Chapter 8. Hello, Gym! Finding Your Way Around the Fitness Facility

Your friend, the guy or gal who you can tell you anything, wanders into your cubicle, clearly with something on his mind. “Dude, get in shape,” is all he says, then unceremoniously walks away. You figure he’s right; the encounter had a “right on the money” vibe to it. What’s the first thing you do?

You join a local gym, the one that everyone’s joining lately, or that one on the way to work that you got a couple of guest passes to but never bothered to visit. “Gym” is also considered an antiquated term for it; the numerous fitness franchises are running out of brand names for their fitness facilities, and they all have a different angle, and machines, and gizmos.

Now What?

So you’ve joined up and shown up. Now what? You see crowds of people milling around and on machines. It’s like that scene in the film Gattaca with Ethan Hawke trying to pretend he’s Jude Law on the treadmill, except there are ellipticals, cycle spinners, StairMasters, and more. You haven’t even ventured into the football-field-sized mecca of stationary weight machines and barbells. It’s kind of scary, jarring, but you want to do more than sit down at the juice bar, order a 12-ounce “Seattle’s Best,” and ogle the people sauntering by in their Lycra.

You can get one of the in-house trainers to show you around, but while that’s a good idea for the first time, you don’t necessarily want to get sucked into their way of doing things, and it costs a lot more. ...

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