Getting Your Money’s Worth


The road to hell,

wrote George Bernard Shaw,

is paved with good intentions.

And good intentions are just what I had when I signed up for a
gym membership in February.
“The road to hell,” wrote George Bernard Shaw, “is paved with good intentions.” And good intentions are just what I had when I signed up for a gym membership in February. At least three times per week, I promised myself, I’d visit this house of torture.

I told myself I wanted to feel what my friend Dereck, a former personal trainer, calls “the beautiful pain.” I told myself that within weeks I’d begin to feel the results, and I privately dreamed that going to the gym would make me look a little less like Roseanne Barr and a little more like Jamie Lee Curtis a la “True Lies.”

What I discovered was that the beautiful pain of an hour’s workout left me immobile the rest of the weekend, so I did what any sensible person would do: I quit going. In the weeks and months that have followed, I’ve returned just one other time, but the weird thing is, I haven’t canceled my membership.

I suffer from gym guilt, and I’ve discovered it’s an affliction that many of my friends share. Even if we’re not in shape, admitting that we need the gym is like the first step in chubby-girl (or guy) awareness. Sooner or later, we figure, we’ll do something about it.

My two trips to the gym have cost a total of $252 and counting, but I’m still not sure I’m ready for serious gym commitment. Still, with my wedding coming up in June, it’s just a matter of time before I become a staple character at Weight Watchers’ meetings and 24 Hour Fitness.

While I stall on that, I’ve been collecting ideas for keeping myself motivated once the initial urge for a full-body makeover strikes. Here’s what I’ve got so far:

Find an athletic hobby

I love to dance, so much so that I forget I’m actually exercising. My friend Stephanie plays volleyball, and my cousin Cassandra swings for any softball team willing to take her on. It’s not gym time, but it’s a start – a fun start.

Take a buddy

My friend Tiffany hates exercising. In fact, she hates sweat of any kind, but so far she’s lost 30 pounds huffing and puffing it out at a gym near her home in Los Angeles. It’s not the constant parade of 100-pound, blonde Amazons that keeps her going, but friends. She and two companions go to the gym together at least three times a week, holding each other accountable for attendance and dietary indiscretions.

What Tiffany does the other four days of the week is her business, but at least on gym days she knows she’s done right by herself and her buddies.

Make a bet

I’m pretty competitive, but my friend Vicky and I took things to new heights one year during our time together at college. Our university provided a free gym for students, and we decided we’d make a pact to go. Each of us got one point for a gym visit that lasted longer than 30 minutes, and we lost three points if we failed to attend our three-times-per-week workout sessions. At the end of the year, whoever had accumulated fewer points had to swim laps in the pool for 15 minutes at noon … in an itty bitty bikini. It was a competitive spur, and we both came out winners.

If you’d like to share your motivational ideas, or your story, send me a line. I’d be happy to find out what worked for you and to share it with all the other chronic gym-avoiders here in the South Valley.

That reminds me: I’ll need to find that two-piece. I’m long overdue for a swim.

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