Saturday, December 15, 2007

Workout Help...

Gee, we have become a quiet lot, haven't we? I am in the last of a 3 month self-imposed break from working with my trainer. We BOTH have goals we have to achieve before we allow ourselved to work together. And right now I need help.

I have determined that I am completely uncreative when it comes to "designing" workout sessions for me. So, here's my thought: I'll share one of my fave workouts with you and then you share a workout. We should all get something new to think about just in time for shaking things up after the holidays.

Deal? Deal!

My workouts are typically built on a stable/unstable super-set idea. I try to move to more unstable elements all the time. Adjust for your ability. Unstable will work more muscle groups, constantly challenging those core muscles.


#1. 30 minutes of cardio.

#2. Assisted Dip. 3 sets of 15 dips where I'm lifting about 20-30# of my body weight. This is t0 warm up the arms/shoulders. Perfectly stable.

#3. Flat Bench Press, alternating 1 and 2 arms with hand weights. Get one of the flat benches and whatever appropriate weights. Push both weights overhead. Lower both arms 6 times through the set, lower one arm while keeping the other strong overhead 7x for each arm. Try not to do in a predictable manner. It helps to have someone else tap the shoulder of the arm(s) you're working. Make sure to hold core stable or you will fall off the bench!

#4. Paired with #3. Flat Bench Press on Ball (8-10# hand weights). Sit and ball and roll down so that only your head, neck and top of shoulders are supported. Knees are bent, hips up so that body is perpendicular at knee and parellel to floor. Standard bench press technique, 20 reps. The weights should come down slightly wider and not as low because you're on the ball.

#5. One arm standing rows at cable station. Cable placed at waist height. Knees bent, "free" arm out from bodyfor balance, core engaged, neck straight. This can be done with 2 feet flat on floor or with one foot down (opposite of arm). Adjust weight about 10# lower if you're going for the 1 foot. 15 reps each arm at 3 sets.

#6 Paired with #5. Bicep curls on ball. (10-12# hand weights). Sit up straight on ball, lower weights to just below parallel to ground (keep bicep tendon inside elbow engaged). Curl both arms up to point of full muscle engagement (not beyond). Twenty reps for 3 sets.

#7 Lat Pull Downs. Grasp Lap Pull Down bar near center, palms facing face, spine tucked under slightly, shoulders back. Pull down to top of ribcage (just below collarbone), and slowly release bar upward.

#8. Paired with #7. Tricep Push Downs, one foot. Using the lightest weight, stand facing the machine. Start with bar at waist, balanced on one foot, core is engaged. Push bar down and slowly release back up. Ten reps, then switch foot. Concentrate on maintaining a straight posture throughout.

There ya go! Just about an hour of arm/shoulder greatness!! Now how about a great leg workout, or a back/abs routine... something that will keep me going until Guido and I both meet our goals for working out together again!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Elimination Communication at the Y

This evening I headed out to the gym with the plan that afterwards I would come home and do a blog post about the Elimination Communication aka Diaper Free Movement. After warming up, I headed over to the free weight area and began my routine. Let me state for the record that the free weight area tends to smell completely disgusting in the evening (as opposed to the rest of the day when it smells like a bouquet of roses). However, when I walked by a trainer and a young teenager (maybe 12 or 13) to grab a free weight, I got a distinct whiff of diarheaa. I tried not to gag. I instinctively looked around. No one seemed to be writhing with cramps. I chucked it up to either a toxic gas leak or a...personal gas leak.

A minute or two later the boy began to do some leg squats right by me. I was hunched over doing rows. As I looked up I saw that there was definitely some Elimination Communication going on in or perhaps coming from his pants. I immediately had a flashback to a conversation with Suzanne while we were at the Jersey Shore about Alli, the weight loss pill and anal leakage. (To the best of my knowledge, no one at the Jersey Shore with us suffered from anal leakage.) A second squat from this boy confirmed it. He then proceeded to sit on a bench that I had been planning on using.

Honestly, I wasn't quite sure how to handle it. This boy looked like he was struggling with his weight. He was meeting with a personal trainer and really focusing on what he was saying. If I went over there and said something to him or to his trainer in his presence there is no way he would ever come back again. I would probably send him into therapy for the next 30 years. On the other hand, I couldn't let him just walk around like that. First of all, some of the guys in the weight area were already noticing the smell and murmuring about it. As a mom, my heart would break if my sons were in that situation. I just felt so bad for him. Second, it's just not sanitary.

I looked around and saw a woman who I thought might be his mom working out on a treadmill. I thought I had seen him talking to her when I first came into the fitness area, but I wasn't sure. Then I remembered that had been a staff member sitting behind the desk when I came in. I went over there to tell her about the situation so she could discretely deal with it. Unfortunately, she was completely gone (just like my workout). I saw the boy dart off (I was hoping to change his clothes) so I went over to the personal trainer and told him what I had seen. He seemed completely surprised. He told me that he would take care of it.

The boy came back, and I saw the trainer talk with him. Then his mom came over (or at least the lady who I thought was him mom.) The trainer walked away. I made a note just to skip the questionable bench for the day. I finally finished my workout and headed out towards the locker room. As I passed the stretching area though, I saw the kid in the same clothes on a mat.

I really don't know what to make of it. I guess it's possible that the clothes had an old stain, but seriously if you had a stain like that why would you wear the shorts again? Plus it doesn't explain the smell. I initially wondered if he really was taking something like Alli. Then I thought there was no way a child of his age could be on such a drug. But kids inhale fumes and computer air sprays, so if one was struggling with his weight, I don't think use of an over-the-counter medicine to help with weight loss would be too surprising. He could have also had a medical condition. I'm guessing the kid was just really embarrassed and denied it; it's not like the trainer was going to check. Now I'm not sure I did the right thing. Maybe I should have just gone straight to the mom. I know one thing for sure: if anyone ever sees me like that, please tell me!

Friday, August 10, 2007

to gym or not to gym?

When my gym opened up 8 months ago, I was the happiest monkey around. It was right at the point where I transferred trains coming home from work. In fact, I had often said, "I wish there was a gym right here. That would be so easy for me." And then there was a gym right there. And there was much rejoicing. (yay!)

I took advantage of it. I went 3 times a week. I would bring my gym bag to work with me, then stop off quickly and easily on the way home, and still be home in time for dinner.

But then I quit my job. Now the gym is not so convenient for me, because even though I sit at home alone all day, I'd have to make a special trip out there. Lately it's been too hot to leave the house and go work out. Today it's hot AND raining. Since the gym is no longer on my way anywhere, I've simply stopped going. I feel bad because I love the gym, and I should keep working out, but the motivation is no longer there. If it was closer to my house, I would be there in a minute. But I just can't face the 20-minute train ride, plus the walking time required to get there.

Am I a bad person?

Thursday, August 2, 2007


I just have to say that you swimming bitches are hardcore. I consider myself pretty fit, and I can do all kinds of athletic-y things, like hiking Vernal Falls at Yosemite, but I decided to try swimming today. Holy cow!

I was winded after one length, and pretty much had to stop and catch my breath every length thereafter. Ultimately, I ended up going 1/4 mile. Normally I go 16 miles on the bike. I realize you're using more of your body when swimming, but... wow.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Fan etiquette and escape artists

Wow, I haven't posted on here in a long time! I've been going to the gym, but mostly for yoga (and there's only so much you can say about yoga) or a run-in-and-hit-the-bike-and-get-out trip. I'm temporarily banned from my upper body free weights (neck weirdness) and don't do leg workouts anyway, since I get enough of that at ballet. This story is already too long!

Tonight I got to the gym and it was STIFLING inside. I know they have an air conditioner, so I don't know what the problem was. It was probably in the 90s inside. I went over to the bikes and two in the cluster of three were taken. I usually grab myself a fan (and why are all the fans always in the treadmill area, anyway? What makes treadmill people so worthy of fans?), but I figured that it might be rude to disturb their climate. I actually asked once, in that same situation, if anyone minded if I brought a fan over, and a gruff old man said yes, he did mind, and then he muttered at length about these people who need to be cool while working out. Um, hi? I'm still here.

Here's my question: What the fuck? I mean, being hot or cold doesn't have much of an impact on the workout you get, so why not be comfortable? I'd be really delighted if it was around 78 in there. Am I crazy?

On escape artists, tonight, I witnessed my second little kid running out of the locker room while his mom was butt-ass naked. You see the look of horror on the mom's face, then "James. James!!" I nabbed him this time, but kids are such opportunists! I'm going to have to remember that someday.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Can You Believe This Lady?

We unexpectedly have an almost completely free week. My older son (OS) is on vacation from camp. Of course I forgot about this "vacation" until the end of last week. I rescued my kids from boredom today by suggesting that they play in the Y childwatch while I worked out in the fitness room. I realize that doesn't sound like a good deal for the boys, but they actually really like going there.

I dropped OS off at the 3 year old room at the childwatch first. It was a full house. This woman was there dropping off her son. The boy looked mad. He clearly did not want to be there. The mom was not at all sympathetic. She handed him a name tag sticker which the boy proceeded to somehow wrap around one of the drawer handles. He got upset and asked for another one. Instead of complying with this simple request, she pulled the somewhat crumpled sticker off the drawer and stuck it on his shirt. The kid protested. Instead of giving him a hug and telling him it would be okay, she picked him up and put him over the gate at the entrance to the childwatch playarea. She then gave the staff his sippy cup and told him that she would see him later. At least she wished him a nice time. I just couldn't believe my eyes. I don't think the other moms there could either. The kid decided to stage a sit-in to protest being there. One of his friends joined him.

I was really hoping that this woman wouldn't be there when I went to pick OS up from the childwatch. I mean really, where did she learn how to parent? Of course, as luck would have it, she walked in just as I did. Her son was really happy and having a great time playing. He excitedly told her about all the toys he had played with and the kids that played with him. The staff members confirmed this. When she said something about being an unsympathetic mother, she was told that what she did was great; actually being too sympathetic could have made the separation a lot worse. Really?! I thought to myself, surely there is going to be a blog post about this horrible mother, even if I needed to write it myself. And I have. I should also add that this unsympathetic mom was me.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Good Judgment and Personal Training

I intended to cross-post this when I put it on Formula Fed and Flexible Parenting almost a month ago. Normally The People Under the Stairmasters are the ones watching the behaviors of others in the gym. This time, my husband, the Big Giraffe, was apparently trying to keep an eye on me.

I was very surprised to receive the following question from the Big Giraffe over email: "I am curious. If you happened to consider a guy very good looking, really liked him, and were discussing that guy and those perceptions of him in an email to a female friend, would you consider it good judgment to forward that email to me?"

What on earth could have caused him to ask that question?

After being inspired by two of my friends' successes with meeting with a personal trainer, I decided to sign up for the 5 session package that was on sale at the Y in honor of Mothers and Fathers Days. I thought it would be great to learn some new approaches to fitness. I decided to go with my friend Kate's personal trainer because he sounded like a good fit for me. I was told that a lot of his exercises involve using your own body weight. I exchanged emails with "John" and arranged to meet him on Friday evening. I had no idea what he looked like but my friend had told me he was very good looking. (That was not a factor in me choosing him.)

Friday came, and I met John. He was indeed very good looking. I then explained to him how I wanted to get rid of my "upper gut". He wrote a fantastic workout for me. I felt great when I left and good yesterday and today. I even repeated the workout today. Within the last couple of days, I had emailed Kate about something else. In that email I mentioned that I had met with John, that he was good looking, and that I liked working with him. Her reply was not relevant to the subject of personal training, but it did include some comments that I thought would be of interest to the Big Giraffe. I therefore forwarded her reply email to him, forgetting that the email history was included. Hence, his reply. So what is my answer to his question? I do not think it was poor judgment to have forwarded that email. Our marriage is secure enough for the Big Giraffe to be able to handle me finding someone else physically attractive. No Big Giraffe, it doesn't work the other way!

Friday, June 29, 2007

Cheerleader Ninjas in the Weight Room

You must read this hilarious description of Ev's latest gym adventure:
I May Not Be Much Yet...

It's so good, you'll develop strong abs from laughing so much.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Reader Contribution.

Here's a reader contribution from Jessie. I was horrified for her when I read this.

I havent been to the gym in quite some time, as I just let my membership expire after the terrible experiences that I encountered while going there. As much as I attribute my excellent labor and recovery with my second son to all of those laps around the pool, Ive just been too scared to go back.

The first thing that I noticed when I first joined was this couple who never left the spa. They were in their 40's, they were neither fit nor fat, but they never actually worked out. As the spa at my gym was somewhat of a social gathering, they would often get into conversations with whoever was in there with them that day. Fairly normal, maybe they were just "spa rats," right? I can respect that, but there was something odd about this pair. You see, every few minutes, mid conversation, the man would turn to the woman and sing to her. Not just a few bars, but an entire song...slowly. And as he would sing to her, she would gaaaaaaze lovingly into his eyes. Right when people were having a relevant conversation!
"Yeah, gas prices are really high, someone ought to do something about it."
"Oh yes, I agree. My first, my last, my everythiiiiing!"

And it wasnt that he was bad, its that he wasnt very good. It would happen three or four times durring the hour that I would spend in the pool, and everyone in the spa just looked at each other and wait until he was finished to continue speaking. It wasnt that scary, but it was odd.

The time that I got scared was when I was sharing a lane with some man. I was six or seven months pregnant at the time, and he noticed it. He stopped me when I was using my kick board and asked me if I knew what the baby was, and all of that seemingly normal stuff. Then he asked me if I was going to deliver vaginally. I told him to mind his own business and I swam to another lane, but it didnt stop him!

"I was just wondering, because I learned the other day that sometimes women deliver vaginally with their legs up in stirrups," and he proceeded to lean back into the water and put his legs up in imaginary stirrups.

"But sometimes," he continued, "ladies will push the baby out doggy style."

So then he pushed his imaginary baby out doggy style, holding onto the side of the pool for leverage. I decided to cut it short that day and I went into the locker room, only to remember that my friend had my locker key, and she was out in the gigantic gym somewhere, so I had to sit and wait for her to finish working out, all wet in my bathing suit.

After that, I decided to start going to the gym at night. That couple in the spa was still there, they were always there, but on this particular night that I went, some huge family used up all of their guest passes to get 20 rude teenagers into the pool for a party. Annoyed by them swimming across my lane to play Marco Polo, I went inside to ride the bikes. While I was in there, some woman next to me was on her cell phone talking about kegal (sp) exercises for a good 20 minutes, so I just decided to go. When I got to my car, a gym employee was sweeping up shattered glass, as all three of the cars that I was parked by (including the one in front of me in the next row) had their windows broken. I decided that my gym was in a really bad area, so I didnt renew my membership.

There arent any big gyms around here, so I tried to join up with a small one, and the lady would either stare at me, or get on the machines and try to go faster and do better than me. I guess Im not a gym person.

Friday, June 8, 2007

File Under: What the Fuck are They Thinking?

(I worry that there are too many things filed in that category, by the way.)

Yesterday I was at the YMCA getting in a little cardio on the ellipticals. These machines are all the way at the end of the room, up against a glass wall that overlooks the pool. Half the length of the glass wall is taken up by the ellipticals, and the other half of the glass wall has stacks of free weights against it. In walks a woman, probably in her mid-forties, with four plastic Target bags bulging with stuff. She walks over to the free weight stacks and wedges her bags in the seven inch space between the weights and the glass. She is dressed in a denim skirt, a fitted lavender tee-shirt, and bright green crocs. (As an aside, can I just say that I don't think I've ever hated a shoe with so much passion as I hate crocs. Except maybe Ugg boots.) Her hair is done in some kind of poofy do, held back from her face with fancy little clips. Honestly, she looks like she just came from lunch at the mall. She then proceeds to get a pair of weight lifting gloves (the kind with the fingers cut off) and a lifting belt out of one of her Target bags. She dons said attire over her mall outfit and begins lifting weights.

Sometimes, I wish I had mind reading abilities.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Laughing All The Way...

Thursday was the last workout with my trainer, Guido, before my two week cruise. I don't know if the anticipated absence was the reason, or if was just the mood we were both in, but we laughed our way through this entire workout. It was a great way to finish up.

It started as soon as we began talking.

I joked that Roger Clements has a "tired groin" because scar tissue from an earlier injury is starting to break up. Scar tissue from my foot surgery last January is breaking up, too, so I wanted to whine that I shouldn't have to do some exercises because I have a "tired toe." Yeah, that didn't get me as far as it's getting Roger.

I whined. I still had to do the moves.

We went on to come up with new nickname for me: The Debinator. I like it as much as a name the kids gave me when I was a substitute teacher: Robywan Kanobi.

The laughs continued through funny stories about earlier workout session: the Jim Brown story while we did wall squats; the time I threw I threw a minor fit about an exercise; the time I almost fainted.

I breathe poorly while working out, almost holding my breath at times. Not a good thing. Guido can spend a third of my workout telling me to breathe (breathe in, Deb. Now breathe out. And breathe in..) I was doing lunges across the basketball floor (holding my breathe), turned to start back when it became either time to stop and catch my breath or time to faint. I stopped.

"We quit the lunges and went on to something else at that point then, right?" Guido asked.

I gave him "that" look. "No. We're talking you in trainer mode. You let me rest for 30 seconds then told me I still owed you eight lunges."

He couldn't believe that 1)he made me continue and that 2) I did.

Well, yes, he could. That the relationship we have. He pushes me a lot further than I'd ever push myself. And afterward he marvels that I do it all (with a minimum of whining). We always surprise each other.

While we did the body composition measures at the end, he asked me for details about my trip. I told him we were flying into Istanbul and staying at a hotel with a view of the Bosphorus Straits.

"That sounds beautiful, Deb."...

"Um, Guido, you haven't the faintest idea what the Bosphorus is, do you?"

"Nope. Not a clue! But it does sound beautiful!!"

Yes, a geography lesson followed. I earned that Robywan name long ago for a reason!

Mr. Sweaty Guy

One bike was already being used, but all the others were free. I went to my normal one, but it was very wobbly so I didn't feel like wrestling with it and went to the next one, which was beside the one in use. I figured that guy had to be almost done anyway, because he was there since I entered the gym about 1/2 hour ago.

I start my workout, blasting my ipod and watching the news without sound. (I saw that Pope video like 18 times.) I notice that I'm being sprayed. I look up, and the guy next to me, Mr. Sweaty Guy, is quite literally pouring sweat, and some of it is splashing me. I wipe myself off with my towel and adjust myself as best I can to minimize being covered in Other People's Sweat.

For several more minutes, that goes on. Finally Mr. Sweaty Guy leaves, and 2 things happen:
I get blasted by the air conditioner, which he had apparently been blocking from me completely. It was a relief of cool air for me, but how was he sweating that much with that cold air directly on him? Then I notice that he did not return with a paper towel and cleaning solution (provided just a few short feet away) to wipe down his sweat-mobile. There were puddles of sweat on the seat, handlebars, and the floor around. I swear ducks were swimming there.

Gross gross gross.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Belly Dancer

She steps onto the elliptical machine, placing her hands on top of the handles, palms down, and starts to wiggle.

Moving slowly and deliberately, her shoulders make a gentle figure eight: left shoulder Forward. Out. Back. In. The right shoulder moving in a mirror image: Back. In. Forward. Out.

Her hips move in a similar fashion: left hip Back. In. Forward. Out. Again her right hip makes the mirror image.

While the rest of us stand perpendicular to the machine and work to keep our bodies aligned as we move faster along, she gyrates her way through a workout that can best be seen as a warm up to a day of belly-dancing. Slow. Deliberate. Undulating.

It hurts to watch her move, but I just can't stop looking.

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Not much has been going on at my gym lately. Maybe this is because I have not been going as often as I used to, which explains my current state of flabbiness. (And I did not say "fatness," which is different from being a little loose.) Anyway, when I have gone to the gym, I have noticed that the ratio of grunters to those of us who manage to work out silently has shifted dramatically. Really, if you are practically screaming from the effort of lifting a weight, it is probably too heavy for you. Why I know this and the grunters don't is beyond me. Then again, they tend to not be flabby, either. I'll take some jiggle and increasingly wide hips over the chance that I might rip my arms out of my sockets from lifting heavy weights. I think I would look very bad with no arms.

Speaking of ripping arms out of sockets, the best upper body workout I've had this year came from carrying my fat pet rabbit about a mile from the vet back to my apartment. I really did think that they might be pulled free from my body. The next morning, my biceps and shoulders were mad sore. However, I did not grunt once from the effort or the subsequent pain.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

black lacy thong

All during my cardio workout, I was behind this girl. She had an 80s-style cut tank top over her sports bra, and some butt-ass pants that were so tight, I could see every detail of her intricately laced black thong panties. I would use the cliche of being able to read her credit card numbers, but her pants were so tight that there is no way a flat square credit card would even fit in there against her butt. She was using the elliptical, which I have no problem with, but she was using it such a way to accentuate the sensual movements of her butt. And it was all for naught, because nobody even looked at her except for me. And I was forced to, because I was sitting on the bike directly behind her machine.


When I was done with my workout, I washed my face in the sink of the locker room. The girls in there stared at me like I was crazy. But then someone else came in and washed her face. Now who's crazy?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

She's One of Us: Because it Feels Good to Beat the Crap Out of Something

My former blog exchange partner, Kim, wrote a great post a while ago on her blog In Full Bloom about some of the oddities she has seen in her own workout experiences. She is a keen observer and a great writer, and this is a really enjoyable post that I have meant to link to for a while. I highly recommend it.

So without further ado, presenting Because it Feels Good to Beat the Crap Out of Something.

Thursday, May 3, 2007


I went to Old Navy yesterday to replenish my workout clothes supply. (I think we have laundry gremlins.) The person ringing me up said "I take it you go to the gym." Looking at my 2 sports bras, yoga pants (that aren't for yoga), 4 tank tops, and pack of sport socks, I laughed and said "How'd you guess."

We then got into a mostly-one-sided conversation that was essentially about who's gym was better, who paid less, who took better classes (her, because I don't take classes), who needs to go more, who used to go more, etc. Everything I would say, she would one-up me. But then try to humble herself by saying "I really need to go to the gym more, but my work schedule is so crazy." I could have been drawn in and said "Well I work 8-5 on weekdays, so I know exactly when I'm going to the gym" but she kept talking about how great she was, so I paid for my things and left.

I think I lost the First Annual Old Navy Shopping For Gym Clothes While Bragging Competition.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Guest Blogger!

There is a woman who always shows up to my hour-long water aerobics class about 20 minutes late.

She gets in the pool, finds one of her two friends who are in the class, and proceeds to talk. And talk. And talk. The whole time she is standing in one place and maybe moving her feet or arms a little. But she never stops talking.

I am fascinated by her. For one, I can't figure out how anyone talks for 40 minutes non-stop. For another, she is in pretty good shape. How that happens, I don't know. Maybe she never has time to eat because she talks so much.



Tuesday, April 24, 2007

non-gym people

"Have you lost weight?" One of my coworkers asked recently. "Well I've been going to the gym..." I replied, not wanting to dissect the semantics of the question, as I have not lost weight but just made the same weight look better. I still know where the weight is.

"Oh, the gym. Never cared for that." Scornfully, she walks away.

Why is she mad at me for going to the gym? Was it a compliment before she found out that I don't magically make fat disappear? And I can tell she doesn't like the gym because she gets winded waiting for the elevator.

Ok, so there's my proof that as snarky as we may be here, there are those on the other side that are very bitter about it.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Live nude girl

I think of a young lady at my gym as "my anorexic girl." I have talked to her, I have talked to my mom about her, I see her frequently. I am concerned about her health. I've even asked the gym people if they have a defibrillator, because this girl's hear is going to short out. It's sad. But aside from being anorectic, she is also very, very strange. My mom told me this story recently.

She was at the gym and saw my anorexic girl in the locker room. "Was she doing her stretches?" I interrupted. Yes, she was. She was topless and stretching at the mirrors in the locker room. There are two areas she frequents -- one just has a mirror and a counter with blowdryers and such on it. The other has sinks as well. She stretches with one foot up on the counter. Now, I'm not crazy about people's bare feet being on counters I might touch to begin with, but to make this all even less appealing, she does it topless. Barefoot, topless, anorexic, and stretching on a public counter. So mom mentions that she thinks my anorexic girl also has fake boobs. "They looked like someone had glued softballs to the front of her!" I actually saw her again tonight and I'm not 100% sure I agree. She doesn't have ANY body fat, so I don't know how she still has boobs, but they're more of a tennis ball anyway. Well, apparently, she was in there the whole time my mom was doing her own stretches (on the mats on the floor, where all the normal people do them), and had been working out before during the whole time my mom worked out in the gym proper. Mom mentions the topless stretching, then says she went around the corner to her locker and was out of sight for maybe a minute at most. When she went to leave, the woman was still at the counter, still doing her stretches, and now had a shirt on... but had TAKEN HER SHORTS OFF. Yes, she was now naked from the waist down stretching barefoot on a public counter. Will the madness ever cease?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

treadmills are hard

A girl walks up to the treadmill right in front of my elliptical. She presses a few buttons, stares blankly, and moves to the adjacent treadmill where she does the same thing. She is exuding an air of "how do I make this work?" I watch as she does the exact same thing to 2 other treadmills (luckily it was a slow day). Not one of them has gotten her to actually exercise yet. I'm not sure if she just can't figure out the many buttons (i.e. "enter age / weight", "select workout", "quick start") or if she just wants to be able to say she tried using the treadmills but they didn't work.

She could've asked the staff, but she was satisfied to just give up. After her failed attempts at the treadmills, she retired to a bike where she casually pedaled and read her book for about an hour.

I just don't understand why these people join a gym.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

the gym as public poop-house

I've mentioned this before, but my gym locker room / bathroom is small. Small. There are 2 showers, 2 toilet stalls, 2 sinks, and the rest of the wall space is lockers. So why do people find it necessary to ... dispose of their solid waste here? I understand that sometimes it just can't wait, but yesterday was the second time my poor nose was witness to poop incident. Unlike last time, however, this was solid poop. The stink hit my nose as soon as I walked in. It almost knocked me down. I could hear her straining. There were a few courtesy flushes. They did not help. Someone else walked in too pee (!) and I saw her nose crinkle the way I know my own did. But she could tell that I was not the Stinky Bitch.* The stall girl finished up, but did not leave until (I'm assuming) everyone else - me - was out of the room. Good for her, but I was a little light-headed from holding my breath while I changed back into Street des.

ps - the basket of goodies on the counter includes things girls might need, like shampoo, shower gel, tampons, baby powder, spray deodorant, lotion, and - get this - air deodorizer. Please make use of these things.

* I'm not saying the girl in the stall was also bitchy, that's just what I say when someone (including myself) offends my nose.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

too hot (sing it!)

Now that this thing called the "sun" has re-appeared, I notice that my gym needs an AC system, quick. In the afternoons, when I'm there, the sun shines directly into the corner 2 window / walls, directly onto the cardio equipment. Now I know why one of the windows is frosted. But it still sucks to do cardio. Or weights.

Lucky for me, the other people that work out there realize the importance of deodorant and wiping down the equipment.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Claiming To Be A Sponsor

On Sunday I looked up the pool schedule and then called the front desk at the Y to double check. I don't want to claim that the website had a credibility problem, but the schedule had a note saying that the winter 2007 childwatch schedule will be posted soon. Plus, they always have 4pm-5pm blocked off on Sundays for birthday parties, but if no one has booked the pool they allow lap swim. The guy at the front desk told me that there was indeed a party, but after 5pm all 6 lanes would be open. I was surprised because according to their schedule, 3 of the lanes were supposed to be reserved for the Special Olympics. I should have remembered that the front desk appears to use a random answer generator to respond to questions.

As soon as I got the Y, I glanced at the pool and thought it looked awfully crowded for a birthday party that had allegedly just ended. When I walked out on deck I saw that the Special Olympics was indeed using 3 of the lanes like the schedule indicated. Surprisingly enough the schedule on the website had been accurate! Must have been a coincidence.

However, the last three lanes were blocked off by a horizontal rope, and no one appeared to be using them. Well, there's just no way that I'm going to complain about the Special Olympics using the pool (although I think the dude at the front desk should have been able to tell me that they were going to be using 3 lanes), so I thought I would just soak in the hot tub for 5 minutes and then go home. Another woman came into the hot tub and expressed similar thoughts. Shortly after that an elderly lady came out and walked right up to the teenage lifeguard and demanded to know what was going on with the unused lanes. At that point the lifeguard admitted that he had forgotten to set up the line lanes. It looked like everything was going to be peachy keen, and we all started swimming. Except for one thing: I think the front desk genius must have switched answers, and begun telling people that family swim was happening. Or maybe they changed the website. Either way, all of a sudden there were a ton of kids in the three lap swim lanes.

I think we were all getting a little bit frustrated, and when the 4th child, who was wearing a bikini, a ton of makeup and jewelry, tried to get into our lane, the hot tub lady very bluntly asked her if she knew how to circle swim. She said no and scurried off. However, that still left 3 other kids (I'm talking about 6-7 years old) in our lane struggling to get across the pool. The hot tub lady got frustrated and left. I realized that I wasn't going to get a meaningful workout and decided to just use the kickboard. This gave me a good opportunity to see what was going on.

There was people jammed packed into the Special Olympics lanes. I mean to the point at which it was really hard for people to swim because there wasn't any space. Furthermore, the signs on the lanes said lap swim so there were other lap swimmers standing over the Special Olympic lanes so they could try and jump in when people left without realizing that the lanes weren't available. The whole thing made me incredibly angry. I know that pretty soon I'll see signs hanging up at the Y saying how they are sponsors of the Special Olympics. Here's a thought: if you're going to be a sponsor, why not just give the Special Olympics all 6 lanes? You could either close the pool for that time or you could keep the pool open an hour later (since it normally closes 3 hours earlier on Sundays). Yes, I know there's cost for the Y either way, but isn't that what a sponsor is supposed to do? The idea is to treat the Olympians with respect, not crowd them like sardines.

As for bikini girl, she snuck in after hot tub lady left and proceeded to do handstands in the middle of the lane right by the lifeguard. Of course when I questioned the new definition of lap swim, the lifeguard was quick to explain how lap swim worked to the bikini girl. Not surprisingly she immediately left.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Showery Excitement

I had a hard and great workout today and couldn't wait to hit the showers. Hot water pounding on my shoulders then sliding down my salty skin is reward. My body cools when I strip, the skin getting goose-pimply as a walk over the slick tiled floors. The shower warms me and wipes me clean.

The work I've done in the gym that day sinks into the muscles and becomes the result that shows the rest of the day when I'm showering. Hot water as annealer.

I quickly stripped of my soaking wet t-shirt and shorts, tore off the sock and threw the entire pile of sopping clothing into my locker. The towel I packed had dried on the line, so it was scratchy and rough. A just reward for a job hard-won.

As I chose a shower stall, I turned and saw an older woman lying on the floor in the stall across from me. Everyone else ignored her; she was soapy but unable to get up. Naked and completely vulnerable. She just needed a little help but wisely insisted on management coming to help. And here's the weak point in the gym's design: there is no communication line between the locker room and the front desk.

I walked through the locker room yelling: is anybody dressed?? Anybody??


So I pulled my sopping wet t-shirt and soggy wet shorts back on (sans undies, this was an emergency), walked up the stairs and through the gym to get her help. Fortunately, two female employees were quickly summoned to provide assistance.

Back. Clothes back in the locker; me back in the shower stall. Corporate girls talking to our fallen lady. She has no explanation for how she fell, but it's a shower room.

Do you know about the simple one minute stroke test? Neither did the employees. Frequently when someone falls down with no reasonable explanation, this test will show that the person has had a stroke. Quickly. Easily. Before they try to get up. So I guided the trainer through the 3 questions, then witnessed as she continued checking that the woman hadn't injured herself in her fall. Fortunately, all signs were negative and the woman was assisted to her locker, dressed and escorted safely and happily from the gym. Nobody asked for ID as a witness in the accident, so I hope it's history all around.

And I? I decided that the miracle of the shower was not to be part of my life today. I quickly washed the sweat away, pulled on dry clothes and put the work behind me.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Oh No She Didn't!

Husband overheard the following conversation between a blond woman in her 30s and her gay friend as she worked out on an elliptical machine and he sweated it out on the treadmill next to her:

Bitch 1: So I think my maid is stealing from us.

Bitch 2: No way, honey! What are you going to do?

Bitch 1: I called my mom, and she said, "What did you think was going to happen? The help stole from us all the time."

Bitch 2: Tsk, tsk.

Bitch 1: Plus, I don't think the nanny does enough. When I'm playing with my children, the nanny should be cleaning.

Bitch 2: (Sighing heavily.) Good help is so hard to find. I am so sorry you have to deal with this.

Yes, folks, it is a damn good thing that I was not there to witness this.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Woman with the Baby

Yesterday I decided to take my chances and go to the Y around lunch time with my two kids even though that always means there's the chance that I'll have to parade through the lobby in my swim suit looking like a drowned rat to tell the childwatch that my child has farted and not had an accident like they initially thought. Can't say I blame them though for not wanting to check! With a snow storm imminent, I really wanted to make sure I had a chance to workout because, hey, I lost 3 pounds last week!

Unfortunately, since it was early, there were only two lap swim lanes open and both of them already had two people in them. One lane had someone who was struggling to swim back and forth so I did obvious thing: stand in front of the lane with my cap, goggles, kickboard, and waterbottle and try to give off "professional swimmer" vibes even though I'm not really a professional swimmer (I was a competitive swimmer for years, so I feel like that should count, right?) However, I was not alone. Next to me was a brand-new baby in a stroller (or carriage as people here in MA like to say). "That's funny," I thought to myself because no one there looked like they had just had a baby. In fact if I had to narrow it down to three people it would be 1) Me. I do look like I've had a baby recently, hey that's why I was at the Y. Seeing as my baby is only 8 months-old, that would have been pretty impressive. 2)Any of the hundred-year-old ladies in the water aerobics class. 3) The teenage boy who was struggling to make it across the lane. Unless medical science had provided an even bigger miracle than allowing post-menopausal old ladies to have a baby, the boy didn't give birth to that baby, although he could have been the father.

As I was thinking about this, the second swimmer in the lane stopped and invited me to circle swim with them. Now, that is a true miracle. No one ever invites anyone to circle swim at the Y. She was very fit and very bubbly. Just as I was about to get in, she asked me if the baby was still sleeping. Turns out it was her baby, AND he was only 5 weeks old! He also was her 4th baby. I almost fell over. She told me that "she was no stranger to the refrigerator with any of her 4 pregnancies." She and I had a nice chat which is also unusual at the Y. When she paused from sprinting across the pool a million times, I did a quick peek at her belly as I was doing my flip turn. It was perfectly flat.

straining... too much or too little

There was a guy using the cable machine. I had a clear view of him via the wall-mirror while I was on the bike, and he was much more interesting than Seinfeld without sound (I listen to my music still). Instead of pulling the cables smoothly, he would give them a big jerk. It really looked like the only way he could lift that much weight was by wrenching his muscles and joints in a very non-fluid motion. It also really looked like he was going to hurt himself. Bad.

Then there was the chick in the locker room bathroom. While I was changing back into street des, she went to use the toilet. She was much more... noisy and liquidy for doing #2 then I think either of us were comfortable with. Luckily, I finished changing and left before she finished so we didn't have to look at each other (I hope she was as embarrassed as I). But, 2 more girls walked in as I walked out. They had no idea what they were in for.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Just two

One: Guy who holds his towel in his mouth while on the elliptical machine. First, there's plenty of other places to put it. Second, this is a towel that has dried someone else's crack and athete's foot probably hundreds of times. Washed or not washed, I don't put that in my mouth.

Two: The lady at yoga in her... outfit. Do you remember in the late 80s/early 90s when women started wearing leotards to work out in over their spandex pants? And then the leotards became two-pieces? And then the bottom part became a thong? Something like this, but with Spandex pants.

Anyway, this woman was wearing that, or at least I THOUGHT so. But in fact, it was just a pair of spandex pants colored to appear as though there was a thong over them. So, like a faux-teal thong. And worse? She had the world's flattest ass, so it was really noticeable that those fake curves were... fake.

Hey Baby, I'm Playing Their Songs

My gym is so prosaic; or is it on Prozac?? I don't know. Lately whenever I go, there are lots of people there working out, but nothing ridiculous or funny or strange occurs. Just middle aged folks sweating on the cardios and pushing weights. Wearing dull clothes.


Who knew we were such a dedicated and boring lot.

However, a long time ago Suzanne posted her playlist and admitted that she thought it was a brilliant idea for us all to do. My own playlist evolves almost weekly, as I am determined to find the perfect mix of music at the perfect tempo to keep me moving when on the treadmill or the elliptical, then allow me to use music as a distraction and timing method while doing floor exercises and/or weight training.

The first part is critical; the rest less so. I have also perfected the treadmill portion of the playlist; the ellipitical portion still needs to be developed (all suggestions welcome).


Song #1: played while walking into the gym and/or up from the locker room.


Bonnie Raitt: Let's Give Them Something to Talk About.

Treadmill Music:

#1. Boogie Shoes. Ya know this really is a great warm up song.. the tempo, the trumpets, the idea of shoes...

#2. I Walk The Line. Los Lonely Boys. About the same tempo as #1, longer with a very strong beat that forces me to walk to it's time.

#3. Every Breathe You Take. UB40. The breathing part of cardio is starting to kick in.

#4. Smooth. Carlos Santana and Rob Thomas. Perfect strong beat. Perfect tempo. Perfect.

#5. Oye Como Va. Gypsy Kings and Carlos Santana. I think this one may need to be moved back a little further in the play list. But the tempo and beat is good.

#6. Locomotion Breath. Jethro Tull. Increase the speed to 3.4 or 3.5 and step fiercely along with the strong bass and beat of this song. This is about the 20 minute point in a half hour workout and I'm going for the money.

#7. Layla. Eric Clapton. Same tempo at #6 and just in time to finish off the workout.

#8. Suffragette City. David Bowie. The finale. About half way through this song, I hit the half hour limit, and move into the "group exercise room" for my floor exercises. Refill the water bottle, grab a mat and get ready.

Floor exercises/ weight training/ and often elliptical:

#9. Sultans of Swing. Dire Straits. There are a number of stability and balance moves that I do. This is a great song for slowly moving legs. Besides it's my favorite earworm.

#10. Don't You Forget About Me. Human League. Usually where I do balance work and wall-sits.

#11. Aqualung. Jethro Tull. Second Time through the stability moves.

#12. Cocaine. Eric Clapton. Second time through balance work and wall-sits.

Then maybe on to weights! Sometimes used when on the ellipitical:

#13: She's Not There. Santana and Thomas again.

#14: The Way You Do The Things You Do. UB40.

#15: Evil Ways. Santana

#16: Black Magic Woman. Santana

#17: My God. Jethro Tull Live recording.

#18: Crazy Dreams. Los Lonely Boys.

#19: Elegantly Wasted. INXS.

#20: I Would Do Anything For Love. Meatloaf

#21: Brown Eyed Girl. Van Morrison.

#22: How To Save A Life: The Fray.

#23: Don't You Forget About Me. Simple Minds

#24: When It's All Over. Snow Patrol.

#25: American Pie. Don Mclean. The original long version.

#26: I'll Stop The World. The Cure.

Cool Down

#27: Trouble Sleeping. Corrine Bailey Rae

#28: Hallejulah. Rufus Wainwright.

#29 Breathless. Corrine Bailey Rae

#30 Butterfly. Corrine Bailey Rae.

Granted this playlist is heavy on the oldies, but I haven't found songs (especially for the treadmill section) that meet my specific requirements of tempo, strong rhythm, good guitar riffs and great harmonies. I will eagerly check out new suggestions that might work here, but most of the "newer" music I find is ending up at the end of the playlist.

rude and stupid

I didn't go to the gym last week so I had nothing to blog about. But upon my triumphant return, oho! the gym was ripe with fodder.

Our locker room is small. There are 4 stools. At any given time, there may be 4 people. This should logically work out to one stool per person. But no. Fat Lady was sitting on one with her stuff (a plastic grocery bag) on the stool next to her. Then she made a special effort to not pick up her bag when she needed something out of it, leaning over and digging through it as though it were glued down. She found what she needed and took it out, but she also found some trash that she didn't want (used tissues, candy wrappers) and proceeded to throw it on the floor. Not accidentally-dropped-and-forgot-to-pick-up, I'm talking full out thrown on the floor. And no, she wasn't trying to make it into the trash can, which was across the room in the other direction. So while not sitting and avoiding her trash, the rest of us in the locker room also have to contend with the fact that she left her locker door (in the middle, up high) wide open. I "politely" shut it for her, she gave me a dirty look , and stormed out. Another locker room inhabitant and I exchanged "WTF looks."

Then while on the cardio machine, I'm doing my normal workout complete with normal headphones. However, I keep getting disturbed by the person next to me on her cell phone. It rang twice, and she was talking on it loudly the whole time I was there. Maybe she has some important business to cover (gossip) but you can't get a very good cardio workout while jabbering away. And we weren't on tradmills - we were on ellipticals. So not only was she wasting her time (and breath) but she was disturbing other people. Just because you can't get a good workout doesn't mean that you should stop everyone else from getting one too.

Monday, March 12, 2007

What's That Smell?

I should have trusted my nose and not gone into the women's lockeroom
when I could smell some nasty perfume wafting from beneath the door.
However, I opened the door and almost past out. It smelled like someone
walked around spraying the Strawberry Shortcake doll's perfume in all
of the lockers. That mixed with the smell of sweaty feet and mold was
enough to make me start gagging. So here's my question: Why was someone
spraying that awful stuff around? Or worse, yet and probably more
likely, "Was someone actually wearing that horrible perfume?"

So That's Why We Pay the Big Bucks

I went to workout at the SoHo branch of my gym tonight. Yeah... I fit right in, let me tell you. The good part is that all the equipment is new and shiny and works. The bad part is that I was balded by all the shiny, waxed snatch parading around the locker room. The lighting seriously reflected off the poon, I am not making that up. A bald man would possibly kill everyone in sight range with the power rays that would emanate from his skull. He probably should not be in the women's locker room, though, so i think we are safe. Oy.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

I Swear I'd Never Say This...

Today was all planned out: some life maintainence stuff in the morning along with walking the dogs. At two I was meeting several of the other BlogHer editors in Oakland for a couple hours of visiting while knitting or crocheting. (I would be the K/C tutor).

In between a visit to the gym.

I calculated the time, and knew if I left the gym by 1:30 pm, I'd have plenty of time to get through the traffic in Berzerkley, find a place to park, and get to the tea bar where we were meeting at 2 pm. Easy-peasy.


And these are the words I never thought I'd utter:

I was enjoying my workout so much, that I stayed at the gym longer. And showed up late for girlie fun!!

Beanie guy

Ok, I know it's been warmer outside. (It almost got to 60!) So you don't need to wear a knit hat. Especially in the gym, where the A/C is not on, and I had to leave early because I was going to pass out. But it's ok for you, O Wearer of the Knit Hat Inside the Gym, because you're not actually working out. You are just sitting on the machines so nobody else can use them. Go ahead and wear your beanie.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

My gym is a YMCA in a swank neighborhood. I do not live in said neighborhood, I just live close enough to enjoy the runoff. Every piece of cardio equipment has it's own 13 inch flat screen television with DVD/CD player and extended cable. All you need to do is bring a pair of headphones, plug yourself in and you're good to go. They even sell headphones at the desk if you forgot yours. In addition, they have a lost and found box because sometimes people accidentally forget their headphones in the machines when they are done.

The lost and found box is near the abs/back weight machines. On more than one occasion, I've seen people come in, take a set of headphones from this box, use them and return them to the box. Now these are the type of headphones that go into your ears, not the old fashioned type with the foam circles that merely rest on top of your ears. While I do not find earwax to be as inherently gross as, say, crotch sweat, it's still pretty nasty.

On Monday the lost and found box was empty. One after another folks walked over only to walk away disappointed. Then some crazy old coot tried to take my headphones, which I had rested on my water bottle and placed on my towel next to where I was working out. When I protested, she said 'Well I didn't think you were using them!' I wasn't at the moment, but that does not negate the fact that they are my private property. Step off, crazy ear wax lover.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Costume Du Jour...

This definetely qualifies as the costume of the day:

Picture: A 40-something woman with about 20 extra pounds on her, hair mid-back length at the longest but broken and damaged so most of it falls somewhere just below her shoulders. It was once dyed some kind of ashen blonde, but it's faded to something mousier. Black eyeliner. Dark lipstick.

The Workout Clothes:

A black cotton sleeveless top. The top edge is decorated with Indian inspired tear-drop shapes circling the neck. Each shape has beads and sequins in a pretty pattern. The top has the popular "baby doll" shape with the "waist" just below the bustline and a full bottom piece. The bottom falls down to mid-hip length with another row of those tear-drop shapes accenting the hem. Actually fairly pretty.

If only I could have stopped there.

Tucked below the hem of this top is a black denim micro-mini skirt that would not cover her private bits. It's got some faded embroidery on one of the pockets and her keys and cell phone tucked into the pockets.

Under this "transitional clothing item" are black leggings tight enough to show every dimple of cellulite on her butt cheeks.

And white tennis shoes.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


If you do a lower body workout with weights, it's not a good idea to spend 30 minutes on the stairmaster the next day. It's an even worse idea to do 40 minutes on an elliptical machine the day after that.

I can't move my legs today. Pain.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

No-pants day

The Gym Whisperer
When I walked into the locker room, there was someone using the toilet. Otherwise the locker room was empty. Then the girl walked out of the stall, bare from the waist down. I politely looked away, but had to sneak a glance to make sure I was not un-hallucinating. Turns out, she was wearing flesh-colored underwear, but still no pants. And she was whispering to herself. I thought maybe she was talking on a Bluetooth or something, but she was very quiet, and not making complete sentences. Then she did make a call, to schedule a mani/pedi. She spoke clearly and loudly. When she was done, she continued whispering to herself, still sans pants.

Tiny Shorts No-Butt
I've never understood why people roll the waistbands of their sweatpants. I guess it's to make shorts shorter and "show off" the wearer's butt more. The girl that was directly in front of me doing cardio did this. But her shorts were already too short. And she really had no butt to show off - not a curve in sight. However, due to the rolling-of-the-waistband, I got to see way more of this non-butt then I would have cared to. I was very unhappy with Tiny Shorts No-Butt in front of me, blocking my view of the outside world with her flat board-butt and shorts rolled into her crack.

ps - after the gym I had a big banana split. That was awesome.

Death of the Machine

New fangled gadgets confuse and scare me. I didn't particularly want an iPod, but Husband got an iPod shuffle for free at a conference he attended (I know - insane), and so I loaded some songs onto it and listened to it at the gym once in a while. That once in a while became very frequently, though, when I discovered the joy of weight lifting to music.

Thus today when I plugged my iPod into the USB port and was all set to add Bon Jovi and a few Madonna songs that I cannot believe that I am missing ("Like a Prayer" - how can that not be on there?), I was distressed to see that iTunes deleted my file and refused to recognize the music that was already loaded. Husband said I will need to delete everything and start all over.

Fucking technology.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Well, that was fun.

Tonight was a good night for people-watching. The substitute teacher was back in the exact same striped button-down shirt and dockers, so maybe that is his workout outfit. There was also a guy just wandering around at random fully dressed talking on a bluetooth. There were the giggle twins, who kept peeking around corners, rushing to places, and giggling like this was all the funnest thing ever! They were also lifting weights in a sort of synchronized-swimming routine, swinging the weights at their sides in unison. There was a flutterer -- a guy who gets on the machines, sets the weight too high, then rapidly flaps the handles back and forth without ever letting them all the way down. And then in the locker room was a very elderly woman seated watching "Deal or No Deal" and lifting a Pilates ball from the floor to shoulder height. A Pilates ball, in case you aren't familiar, is basically a sturdy balloon, not a heavy medicine ball or something. I would just like to say two things: First, if I get that old and am still working out, good for me! Second, if "working out" is lifting a balloon repeatedly while watching game shows, go ahead and kill me.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Get Out of the Way

The gym I work out in is very small. There is not much room for people who might want to sit around and randomly watch people work out, which is good, because no one should be engaging in such activity. Unfortunately, no one sent that message to the wench and her son who followed around her husband/his dad while he worked out with a trainer.

At first, it struck me as odd that a woman in her 40s was standing around in jeans, leather boots, and a sweater in her coat. Then I noticed the precocious 8 year old boy fully decked out in yuppie wear next to her. When the mom let him "play" on the equipment, I began getting really annoyed. Especially since the equipment was clearly too big for him and either he was going to get hurt or break the equipment or both. I didn't care if he got hurt (except that they'd probably sue the gym even though he should not have been on it in the first place), but I would've been mad pissed if he broke it.

Eventually, a gym employee told him to get off, and that is when they began following around their loved one in earnest. I admit I found it funny when the kid started yelling, "Dad! Your face is bright red! You're going to hurt yourself." But they kept putting their coats on equipment and sitting on other pieces. Finally, the dad finished and they went away. But damn, they were annoying.

President's Day Pack-In

Oh My God!!

I'd forgotten this was a federal holiday. I headed in for my normal Monday morning workout with Totally Adorable Trainer(tm) expecting the normal amount of activity.

Every aerobic machine was taken and folks were waiting in line.

People were waiting WAITING to use the various weight machines.

(on a brighter note, atleast the clothing was more varied today...)

It was crowded and noisy and hot and I hated it!!

Totally Adorable Trainer(tm)'s grandfather (in the hospital) took a turn for a worse this morning so he was at the hospital. Sorry for him, glad for me. I put in a half-hearted, half-hour workout and blew Dodge...

Sunday, February 18, 2007

I didn't get the memo.

Headed to the gym this afternoon. It's the first time I've been there on a Sunday afternoon.

Memo to self:

While the wardrobe at my gym is normally a bit varied (black or gray pants, black, gray or red shirts), there is a distinctive wardrobe for Sunday afternoons.

White loose-fitting t-shirt and black pants/shorts. Of the 50-75 people there, there were 3 of us without this wardrobe.

So I guess everyone will be making of me tonight:

"there was this woman at the gym, acting all like she belonged there ya know? But she was wearing a gray tshirt and gray shorts. On Sunday afternoon, man!! "

Namaste, freak.

I worked out yesterday and was disappointed that there weren't more people to make fun of. It was 75 degrees in Sacramento, so everyone else was enjoying the sunshine. There was on guy in those super-short running shorts and a stretched-out and dripping-with-sweat tank top, but nothing crazy.

But this morning was yoga. And yoga is always good for people-watching. There was a new lady in there, and it struck me immediately that it was a little odd to come to yoga in full make-up and gigantic Jersey hair. But she was also chewing gum like a cow all through class. Gum and yoga don't seem like natural complements to me, but chacun a son gout,* I guess.

*One of the few French phrases I remember from high school -- even though it's pronounced "shacoon ah sawn goo," we always said it "chakun a sun gowt." It means something like "to each his own." Our other favorite was "Twat! Two et toujours un casskoo!" Which means something like "you, you are a daredevil!"

Friday, February 9, 2007

In Evolutionary Terms.. The Ears, They Must Grow...

Ok. I saw this "tech utilization technique" for the first time last week. It was odd, but I forgot to blog here at the time. (sigh...). Then yesterday I saw it two more times. Is this just a localized phenomenon?

Fellow gym members are simultaneously wearing:

-a blue-tooth phone ear set


-ear clips for their MP3 player!!

So one ear has the blue tooth clip which then wears it's own music ear clip...

It was really accentuated on the woman wearing a full head wrap and 3" gold circular dangle earrings too.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Cool in the Pool

It has finally happened! The past few days I have been the cool, hip person that everyone wants to talk to. It doesn't matter that I may have spit-up on my shoulder and that there are most likely pieces of an arrowroot cookie in my hair. So how is it then that all the teenage lifeguards and other swimmers are flocking to me? H20 Audio. For my birthday my parents gave me a plastic case which along with a pair of waterproof headphones and an arm band allows me to swim with my iPod. Yes, I can swim a 200 IM to the beat of a Yazz song.

I have to admit I've had a few technical difficulties. The first time I used it I couldn't get any sound to come out of the right headphone. I came to the most logical conclusion: I was losing my hearing in my right ear. However, after switching around the headphones, I realized that unless I had miraculously regained the hearing in my right ear only to loose the hearing in my left ear, the problem was mechanical, not physical. Despite all appearances, the headphones weren't properly connected to the iPod. On the advice of H20 I also tried the wax earplugs with the headphones. As a former competitive swimmer I have always hated the wax earplugs because they always manage to stick to my hair and get pulled slightly out of my ears no matter how well my hair is tucked into my cap. Not surprisingly, the result was a disaster which left me with my ears filled with water, little enjoyment of my iPod while swimming, and about 20 hairs less than when I started swimming.

The biggest problem I've had though is with the free armband that came with the case. While it attached to my arm just fine, when I went to do my first flipturn, it shimmied down my arm and almost off my hand. I now see why the master swimmers who reviewed this product recommended getting the swim belt. I immediately ordered one when I got home. In the meantime, I look like I'm waiting for the mothership to beam me up. I have my swim cap with a large bump underneath it from the combination of my headphones and my ponytail, my pink goggles and most importantly the bungee cord wiring from my headphone that goes from under my cap all the way down to my wrist. Clearly I look weird. Yet, because I have this new technology, people are willing to put aside their fear to come and ask what the heck is on my wrist. Also not surprisingly, one the lifeguards commented that he originally thought I had an underwater camera strapped to my wrist and was taking underwater pictures. Somehow, he seemed to think that was perfectly normal.

I did not take this picture with an under-water (or any other type) of camera. And, no, it isn't me either.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Train wrecks, substitute teachers, and afros

I'm not making fun of my anorexic girl when I post about her -- I just am fascinated by her. It's like a train wreck. What kind of glasses is she wearing that she can't see how terrible she looks? Fat-colored glasses? She spends hours at the gym and then jogs home, and while she's at the gym she does things that are aerobic, whether they're meant to be or not. For example, in the weight room she just picks up the weights and flails her arms around quickly. Crunches? She uses super-rolling-momentum. She even extra-aerobifies the regular aerobic activities; on the elliptical trainer, she waves her arms over her head. It's sad, but nonetheless fascinating.

Next up is the substitute teacher. I have no idea that this is his actual job. He could be an engineer. But there is a guy at my gym who works out (in a very mellow sort of way) dressed in trousers, a button-down shirt, and loafers. And coke-bottle glasses. I just wonder if he can afford my gym, why can't he afford shorts?

But really, the freak-shows of my gym are often the employees. There's one who has 1987 hair -- the platinum blond spiral perm -- and pancake makup in the shade "Lestat." Between the makeup and the hair she practically glows in the dark. I think if you shone a black light on her, she actually would glow.

And then there's the afro guy. I realize that the afro hairstyle has become more popular in recent years, extending to Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, and others with naturally curly thick hair, like the occasional white boy. But generally I find that when Asians want a dome-shaped hairdo, they have to resort to gelled spikes. (And this, they do.) But there's an employee of the gym who has probably the only actual Asian 'fro I've ever seen. He is otherwise entirely dorky, with thick glasses and receding hairline, but a big, big, thin, slightly wavy 'fro. It's odd.

The Makeover

When I was swimming at the Y, I noticed that a couple of the swimmers had nice pull-buoys. Unlike the Y ones, they weren't covered in mildew. I briefly contemplated buying one myself, but then decided against it because that would be just one more thing I would have to bring with me not to mention if I forgot to take it out of my swim bag it would eventually look like the ones at the Y. However, as I was getting out of the pool, I noticed a big pile of brand-new pull-buoys on the deck. Next to them was a pile of brand-new kickboards. I went up to the lifeguard and jokingly asked him if the pool had gotten a makeover. I swear I'm not making up his response. He said excitedly, "Yes, the pool did get a makeover! We got new light bulbs!" I burst out laughing as I pictured myself telling everyone that my kitchen had just gotten a makeover since I recently changed the light bulbs. The lifeguard looked at me like I was crazy, apparently the new light bulbs sucked out his sense of humor, and then told me that they had also gotten new pull-buoys, kickboards, and a brand-new lifeguard chair for the other side of the pool.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Lamest. Person. Ever.

It's Friday night. The gym is pretty dead, because who goes there except for die hard fitness freaks, and people that have to take big tests the next day and could relieve a little stress maybe?
So I walk into the locker room. It's empty except for one chick. She's at the sink. Painting her nails. Spilling nail polish on the counter.

She's in there for 90% of my workout. I can tell because it's Friday night and the gym is pretty dead and I can see everyone. Eventually she comes out and sits on the bike next to me. Notice I did not use the operative verbs "ride" or "use." She sat on the bike. However, she must haved moved a little tiny bit, because since she was on the bike next to me I could see her screen, and she burned a whopping 15 calories before she gave up.

Then she went and stood on the treadmill. Stood. Then she took a little walk - nothing too exerting. She left after about a minute.

My guess is that she told someone she was going to the gym. She went - it wasn't technically a lie. Then when she got home, she told them she had been on the bike and the treadmill. Also not technically lies. Good for her.

Thursday, February 1, 2007


A few days ago I was swimming at the Y when out of the corner of my eye I saw something in the deep end that was brown and dark green and shaped like a ball. Seeing as this is a public swimming pool, I jumped to the obvious conclusion: it was a turd. However, as much as I may gripe about the Y, the pool has never been that bad so I felt it was safe to take a closer inspection. It appeared to be a brown ball with green things sticking out of it. What the...wait a that seaweed? I looked around and saw the same thing in the lane next to me. I stopped and asked the lifeguard. Sure enough, it was fake seaweed at the bottom of the pool. It was there for the kids to be able to dive down and retrieve. The lifeguard was very amused that no one else had commented on it particularly since it did look like, well you know. Anyhow, I brought up the seaweed for her and we ended up having a nice talk later on where she told me what a great swimmer I was. Feeling good that someone had just complimented me, I walked into the locker room and was greeted with a crotch shot. Thankfully the woman was clothed, but she was doing V-lifts in front of my locker. Back to normal at the Y!

Making Love out of Nothing at all

I haven't posted here much lately for two reasons. First, I haven't been to the gym as much as I ought to have been. Second, I've been spending my time there with my earbuds in, book in hand, and basically shutting out the world. But today there was a girl there... well, let me tell you. She was wearing baggy sweats and doing freeweights, but reading a book between each set. I think she was reading more than she was lifting, actually. Then she was on the bikes at the same time as I was, and she had her iPod in the cupholder. I glanced over at it a couple times, because I love eavesdropping on what people are listening to, and she must have had it on random, because the first time I looked, it was Rage Against the Machine, but later it was Air Supply! I don't think you're allowed to work up a sweat to Air Supply. Who even has Air supply on their iPod? Anyway, I was finishing my workout and she was over on a Pilates ball doing crunches in the area around the corner from the bikes, and I heard her TOOT! That's right -- gas passing on the Pilates ball.

Oh wait, that was all me.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

No Pain, No Gain? Music is the Answer!

I can't move my legs. Yesterday I seemed to have done a very effective lower body workout and it hurts to move. This will negatively impact my cardio workout today.

And, I still have yet to add Bon Jovi onto my iPod! I swear, it takes me forever to get around to handling technology. Still, at one point Debra suggested we share our playlists, which I think is brilliant so that I can find more good music to add to my "machine."

Here's the bizarro mix I listen to:
The Animals - House of the Rising Sun
Backstreet Boys - I Want It That Way (I need to get rid of this)
Beatles - various songs from various albums
Beyonce - Crazzy Right Now
B-52s - Love Shack
Christina Aguillera - You are Beautiful (seriously, I love this song)
Deelite - Grooze is the in Heart
Dido - her first album + White Flag (I so love Dido)
Fastball - The Way
Fugees - Killing me Softly and Fugee-La (I suspect that is not the title)
Led Zepplin - tons of random songs (LOVE Zepplin! Yeah!)
Madonna - Music and Ray of Light albums (Ray of Light is amazing)
Prince - When Doves Cry and Purple Rain
Queen - We Will Rock You (I need to add the second part of the song)
?Mark and the Mysterians - 96 Tears (great oldie!)
Sugar Ray - I Just Want to Fly (a song that makes me want to sing very loudly)

I think I have more stuff on it, but the playlist is not in front of me. (I'm impressed that I remembered this much.) But it is clear that Bon Jovi is needed badly, and that I must finally gett rid of that damn Backstreet Boys song. On the other hand, I do like their song "Everybody," so perhaps I'll swap it out... I could also use some older Madonna, like "Like a Prayer."

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Some tips for the chick that went straight into the toilet-stall to change, instead of in the actual locker room

1. This is a locker room. In a gym. It was built specifically for the purpose of changing one's clothes.

2. If you needed affirmation about #1, I was in there, and I was half-nekkid myself.

3. Don't try to pretend that you went in there to pee, by flushing the toilet when you were done. Since it was just me & you in there, I did not hear any peeing. Plus I saw you take your gym bag in there and emerge wearing different clothes and shoes.

4. If you must ignore #s 1-3 above, at least go into the big stall, you dolt!

Monday, January 29, 2007

She Came for A Workout... but What Kind??

There was some question what her intent was coming to the gym. Her outfit left some doubt.

Shoes: White. Athletic in design. Even laced and tied.

Pants: Cotton and Lycra blend. Black. Mid-calf length. Form fitting. Still rather typical gym fare.

Top: Nylon with polyester lace trim. Leopard print. Baby-doll shaped. Thin straps paired with bra's black straps. Low cut in front. The keyhole opening in the back bisected by her black bra band. Definitely more of a "let's just roll into bed" message.

Hair: Tussled.

I spotted her first on the stationary bikes, then later by the weight machines. I expected to see some interesting action by the bench press bench...but never did.

Friday, January 26, 2007

newspaper guy

I can understand not wanting to watch tv while you ride the bike at the gym (even though at MY gym, all the cardio equipment has their own built-in tv). Some people bring magazines. Not a problem. The guy next to me last night brought the NY Times. Understandable.

The thing that was not understandable is that he brought the whole paper. And it was not folded neatly in a readable way. There were pages stuffed into the drink holder, wrapped around the handle bars, crumpled in his lap, and just everywhere you could think to stuff a newspaper page.

For how messy it was, he was very relaxed. He was not exerting himself while on the machine, but he was moving a bit. I guess something is better than nothing. Makes me wonder what would happen if he didn’t have the crumpled newspaper with him to “read.”

Monday, January 22, 2007

press "end call" ...just for a minute

While I'm changing in the locker room, a girl walks in on her phone. "Blah, blah blah. Jenny called you? Did you tell her we were interested?" Then she proceeds into a bathroom stall, still talking. The other women and I are all wondering WTF is up with this phone girl. It's very quiet. Then Phone Girl begins whispering. "I'm kind of in the bathroom at the gym, and everyone can hear me."

I don't know if she meant that everyone could hear her conversation, or could hear her peeing. Because it was both. I think the person on the other end of the line could hear both as well. I'm just saying, there's a time and a place...

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Hot Tub Hollering

A few nights ago I went to the Y to swim as usual. However, also as usual the schedule in no way reflected how the pool was actually being used. Thus, I needed to wait for a spot to open up in the sole lap swim lane. To pass the time I decided to sit in the hot tub despite the apparent risk of getting a STD (yes, I'm kidding about being concerned, but according to Oprah it could happen.) Maybe it was just because it was pretty cold out, but the water seemed unusually hot. Let's not reflect on that one too much. Anyhow, it was fairly crowded and everyone had a dazed and relaxed look on their face. Suddenly out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a young girl, maybe 11 or 12, and her younger brother who looked about 8, each wearing goggles and swim bubbles, carrying a kickboard stretched out under both arms. Just as the girl was about to take a flying leap into the very hot water, her mother let forth an ear piercing lecture. It was in another language, so while I don't really know what she said, I think it was something along the lines of "Get the fuck out of here now or you'll never be allowed to watch TV again!!!!!!!" Those two kids not only went scurrying out of the hot tub area but they flew into the lockeroom. A few minutes later the mom followed them. The other hot tub patrons and I were very shocked that
  1. Our serene reverie had been broken by ear piercing yelling
  2. Someone actually disciplined their child at the Y.
Miracles do happen.

A Lesson from Driving to the Gym

One of the many reasons that Husband and I continue to pay exorbitant fees for our gym now that our main location is a hole in the wall is because we can still access other locations that are not holes or dank basements. This includes gyms in Los Angeles, a place I never go; San Francisco, a city I used to visit frequently when I was a gainfully employed member of society; and Chicago, where my parents live. There are four locations in Chicago, all in ridiculously upscale areas, the closest being in a suburb about 15 minutes up the higway from my family compound.

Thus I found myself in the funny situation of driving to my workout. I know that for every other American who does not live in NYC, this is not funny at all, but completely normal. In fact, during summers when I lived with my parents while I was home from college, I used to drive to the community center abut 3/4 mile from their house so I could walk on a treadmill. Still, these days, I generally walk to my gym. No matter where I've lived in NYC, I've always gone to a gym within 5 or 6 blocks from my apartment. Part of the warm-up and cool down was the walk to and from the gym. Now that my gym is a dank basement, Husband and I even sometimes walk 3/4 mile to work out at a nicer branch of our gym, although now that it is freezing out, we love the dank hole.

Anyway, my point is that I discovered something important while driving to the gym on Sat. The radio was on in the car, and Living on a Prayer by Bon Jovi came on just as I turned into the parking lot. I sat in the car for a few minutes so that I could car dance to at least the first chorus refrain, and that's when it struck me: my iPod had no Bon Jovi on it! This must be fixed. What have I been thinking? And just think, had I not driven to the gym, this error of my ways might have continued undiscovered!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Who IS this woman sitting in my recliner??

Wednesday afternoon I had some simple foot surgery: two bone spurs removed from one joint (apparently when I do anything I do it to the extreme). For the two weeks that I'm healing, I'm not supposed to go to the gym.

Now in the past, I'd think: yeah! two weeks with no sweating, no treadmill, permission to take it easy. Unlimited internet and knitting. Sweet!!

But all I can think about now? How can get a good upper body workout without straining my foot? Because my shoulders are rolling forward, my back is aching and my abs resemble that bowl full of jello.


Who IS this woman??

And how can she get that workout??

New Member

I was at the Y today when out of the corner of my eye I saw something gray flash by. "Wow that guy is moving pretty fast," I thought. On closer look, I thought "he's incredibly cute and he looks like such a nice guy. I would love to go over and give him a big squeeze." Then he quickly leaped onto a chair and then a table. Yeah, he was incredibly agile. I was so impressed with him that I just had to take his picture and post it on this blog. Some of you might recognize him because he's been on TV a lot. You could say that he's a celebrity. In fact he even has his own video. Okay, so I'm obviously kidding. But with all the coverage "Goliath" is getting, I'm worried that he may start to get a complex. I wouldn't be too surprised if he decided to join his local Y.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

hey skinny, WTF?

I walked into the locker room to see the Skinniest Girl In The World. Her waist was smaller than my arm, and I have small arms. She had just emerged from the post-workout shower, so I saw enough to wonder how she even did a workout. I'm pretty sure lifting any sort of weight, or running, or anything that people do in gyms besides shower would break her. I'm actually surprised the water in the shower didn't cause a few snaps.

She had conveniently placed all her clothes (and makeup and razor and everything in the world) in nice little piles on every single stool. This means there were no stools for me to sit on, or put my own clothes, makeup, and razor on. (And no, I didn't have makeup or a razor with me.) So I picked up her neat little pile of clothes on one stool and put it on top of another neat little pile of clothes on the next stool. She looked up at me with her skinny skinny face but realized it wasn't worth a confrontation because I was in the right, and I could break her in half with my thumbs.

She finished putting on her skinny skinny clothes and left. I reflected on my own not so skinny skinny body, but decided I like my curves. I don't want to be a stick like her. Even though she was little more than a skeleton, there were no bones sticking out. She wasn't sick or gross looking. She was just much skinnier than anyone else in the entire world. And she was at the gym. You know, to lose weight. Not like me.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

And the Definition of Lap Swim is...

To the teenage boy in the lane next to me,

I'm all for love and physical affection. I think it's great that you and your girlfriend care about each other so much. However, I wasn't too impressed by you. For starters, the pool was crazy the other night. Normally at 9 pm it's pretty dead (it's the suburbs of MA, not NYC), but for some reason everyone and their dog was at the pool. Okay maybe not the dog. While I don't mind splitting a lane with someone, I definitely prefer to have my own. Which brings me to you. Good for you and your girlfriend that you decided not to go with the typical dinner and movie date and instead tried to do something healthy and get some exercise. However, it's that exercise that I have an issue with. Just like how you wore goggles which allowed you to try to look at my rack and the racks of the other women swimming in the pool, I also wore goggles. Wouldn't you know that my goggles allowed me to see what YOU were doing underwater - groping your girlfriend. I'm glad that you were having a good time, but you were taking up a valuable lane. Obviously you must have been confused by the definition of lap swimming. You see lap swim means to swim back and forth across the pool, not to try and lap up your girlfriend while you're swimming in the pool.

This Workout Stinks

During my workout yesterday I was being followed by an old man with bowel incontinence. I'm all for the elderly getting some exercise. Hell, I encouraged my grammy to join Silver Sneakers. But if you have to wear Depends because you shit your pants a little every time you lift a weight, perhaps you should do your workouts at home and not at the Y. Or at least come at an off time of day instead of lunch hour when the place is packed. Heightened sense of smell due to pregnancy plus an old dude with a load in his pants are not the makings of a pleasant workout, let me tell you.

weighing in

There’s a scale in the locker room. It taunts me. Dares me. Beckons me.
I don’t even own a scale at home, nor have I ever. But the other day, the gym scale won out. After my workout, I went over to it. I kicked it to make it work, then I stepped on. I won’t reveal the number that was displayed, but it was 10 pounds more than I’d been telling myself I weighed, which is still more than I like to think I weigh.

Of course, then I realized that I was already in full dress, including shoes. So I promised myself that next time I’d make sure to weigh myself at a more sensical time. Next time? Why does there have to be a next time? I never cared what I weighed before – it’s the introduction of a scale in plain view that has corrupted me.

I’ve been able to resist the temptation thus far, but I don’t know how much longer I can hold out.

Goodbye Gym, See Ya In February

Tuesday was my last workout in the gym for the month as Wednesday some simple surgery will keep me off my feet for a couple weeks. As I walked out, I was thinking that other times in my life I'd be walking out and not returning. This time is different.

I joined 24 hour fitness during their "biggest loser.. 6 sessions with a trainer" special. I wasn't taken in by the marketing; it coincided with my plan to find a trainer and it's the only gym around. My goal was simple: lose 35 pounds the right way.

Things started to change, however, at the end of my first half-hour sessions. All we worked on were stabilization moves, yet I felt like a puddle of goo. As I headed to the desk, Totally Adorable Trainer (tm) stated: First, we're going to improve your posture and stability.

Stop. Dead. In. Tracks.

Wait... all I want to do is lose some weight and Totally Adorable Trainer(tm) is talking about posture?? When I recovered my composure, I realized he was thinking about the whole me, something I haven't done much of before. (yeah, in less than charitable moments, I figure he's thinking about the long term fees heading his way... but let's think more positively. He is, afterall, my Totally Adorable Trainer (tm)).

In the past 3 months, things have moved slowly; I've spent most of that time working on my own with very limited results. Which is why I said normally I'd not return. It's easy to think that this isn't working and give up.

So why aren't I?

1. My mood is significantly up most of the time. In fact several times now, I finished a workout positively giddy. I'm smiling and joking a lot more.

2. That back ache I've had for years? Gone. Same for the numbing achy-ness of my bad shoulder. Might I be able to return to the golf course someday?

3. Eight pounds and 10 inches lost so far. Disappearing more slowly than the polar ice cap, still the weight is going in the correct direction.

4. Shh. What I thought was a menopausally-induced incontinence that would curse me the rest of my days? Just poor muscle tone. Nearly cured. (what I save in Poise pads alone will probably pay for a couple training sessions a quarter).

5. OK.. must I say it? Totally Adorable Trainer. We've only had a couple real sessions since I worked through those 6 simple sessions. Each time I get something different out of these that makes it easier for me to come back.

So hurry up February...

Monday, January 8, 2007

happy 1 month birthday, Gym!

My gym is a real gym now. It's passed its 1-month birthday. There are regulars now - I recognized two people today. All the good lockers were taken, so I had to use one on the bottom. That shows that people are going to the gym (but we'll see how many are there next month). The tvs in the cardio machines show real programming now (though the satellite still isn't hooked up, so it's just basic cable). Incidentally, watching "Friends" while riding the bike reminded me why I don't watch tv. I'm cool with my music.

That's all. I just wanted to brag, because I signed up for the gym in July. I've been waiting months for it to be a real gym.

My Favorite Gym Character

My favorite character was at the gym when I went this afternoon. Actually, she almost blinded me today. Her usual outfit consists of white bike shorts and some sort of neon colored bikini bottoms with a white halter top and little black half-sweater thing that she wears under her perky boobs. From the back, she sometimes looks like she has no top on because the halter ties under her huge blond mane.

In the past, she has worn a neon pink and neon green pair of bikini bottoms. (The neon green ones make me think of Borat and I laugh really hard in my head because that scene cracked me up.) Today, however, she was wearing very bright yellow bikini bottoms and a matching glowing halter top. My gym is now in a subterranean holding cell - er, I mean, basement - so the yellow particularly seared my retinas through the gloom.

I saw her there last Friday as well. As I was getting ready to leave, she began yelling across the gym to someone utterly drop-dead gorgeous woman out of my eyeshot. You may wonder how I know she was so beautiful if I never saw her, but I assume she was because my Favorite Gym Character kept bellowing that this woman "could be Miss America!" The other woman thanked her repeatedly, although I thought she sounded a bit mortified that this was being shouted across the gym.

I have yet to see my second favorite gym character, Super Sweaty Loud Grunting Weight Lifting Man, since the old location of my gym closed. So I will adopt Debra's Bouncing Betty as my second favorite character because the description cracked me up. Even if I meet it sometimes... (Hey, if you can't laugh at yourself, you can't laugh at Super Sweaty Loud Grunting Weight Lifting Man!)

Next Time She Should Check for Her Brains...

I was in the locker room a little later than normal this morning, so it was my first experience with "Bouncy Bette". Either that or she just joined. I don't really care.

Standing at another locker in the same bay as me, she adjusted her yoga pants just a little lower on her hips, pulled her top a little higher on her waist while humming something loudly. Then stopped with one shoe in her hand and spun around a couple times.

BB wondered where her shoe was. Where her shoe was?? Was it still in her car?? Had she dropped it somewhere? Or left it at home? It took her 3 trips out and back to remember that a) she didn't have her shoe in the locker and b) she didn't have her lock on her locker either.


BB found the treadmill right in front of mine, so I got the whole picture of her workout. She thought she was running... I thought maybe she suffered from Tourrette's. While most of the runners have a smooth flowing gait, BB bounced left, then right.. her head bobbing up and down to her music, her hair swinging half a move behind her hips. Every once in a while, she'd stop swinging her arms to (I hope) emphasize some phrase in her current song.

She stopped about every 5 minutes to run off and do something (get a drink, maybe go pee..) meanwhile leaving her stuff on the machine so nobody else could use it. Fortunately, it wasn't too crowded yet, so there weren't a lot of of people waiting.

Even so, she only lasted about 15 minutes on the treadmill before moving off to the weight machines. I'm thinking she makes up with energy what she misses in focus. Fortunately, though my gym has all the equipment in one large open space (it used to be movie theater), I lost track of her at that point.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Yoga people

I think yoga people are a special breed. They talk softly. They smile beatifically. It's a little strange. Most of the people who take yoga at my gym are not actual yoga people -- they're like me, yoga-curious. I've been doing it for almost a year, and I have seen some strange things.

First, what's with the late people? I understand that the class begins at 10:40, which is kind of an odd time. Perhaps people forget, and think it's 10:45. But that doesn't excuse the people last week who came in at 11:20. Or the couple who, every week, comes in at 10:45 and then wanders around for five minutes getting drinks of water and setting up their mats, etc. Every week? Please, does it not start to register that every single time you come in, everyone else is already in half-lotus and breathing?

I also notice the lady who is there almost every week who arranges her yoga mat at right angles to everyone else's. She does the whole class sideways. It's a little unnerving, because she always sits near me (I have a spot -- it's in the one area with no mirror).

Then there are the dyslexics. Listen, I'm not saying I've NEVER turned left when someone said "right," but there are people who do it every single time, even when it's perfectly clear that the rest of the class is going the opposite way. These are the people that, in certain positions, you end up staring at when you should be seeing ht ebacks of their heads. Why? I must know. And I feel like we have a special bond, since we're always leaning towards each other being mirrors, like in some New Wave video or something.

Oh, and on another note, despite the fact that I had read all your posts about the gym being busy in January and my own knowledge from previous years, I still drove into the parking lot today and thought to myself "Geez, it's busy here! I wonder what's going on?"

Saturday, January 6, 2007

The Jackass

When I was about 38 weeks pregnant last June, I went to the Y for an evening swim. Apparently everyone else had the same idea and it was pretty crowded. I was really annoyed because this guy had taken a stool and placed it at the end of the lane (on deck) and was sitting on it with his legs sprawled out so that no one could enter the lane without asking him to move. He was coaching his son. The lifeguard ended up coming over and pointed out to him that 1)It was not a private lane 2) It was adult lap swim (apparently the legal age in MA is 12 since the son wasn't asked to leave). He was pretty annoyed and even said that I was inconveniencing him and that his son was a competitive swimmer, but he moved his stool so that I could get in the pool.

This evening I went to the Y to swim and was pretty surprised when I walked out on deck and saw someone sitting on a stool parked right at the end of the lane. Yes, it was the same jackass! Luckily there were a couple of open lanes so I didn't need to share a lane with his son. However, when I was using a kickboard I happened to look over and see the man hovering over his son's lane with a kickboard out in front of him. His son was at the other end of the pool. Let me just take a moment and say that I was a competitive swimmer in junior high, high school and college and whenever a coach need to get our attention when we were swimming, he/she would throw a pull-buoy in front of us as we swam (no, not at us.) Anyhow, this guy waited until his son swam back to the his end of the pool and his butt broke the water during a flip turn. This jackass dropped the kickboard smack on his son's butt. The son stopped swimming and came up sputtering. The man made some sort of motion that it was time to go. (In addition to all this weirdness, you don't normally stop a competitive swimmer mid workout and say that it's time to go).

After I finished swimming I went into the hot tub for a few minutes. Since there was no one else in the pool the lifeguard came over to chat with me. She mentioned that before I arrived, the man kept on yelling at his son to swim faster and faster and the boy ended up bursting in tears. I knew that the man was a jackass! She also mentioned that about an hour before he had gotten there someone had thrown up in the swimming pool. Everyone had to evacuate. Apparently there were 75 people in the pool when it happened. Mass panic broke out as everyone was convinced that they had contracted a terrible virus. The manager had to come in and calm everyone down. Too bad the jackass hadn't come earlier. Talk about being inconvenienced.