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  1. #1
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    Why this fascination with "The Gym?"

    I've let my fitness slip the last couple of months, so I've been picking up the pace to get ready for early-spring rides. Reno weather normally allows outdoor exercise most of the time, but it was wet in late December, so I hit the gym a few times (we have a decent one at work), planning to move outside as often as I could.
    I've been a cyclist for more than 20 years, and was a serious runner for a decade before that, but I've always regarded the gym as someplace you go when the snow's too deep for "real" exercise, so you can be fit enough for what you REALLY do.
    At some point, though, the world has been taken over by people who don't do anything BUT work out in the gym. One recent noon, with the weather in the mid-50s and sunny, I did a hard 20-mile bike ride instead of plodding out an hour on the lame-@ss exercise bike upstairs. Next day it snowed, so I went up to use the Nautilus for awhile. I got a ration of cr@p, first, from gym rats who accused me of skipping a workout, and then a ration of disbelief from people who couldn't believe I'd actually ride a bicycle when it wasn't 75 degrees outside. When I said I was only using the gym when I couldn't get out, they just didn't get it. The Gym is what they DO--there's no reward at the end of the tedium, no ride through the wildflowers coming up in April.
    Am I the last holdout, or have we become a nation of robots?

  2. #2
    Pedaled too far. Artkansas's Avatar
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    Maybe you should ask the President. He's known for living in the gym.

  3. #3
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    I, like you, use the gym when I can't get out on the bike. Until this autumn, when we started night riding, this meant 2 sessions a week from december to april, just to put a liitle extra into the legs, lungs and body for the summers onslaught of rides. Still prefer the bike to the gym, but if the bike is not possible then I will lose too much fitness if I do not do a little extra.

    There are two types at my gym. The really fit ones and the ones who are just starting on a fitness regime. Amongst the fit ones there are always a few "Poseurs". Generrally they are down in the weights room, where incidentally the Spinning classes also take place. I actually had two of the poseurs follow me round on my weight training one evening, from machine to machine- stressing the amount of extra weight they put on from what I was pulling. Then it got to a calf machine. This is one where I pull maximum weight- the only one I can- and I normally start at around 1/2 maximum but take it in turns on each leg, instead of using both, and then go up on weights. Left the machine and they could not do it. I had left the machine with 250lbs on it for one leg, and they could not push it with both legs. Then I went onto the Spinning class and the instructor talked them into a free lesson. For some reason, they are never there when a spinning class is on now.

    We do have a good crowd down at the gym, but there are the fanatics. I only do spinning classes if I think I need them, but the ones That do every class, cannot understand why I am not a regular. Then I ask them what their last ride was, and it all goes quiet. Cycling to some of them is a summer activity- not a 52 week long event.

    Incidentally- as we found out again last night- we don't stop for a bit of rain. Mind you we wish we had after our break at subs for a meal and a coffee. My co-rider went for a foot long instead of the 6" and it doesn't work when you have a mile long 12% hill afterwards to get to the Mud, and last night it was mud. The farmer is churning up the trails on his tractor at present and that coupled with the rain made for a very cautious ride.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


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  4. #4
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    I would guess that limited sunlight hours available for training might have something to do with it.

  5. #5
    I need more cowbell. Digital Gee's Avatar
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    I, for one, hate going to the gym. I have a membership at something called 24Hour Fitness, and yes, it's open all the time. Here's what I don't like:

    1. Getting everything ready to go the gym, packed in a gym bag, and having to keep track of where I leave my membership card (because they refuse to simply use a driver's license and their own computer records).

    2. Driving to the gym and finding a parking spot in the underground garage (which is all that's available) and having to remember to have my ticket validated (which is why I bought a beater bike to ride to the gym instead).

    3. Dealing with being in the midst of the people in the gym. Like Velo Dog says, there's two kinds, the "lifers" and the newbies. I don't mind the newbies (I'm sort of a perpetual newbie at the gym). It's the guys who stand there making sure you notice them (while looking like they aren't aware that you're even glancing in their direction) that just grind my chops.

    4. Dealing with the sweat on the machines, when others are too self-possessed or whatever they are to take the time to wipe off the equipment.

    5. Dealing with the smell in the locker rooms. They all stink (and I've been in lots of gyms).

    6. Dealing with the attitudes of the employees. If you want anything, it's either going to cause them to roll their eyes at the inconvience of having to take a moment to answer your request, OR it's going to cost you to add that whatever to your policy. (I have a 17 year old daughter who wanted to start coming to the gym with me perhaps twice a month. They wouldn't just add her to my policy and let me pay some reasonable dues -- nope -- I would have to pay a $75 processing fee, a $300 membership fee, and $40/month (or something like that) to add her to the policy. What about just a daily pass instead? Okay, $10/day.) I pay $99 annually.

    7. When I first joined I paid extra to have a trainer for 10 sessions. I liked the trainer they had -- but of course, two sessions into the routine he was transferred and the next guy would not stop trying to sell me supplements and all kinds of other crap I didn't want/need.

    I suppose I could go on and on but I'll stop there. I like the variety of equipment. I haven't tried many classes -- did the yoga one once and the instructor showed up 30 minutes late.

    I hate gyms.
    Visit my blog! The Leadership Almanac
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  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    The OPs comment was more to do with "At some point, though, the world has been taken over by people who don't do anything BUT work out in the gym." I noticed that too. Gyms used to be havens for weight lifters and the occassional workout place for runners and cyclists when the weather gets too bad. Now there are people who frequent gyms 5 -6 days days a week and never consider doing something outdoors. There are women who walk for hours on treadmills while watching CNN or reading a magazine. I just don't get it.

    The President works out in a gym due to time limitations and security. But he is an avid mountain bike rider, especially on his ranch.

  7. #7
    Fattest Thin Man Az B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velo Dog
    Am I the last holdout, or have we become a nation of robots?
    Processing data...

    Answer: No.

    End of process.

    Input:

    Az

  8. #8
    feros ferio John E's Avatar
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    I hike, jog, and cycle outdoors for aerobic exercise and fun. I lift weights and row indoors at the YMCA to complement my outdoor exercises and to maintain muscle and bone strength/mass.

    When I dislocated my kneecap and when I broke my radius, various machines and activities at the YMCA allowed me to maintain a modicum of fitness during orthopedic recovery.
    "Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell, and advertise." -- George Stahlman
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  9. #9
    lunatic fringe Dogbait's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Digital Gee
    I, for one, hate going to the gym. I have a membership at something called 24Hour Fitness, and yes, it's open all the time. Here's what I don't like:

    1. Getting everything ready to go the gym, packed in a gym bag, and having to keep track of where I leave my membership card (because they refuse to simply use a driver's license and their own computer records).

    2. Driving to the gym and finding a parking spot in the underground garage (which is all that's available) and having to remember to have my ticket validated (which is why I bought a beater bike to ride to the gym instead).

    3. Dealing with being in the midst of the people in the gym. Like Velo Dog says, there's two kinds, the "lifers" and the newbies. I don't mind the newbies (I'm sort of a perpetual newbie at the gym). It's the guys who stand there making sure you notice them (while looking like they aren't aware that you're even glancing in their direction) that just grind my chops.

    4. Dealing with the sweat on the machines, when others are too self-possessed or whatever they are to take the time to wipe off the equipment.

    5. Dealing with the smell in the locker rooms. They all stink (and I've been in lots of gyms).

    6. Dealing with the attitudes of the employees. If you want anything, it's either going to cause them to roll their eyes at the inconvience of having to take a moment to answer your request, OR it's going to cost you to add that whatever to your policy. (I have a 17 year old daughter who wanted to start coming to the gym with me perhaps twice a month. They wouldn't just add her to my policy and let me pay some reasonable dues -- nope -- I would have to pay a $75 processing fee, a $300 membership fee, and $40/month (or something like that) to add her to the policy. What about just a daily pass instead? Okay, $10/day.) I pay $99 annually.

    7. When I first joined I paid extra to have a trainer for 10 sessions. I liked the trainer they had -- but of course, two sessions into the routine he was transferred and the next guy would not stop trying to sell me supplements and all kinds of other crap I didn't want/need.

    I suppose I could go on and on but I'll stop there. I like the variety of equipment. I haven't tried many classes -- did the yoga one once and the instructor showed up 30 minutes late.

    I hate gyms.
    From the sound of it, that place is easy to hate. I have heard stories of a similar nature about that companies franchises in this area. From the fee structure, it seems that they make their money from the membership and processing fees and so would welcome a high turnover. You and all other "members" (customers, really) are paying for a lot of advertising on national TV which is aimed at servicing the new "members" who are participating in the high turnover. It's not a very customer friendly business model but it makes a lot of money.

    You are at the wrong gym!

    If you look around, you may be able to find a smaller gym that is more suitable to your needs. When I was working, my employer had a workout facility that we could use after hours. It was small but well equipped with free weights, weight machines, cardio equipment and cable TV. The employer provided the room and the equipment was purchased from user fees. I got into the habit of using it 2-3 times a week for 20 years and it was very beneficial, especially after I moved far enough away from work to make commuting by bike unreasonable (53 mi. round trip). The cost was $5.00 per month. When I retired, this was no longer available and I had to look for a new place. I was able to find a small fitness center in the small town near my home. They don't advertise, other than the Yellow Pages and a sign on the highway. They have free weights, machines, a cardio room with treadmills, recumbent bikes, stair steppers, rowing machines and elliptical trainers. They have a large open area for aerobics/yoga/dance/ stretching classes. They also use this space for a youth wrestling program and Taekwando after school and in the evenings. There is a smaller stretching/quiet room for individual use and a massage room with two LMT's (additional fee). There is no indoor track, swimming pool, basketball court or health food bar. I have been a member there for just over two years and there has been no turnover in the personal trainers. One more has been added and they are not pushy about selling their services. I have never been mistreated by any of the staff and have not seen any examples of poor customer service toward others. People are pretty good about wiping down the equipment and putting the weights away. Paper towels and disinfectant spray bottles are availavle throughout the facility.

    The locker room is a bit small and it stinks.... they all do

    The initiation fee was $45.00 and the monthly fee is $35.00 and does not go up as long as I maintain my membership. If I withdraw for some reason and want to come back, the fee goes up to whatever is current at that time.

    If you look around your area, I'm sure you can find a small, family oriented fitness facility that is a better deal than you will get from one of the big, high profile chains.

    Dogbait (who is late going to the gym from typing this )

  10. #10
    Senior Member jazzy_cyclist's Avatar
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    I include the gym during the winter months as part of my off-season shtick (beats being a couch potato). My wife does spin classes (as do I), but where she goes, there is a group that never rides on a bike outside -- they only do spin classes! Now that's wierd...

  11. #11
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    The national chain gyms are mostly alike, money first the members concerns are secondary.next time find a smaller place that will allow you to have a few "practice" uses of the facilities for a nominal charge, they won't do it say sorry i''l take my money someplace else. I went into a Ballys and asked the yearly cost and was told I had to take the "tour" first. I said all I wanted was the cost figure, "Sorry sir we can't tell you that till after the "facilities" tour I said SORRY guy I'll take my 300$ somewhere else, and I did
    The diehard users may be really folks who may be like myself, were frightened by a previous potential death sentence if they didn't change a life style or diet, I did, I did and am my Drs poster person for a healthy individual.
    Pay no attention to anyone else; create your own head space, say hi if someone says hi and concentrate on your own workout.GET IN .DO IT, AND LEAVE. Its a time for sewat and work not a social time

    Smelly locker rooms are a function of a dirty gym PLAIN and SIMPLE, complain about it, no results contact the district manager or tell the gym manager you will contact the local health dept. ORRRRRr, don't go near the locker room at all, keep a big towle in your car to cover the seats, or ride your bike, my gym has NO locker room odor
    Seriously though with an active riding program and a walking segment you don't need the gym at all
    ORRRRR take a few yoga classes, yeh I know lots of guys think it for wimps, wusses and women, but find one that is heavy on movement and activity takes place in a room where the A/C is off and the temp approches 100degrees
    You drink a lot of water and sweat a lot........and afterwards you feel like you move the moon mentally and physically

    Spinners are a diff lot, I agree. The ones I have spoken with like the idea of the effort expended spinning but are afraid to mingle on a bike with road trafffic

  12. #12
    Huachuca Rider webist's Avatar
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    The things I dislike about the gym I was a member of are two. One: I was the only one who looked to me like I needed to be there. Two: The management refused to move the stair climbing machines to the first floor. So, I quit.
    Just Peddlin' Around

  13. #13
    loves rail-trails bikingbets's Avatar
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    When I was younger, my brother was very much into weight-lifting at the gym...serious routines, 6 days/week. Being a competitive sports-lover, I couldn't see his rationale for just going and lifting to "get big." I'd rather get out and play, or use the weights as a means to an end.

    Fast-forward three decades or so, and my thoughts have changed. I can't compete like I used to when I was younger. I lost interest in sports, and with that came added weight. I (along with most of the United States) was overweight, and needed to do something about it. A fitness center was built less than a mile away from my house, so I took the plunge and joined. It's been a great place for me. I've been going religiously (one of those gym rats, I guess) for almost two years. I chose a workout routine and have been able to stick to it during that time, have lost substantial weight, and feel much better. Step class, spin class, cardio machines, weight machines, I do it all. It's enabled me to purchase a bike and get out on the local rail-trails during the spring, summer, and fall.

    I think what some people like about the gym is that it's always there for them, rain or shine, summer or winter. I'm in such a "zone" that it's good that I don't have to think about it. During the parts of the year when I ride, it's great to have it for resistance training.
    Don't argue with an idiot; people watching may not be able to tell the difference.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member
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    I prefer riding outside than going to the gym, but confess I retreat into it a couple of times a week to get a break from cold, wet riding in the Pacific Northwest at this time of year. It's also a good chance to get some upper body workouts and spin training in. I work at a large university in Seattle (UW) which renovated its gym a couple of years ago, so it's not so bad to spend an hour or 2 in. After a few more weeks, I'll be done with it till November.

  15. #15
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    I, also hate going to the gym,spinning along staring at the mindless TV. But I have to admit, I lived in the snow belt a.k.a. rust belt of the great lakes and in the winter-time it got old riding through the winter. Because we use salt to melt the snow, we had a constant suppy of water at the edge of the road. I've actually had tiny icicles hanging from the bottom of my shoes. When I would get home, I would just fall over into the snow bank because I was too stiff the get my leg over the saddle. When I remember days like that, the gym doesn't seem so bad as a break from the weather

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artkansas
    Maybe you should ask the President. He's known for living in the gym.

    What?????????

    Until two years ago he regularly ran 3.5 to 4.5 miles a day at a 7 minute pace or better. THEN, he got on this MTB kick and hauls ass on that. There are lots of things one might disagree with GW with, but he is one of US when it comes to getting after it outdoors!

    If he was the old media's darling, they'd have cameras on him every outing.

    IMHO

    Tyson Branyan
    Cushing, Oklahoma

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    Quote Originally Posted by TysonB
    What?????????

    Until two years ago he regularly ran 3.5 to 4.5 miles a day at a 7 minute pace or better. THEN, he got on this MTB kick and hauls ass on that. There are lots of things one might disagree with GW with, but he is one of US when it comes to getting after it outdoors!

    If he was the old media's darling, they'd have cameras on him every outing.

    IMHO

    Tyson Branyan
    Cushing, Oklahoma
    Time to move to another thread. I see that this one is going to go down that road to complete oblivion

  18. #18
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    No politics from me. I even keep it out of the pulpit.

    I don't go to the gym for one reason: The whole town (at least it feels that way) feel obliged to interrupt my exercise to: 1. confess their sins. 2. discuss theology. 3. misquote scripture and expect me to know the exact book, chapter, and verse. 4. listen to their latest gripe about what the church (even when its not my denomination) has or has not done. The only part of the body I can manage to exercise while at the gym are my ears, and my listening skills are already well developed.

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  19. #19
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    I used to hate going to the gym.
    Had many bad experiences with
    gym rats treating me like a 98 lb
    weakling and that got tired real fast, BUT
    since I discovered MP3 players I load em
    up with NPR or other radio shows and rock'n roll
    music from the Internet and have a decent time
    pedling to my hearts content on the recumbent
    bike at the gym. I am not fond of anaerobic exercise
    but I have gained speed and endurance by continually
    cranking up the level of difficulty on the bike and putting
    it in hill climbing and race mode.

    But there is nothing like the open road on a nice day.
    Even tho, I do use the MP3 player on the road now too
    and enjoy it immensely.

    Ned Goudy
    Glendora, CA USA

  20. #20
    Macaws Rock! michaelnel's Avatar
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    In SF / Yuppieville where I live, I chuckle when I see people sitting in their SUVs with the engine idling or driving repeatedly around the block to get a parking space near the gym so they won't have to walk far to get their "workout".
    ---

    San Francisco, California

  21. #21
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    Move the stair climbing machines to the first floor? My listening skills are already well developed? Your posts have me laughing here in Maryland.

    WRT spinning classes, I quit taking them altogether. I got fed up with gym rats that get one person to show up an hour early to put towels on most of the bikes in the spinning class to reserve them for all their friends. And, don't even think about getting to the gym really, really early and getting on one of THEIR bikes.

    I enjoy doing weights at the gym during the winter, but I prefer to be outside whenever possible. Today was a lovely day in Maryland. It hit 60 degrees and my ride outside was wonderful.

  22. #22
    rck
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    While biking is my main form of exercise, I've been using weights for years. I don't lift heavy, at least not anymore, but do lift twice weekly pretty much year round. Weight bearing activities are impt., especially as we get less young. Recent studies are showing that men are also subject to osteoporosis and if that is not enough, appropiate weight work will improve your biking as well. For those who do not like going to gyms, you can get a bench and a few dumbells pretty cheaply and there is a lot of info. out avail. on good basic routines.

  23. #23
    jbs
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    I hate stationary cycling as much as I love real cycling!

  24. #24
    sdr
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    Misanthropic Miscreant sdr's Avatar
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    what's a gym?

    *scratches head*

    *sdr*
    “You must be the change that you wish to see in the world” Gandhi

  25. #25
    more ape than man timmhaan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Velo Dog
    The Gym is what they DO--there's no reward at the end of the tedium, no ride through the wildflowers coming up in April.
    Am I the last holdout, or have we become a nation of robots?
    i used to be a regular at the gym. trying to gain weight, put on muscle, etc. my main motiviation, at the time, was to look good. i mostly wanted the appearance of being in good shape, the health benefit was a secondary concern. i suspect many dedicated gym people are similar minded. they would glady trade the ability to run 15 miles or cycle 100 miles to have nice arms, legs, abs, chest, etc. the gym, like it or not, is the best place to visibily shape your body. now, with spray on tans or indoor tanning, you don't even need to go outside to have a "perfect" body. it's weird.

    *as i'm typing this a program called "building the hollywood body" is on TV. go figure.

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