It’s not fitness. It’s Life.


I joined the gym today. This is something I’ve been grappling with for about six months. Living in the Mission and working downtown, it’s been difficult to be as active as I like.

A Little Background
I’m the first to admit that I’ve never been the jock type. I have never been confused with Sporty Spice. I took Dance PE (yes, the one featuring square dancing) in high school. That’s about it. There was a period of about a year where I was biking up mountains and such, but that was in Portola Valley and a whole different story. For the vast majority of my life, I’ve simply been moderately active in my daily life. Fortunately, that seems to work for my genes and my jeans.

Status Quo
There’s the usual walking around to go places, but there’s not much aerobic activity. My commute is: walk one block, ride BART three stops, walk one block. I don’t walk when I get home because I’m not fond of being single in the mission at that hour, especially now that it’s dark. I like to bike, but not where I have to pay that much attention. So, I don’t. Basically, it’s just not as pretty (or safe) to go for a walk in the city. So, I don’t. If it weren’t for Laura, I would hardly go for walks at all! Fortunately, she reminds me that we can go outside at lunch time.

The Struggle
I don’t like the idea of gyms. I don’t like the idea of machines. I don’t like the smells and I generally don’t like the people. I’ve occassionally visited such places known as gyms and didn’t find much appeal. And I really don’t like the idea of paying somewhere for the privilage of helping me break a sweat.

The Process
Soon after starting work at Save-the-Redwoods League, I began to see the Status Quo developing. Where, for the first time, there’s not very much activity in my daily grind AND there’s not easy opportunities for other outlets of energy. This also coincided with my growing understanding of what it means to take care of myself. I don’t need to “work out” to look good. But I have noticed that I felt better during the times in my life when I was most active. S l o w l y, I realized that being active and feeling better is a form of self care and that I’m Worth It!

So, I visited several gyms. This one was too far. This one was too full of itself. This was was too gross. Just call me Goldilocks! Finally, I tried the gym across the street. Several of my co-workers are members there and like it. It’s called Equinox. I liked it. The people are nice, even the salesmen. The gym is clean and not smelly. It’s in a beautiful building. There are plenty of varied machines. The classes are conveniently scheduled – for people who have regular 9-5s. It has a steam room! And did I mention it was across the street? During the trial visit, I timed that I could get to the gym and back to the office in an hour.

The only problem was that it’s pretty pricey. Besides the monthly fee, there’s the initiation fee. It’s taken me Several Months to get used to the price tag. Oh! and the committment thing. I have to sign up for one year before it goes month to month.

So, I joined today. The initiation fee was waived. My membership starts on Dec. 26, when I get back from our honeymoon. And in three months, SRL will start kicking in some money towards the monthly fee, which makes it a little easier to swallow.

I’m pleased with my decision. I’m looking forward (!) to going to the gym. Who knows, it might even be fun!

Next up: Honeymoon Part 2: Yucatan. (For Part 1, see Mark’s post.)

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2 Responses to It’s not fitness. It’s Life.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Interesting post, as usual! I have always had mixed feeling about gyms. I have always been reasonably active, but generally it has been a combination of walking/hiking/trail running/cycling/yoga. Being outdoors doesn’t make it seem like exercise to me at all — it’s just fun, whether in the woods or in an urban setting. Like you, I have been lucky enough to not have to worry too much about exercising to stay in shape. But somehow I have also ended up going to the gym, too, pretty much from my first job out of college. Mainly it was to have some outlet during the week when I couldn’t get outside, like you mention (didn’t really feel like running/walking around SF at night). Also, most places I worked had a huge discount at a nearby gym. It was great to get a break from the computer and the office, and it made such a difference in my energy level and mood. The past few years I have worked mostly from home, but I still go to a gym two or three times a week. With a flexible schedule, I can get outside, but I decided that weight training really needs to be something I do for the rest of my life, as the women in my family have all developed osteoporosis as they aged. Finding the right gym, as you discussed, makes all of the difference. I have looked at some pretty terrible places — unpleasant attitudes, terrible smell, bright fluorescent lights and terrible blaring music. Right now I go to Berkeley Ironworks, which is owned my the same company as Mission Cliffs in your hood. I don’t have a climbing membership, but I may eventually. It’s nice and mellow, fun (you can watch the climbers while working out), and the people are nice. I think you made a good decision, and I think you will be more likely to go to the gym because it is right across the street!
    Jen E.

  2. FitFiend says:

    How did you get the initiation fee waived? Do you have all access?

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