Thursday, May 25, 2006

A gym rat, I am not

With much anticipation (and dread), I swung by Chattanooga's newest fitness center on Tuesday to have a look. One killer offer from work made it hard to resist joining, but I wanted to see for myself before I signed on the dotted line that stuck me in a 36-month contract. ... And thank God I did.

After filling out a 1-page questionnaire about my fitness level, weight-loss goals, how serious I really am about shedding my extra pounds and other fun inquiries, I was told by a nice girl with waaaay too much makeup on her face that a representative would be by shortly to give me the grand tour.

Several minutes later, a college-age hottie escorted me to his desk, and after looking over my answers on the form I'd filled out, he informed me that, with a personal trainer working with me about three times a week, I would be at my ideal weight and fitness level in 8-12 weeks. Sounded great to me, so I listened intently as he rattled off how a personal trainer would work different parts of my body each time I came in, making it easier to lose the weight and tone my muscles at the same time. There would be no questions as to whether I was using the equipment right, because my trainer would be guiding me throughout each workout. That was music to my ears, considering it's been since college that I'd stepped foot inside a fitness center, and the equipment has changed a lot in six years.

I was beginning to get a bit excited about the prospect of my very own personal trainer ... Visions of working out like Jennifer Anniston or Jessica Simpson ran through my mind. I fantasized about wearing a size 4 and fitting into my bikini again. Things were coming together quite nicely.

Next it was time to tour the gym. He escorted me into the main fitness area, which was surprisingly very dimly lit. Machines crowded the space occupied by sweaty, beefed-up men and a couple of teenage boys flirting with a cute high school girl. It wasn't at all what I'd expected, but if I was going to lose weight and look good, I told myself to just look past the clientele.

Because it was new, the gym was still undergoing its transformation from a furniture store into the 40,000-square-foot facility. The temporary 20,000-square-foot space was only the beginning, according to the hottie representative. A pool would be put in, the miniature rock-climbing wall would be much larger and classes including yoga, belly dancing and spinning would be offered in August. Hmmm ... that could make up for the muscle men who were kind of creeping me out as they grunted and groaned while lifting gigantic weights in the corner.

After showing me around a bit, I had my doubts but I was willing to listen to more information. The hottie escorted me back to his desk, and that's when it began. It was time to talk numbers ... BIG numbers.

Those 3-time a week personal trainers come at a hefty price (read: $60 per hour, 3 times a week at $180 or simply $720 per month). Ummm ... I'm not made of money, mister. So eventually, after going to talk to a manager, he brought the figure down to $40 per hour, or $480 per month. Still no sale, but I did get the odd sensation of buying a car. I seriously felt like I was at a car dealership attempting to get a good deal.

Looking rather disappointed in me, the hottie explained that deals like this don't happen every day ... in fact, they wouldn't happen again. This was a one-time-only offer, and it would be best that I took him up on it.

I suddenly felt incredibly fat and pathetic - miserable, to be exact. I could not spend $480 a month, plus the cost of the gym membership, to get back in shape. It was just not feasible. So, I thanked him for his time, picked myself up off the floor I had tried to sink into and left.

A few hours later, I had a good conversation with myself that resulted in the realization that I can do this on my own. I don't need no stinkin' high-dollar trainer standing over me telling me what to do. I did it last year on my own with my exercise bike and counting calories.

I can do it again. And I will.