we joined a gym!

Partly due to some New Year’s resolutions, and partly due to some personal goals related to our upcoming travels, and partly just because it’s good for us, we joined a gym today. Our pals Tammy and Matthias have been members there for a while and they gave us a much better orientation at Fitness Company than the staff there did (thanks guys!). It reminds a heckuva lot of Lifetime Fitness in Troy/Macomb Twp. We figure that, combined with our weekly yoga classes, might actually yield some visible results sometime…if not in time for our big Easter trip, then maybe our formalwear sizes in October will have dropped a number or two.

There are some things here at Fitness Company that differ greatly from my experiences at Lifetime Fitness, though:

  1. The sauna. I don’t have a lot of sauna experience under my belt (for various reasons, not the least of which is that you don’t wear clothes in the sauna), so it was hard for me to judge objectively. But doesn’t 90° C (yes, that’s Celsius, people!) seem a little close to the boiling point of the substance that comprises about 70% of my body by mass?
  2. I figure even in the U.S. most sauna-users take a shower afterwards. But is there a big ol’ waterfall of cold water in which to do it, too? Nothing like that following a session under the conditions mentioned above to shock the system.
  3. Nudity. Even in the somewhat limited envelope of cultural privacy in the U.S., I was pretty much OK with same-sex lockerroom nudity. Having been through a gym class or two in the Michigan public school system and then my membership at Lifetime Fitness prepared me for that. But I’ve never taken a shower with my friends before, especially after spending 15 minutes purging my pores with them as described in point #1 above. Maybe it just worked out alright because they’re from California. Either way, not as big a deal as I’d imagined it.
  4. After all the physical (and for me, somewhat emotional) tension of the above points, Fitness Company offers a Ruheraum — a sort of an indoor deck where you just chill out after that ice water cascade. I gotta remember to bring a book with me tomorrow when we head back.

I can see how you can easily spend a couple hours there every day — circuit training on the weights machines, elliptical/treadmill/recumbent bike cardio stuff, and then a sauna/chill-out session or two can add up quickly. The real bummer versus Lifetime Fitness that I can see immediately is that they’re not open 24 hours, making it harder for us to work a gym date into our schedules. They open at 7:00 a.m. three days a week, but I used to love arriving at Lifetime at 5:15 (both of those times).