Friday, October 7, 2011


I used to go to the gym four times a week because it was right next door to my work and I could go at lunch or during a slow afternoon.

As such, I was in banging shape, which has gone by the wayside after only a year of moving to New Orleans with its fried everything...topped with remoulade sauce.

The day that I noticed my SHADOW was larger than it used to be, I decided to go back to the gym regularly.

Also, I'm motivated by my Halloween costume, which will look better with more defined abs.

I will write about my new New Orleans gym soon, which is at the University of New Orleans, home of many awkward exchange students who think the gym is where you pick up American women.

And who lift weights with Adidas shower shoes. WITH SOCKS.

In the meantime, here is a re-post of my experience at my old gym in South Carolina, a post I deleted when it went viral among YMCA employees after someone googled “YMCA” and emailed it to all his/her co-workers.

(I know because I have a site tracker. Yes, I’ve been watching you people.)

Since I was a newspaper reporter at the time, I got spooked that my blog would be discovered and I'd get yelled at for mocking a business I covered for the paper, so I deleted it.

Here it is again.
Happy Friday.


I’ve been a member of several gyms before, but the YMCA in this small South Carolina town is…an experience. 

Let’s just say I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone looking to be left alone. There are far too many children running around for that.

I also wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who is bothered by older women in the locker room standing around naked chatting about church.

Yes, naked. Like naked naked! And they act like it’s no big deal, leisurely putting on their underwear after water aerobics.

I’ve also seen an older co-worker in her panties (yikes!!) and a higher up at the YMCA who I had interviewed for the newspaper that day, wearing a thong. She’s 50.

“It was great talking to you today!” she told me, in her thong, as I came out of the bathroom stall.

I looked up at the ceiling.

I don’t know how these women have no problem stripping down right there in front of everyone, and here I am changing in the tiny bathroom stall hopping on one foot trying not to drop my MP3 player in the toilet.

Maybe it’s a generational thing.

Naked women aren’t the only obstacles at the YMCA. There are also children, lots of children, running around the locker room, asking what you are doing, what your shirt says and other odd questions.

“What are you doing, shining your shoes?” a little boy asked me yesterday as I sat on a bench wiping my wet feet with a towel after a lunchtime swim.

Little boy, I’m not even wearing shoes. I politely smiled, wondering where he learned about shoe shining. Thankfully, his mother came to shuffle him away.

I joined the YMCA because it’s right next door to my work and has a swimming pool, but I soon learned that the pool is rendered useless on Thursdays because that’s “children’s day” and someone always pees/poops/throws up while swimming and the entire pool has be drained and no one else can swim for the day.

The trainers at the YMCA are no better than the children.

I experienced this on the first day when I was sweaty, gross and parched.

“Excuse me, do you know where the water fountain is?” I asked a trainer, panting.

“No, we don’t believe in water at the YMCA,” he said.

I took him seriously for a moment and gave him a look of defeat before he showed me where the fountain was.

Another, trainer (who I think is gay but talks about his wife all the time) routinely perches on the ledge of the front desk.

“Hiiiiiiiii, how are you?” he asked me one day as I swiped my card.

“Good," I said. "How are you?”

“Not guilty!” he squealed.

I singed up for a free personal training session hoping to learn how to use new weight machines.

The trainer assigned to me was thoroughly confused by my request.
“What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.

“I’m just looking for a new routine or circuit of machines…” I trailed off.

He blinked.

“I just want to get a new routine," I said. “Hey, how about this machine?” I pointed to something that looked like a Bowflex.

“Yes, you can use that.”

“I don’t know how to use it. Can you show me how to do some of the exercises?”

“I mean, what are you looking for?” 

They have a scale in the women’s locker room (yes, some women weigh themselves naked on it) but it’s one of those sliding weight machines, where you move the big block over to the 100-pound mark and then slide the little ticker up top.

While it’s fun to slide, it gives you a three-pound range instead of telling you directly how much you weigh.

The gym’s only digital scale is in the middle of the weight room, where all the boys work out. It’s OK, I told myself. No one is paying attention.

I stepped up to weigh myself one day and a trainer quickly came up from behind me almost knocking me off, peeking at how much I weigh.

“It’s going to be waaaaay more than that after Easter dinner!” he screamed, loudly, laughed and walked away.

I used to think that going to the gym was simply a matter of walking in and working out, but no. Not at my YMCA. Their new motto should be: If you’re not feeling uncomfortable at least twice, we’re doing something wrong!

It makes me miss Gold’s Gym, where everyone ignores you.

Maybe I’m not being fair. Maybe the YMCA isn’t all bad, it’s just not my ideal work out environment.

I don’t have children, I enjoy being left alone to work out and I don’t see why I can’t weigh myself in private.

In the cardio room — a true testament to the community — the TVs are always on to Glenn Beck or the hunting channel. Neither of which I find motivating.

I also hate coffee, and the YMCA offers complimentary coffee that I have to walk by on the way to the locker room. I usually hold my breath.
(I do, however, appreciate the note above the coffee maker saying, “No coffee in the weight room.”)

When my twin sister, Joy, was at college at Louisiana State University they had a beautiful state-of-the-art gym with a women’s only section (can you imagine!) a “Big Dogs” gym (where Joy noted that’s where the guys make “a whole bunch of sex noises”) and the “Average Joe” gym, where the, average Joes work out.

Now, that’s my ideal workout environment!! Everybody segregated to their own areas, no children, no old ladies in panties.

Nobody heckling you when you weigh yourself.
Plenty of water fountains for everybody.

And no shoe shines.


1 comment:

  1. Is there a problem with 50 year old women wearing thongs?


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