When Rick and I moved into Santa Rosa back in 2001, I joined a gym because they had an indoor heated pool. I paid up front for three years so I’d have the reduced rate for the rest of my life. All those blessed benefits promised to those who spend time working out in a gym. Swimming is good for arthritis. Well, it’s good for anything. The American Crawl uses lots of muscles. So do the butterfly and the back stroke. I had grand ideas of showing up every day and doing laps. I knew it would be good for me. I knew I’d meet other like-minded people who wanted to improve their health.
One of the benefits of membership is the availability of a trainer. They want to show you the ropes, so to speak. They want to make sure you know how to use the equipment without breaking an arm, a leg, your neck — or one of their expensive machines. They can design a program that fits your needs, that helps you work on problem areas. There are even classes, all kinds of classes.
I went diligently for about three weeks. Then I started slacking off. Maybe I’d just this once turn on a DVD and exercise at home. Maybe I’d turn up the music and dance around the house in celebration of life. After a few months, the only exercise I did was ducking guilt. I made it to the gym a couple more times, and noticed the staff had changed. Good thing. No one recognized the shirker sneaking in the door a couple times a year — usually around Thanksgiving and Christmas and Easter.
The company remodeled the facility. I’d drive by periodically and notice the BIG building, the nice, newly paved packed parking lot, the people – in various stages of health – going in and out the doors. I was still a member, just not an active one, not one that showed up and took part, not one that listened and learned and was rewarded by the changes working out can bring.
Hmmm. Now that I think about it, a gym has a lot in common with a church.