More pain, no gain

I’ve been finding it hard to find motivation to stay (get?) active the last while. It’s pretty standard for my gym membership dues to be little more than a placeholder for me during the summer, since I much prefer to be outside, and tend to go walkabout a lot. (Since I’ve had my membership for a number of years, what I pay is less than half of what I’d be charged anywhere else, so canceling in the summer wouldn’t be smart.) I also try to walk to work as often as possible, which, while not a great trek by any means, is exercise and an enjoyable few minutes in my day.

Unfortunately, right about the time I was ready to head back to the gym for the season, mine closed, and it will be an undetermined amount of time before it reopens. Hmm. The gym did make arrangements for members, so they have access to a number of other clubs in town, and, in fact, there’s one considerably closer to my place than my original gym. (Plus they’ve suspended dues until the new club opens.) Sounds good, except I’ve been to the alternate gym several times now… and I hate it.

I don’t care that it’s women’s only; the equipment is comparable; and the change rooms are actually better (not that I spend much time in them). But I’ve developed my workout patterns over a number of years, so not being able to accomplish them bugs me, especially when I’m already in a “foreign” environment.

The first problem I noticed was that I couldn’t find any areas to do stretching. There’s an aerobics room, but it’s one big room, and there’ve been classes going on every time I’ve been there. I couldn’t see any mats or anything elsewhere in the club (it would seem odd to tuck a floor work space away in a separate room or something). So I’ve self-consciously done rudimentary stretches in the change rooms, but you can’t exactly stretch out on the floor there. Yeah, I should probably ask at the front desk, but every time I’ve arrived the girls present there seem to be engaged in the most vapidly ridiculous conversations that I cringe to go anywhere near them. Plus, I swear one of them gave me “a look” when she looked at my card and noticed I was one of the “visitors”. WTF?

When I’m doing cardio work, I need good distraction, because, let’s face it, trotting along on a treadmill or elliptical for half an hour is boring. I don’t know if it’s just because I’m so used to “cardio theatre” and having audio and visual stimulation, but just listening to my iPod, even if the tunes are rockin’, isn’t much better than no input at all.

However, the TVs at the new gym have a radio system for the sound (my old gym had plugs/control boxen on the machines). So first I had to go buy a wee, cheapie radio, which was an inconvenience. And the stations the sound comes through on aren’t always strong signals, which seems odd, since I presume I’m in the same building as the broadcast. And while there are three TVs mounted, one is reserved for the music channel, so there are only ever two programs on. I guess I should be grateful that those two TVs tend to be tuned to trashy stuff, since that’s pretty much exactly what I want while I’m working out. (I mean, ideally I’d get documentaries or Firefly re-runs or something, but it’s not like there are geeks-only gyms around here…)

The angle at which your head has to be tilted to watch the TVs is rather higher than is natural, too. Maybe it’s to encourage good posture? I dunno. And then the last time I was there, the TVs weren’t even turned on. Umm… do they only turn them on after 7pm? Was something broken? Who knows. Inconvenient, anyway. (I’d have gone up and asked to have them turned on, but as it turned out it was one of those days where I just had nothing in the tank for a workout, so I wasn’t there all that long.)

And so these little things add up, and I’ve found it a challenge to get through my usual workout stint at all. I simply don’t enjoy being there, despite knowing I need more exercise, and I can’t manage to zone out, which is really valuable brain time for me, and about as important as getting exercise itself. So now it’s become difficult to make myself go at all. Fortunately, we’ve had some decent weather recently, and will have a bit more this week, so I fully intend to take advantage of it as much as possible while I can. But it won’t be long before I’m shaking my head at those crazy joggers out in balaclavas and wanting nothing to do with outdoor exercise (that’s not a specifically winter activity, anyway).

I really hope my new gym is open by then. (And not built in the image of this temporary one…)

3 Replies to “More pain, no gain”

  1. hmmmm – the gym sounds nasty. Try mine – Columbia Lake Health Center in Waterloo. Radio TV’s as well, but, each is located on their own treadmill and you can plug in to listen – control your own stations too!

    And, there’s a women’s private WO room off the locker room too if ur shy.

    Don’t know the particulars off hand, but you can transfer your membership for no charge or become a member for free with no weekly fees for the duration of your current membership – or somethin’ like that.

    Good luck!

  2. I’ve found that podcasts are fantastic ways to stay entertained while on a cardio machine. Music just doesn’t do it, but listening to people talk about a subject I like anyway (for me most of my podcasts are related to video games and software engineering) keeps me engaged and entertained, and the time passes much quicker.

    Most of my preferred podcasts tend to be about video games ( or software development (, but CBC ( and NPR ( both have a lot of their regular shows available for download.

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