Sunday, March 15, 2009

Athletic Shorts*

Lately I have been spending more time at the gym and have a couple of stories for you.

Here is today's installment:

What is it with personal trainers? Our gym, 24 Hour Fitness, works with the Biggest Loser television show and promote it heavily. "Sign up now and be part of our biggest loser program!"

It must work, because I have noticed a trend lately. Bigger people at the gym. I think we can all agree that this is a good thing. I need to lose some weight but before returning to the gym, worried that I would be self conscious exercising among the super toned suburban women who work out and shop as a career.

I worried for nothing. Oh, the superfit are still there, but there are some very large people there as well.

I notice that people new to the gym tend to like working out with a trainer. What's not to like? One on one attention is a great thing...especially if you can afford it.

Fred's very good friend, Michael, and I had a conversation about trainers the other week. "What's up with gym newbies working with trainers doing weird things? That is more for the people like me, who have been working out forever and now need something new and different to put them over the break through a plateau...not for people just starting out. They should be on the treadmill and the Nautilus machines so they won't get hurt.

Prime example this morning: I watch as a trainer sets up the group exercise room. They arranged "steps" and hoops in a sort of obstacle course. As I continued my workout, the client arrived. She was a woman in her early 50s who needed to lose a good 100 lbs. The trainer had her run laps around the gym; followed by the obstacle course which consisted of 12 feet of "up and overs" on the steps (left foot up on the step, right foot up on the step, left foot down on the ground, right foot down on the ground...kind of a duck march); the next step was to do a vertical hop onto the step, followed by a hop down (x6); she then did deep knee lunges around the room, followed by running tippy-toed through little hoops that were placed on the floor.

Now, I am NOT a personal trainer...but I can tell you that I would know better than to have a woman whose weight is pushing 300 "jumping" and doing lunges. Can you imagine the impact her knees are sustaining with every leap? At the tippy toed thing? I would be willing to bet money that they woman is doubled over right now, crippled from shin splints and knee pain.

I need to find out what level of training these people have because this is not right.

The cynical side of me wonders if this is all part of the great gym conspiracy. Sign people up, give them impossible goals and then collect their monthly gym membership payments when they sheepishly don't return to further their workouts.

*I am stealing the title of my blog from a book by Chris Crutcher. He is a wonderful young adult author and has a great teen male voice. If you have male teenagers in your life, you may want to suggest this author. Oh. Mr. Crutcher tends to be edgy and many of his books have been challenged in libraries. This is one of the many reasons why I would recommend him. When people get pissed off at what you write, it usually means you have struck a nerve.

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