Is a Luxury Gym Right for You?

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Like my dream of being in a bell ensemble, my goal of going to the gym five straight days during my trial at Equinox remains unrealized. I managed to get there Monday through Wednesday, attending classes each day.

The classes at Equinox are on another level to anything I’d ever taken. The instructors were all very good. (I should also note that I rarely take classes that don’t involve food). I have a “get in/get out” mentality toward the gym. Equinox made me linger. That was mostly connected to trying to get the most out of my trial week.

This approach backfired since my body was prepared more for Thanksgiving than a fitness assault from encouraging instructors. My legs are almost back to 100% from the plyometrics class Tuesday and Wednesday’s Pilates session. I hobbled around the past few days and my quads still feel like they have rocks in them.

During my initial tour, I was told the biggest differentiator from other gyms was the classes.

When you compare gyms head-to-head there are a few main criteria:

  • Quality/Functioning of machines
  • Cleanliness
  • Clientele
  • Classes

Weights are weights. There should be no distinction for core uses of a gym. Weights and benches should be available, with some exceptions for peak usage hours. I went at lunch and after work. While I went straight to classes, the gym wasn’t packed so there wouldn’t have been an issue getting the weights I needed (5 pounders). Equinox had increments I didn’t know existed. They started at 5 pounds, then went up by 2 1/2 pounds. So there was a 7 1/2 pound dumbbell all the way up to a 27 1/2 pound. Then they normalized and increased by 5 pound increments. And a true move of differentiation, they had gear I’d never seen, like a series of pipes called ViPR. I didn’t have time to check those out.

Equinox is a luxury gym and nailed it on every category. They had staff walking around cleaning all the machines. The clientele didn’t give the gym rat vibe. If anything, I feared I was scaring the regulars with my non-branded athletic apparel.

The staff was incredibly friendly, whether or not that was because I am a prospective member or they give that personal touch to everyone, I don’t know. As of this writing, my feet display no signs of fungus. Decision time looms. I anticipate a call from the membership staff asking if I’m ready to join and I don’t know what to say.

How much do you pay for your gym? What’s the maximum you would spend?

Can I start a Kickstarter for my fitness?

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Competing with Yourself

vomit, gif, yoga, sick, upchuckThere’s no feeling like it.

There’s nothing you can do about it.

You must give in to it.

“Welcome to Tuesday night’s practice,” the instructor said as she started the class. Then, while I stood with eyes closed, hands pressed together, she urged us to make an intention for the practice.

“And forward fold,” the instructor urged.

If I forward fold one more time it’s going to be over white porcelain, or whatever material they use to make toilets.

I tried to ignore the rumblings, but with each contortion I felt the contents of my stomach creeping higher and higher, like one of those hand-drawn thermometers used to track funding for fireworks. This campaign was going to meet its goal. I started thinking about what was in my stomach. Was the Wagyu burger putting up a fight? Could it be the French Onion soup? Or was it the small plate of leftover smoked chicken with whole wheat farfalle pasta? I bet it was that damned grilled zucchini I ate before leaving the office. I never liked it anyway. The squash variant was trying to make a break for it.

“And Chaturanga….Upward-facing dog.”

Now my right wrist started to hurt. The sweat started pouring forth like some polluted aquifer. My arms glistened while my mind wandered. Am I about to puke?

“And Utkatasana, chair pose,” the distant female voice gently guided.

Oh god, no.

I was two burps away from striking intestinal oil. I started scanning the room in search of a receptacle that could contain my projectile vomit. Then I counted. Three prostrate females. That’s how many I’d have to hurdle to get to the brushed silver cylinder that would be my emergency retch holder.

After a few half-stomached Sun Salutation B’s, I decided to call it quits. Child’s pose was too taxing. Only one pose left: Savasana (Corpse pose).

One of the tenets of yoga is to only do as much as you can. Tonight, all I could do was a few salutations. That’s all my body had in it. As I reposed on my saturated yoga mat, I became disgruntled with myself. I had been eager to return to a more regular yoga practice. Instead of celebrating what I was capable of doing tonight, I focused on my vanishing flexibility, the imminent up chuck, the pain in my wrist and other irritations that I have yet to let go. The greatest backslide was my lost mental focus.

Today reaffirmed my body’s rejection of nice things. I was treated to a very nice lunch by a vendor. Then wound down the night at a free community yoga practice.

Lunch ended with the waitress offering me a steaming hot towel to wipe my hands after my burger.

Yoga ended with me sopping up my meat sweat, and maybe a few tears, with a hand towel wondering why I came.

The good news is that I managed to keep the zucchini and everything else down, just not my expectations of myself.

What to Wear to an Orgy

old school gang bang

An excerpt from my dating memoirs.

“BRING BOOZE” is what her text message said.

After replying with a reminder of how to phrase a question and the effectiveness of “please,” she half-assedly acquiesced with “BRING BOOZE NOW, PLEASE.” Who doesn’t love a woman who know what she wants and clearly communicates it?

I’d been trying to meet this girl for a while. She was the niece of a singer I really admire and she was pretty. As is always the case, she was incredibly busy. She was in the process of moving. By some miracle she never asked me to help her move, likely because she heard how strong I was from Beatrice and Eunice at aqua-robics.

We had arranged to meet at yoga before I got that demonstrative text. Late that Monday afternoon, it had begun to snow, the type of snow that turns a 20 minute commute into a 45 minute commute and tries your will to live.

There’s a moment when you look down and discover every part of your body is glistening. In all my years on this earth, I can safely say that I have never had sweat emanate from the top of my knees.

I had a use-it-or-lose it situation with my vacation time at the end of the year and decided to do some things that I don’t prioritize while working. Yoga is a great stress reliever and flexibility booster. Plus, I’m often one of two guys in a class. Should any of those women need someone to clean their pool or cook them delicious meals on a semi-nightly basis…

I changed into my gym clothes and entered Studio 2. I was greeted with a warm bitch slap to the face. I rolled out my mat and started to sweat profusely, not in anticipation of meeting her, but because I had wrongly entered one of Dante’s circles of hot yoga hell. It was more than warm. It was more than just humid. It was sultry. I rolled out my mat and started to stretch. So we are all clear, when I say stretch, I mean I flailed my arms around gingerly and reminded myself just how far my toes are. When I practiced regularly I could get the heels of my palms on the ground. Now, I’m like a little kid desperately wiggling to reach the candy on the shelf. I looked into one of the the many fun house mirrors and saw that most of my forehead was moist. I apologize to the ladies reading this post. I know how you feel about “moist.”

“How am I sweating and I haven’t really exerted myself in any capacity? This doesn’t bode well.” That’s right. I had already begun talking to myself. I cracked the seal on one of two water bottles I brought to class. I toweled off before we started our practice. I’m not entirely sure if calling this class a “practice” is appropriate. At no point in my life do I want this degree of perspiration to be acceptable.

We started class with some cat/cow poses before some sun salutations: forward fold, forward bend, plank, lunge, warrior, chaturanga.

“I’ve done these before. This isn’t so bad,” I thought. This would be one of the last moments I could form coherent thoughts.

The instructor, who was a great motivator, picked up the pace and intensity of the class. The torture session incorporated free weights to the session. So, a warrior pose would include a bicep curl, shoulder press, or tricep extension. At first I did the poses without any weights, then I grabbed the dumbbells for a few reps.

After one of the series, she asked the class if she should pump up the heat. The masochists and sadists loudly shouted “YES!” Could no one see I was wasting away on my blue mat that was quickly turning into a Slip ‘N Slide?

It was at this moment that I discovered I was standing directly under an air duct connected to hell’s furnace.

“And let’s bump up the humidity!” she exclaimed from the thermostat.

I swear on all things holy…Lord, I’ll do whatever you ask of me. Or any god, saint or deity. Can anyone hear me over the bumping Top 40 jams?

I made it about 45 minutes before visions of the sweet, flexible baby Jesus doing downward dog and happy baby started popping into my head. Then I had to sit down for a spell. It was at this moment that I observed that every inch of my body was soaked. I looked in the mirror and wasn’t really sure who was looking back at me.

The last minutes of class, and potentially my life, were burpees and squats before stretches.

While laying in savasana waiting for my heart to find its way back into my chest, I parted ways with baby Jesus the showoff. The instructor came around with cool, lemon-scented rags. I’ve never valued anything so much in my life.

Eventually I peeled myself off of what once was a yoga mat and gathered my things to exit. In the locker room, I observed that my sleeveless, navy gym shirt transformed from a Rorschach of sweat to one continuous, soaked rag of all impurities I’ve ever ingested. I rang it out, got in the shower and dry sobbed. I left all my fluids on the mat.

In my life, I have treated Dante’s Circles of Hell as a checklist, reserving the secret 10th circle for myself. I learned that night that there’s an 11th for hot yoga.

On my way out they asked how I liked it. I shared that it was quite warm. “Oh, that wasn’t even the hot class. It was only 103.”

I checked my phone after class and read a text that my date wasn’t going to make it. I called her and she invited me to her friend’s apartment. This was already the night of bad decisions, why stop at hell yoga? I informed her I needed a shower and requested her friend’s address.

After showering I got the “BRING BOOZE” demand. I was famished after sweating for 60 minutes, so I headed to the grocery and grabbed a frozen pizza. Then I was standing in the liquor section. Luckily I was able to flag down one of the workers.

“What type of alcohol should I bring to an orgy?” I asked.

“How many people?” the staffer asked.

I vacillated between a regular bottle of wine and the alcoholic 1.5 liter variety. No one wants to be sober at an orgy, so I put the big one in my basket to join my frozen pizza, green pepper and romaine lettuce. The only things missing from my basket were a kama sutra book and massage oils.

Arriving at my destination, a large apartment complex, I called my orgy mates to find out which one they were in.

Lest I misread any of the context clues, my date greeted me in pajama pants and a tshirt. “Had I known this was a pajama party…” I said. Once in her friend’s apartment I met her friend/coworker, sporting Batman pajama pants and a tshirt. And here I was wearing a long-sleeve shirt with buttons and jeans. Way overdressed for the orgy. While waiting for the pizza to cook, I opened the wine and sat with the ladies at the dinner table.

Quickly I learned that my date’s friend had too much to drink at their company holiday party, ended up going home with her boss and sleeping in the same bed with him. She asserted that was all that happened. She also didn’t want any wine. She did, however, want the green pepper, which she ate like Mr. Peepers on SNL.

She spent the entire evening texting her boss who wanted something more than a one-night slumber party. If his night was anything like mine was turning out, I’m not sure I’d sign up for a second round. She asked for my advice, which I liken to a combination of Dr. Drew and Steve Harvey. I told her to tell him she needed time to decide what she wanted to do and to put down the phone. Problems are never solved over text message.

After dinner I moved the therapy session to where it belonged: the couch. “I slept with my boss and regret it” girl reposed to the large bean bag sack with her phone and texted the night away. My “date” and I sat on the couch, turned on the TV and fired up Netflix.

Bachelor Tip: You know a date is going well when your date picks a rape episode of Law & Order: SVU. It means one of two things: she’s slyly suggesting something or, more likely, she’d like you to go home.

After realizing that was the entirety of what I’d get for the evening, I did what anyone would do. I got their insurance information for billing, took my lettuce and left.

Hot Yoga: The 11th Circle of Hell

There’s a moment when you look down and discover every part of your body is glistening. In all my years on this earth, I can safely say that I have never had sweat emanate from the top of my knees.

As I embark on my December staycation, I decided to do some things that I don’t prioritize while working. Sadly, yoga is one of those activities. I’ve always enjoyed yoga as a stress reliever and flexibility booster. Plus, I’m often one of two guys in a class. Should any of those women need someone to clean their pool or cook them delicious meals on a semi-nightly basis…

Last night I started an unlimited, one-week trial at CorePower Yoga. I exited my car and briskly braved the 15-degree temperature as I walked into the studio. After reading a sign about shoe karma, I put my shoes in a cubby hole, then signed up with the two young women at the front desk.

I changed into my gym clothes and entered Studio 2. I was greeted with a warm bitch slap to the face. It was more than warm. It was more than just humid. It was sultry. I rolled out my mat and started to stretch. So we are all clear, when I say stretch, I mean I flailed my arms around gingerly and reminded myself just how far my toes are. When I practiced regularly I could get the heels of my palms on the ground. Now, I’m like a little kid desperately wiggling to reach the candy on the shelf just out of reach. I looked into the mirror and saw that most of my forehead was moist. I apologize to the ladies reading this post. I know how most of you feel about words like “moist.”

“How am I sweating and I haven’t really exerted myself in any capacity? This doesn’t bode well.” I cracked the seal on one of two water bottles I brought to class. I toweled off before we started our practice. I’m not entirely sure if calling this class a “practice” is appropriate. At no point in my life do I want this degree of perspiration to be acceptable.

We started class with some cat/cow poses before some basic salutations/flow moves: forward fold, forward bend, plank, lunge, warrior, Chaturanga.

I’ve done these before. This isn’t so bad,” I thought. This would be one of the last moments I could form coherent thoughts.

The instructor, who was a great motivator, picked up the pace and intensity of the class. Yoga Sculpt incorporates free weights to the session. So, a warrior pose would include a shoulder press, bicep curl or tricep extension. At first I did the poses without any weights, then I grabbed the dumbbells for a few.

After one of the series, she asked the class if she should pump up the heat. The masochists and sadists loudly shouted “YES!” Could no one see I was wasting away on my blue mat that was quickly turning into a Slip ‘N Slide?

It was at this moment that I discovered I was standing directly under an air duct connected to hell’s furnace.

“And let’s bump up the humidity!” she exclaimed from the thermostat.

I swear on all things holy…Lord, I’ll do whatever you ask of me. Or any god, saint or deity. Can anyone hear me over the bumping Top 40 jams?

I made it about 45 minutes through the class before visions of the sweet, flexible baby Jesus doing downward dog started popping into my head. Then I had to sit down for a spell. It was at this moment that I observed that every inch of my body was soaked. I looked in the mirror and, like Mulan, wasn’t really sure who was looking back at me.

The last minutes of class, and potentially my life, were burpees and squats before stretches.

While laying in Savasana waiting for my heart to find its way back into my chest, I bid adieu to baby Jesus the showoff. The instructor came around with cool, lemon-scented rags. I’ve never valued anything so much in my life.

Eventually I peeled myself off of what once was a yoga mat and gathered my things to exit. In the locker room, I observed that my sleeveless, navy gym shirt transformed from a Rorschach of sweat to one continuous, soaked rag of all impurities I’ve ever ingested. I rang it out, got in the shower and dry sobbed. I left all my fluids on the mat.

In my life, I have treated Dante’s Circles of Hell as a checklist, reserving the secret 10th circle for myself. I learned last night that there’s an 11th for hot yoga.

On my way out they asked how I liked it. I shared that it was quite warm. “Oh, that wasn’t even the hot class. Hot Power gets up to 103.”

Namaste.

arrested development, sobbing