Things I Learned at the Gym

I started going to Lifetime Fitness gym a few weeks ago. I haven’t been a member of a gym for a while, as I am naturally a lazy person and don’t really like to do too many things that require too much moving. If I were an animal, I’d probably be some sort of bird that just kinda stands around and yells because it doesn’t want to walk all the way over there, maybe a peacock or something (not going with “I’d be a sloth,” — way too easy a comparison. Plus, I have too many toes… not that I don’t like sloths — they’re pretty flippin cute. Look at him! Ugh!).


I got and used my week-long trial membership for Lifetime and liked the atmosphere, so I decided to make the leap and join the club. I was excited to learn that I would be getting an evaluation by a trainer that would tell me my “real body age.” GREAT! Learning that my body was aged to that of, like, a 38 year old would really help me get my shit in gear, to get me back to where I should be — 31 or lower. That was something to deal with later, though — first, to get the paperwork done.

Membership card? Check.
Weird webcam photo that would haunt me every time I “clock in” to the gym until forever? Check.
Tour of the gigantic humongous club, of which I would probably not see 75% again? Check.
Sign the contract that allows Lifetime Fitness to withdraw 90% of my earnings as their gym fees on the first of each month? CHECKITY CHECK.

So, after that I scheduled my evaluation with a trainer. I was paired with a nice girl named Lauren, and she was kind to me as I told her that I was probably going to fail her tests miserably. We chatted as she tried to determine my fitness goals. “Are you here because you want to get in shape?” she asked. My answer: “Well, a different shape than this one, I guess.” That about tells you my level of goal-setting, for future reference. I was sure to pad my test results by explaining to her profusely that I hadn’t worked out in a few years, actually, and that I was probably really going to do very badly at her tests. She nodded kindly and threw me on the treadmill. She typed in my weight, which she had taken a few minutes before (not my worst, a weight that I’m “okay with,” I guess, not that I couldn’t stand to lose a few lbs, but whatever), and put 5 minutes on the timer. It was a brisk walk, and I chatted with her while I was walking. I felt fine at the end, not sweaty, not exhausted, not out of breath, and honestly I thought I was doing a-ok. The machine took my heart-rate, Lauren entered it into the computer, and we moved on to my next task — the sit and reach. Sit and what? Son of a bitch, I thought I was done with the damn sit and reach after I got out of 5th grade and was finished taking the freaking Presidential Fitness Test every year. Ugh, fine.

I sat. I reached… twice. Lauren did not seem impressed, and I’m sure that President Obama or Mr Arnold Schwarzenegger would not have been either. Great. Lesson learned — if I need to get something on the far side of a box that my feet are flat against, I’ll stand up and go get it. Or maybe I’ll bend my legs when I reach for it. Or maybe I don’t even want it if it’s all the way over there. These are all options. Next up, push ups.

I’m convinced that push ups are useless exercises made for people who want to do exercise in prison, or if you only have access to a small hallway or walk-in closet but want to work out, like RIGHT NOW. “But it’s useful,” you say! “What if you fall down and need to PUSH UP to get back up again!?” No. No, that won’t happen. When I fall down, I make sure to fall down near a curtain or rope or chair that I can use to pull myself up with again. Push ups are useless to me, especially since my arms are noodle arms, made of several strands slightly overcooked linguine. I stopped at 10 (weakling girl-style) push ups, mostly because I got tired of doing them. I could have done a few more had I a little more incentive. The incentive I was working with in my head was “if you stop doing push ups now, you won’t have to do any more push ups.” DONE.

Next, the body fat calculator. The method used wasn’t the arm-pinchy thing I was dreading, but instead a little electronic gadget that looked like a PS3 controller. Lauren instructed me to hold it straight out at the level of my heart, put my thumbs across the sensors, and hold it until it beeped. Cool, I can do that. I did. Apparently, according to the readings, my organs and bones have been replaced with fat, because that’s the only way I could have gotten that high a body fat percentage. It was high. I don’t like it. Who knew numbers could hurt my soul so badly? I’m just going to say that I blame my curves, which is a cop-out way of saying that my trunk has too much junk in it and it won’t go away so I have grown to love it.


Lauren had been entering all my pathetic results into her computer, and she finally was ready to give me my results. She printed the form, looked at it, and handed it to me.

My body age: 55.


Well, I didn’t say that. What I actually said was “[gurgling noise as I tried to figure out words again after getting punched in the face by that paper]” then “I think that’s wrong. You probably typed it wrong. I could have done more push ups.” Lauren told me that it was probably because of the body fat results. I stared at her. Then we scheduled the personal training sessions that were included in my membership.

Afterwards, my friend Chad and I played a pretty lively game of racquetball for 1.5 hours, so I didn’t feel TOO badly about myself since I had no problem with it. But still. Come on — 55?! How could they determine that without even knowing that I play bunco once a month, or how much I enjoy eating at Luby’s, or how often I take naps or… hm. Maybe this body age thing goes deeper than I thought…