Boy, do I have some Tales to Tell...
Friday, February 28, 2003
Since I tend to be cynical about most of the goings on in the health club industry, I thought that I would post a blog that lists things that I love about working in a health club. I guess part of my reason for doing this is to remind myself why I got into this industry in the first place. I'm bordering on 10 years of working in this industry; to think that I started off as a Front Desk Receptionist (that was the original title). If you feel up to it, feel free to email me your reasons for working in the health club industry. Here are mine:

1. Free Gym Membership!!!!!!!! Come on! We all love that.
2. The joy of teaching people that something as mundane as stepping up and down on a box can be both
healthy and fun.
3. Being able to help people forget about their worries outside of the gym; at least for an hour.
4. Not having to work the dreaded 9-to-5 shtick at some desk in some cubicle.
5. Not having to wear a tie.
6. Being able to put on the tightest outfit (shorty shorts) for work.
7. All the eye-candy available.
8. Meeting the Love-of-my-life in Step Class.
9. Meeting some amazing people who have gone on to become good friends and in some cases best friends.
10. Helping people learn how to improve their health and conditioning in a safe and effective manner.

I know the last one sounds schmaltzy, but hey... it's true. Later.
Thursday, February 27, 2003
Does anybody out there remember that group exercise class called Slide? Did anybody take it? Did anyone enjoy it? Does anybody miss it? Do any of you care?

I miss Slide. My first class I ever taught was a 7:00am Slide and Sculpt class. I taught it to three people; one of whom I saw the other day - hence the inspiration for this blog entry. Slide was one of the toughest classes around. There was no way to cheat. You had to push yourself laterally across this slide board with some amount of control and speed. Many a students have flown off the slide board. I used to walk out of slide class absolutely drenched and exhausted BUT ready for more.

These new classes (kickbox, trampoline, pilates) just don't do the same thing. Don't get me wrong: all classes have their place and I mean that honestly. It's just that Slide was really something special for cardio-freaks like me. It was not easy at all and was, at it's very least, challenging. Maybe that's why it's gone. Whaddya say? Let's bring it back!!!! Anybody for Slide? Later.
Tuesday, February 25, 2003
You know what I hate? I hate dirty and untidy gyms. Okay, that's not the only thing I hate BUT we just do not have enough time to talk about my other dislikes. It all came to a head last night after I had taught my final two classes of the day. I had just finished an exhausting class and was feeling good until I hit the lockerroom.

The place was a DUMP!!!!!!! Towels were strewn everywhere; in some parts, people had pushed them into large heaps. The towel bin was overflowing. Lockers were open all over the room (if you think that is not bad, wait until you crack open your head on an open locker door). All the waste baskets were overflowing. The shower area/floor was littered with dirty towels and paper products (which was now turning to mush). The sinks and vanities were all wet and dirty. To make matters worse, there was a ferocious funk that lingered in the air. Not the sweaty gym sock smell but more like a this-room-has-not-been-cleaned-in-a-month foul odor. By the way, this is not the first time this particular lockerroom has resembled a waste dump.

Is it only me that gets irritated when the gym is dirty? I know I do not pay a monthly membership fee, but I still do consider myself a member of the gym. I would hate to think that members do not think that the least they deserve at the gym, where they pay upwards of $90.00 monthly for, is a little cleanliness. I especially get mad when I see that the housekeeping staff is barely doing anything to remedy the mess and the rest of the staff is turning a blind eye towards it, even the management!

People if you belong to a gym that is constantly dirty and messy, then say something. As I sit here and type, I think about how much I have mentioned things like this to the management and nothing has been done. Most of my complaints about cleanliness at the gym are probably ignored since I am just another staff member who does not pay money to be there. So, I ask all paying members of the NYSC at 14th Street/5th Avenue:

Please complain about the unkept and dirty lockerrooms when you see them.

Thanks. Later.
Monday, February 24, 2003
For those of you who don't know, I have been teaching full-time for the past year and a half. Before that, I held down a full-time corporate position in the fitness industry (on top of ten classes a week), AND before that, I was a full-time instructor for four years. To put it mildly, I was exhausted constantly (By the way, full-time instructors teach at least 15 classes per week).

So, I arrive to teach my classes today, Monday, feeling rested. I just got back from a 6-day vacation at a lovely cabin in Michiana, Michigan. Which, happily, got extended an extra day because of the East Coast being inundated by copious amount of frozen precipitation. I was feeling good and wondering what I needed to accomplish this week. I started teaching and, BAM, it hit me: I LOVE THIS JOB!!!!!!!

I love teaching. It makes me feel alive and brings me great joy. Despite my cynical attitude toward the gym and the gym population, I still love going into an aerobic studio and blasting my music while teaching a bunch of people some steps. I take great pleasure in seeing people get excited that they can get that new combination or routine. I get excited when I see people's faces light up with joy because they feel that they have gotten a workout. I take pride in being able to provide anyone with some time to just forget about all the other issues, personal or otherwise, and concentrate on doing something good for their body. Bottom line is: I love the what I provide to the people that attend my class.

To be honest, I have cut down on the amount of classes I teach. I now only do 8 classes a week on top of my two other jobs (which I can hardly call work). I love being able to come into the gym to teach then leave. I used to think that I had a responsibility to make sure the gym was in the best of shape for all the members; even the ones that never attended my classes or even knew that I existed. I have come to realize that as long as I am not being affected by all the other drama in the health club, then I have no right to complain. BUT, if I am affected, then I am allowed to ask the responsible parties to correct the problem.

You're probably wondering what brought this all on. I just decided to take inventory of my life and remember that in these times when most people are not satisfied or happy with their jobs, I have one of the best situations that helps earn me what I want. Later.
Saturday, February 01, 2003
I got some insight to the machinations of the minds of gym addicts. I am sitting here blogging with a slight fever and sore throat. Normally, I make it to the gym to teach my classes despite my "feeling under the weather" but last night, I just not make it.

I began to freak out about not being able to work out for myself and get my cardio in by teaching my two classes. I also began to devise next week's schedule of working out and teaching to make up for my loss of time in the next two days. Is this bad? Or is it me?

In my years of teaching fitness classes and giving advice to many about staying healthy, I have always stressed the importance of giving the body a rest. I also remind people that illness does bring the systems of the human body down and should be a sign to slow down for a rest. Sometimes, I wonder if I don't practice what I preach. Maybe it's time for me to take inventory of what my goals are when it comes to exercise.

So, fellow gym-rats, take note: give your body a break. It's probably it's way of telling you that you have worked hard in the past few days and deserve a couple of. 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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