exercise, habit, health

Step 219: A Return to the Gym

Before today, I never set foot inside a New York City gym. When I lived in Florida, DC, and Virginia, I went regularly and really enjoyed it. New York gym-going is a whole different ballgame. There used to be a stereotype of New York City gym people – they wear make-up, carefully select their outfits, and try not to sweat too much. An old-school image at best, and probably a way-too-broad characterization, though that image kept me from ever joining a gym in New York City. I like to work out; I just don’t like people watching me work out.

Today, I took my 1-week complimentary pass to New York Sports Club and tried it on for size for a few reasons:

1.) I took a few runs in Riverside Park last week, despite the awful heat and humidity. I felt like a bump on a log, sequestered indoors by summer, so I put on a brave face, grabbed my ipod, and went for it. I hated every second of it. For 2 of the 4 season in New York City, I don’t like to exercise outside. And with my appetite rivaling that of an NFL linebacker, not exercising is not an option.)

2.) My company provides a really valuable discount on the monthly gym fee at NYSC. It’s not widely advertised so I recently learned about it. (Check with you HR department to see if they have gym deals – and if they don’t, ask them if they’re interested in offering that perk. It’s a fairly large discount!)

3.) I like a variety of group fitness classes. I’ve been exploring membership at yoga studios, and while the quality of classes at studios tends to be higher (though not always, even in Manhattan where there is a yoga studio on every corner), the value of so many classes being offered as a package with a gym membership can’t be beat. Some NYSCs also have pools so there may be some additional adult swimming lessons in my future, too.

4.) NYSC is everywhere I am. Work, home, neighborhoods where I spend a lot of my free time. I didn’t realize how many locations they have and my membership allows me to go to any of them at any time, no black out times. And the hours of operation at most of the locations runs from very early morning to very late evening. There really is no excuse for me to not go 3-4 times per week.

5.) The New York gym and gym-goer stereotype is wrong. No one was staring at me while I got my heart rate up on the Precor machine and it wasn’t overly packed. Okay, there was the odd girl here and there who spent as much time checking herself out in the mirror as she did on the treadmill. And there were a couple of overly muscular guys who I’m very worried about because I don’t think they can even touch their knees much less their toes. Those types are just weird and they’re everywhere. But most people were there just doing their thing: burning calories, sweating out stress, and getting their workout in for the day. When I got home I felt better for having done the same.