Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Gym n' Knee Rickets

Me: Before and Hopefully After

A couple of days ago, I ranted and raved about not being able to take off a couple of added winter pounds thanks to this endless New York winter. (For those of you not in the Northeast, it's March 23, and no lie, cloudy and snowing in New York.) Pneumonia aside, my body was feeling lifeless, and something needed to be done.

That something was to go to the gym. Now, most of my friends who belong to gyms here in the city pay through the ass in order to attend some chic, designer gym that caters to their bodies and egos. For $100 a month, you get treadmills, pilates, and throngs of assholes. People who I would hate to be around in my Old Navy workout gear. On Wall Street there are two such gyms: NYSC and Equinox, which are chock full of good-looking wealthy cokeheads sweating their balls off, i.e. my ideal mens. The last thing I need is for these fellas to see me at my lowest point.

Last May, I decided enough is enough, and finally joined the masses in getting a gym membership. But where oh where would I find a gym so shitty, so bare-bones, that I wouldn't be embarrassed to work out there?

First stop, Lucille Roberts, that garish, yellow and pink nightmare that caters only to women, and from what I could see, old women. Perfect! No attitude there! Or so I thought. Ms. Roberts' prices were not that much cheaper than the higher class gyms, and their equipment looked like scrap metal culled from a burning jetliner. Plus, the women who worked out there may be old and decrepit, but I still felt judgmental eyes lurking behind me. I went outside, ate 3 Luna bars, and decided to look elsewhere.

I passed by a Curves gym, the gym for the "big and beautiful", and paused briefly. This might not be such a bad idea! Surrounding myself with heavy women who would envy my figure and ask me for tips on how I stay so "trim". I would be an inspiration! Then I found out that the owner is super Pro-Life, and, having come from my 14th abortion to date, didn't want to stir the embryonic pot. I moved on.

The next morning, on my hour long commute to work by train, I opened up an AM New York (where I get all my poorly edited, 3 day old news) and saw an ad for a place touting themselves as the "24/7 Fitness Club"... with a limited time special for only $200 a year! You mean to tell me if I have an urge to run in a precise elliptical motion at 3 am, I can? And all for the price of a dozen jars of peanut butter monthly? I didn't even need to see this place -- I was in.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how I became a year long member of the 24/7 Fitness Club, a gym where the tour guide touts how cab drivers "love to work out there" because of the flexible hours, and who warn that the loud rumbling and ground-shaking is thanks to the dozen or so train lines that surround the joint. As long as they had treadmills, I was happy. My first time working out there, last May, I power walked while watching BET Rap videos, get this, on MUTE, and having to read closed captioning for various Ja-Rule songs.

Then, in July, I had a breakthrough -- I don't need a gym! I live in the most walkable city in the world! And so began my great love affair with New York. Come 5 pm, I was out the door, many times walking from below Wall Street to 79th and Broadway, sometimes all the way home a few miles north of there. I felt great, was in ok shape, and 24/7 Fitness Club fell off my cerebral map...

...for EIGHT MONTHS. I had a YEAR LONG membership, and for EIGHT MONTHS never set foot back. Sure, in the fall I still walked, but by winter wasn't walking or going to the gym, out of embarrassment for my lack of attendance.

Monday, another fitness breakthrough: I went BACK to my beloved 24/7 Fitness Club, and thankfully, it was as I had left it: stinky, decrepit, filthy, BET still mutely blasting on the screens. I jogged/power walked for 45 minutes, had a good shvitz, and called it a night.

But yesterday, friends, yesterday is when Ms. Michelle Collins kicked it up a crotch. 60 minutes, running an average 11:30 minute mile (for me, a miracle), burning over 800 calories, I kicked my own ass, Fight Club style. The result? For the next 3 hours, I was convinced I had induced a stroke. I couldn't fully see out of my left eye -- there was a blurry ring of vision, preventing me from walking like a normal human being. My brain kind of shut down altogether, and I felt like I was walking in the clouds. Now I tell myself I was probably dehydrated, but last night I was this close to calling 911 to report a treadmill/stroke related incident.

The result? I woke up with two legs made out of cinderblock. I can hardly move. People say it's "The Good Hurt". My groin says it's "torture". I'm taking a 24/7 break today, and tomorrow already have plans to get shitfaced, but hope to be well enough to get back on that charlie horse Friday evening. Pray for sunshine, and wish me luck.

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