Hillbilly Fit Club

I've become a workout junkie of late; it happens every couple of years, when, after living a lifestyle that consists mostly of eating out, I step on the scale and nearly pass out from the shock at how much I've gained.

This scale shock happened to me about a year ago, but due to my crazy schedule, I was unable to do much about it. That, and I was on the verge of committing harey-carey, and when one is in such a mental state, one does not want to exercise.

When I took the new job in August, one of the perks was a corporate membership at a health club. I had already begun running again, but I decided that I would use the health club to do my weight training as well as a backup if I wasn't able to run on a particular day.

After signing up, I was excited about having access to treadmills, spinning classes, free weights, etc., so I packed my gym bag and went for my first workout.

Now, I've been a member at other health clubs, so I know the drill. My last membership was at Gold's Gym, where all the women are tiny and wear makeup to their workout class, and all the guys are young, muscle-bound, and use the gym as a place to prove their manly strength. They are the guys who, when you meet them on the street, manage to work into the conversation, "Yeah, I work out." (Duh. I couldn't tell from your obnoxiously huge pecs...or by the simple fact that you are wearing bicycle shorts.)

The health club in Kerrville, however, is a bit different. Kerrville is predominantly a retirement community; therefore, the gym at noon is literally filled to the brim with elderly people. It's weird. I walked into the club expecting to be (as usual) intimidated by the little girls with no thighs who walk around in their sports bras. I was surprised to find it filled instead with old men wearing shorts, black socks, and loafers on the treadmills, old women in swimsuits (eek!), and working class guys upstairs in the weight room in jeans and, yes, believe it or not, cowboy boots. COWBOY BOOTS! I looked around and thought, "What have I stepped into?" Many of my body image issues immediately vanished. Relief ensued.

And then, it happened: I went into the locker room.

God help us all.

I am not sure if it happens with age, but at some point, there is a threshold that is obviously reached with old women at which they no longer care who sees them in whatever state of undress they may be. Apparently, when I entered the locker room, I did so at a time when a class had recently let out, and so it was wall to wall with old women walking around COMPLETELY UNCLOTHED. It was a nightmare.

I had to take a shower. I was growing increasingly uncomfortable. Obviously, the protocol here is blatant, unabashed nudity. I am not into this. I walk around fully covered in my own house when I am all alone. I have always been a modest, if not just plain prudish, person. My routine in the locker room is to take a shower, dry off, wrap up in a towel, get dressed under my towel behind the curtain... I do not want to make anyone suffer with having to see any more of me than I would want to see of myself, which is really not much more than an elbow. To me, it's common courtesy. Really, I'm doing everyone a public service. Good manners and all that.

These women... good gosh. You know the Seinfeld episode in which Jerry and George discuss "good naked" and "bad naked?" Yeah. Not only are these women parading themselves around, talking to their best friends while (gulp) bending over to dry off, but then they sit down on the benches buck naked and put on their clothes, because they are too old to get dressed standing up. I vowed then and there never to touch or set anything of my personal belongings on those benches.

I made it through my getting-ready routine, grabbed my bag, and ran for dear life to the nearest exit. My eyes still haven't recovered.

I was sharing my woes with my boss, who is a fitness junkie like me, and telling him how icky I felt after leaving the health club each time. He graciously invited me to join his club in Boerne, and hooked me up with a three month membership. I have been rescued. Fitness in Boerne is a stark contrast to the perils of the club in Kerrville. No naked old ladies. No bubbas in cowboy boots. It's yuppies galore, and, praise God, I'll trade skinny, makeup-clad rich women with more collagen than Joan Rivers any day for the trauma I endured in Kerrville.


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