Boy, do I have some Tales to Tell...
Saturday, November 30, 2002
Why is it that people who come to step class for the first time think that they should know everything? Is it just me or does anyone else find it weird that people who attend the group exercise classes think that they should know everything right away? Do you know how to swim the first time you get into a pool? Do you know how to ride a bike the first time you get on one? If you are wondering, the answer is NO!!! Hence, it would make sense that the first time you take a group exercise class (step, kickboxing, boxing, etc.), you probably are going to SUCK big time.

Hey, not a big deal. None of the regulars or the instructor expects you to do well. We would be extremely happy if you just kept on the beat of the music and once in a while attempted an advanced move. Otherwise, stick with one thing and try not to hurt yourself or anyone else. So, for those of you who plan on attending a new group exercise class, here are some tips:

Approach the instructor and tell them you are new. If the instructor is good, he/she should give you some tips as a beginner and advise you on the proper equipment to use OR, in some cases, not use. For example, if you are new to step class, don't put any of the risers on that increase the height of the bench. It's like swimming in the deep end of a pool when you don't know how to even swim. And for god's sake, listen to what the instructor tells you to do.

Stay toward the back of the room!!!!! Getting closer to the instructor does not mean you will learn all the moves faster. You kinda have to come back again and again to get all the moves. Being in the back also means that you are not blocking someone else's view or throwing them off rhythm because you cannot stay on the beat of the music. Nothing pisses off people more than someone who cannot stay on the beat; it throws off the rhythm of the class - especially the instructor's. Mind you, some of the people who have been coming for years could not get a beat with a stick.

Stay for the entire class. Even if you are not getting 99% of the moves, who cares! It's only a class, not a contest. Hey, point is, keep moving within your own alotted space and try to get some exercise in. If you followed the previous tip, you should really be inconspicuous even if you are just dancing to the music. Plus, practice really does make perfect in this case. My only request is that you don't become a nuisance or hazard to your classmates.

Finally, no matter how in shape you think you are, NEVER EVER try to do the advanced moves. Most instructors will indicate which moves are the basic ones and which are advanced or optional. Stick with the basic simple ones for the first few classes. If you think you look dumb doing only the simple basic version of any move, you look like an ass while you mess up the advanced version. But hey, if you really like being talked about by other people and being pointed at and laughed at, then go for the most difficult advanced version.

You are now ready to go to your first group exercise class. Have fun, don't stress, and, most of all, give yourself a chance to get used to it. It's not inherent, you must learn it. Later.
Sunday, November 03, 2002
One of my various jobs in the health club facility was Assistant Manager. Now, I know some of you are saying, "How hard can it be to assist in running a gym?" Trust me, it's hard. It's hard because you have to know how to do every single job in the gym EXCEPTIONALLY well. You also have to be able to relinquish control to others and be able to delegate work without being critical of everyone's performance. Needless to say, I was not good at being non-judgemental.

The job of managing the daily functions of a health club facility are not easy. On the easiest day, people can be trying. You have to be able to listen to the clientele's concerns and react appropriately without compromising the integrity of your corporation and facility. You have to be compassionate yet stern. You have to be understanding but unwavering. You have to be charming yet focused. In short, you have to be Wonder Woman. Unfortunately, some of the managers at the NYSC seem to be lacking in any of these qualities.

Is it too much to ask that they are friendly? I seem never to find managers personable; until they learn that I have connections to the corporate office. Now, let me stop and remind people that my connection with the corporate office is solely with one person who I am good friends with and share a love for dining out. We occasionally go to dinner and sometimes drinks. We discuss the company but most of the time, we discuss our lives. So, back to managers being not-so-friendly. As a person who works in customer service, I try to smile as I walk through the gym. I say hello to people that I make eye-contact with and I make sure that people realize that I am approachable. Obviously, some of the managers at the NYSC forget that they work in customer service.

I remember working at a gym where the manager was never around after 6:00pm; which, on a Monday night at any health club is the busiest of all. This aforementioned manager used to show up to work in sweatpants (not very professional especially since they were faded from excessive washing and not gym uniform). She, yes it is a female, used to walk around the gym in her socks. My biggest issue with this is that as staff of the health club, we practically reprimand members for using the facility without proper footwear. Most staff tends to tell members that closed-toe shoes are necessary to avoid and prevent any serious injury. How am I supposed to tell a member to put some shoes on when my manager is walking around in socks?

I also had a manager who used to hide in his office because he was scared that some of the clientele whould hit on him. Does he realize that he works for customer service? Does he realize that he works in a health club (where most of the population consists of homosexuals)? Does he have issues with himself? Just wondering.

In defense of managers who perform their jobs well, I do have to say that there are those who make the gym experience pleasant. Unfortunately, the ones who don't stand out the most. Like the one who insists that she can see the universe in peoples eyes and can tell if their aura is troubled. She also used to change the locks throughout the facility every three weeks. Yeah. One more thing: the staff is a direct reflection of the management. Think about it.

My last three blogs have been lambasting some of the idiots who work for the gym. I am not bitter BUT I would like everyone to start pointing things like this out to the people who run health club facilities. Call your managers, the corporate representatives of the gym, and anyone else you think can make positive changes to our health clubs. The front desk, fitness trainers, and maintenance/housekeeping staff are only as good as the people who are in charge with them. It's about time we all talk a stand to make that gym much more enjoyable to go to. Later.
I'm just writing down some of the things that run through my head.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

Eating up the City before it eats me up. I'm a freelance cook who spends his free time working out, cooking for "my man", and wondering why the Right is so concerned about my bedroom.

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