Boy, do I have some Tales to Tell...
Thursday, October 30, 2003
Just some advice from your friendly, neighborhood fitness instructor:

When an "authority" says high-repetition, low-weight exercise is the key to reducing body size, I am pretty sure that they didn't envision a 175 lb. female doing outer-thigh lifts with 10-lb. weights 45 times. To clarify, they most likely meant 15-20 repetitions at a weight where you are exerting considerable effort by the 13th to 15th rep. (Note: If you can carry on a normal conversation at the 13th rep, then you need more weight.)

Think about it this way: how many times have you lifted a fork to your mouth? And has it built any muscles? EXACTLY! Later.
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
I miss my Monday evening Step class. I don't really miss having to prepare for the class or going to the class at all. Actually, I am very happy not to be teaching on Monday nights. What I do miss are the people who came to class religiously for 3+ years. Some of them would come and leave (kinda like a old trick). Some of the ones who left came back later. Some stayed for the duration. Each and everyone of them seemed to enjoy and be dedicated to their workout. That's why I miss them. I adore anyone who comes to class and has a great time and gets a workout, NO MATTER how negative I am at times.

I miss teaching to the 6' tall, gorgeous Asian man who would come to the front of the class to take step. He was amazing. Not only could he step; he could do very intricate and difficult variations to my routine. Things that I would never ever do myself, let alone teach to my class. He once told me that I was the best instructor ever; I was flattered and slightly turned on. Did I mention how gorgeous he was? Wonder if he knew that he was an inspiration to me?

I miss teaching to my friend Elissa. She is definitely an inspiration. She has been taking my classes forever. She has taken them through both her pregnancies and continues to take my class when she can. At one point, she rearranged her entire schedule to make it to my class. Thank goodness that I cannot get pregnant because I would definitely use it as the excuse to do absolutely nothing. Thank goodness that we continue to be friends outside of class.

I miss my teaching to the cute boys at 14th Street. I had quite the number of attractive men who took my class and made it a easier to teach. Sure they came and went and came again. But isn't that what cute boys do? God I miss them.

Finally, I miss the energy. I seem to attract an energetic crowd for my step classes. I like the fact that the people who come to my step class see it as a way to forget their problems. I used to ask the class to leave their "drama" at the door and, for the next 45 minutes (or so), just worry about working on their fitness and themselves. That it's not about that person that wronged you at work or the woman who cut in line at the bank or the homeless person who berates you for not giving him change. Maybe to some degree, the "steppers" did heed that advice, came in to have a good time, and went on their way. I would like to think so.

Of coures, there are exceptions to the rule. For example, the Upper West Side steppers. God, they suck. Later.
Sunday, October 26, 2003
About seven years ago, I decided to become a Group Exercise Instructor. Back then, all you had to do was get some nationally-recognized Instructor Certification and get & "pass" an audition with any local health club facility. As the industry has changed and blossomed, the nationally-recognized certifications have changed their testing structures to keep up with the constant change in exercise science and consumer demand.

One thing that has also changed is the requirements some health clubs place on their instructors. The problem with that fact is that most health club "chains" are not equipped or do not have the man-power to keep track of who has valid credentials. As a matter of fact, rather than stick to one set of requirements, NYSC has continued to change their requirement with the hopes of "keeping" their teaching staff educated.

NOW, in order to teach for the NYSC, you must take some in-house training called Foundations. This may all seem like a fantastic idea to those of you who do not work at a health club. The problem with Foundations is that it is mostly about selling personal training to the floor client. As a matter of fact, Foundations is geared to making new instructors into salespeople. Let me remind you that salespeople are not INSTRUCTORS. A salesperson's goal is to sell you something NOT teach you something.

A friend of mine, and fellow instructor, has been going through Foundations and has complained to me about how the first two days of training were focused on how one should approach people on the gym floor and try to sell them personal training. Last I checked, if I am taking an exercise class, the VERY last thing I want is for the instructor to try to convince me to buy anything. As a matter of fact, I just want them to teach the class so that I can get the exercise benefits of it. I am not interested in personal training.

I am absolutely angered by the fact that I am being required to take a sales training course in order to teach for NYSC. Are you fucking kidding me?!?!?!??!?!?! What is more important: that I know how the body works or that I know how to work the room so that I can get more people to buy personal training? And why the fuck am I trying to sell personal training in a god-damned spin class/yoga class/step class? I'm I the only one who finds this surreal?

I could agree with being required to take Foundations if it tested my knowledge of human physiology in relation to exercise. I absolutely agree that all of us who work on the gym floor or in the studio must know the very basics of human anatomy and function. But to send me to a sales course? How about making it a Customer Service course? God knows that we all could use some help in that arena. How about trying to teach that idiot of a trainer how to be more compassionate to the people in the gym? How about teaching your damn staff how to interact with or react to the membership? We could all benefit from being trained to deal with all types of moods members can have.

What the fuck does NYSC think they are doing? I am livid that I need to even hear that this is going to be required of me or else I won't be able to teach EVEN if my nationally-recognized (also NYSC-approved) certification is valid. I'll tell you something: if they want to take away my classes because I don't want to take Foundations, they can have them. They can also tell the members that. Hey NYSC: FUCK YOUR FOUNDATIONS! Later.
Monday, October 20, 2003
I never thought I would ever work in Customer Service. It's not that I suck at interacting and dealing with customers or clients, I just never think that I am any good at it. I do have patience for a lot of the inept people who I come in contact with at the gym or wine store BUT what I don't have is tolerance for the rude behavior these customers & clients have toward me and my fellow staff members.

When did it become okay to be rude to Customer Service Representatives (CSR)? I understand that as a CSR, my goal is to provide efficient service to our clients who may or may not be spending their hard-earned money at our establishments. What I don't get is why an enormous majority thinks that because they are spending their money there, they get to be inhumane to a fellow human being.

More often than not, CSR's are talked down to, belittled for not knowing the answer to the customer's question (who I want to point out does not know the answer either), or just ignored and treated as a nuisance. One of the most baffling occurences is when a customer will ask for a suggestion (for a specific exercise or a wine) and not wait for the CSR to answer them PLUS walk away while we try to answer them. The last time I checked, you waited for the answer to your question. Anyway...

I will admit that Customer Service has declined in the years that I have been living. But is the decline due to the lack of properly trained CSR's or the increase in apathy due to the rude and insensitive customers? Later.
Friday, October 17, 2003
I am back from my trip to the West Coast Wine Country. If you have never been, you should give it a try. It really is educational and a ton of fun. Definitely worth the while. Plus I could have spent another week just visiting wineries. Hoo weee.... Anyway....

I neglected to go to the gym in San Francisco and opted to just take nice long walks in the hills. After a trek up a steep hill, the only thing you think about is a snack and some water. At one point, I was concentrating so hard on getting up a hill that I could not even appreciate the scenery. Maybe I need to start working out somewhere else besides a gym. Maybe I need to start taking nice brisk walks in Central Park. Of course, this would mean I would have to get to Central Park and then walk. I have to think about this. Later.
Thursday, October 09, 2003
I leave for Sonoma and San Francisco tomorrow morning. Hence, my blogging will be on hold for a week. But I do plan on going to take some group exercise classes while in SF. Part of it is just for the exercise, the other is to see if that side of the country is just as neurotic as this one. Later.
Sunday, October 05, 2003
This past Saturday, I had planned on taking a Step class at 9:00am. Instead, I decided to meet up with a friend to catch a yoga class instead and go to lunch. I then planned to go to the gym early to do some weight training. Unfortunately, I had misjudged the start time of the yoga class and did not have time to lift when I arrived at the gym. This turned out to be a good thing.

I now remember why I even decided to start working for a health club facility. I love taking classes. I had a wonderful and satisfying time taking yoga. It helped that the instructor of the class was phenomenal; plus the cute boys in class (especially the one next to me) didn't hurt either. There are fewer things more satisfying than taking a class for one's betterment. It feels so nice to follow a class rather than lead a class. I had forgotten the joy one gets after taking a good class.

Which leads me to wonder why there are so many people with sour faces taking class. How can you be miserable when you take a class? Since it is really a choice to attend class, one has control as to whether or not they attend. Why be there if you don't want to?

Anyway, if you haven't taken a class in a long time or ever, take one. Go in with an open mind and just have fun with it. There are no strict rules except to try and enjoy yourself. If you are ever in my step class, just do your best, enjoy the music, and move to the beat how ever you want to. It will make you feel better no matter what. 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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