie) there is more pressure than ever for moms to morph into sexy mamas’ mere weeks after giving birth. So since I am a sucker for peer pressure, the first thing I did after giving birth (and getting the ok from my doctor) was to start checking out gyms.
Other than cost, the main things I was looking for in a gym were on-site babysitting and a good variety of fitness classes. The only reason I attend gyms at all is because of fitness classes – you will never find me running on the treadmill or doing circuits on machines, mainly due to a bad experience involving me flying of a treadmill, slamming into, and then getting stuck, in a weight machine and taking out about 5 other people in the process. If you haven’t figured it out yet, heavy machinery and I don’t get along well. Fitness classes, on the other hand, use my fear of looking like a fool in public to motivate me to work harder in the class so as not to be viewed by others as the weakling who can’t keep up. Even if that results in my throwing up in my mouth a little after doing too many crunches. So by using the three criteria of cost, babysitting and class variety I picked out a gym that I thought would be a good fit and signed my life away.
After being a member of said gym for a year now I have realized that there are some other important criteria that should have been taken into consideration when I was picking out a gym.
1. Class Descriptions: Obviously the gym I choose had many classes to choose from; the problems was that the class descriptions provided did not give sufficient information about said classes. For example, 5:45 - Latin Heat with Rhonda did not in any way prepare me for the shit-show of awesome-sauce that was this class. A more accurate description might be the following:
Intense Zumba Class, which involves Latin and Hip Hop dancing. DO NOT attempt if you have two left feet because you will cause injury to yourself and others. Please bring some water, a towel and your brain to this class cause it will fuck with your mind. Oh, and when the instructor yells out “How’s your box?” in the middle of class, she is only referring to a dance step, not your vagina. But when she yells out “How’s your bum?” she is actually referring to your ass.
Having such detailed class descriptions would have saved me attending some of the crappier classes like this one:
9:45 Body Works Plus Abs – Mind-numbingly boring toning class in which you do repetitive movements with weights until you fall into a fitness-induced coma. Warning: when you finally wake up, your ass will be killing you.
And I would have known to avoid the following class when I had a hangover:
10:00 Step Plus Abs – Advanced step class in which you feel as if you are trying to work out in fast-forward. Do not attempt to keep up with the instructor – it is not actual possible as she has super-human fitness powers. Do not attend this class if: you don’t want to feel like an uncoordinated loser, haven’t attended step classes regularly for at least a year, or you think that double step means taking the stairs two at a time. However, if you by some miracle manage to make it through an entire class, you will have lost 15lbs.
2. Complete list of Employees and Members with photos and descriptions: Ok, I know you are thinking that I am going overboard now but hear me out. The day of our gym tour we visited the babysitting area and there were about 5 adults watching 10 children and all of the adults were cute and lovable and seemed totally competent to watch my kids. Fast forward a few weeks to when we go to the kids club at a different time of day to find a major Judy-attitudy in charge of Kids Club all by her lonesome, complete with cracking gum and a phone permanently attached to her thumbs. Luckily, my kids seemed to have made her re-think her career options because she didn`t last long.
Then there are the other members to consider, a.k.a. the creepy old guys who gather near the entrance to leer at the ladies, the fitness freaks that are at the gym every time you attend and are so ripped you are scared to piss them off, and the cool, sane, regular people like my gym buddy Carrie who make going to the gym just a bit more enjoyable. If I had known in advance that the percentages at my gym were approx. 85%, 10% and 5% respectively, I think I would have just decided to stay fat.
3. Get EVERYTHING in Writing: Here comes my rant for the day. When we joined our current gym we were offered a deal where we would pay for one child to go to kids club and they would let the other child attend for free. We were also told that our membership would be good at all the different locations for this chain of gym. Yet when a new location opened up much closer to where we live, the new club would not honour our 2 for 1 kids club deal. And the kick in the balls was that our old club refused to do anything about it. Moral of the story, if a gym is trying to sweet talk you with special offers, make sure to get everything in writing. And apparently being fertile is a bad thing when you need a gym membership.
So next time you are scouting out a place to sweat, keep these tips in mind and you won’t get screwed over by LA Fitness (oops!). Personally, I may just stop having kids. It would be a hell of a lot cheaper.

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