Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Tilting with Windmills

Wow - been a long time since I posted anything. Like 2 years. All I can say is - sometimes life just gets too busy. 

For those of you that know me, it will come as no shock to find out I value my workouts more than about anything other than time with Kelly. When I retired from my day job, eight years ago (but whose counting), Kelly and I discussed how I would maintain my social involvement with others. The first thought for both of us was my time at the gym. Sure, I spend time (some days a lot of time) communicating with clock and car folks. But most of this is on the phone or via email, not face to face.

The thing about gyms is you make them what you want them to be. I see a lot of people who just want to work out and get out of there. They don’t like the gym, they don’t look like they like the gym, or that they are enjoying themselves.

OK - there are also folks who go to the gym to socialize - not much working out gets done, but they do get to talk to folks. If you want to work out - well, you might want to avoid these folks.

Then there are people who just plain enjoy working out with others. I am clearly in that category. There were a couple of other people at my previous gym who were in this camp - folks who end up with people working out with them because they want to share what they are doing, and enjoy helping others work out.

Those of you who are awake might have noticed my reference to a "previous" gym. Perhaps the biggest change in the past 2 years was my switching from 24 Hour Fitness (24) to Cascade.

Funny that (in sort of a very sad and pathetic way). I spent 4 years at 24, watched managers come and go, and enjoyed helping folks. I had a group of 5 to 10 who spent 45 minutes each weekday stretching with me. And 2 to 6 who then worked out with me for about 2 hours. In as much as the routines I have developed are not your normal curl/bench/squat type of exercises, I tended to do a lot of coaching - helping people develop their strength while focusing on protecting their backs (building their core) and improving their balance.

Three of the managers had no problem with this. Then there was number 4. Let’s call her "Prunella". Ol Pru did not like it. At all. As in Pru threatened repeatedly to have me thrown out if I worked out with others, or if I led the stretch group. Heck, at one point Pru told me the only person I could work out or stretch with was Kelly. Make no mistake, I love working out and stretching with Kels. But she was only there one or two days a week. And all these other folks wanted to join me...

Long story, Pru had me kicked out. Forever. Period.

About 20 folks sent e-mails and letters to the president of 24, lots of phone calls, even a petition. Some of the folks used Twitter and Facebook to try to get the word out...

Kelly and I moved on.

We switched to a locally-owned club - Cascade Athletic Club. Before joining up I talked to the club manager and the corporate training manager. Both were open about their desire to build a sense of community in their clubs and in their welcoming me to work out with others. OH MY! A complete reversal of the focus at 24 where they say they want community but tell folks like me to not work out with others.

We love it at Cascade. Where the trainers at 24 were loath to admit that my stretching and workout routines had any benefit - the trainers at Cascade join us. And hey, Cascade actually cleans things, like bathrooms, the exercise mats... Can you imagine how disgusting it is to use an exercise mat that has a distinctive odor? Or dumbbells that make you hold your breath when you pick them up from the rack? I could go on, but heck, one might think I was making things up. Reminds me of a comment one of the folks at Cascade made when I started working out there: "That 24 Hour is the filthiest gym in this area". So be it.

At the end of the day Kels and I are very happy where we ended up.

It seems like every other week someone walks up and asks if I used to work out at 24 - they remembered seeing me helping folks. I explain the situation and do my best to make them, and others at our new gym feel welcome. A part of a group. Make them want to smile when they see us, make them feel like someone is glad to see them at the gym.

So, why post this? I suppose, on one level, I wanted to share the fact that one does not always win when going up against a company. They are there to make a profit and don’t appreciate it, at all, when someone provides for free what they charge for.

I fear that, over these two years I haven’t been blogging, I ran up against two such defeats - I’ll write about the other in the future.

Flip side, Kels and I are very happy where we are. We accepted the inevitability of change and made the best of it.

Sometimes that is for the best.


No comments:

Post a Comment