Thursday, January 11, 2007

Exercise Program: Day 1

It's official. I'm the proud member of the Fitness Center here at my workplace. And I even lived through the orientation session, which is what day one consisted of. The whole experience was weird for me, starting with the locker rooms.

I'm not shy. I don't care about being naked in a room full of other naked guys. But, it seems that various locker rooms take on unwritten rules and protocols that everyone follows without ever saying anything. Back in college, my friends and I played racquetball three days a week at the campus recreation center. There, the locker rooms were expansive, and no one cared if you walked the mile and a half from your locker to the showers sans clothes or towel. Some did, some didn't. Showers were wide open style, so anyone who was shy was out of luck. Guys would stand at the sinks buck-naked as they brushed their teeth or shaved.

Another gym I've been to had a bit more closed showers. Not completely hidden, but with these half-walls that gave you the illusion of privacy. There, people pretty much kept themselves wrapped until they were to the benches next to the showers, drop their towel, then step in.

So, what about this gym? Trouble was, the time of day I went, there wasn't really anyone else around to follow any rules. Each shower stall has its own shower doors, etc, with this little area where you can hang a towel before getting in. Very private. But I noticed that the one guy who was in a shower had left his clothes out on the bench near the lockers. No help at all. So, do you go ahead and strip at the lockers and head to the showers? Or do you take your towel to the shower and strip once you are just inside the door? They really should have signs or something that say, "Listen, no one really wants to see you without clothes, so do the rest of us a favor."

Anyhow, next up was rating your current physical health. They sort of do a health inventory on all new members, taking blood pressure, pulse, height, and weight. And then they have you do as many push-ups as you can in 30 seconds (eleven, if you really want to know), and these half sit-up thingies in 1 minute (twenty), and finally this flexibility measurement where you try to touch your toes, but using this machine.

What did I learn? When it comes to flexibility, I'm a failure. I couldn't even reach the starting position, giving me a negative score. Pathetic! But, the lady was all nice about it, saying perkily, "Oh, that's perfectly fine! You did great!"


Then came the treadmill. Six minute walk at 3.5 mph. She measured my heart rate along the way. By the time my assessment was over, my gym time was pretty much up.

Tomorrow begins the real work. I meet with her again, this time setting up my exercise plan, showing me the ropes on the weights and what not. Until then, I have to decide: naked or not?

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