Monday, January 25, 2010

Protein shakes and free lunches OR Fit to be tied

I keep talking about how it’s super hard to be healthy and it’s true. I’ve found that there are two pillars of healthy living. Last week I talked about eating right and this week I’ll tackle my misadventures with exercise.

Late last year I joined a gym. I figured it was time. People who frequent gyms are a whole different caste of people and as soon as I entered the doors they all turned and looked at me in disgust. They drank their protein drinks and gave me looks that seemed to say “You don’t belong here.”

There were some other people who were excited to see me, though. On of the gym's trainers, who could spot a sucker a mile away, congratulated me on my new gym membership and offered me a “free” training session.

Having lived in a capitalist country for the past 27 years I should have sirens going off in my head anytime I hear the word “free.” I took Econ 101 and I remember that one of the principles of economics is “There is no such thing as a free lunch.” Too bad I slept through most of Econ 101.

The “free” session entailed the trainer pinching my fat with a humiliating fat-pinching device and looking me up and down with disdain. Then we had the following conversation:

Trainer: You’re really out of shape

Me: Yeah? Well you have an underbite, but you don’t see me bringing THAT up. Of course I'm out of shape! What do I do about it?

Trainer: I’m glad you asked. What you need to do is pay me a bunch of money and I will solve all of your health and fitness problems.

Then he said that the quoted price was a “special” and I had to decide today if I wanted to do it because the price was going up tomorrow, which is probably the oldest trick in the salesman book. I think he would've told me that no matter what day I came in.

As you can guess I caved and bought some sessions. Let me just say that having appointments with a trainer is like paying someone a lot of money to insult you for an hour.

I went to Chicago two summers ago and my friends and I went to Ed Debevic’s for dinner. At Ed Debevic’s the gimmick is you get insulted while you eat. The host, waiter and fry cook are all talking trash starting the instant you step inside and only ending when you are out of earshot. That’s like going to the gym and seeing the trainer, except at Ed Debevic's you get an awesomely greasy cheeseburger for your trouble. No such luck with the trainer.

Incidentally, an awesomely greasy cheeseburger is exactly what I think about the whole time I'm at the gym. That, and punching the trainer in the face. I'd do it, but he's taken enough steroids for a major league baseball team and would crush me into powder, which he would mix into a protein shake and drink.

It's not all bad, though. I've made friends with a few of my fellow fatties. We all work out together and it's great fun.

That is, until some musclehead comes and kicks us off whatever machine we're using like an elementary school bully kicking smaller kids off the swings.