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Photo Shoot at A Gym Membership

Posted Oct 27 2009 11:04pm

Remember that type of puzzle on Wheel of Fortune??

So on Saturday, Missy announced some exciting news on her blog: Shape magazine contacted her to do a little feature about her weight loss a few years ago! They wanted to do a photo shoot of Missy doing an exercise she regularly does, and after the Core Fusion location didn’t work out, they decided to take pictures in a spin studio instead. The magazine told her to bring some friends along to pose as spin classmates. Missy asked me, her sister and our friend Melanie — and of course I said yes!

Early Saturday morning, I woke up and got dressed in an unusual pairing: workout clothes and full face of makeup. I walked over to the gym, which was conveniently at a New York Sports Club just a few blocks from the boy’s. I even stopped at Juice Generation along the way for a fresh pressed green juice. I arrived at the gym before the other girls, so it was just the NYSC employee, the camera men and me! It felt strange to be alone in a large gym. It also felt strange to see myself looking so even skinned and lip glossed in gym mirrors!

Shortly after Melanie arrived, and then Missy and her sister. We went into the spin room and the photographers arranged our bikes  and we got started. They instructed us to smile and snapped one picture after another. I wasn’t sure when was an appropriate time to blink, or to rest my smile for a second. I ended up not doing much of either.

But I loved it. I have to say, I could spend all day every day just smiling for cameras. I love pictures of myself! Not that I love how I look in pictures, but I just love smiling for them and being in them!

Shape Photo shoot

The people at this gym are kinda nuts. A spin class was starting at 9:30, so we had instructions to be out before then. At 8:45, an angry mob loomed outside the spin studio demanding entrance. Who goes to class 45 minutes before it starts?! These people were NOT happy. I also must mention that I tried to sign up for this spin class and found out that it booked up 2 days before. These people sure do love their spin. And they weren’t about to let a silly national magazine photo shoot get in the way of it!

One of these psychos was carrying a backpack from my own company’s fitness center. I didn’t say anything to him about it, but it does appear he belongs to 2 gyms. Or maybe he no longer works at my company; few do any more.

One woman in particular went especially crazy. She camped herself in front of the door and wouldn’t move, angrily mumbling to herself the entire time. She seemed to be, along with the company backpack man, the leaders of the mob.

Eventually, the mob forced their way in to the photo shoot and started setting up camp on bikes, even taking it upon themselves to MOVE the bikes back to their original locations (they were all rearranged for the shoot). These people are nuts!

After the shoot, the photographer showed us the proofs on the computer and they look amazing! Missy especially looks beautiful. The magazine comes out in January and I can’t wait!

Shape Photo Shoot2

Since spin filled up and I didn’t have regular sneakers with me (silly me), I used a wrench I carry in my gym bag to tighten my spin shoes to instead remove the hooks from the shoes. Oh G-d I hope I can get them back on. In retrospect, I really should have taken a picture of how they looked before removing them. Once I removed the feet clips I was able to go use the elliptical.

I started to feel some serious gym envy. I used to belong to a gorgeous, 7 floor (+ rooftop deck), fancy and expensive gym. After I injured my knee, started going for weekly expensive stomach treatments, and officially stopped going to my own apartment for anything other than mail, I quit that gym and started running outside and using the boy’s building gym.

Now, running outside season is over. The building gym is so boring I cannot bring myself to get there. There are no TVs that you can actually listen to and they have the type of ellipticals that I hate — as in, the type that have NO incline option. I never get a good workout on them! There are some boring treadmills, although I need like a TV to run anything more than 3 miles on them — if I even get to the place to do that (oy I sound like a whiny brat.). There is one very old stairmaster and a couple of even older bikes. I am not complaining! Having a building gym is a luxury that I never knew before, and it was so cool for me at first. But the coolness wore off as I find myself opting to sit at home watching TV rather than go there. It is just too boring and un-fun to take.

So here I am at a gym with tons and ton of machines. Machines I never even heard of! There is one that is like an elliptical and a stepper combined — anyone know of that one? It looked so cool! There are regular treadmills and also unusual treadmills that I am not sure the purpose of  — but would love to find out. There are so many of the ellipticals I love and miss (WITH incline) and also a bunch of the ones I don’t like as much. There are stairmasters and even the kind with moving stairs. Those are hard and I never get to do it anymore. And the best part of it all? Every single machine had its own TV. Every. Single. Machine.

And there are classes. When I was in the spin room for the photo shoot, Missy’s awesome house music was playing and I felt like I was in a class — and I wanted, craved, to be in a spin class. I miss it. I will never go overboard with it again, maybe once or twice a week at most, but I do miss it. I loved it, it was a part of my life. And there are some other classes as well, although this definitely seems like more of a machine gym for me.

As I was happily trotting away on the elliptical, I got to thinking. My thoughts went something like this:

I am sweating so much after just 15 minutes on this elliptical. I never sweat on the apartment elliptical. I can set this to intervals! It does the hard work for me, I just have to follow along. I am getting such a great workout, I will never have another workout like this all winter long. And the treadmills! I can definitely run good distances with my own TV! And I want to do that stair machine, and that hybrid machine and those strange treadmills. I want the option of spin.

If I stick with the apartment gym, the way things have been going, I will rarely work out. Look at me now. I ran a couple times a week outside to prep for my race, but the race is tomorrow and then what? On my training plan’s “cross-training” days, I didn’t even cross train. I just sat on the couch! If I belonged here, I would go and actually get some good workouts in. My endurance is so low, my strength non existent, I think I could improve my mood and myself if I join this gym.

Uhhh yeah. As for distance, it is not super close to the boy’s but it is an easy walk when the weather is agreeable and an easy bus ride door to door when it is not. And there is a NYSC across the street from work, so that would double my chances of making it to the gym. I always wanted to be able to workout during lunch and it always bothered me that I wasn’t allowed to join my own company gym due to a stupid rule that is surely causing them to lose a lot of money these days.

So, armed with the information of what all my friends who belong there pay, I marched myself to the membership office prepared to join. I figured especially now, during this economy, gyms were not doing so well. I read an article about it in the paper not long ago. I figured there must be some really great rates to get members in.


The price they gave me for the Gold membership, which would get me full access to my home gym and off peak access to other NYSCs was a much higher price than all my friends pay for their better Passport membership, which gets them access to all NYSCs at all hours. I told them this but they didn’t seem to care. The price discrepancy was huge, with the smallest being a $20 a month difference and the largest much more than that. But that is not even the issue. The issue is that I just can’t afford it. I don’t have the money.

So I left.

Gym cartoon

But of course I couldn’t stop thinking about it. My mind was set. And I wondered why I can’t afford the price they gave me . . . and of course, it hit me quickly, since I’m not an idiot.

I can’t afford a gym membership because I pay, in addition to $500/month on helth insurance, about $650/month on other medical treatments, appointments, prescriptions, etc to maintain my day to day life with as little pain as possible. $500 alone is devoted completely to a weekly treatment I receive. It is no wonder I can’t afford a gym membership.

So I started thinking. One less treatment a week could help me pay for the gym. But then what about my GI health? But then what about my health cardiovascularly? What about my strength? What about being able to get out of bed in the morning without crying in pain?

Therein lies the predicament.

I want so much to create a healthy balance in my life: food, fitness, overall health. This balance is not possible as my overall health takes up ALL my resources. I already can’t eat salad. Now I can’t go to the gym?

Of course, all these stresses reinforce the fact that I now want to have this surgery. I need my life back.

I’m sure some of you are thinking I could try and get a discount from my health insurance (requires a year committment and only saves a couple dollars) or from my job (same exact deal as the insurance, right down to the discount company used). So those options are not possible.

Back to the issue at hand. I decided to try and cut back on one medical treatment a month so I could have some money for the gym. This was a very hard decision and I am not 100% sure if it is the right one, but the gym is not permanent. I could be done after just 2 months if I decide it isn’t worth it. But since it is now two days after the photo shoot and I am still obsessing over the idea of a gym membership, I think I need to try. This is how I am. I obsess until I do. But first, I get to sample! Missy is giving me a free 1 week guest pass to New York Sports Club, so I can try the gym out for a week and then decide for sure what I want to do.

Although you know as well as I do that my decision has already been made. I am joining a gym.

After my free trial week is up, of course.

Do you consider the gym/working out a priority? Do you think it is worth it to spend a little money for your health?

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