the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: gym

We Will, We Will Treadmill


“Parking is upstairs,” shouted the parking attendant at the 24 Hour Fitness on Pico Blvd.

I drove up this tight, curving ramp to the second floor.

“Where ya goin’?” asked a second attendant.

“24 Hour Fitness.”

“Parking is downstairs.”

“He told me to come upstairs.”

“Did you tell him ’24 Hour Fitness?'”

“Uh, I don’t remember. Maybe.”

“Parking for 24 Hour Fitness is downstairs.”

I looked behind me. The ramp only went one-way and I was blocking traffic.

“Well, how do I get down there now?”

“You’ll need to exit and come back in.”

I drove down the a ramp marked “Exit.” I was stopped at the booth by a third attendant. I handed him the card that came out of the machine when I first entered a few minutes ago.

“I went upstairs by mistake, so I’m going to go out and come back in again.”

“That’ll be three dollars.”

“Huh? I haven’t left my car yet. I just went the wrong way. I’m going to go to 24 Hour Fitness. It’s my first time.”

“You’re supposed to validate this at 24 Hour Fitness, otherwise I have to charge you.”

“I haven’t gone to 24 Hour Fitness yet! I haven’t left my car! I just came in a minute ago.”

The attendant took another bite of his Big Mac and sighed.

“OK, I’ll let you through, but just this time. Next time, make sure you get validated first.”

I was already regretting this whole exercise idea.

I finally made it inside 24 Hour Fitness. It looked nothing like the shiny gym they show on TV. It was an older location, with no TVs and (is it possible?) no air-conditioning. The place was hot and smelly. My first stop was the locker room, where I took locker ’69’ — so I’ll remember where it was. Ok, I also thought it was funny.

Now, I know in the men’s locker room, we’re a bunch of men undressing next to each other, and the situation is a bit vulnerable, but doesn’t ANYONE ever say a word to each other in the men’s locker room? Not one guy gave another guy a nod, a hello, or even a “how ya doin?” Is it different in the women’s locker room?

By the way, I purposely wore my boxer-briefs rather than my usual white briefs, so as to not embarrass any of my readers. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, search for it in the archives, because I’m not linking to that stupid post again.

The gym was as unfriendly as the locker room. I understand that people are here to exercise and get the hell out, but no one seemed to acknowledge anyone’s existence. It felt like I was back in my apartment building elevator, with everyone glancing up at the clicking floor numbers, afraid of looking at each other. I’ve always heard rumors of the gym being a good “pick-up” spot?  Urban legend.  No one talks to anyone!  If you’ve ever been self-conscious about going to the gym, forget about it. No one gives a damn if you’re there or not!

I decided to take things slow for my first time there. I would just use the treadmill for an hour. There was also some type of Nordic Tracker-looking thing available, but I couldn’t figure out how to use it. So, I stuck with the treadmill. I took the only empty treadmill, at the end of the “treadmill row,” right next to some cute Asian woman in a red “Dell Computer 2001 Softball Team” t-shirt. She never looked my way.

Once on the treadmill, I played with the nifty buttons, and decided to go for the Manual settings. There was some contraption connected to the machine which supposedly measured your heart beat, but frankly, it looked like something used to torture Jack Bauer on “24.”

My hour began. The air was rancid (it seemed to be recycled air, like in an airplane) and there were two large fans blowing in the faces of everyone on “Treadmill Row.” I know that exercising is good for my cardiovascular system, but I was beginning to wonder if I could die from a respiratory infection from exercising in THIS gym. Next time, I’ll go to the nicer “Sport” gym in West Hollywood.

I don’t have an iPod to listen to, so I just spaced out. After what seemed like an hour of walking, I looked down and saw that I had only been on the treadmill for fifteen minutes. So, this is what they meant on Star Trek about a break in the space/time continuum. I was bored. I decided to sing something to myself. Something inspirational to keep me going, like:

We will we will
Rock you!
We will we will
Rock you!

And then, just as I got to the main lyrics of this Queen song, I couldn’t remember them. It was as if the exercise was affecting my brain. I remembered the catchy melody from countless Laker games, but what were the words? So, I spend the next few minutes coming up with alternative lyrics:

Buddy, gotta tread, gotta keep on
Movin’ in the gym cause ya promised them on your blog
This is boring as hell
I almost just fell
Smiling at the girl who once worked at Dell

We will we will
Rock you!
We will we will
Rock you!

And singing this over and over again amused me enough to make it through my first hour of exercise.

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: Drug for Premature Ejaculation

I Vow to Move My Ass


Hear Ye, Hear Ye:

This royal decree binds all who sign below.

I, your name here, am one of those “creative types” who would rather sit all day in a hip cafe than workout in a smelly gym. As a wordsmith, I woo others with the brilliance of my words, but have neglected the importance of my calf muscles, forgetting that they are essential for reaching up to the top bookshelf at Barnes and Noble.

As outlined in the previous post, I agree to exercise twice a week for one hour each visit, for one month, starting Monday, May 22nd. If I am not a member of a gym, I agree to do a full exercise routine in or near my home. For each week where my responsibilities are neglected, I will donate twenty dollars to a health-related charity and will humiliate myself on my own blog or in the comment section of this post.

This contract is binding through the power of Google.

As is it written, as it is said.

Bloggers With Biceps (as of 5/22)

Dating Dummy
Edgy Mama
The Yearning Heart
Anonymous City Girl
Plain Jane

The Buddy System


Back in my single days, I liked to entertain a woman on a first date with this little trick. After dinner, as we walked hand-in-hand in the crisp night air, I would take off my shirt and ask her to bounce a quarter off of my chest. Women would be amazed as the quarter would spring off the tautness of my muscles and fly 150 feet away.

This afternoon, I was in Staples buying an ink-jet refill, when I found a quarter on the floor. For old-times sake, I asked this cheerful mother of two (buying colored construction paper for her adorable little girl — hello, Rachel!) if she would bounce the quarter off of my bare chest. She happily agreed, and as her two daughters looked on, she threw the quarter against my body. While the mother was very impressed with the result — the quarter flew smack into the middle of faraway aisle 12 (“Digital Media”), I was very disappointed that the quarter only went 75 feet. This meant only one thing — it was time for me to go back to the gym.

The only problem is that I don’t like going to the gym. It is BORING! I’m also a major procrastinator. When I try to do something I really don’t want to do it, I find a million reasons to put it off. For instance:

Neil 1: “I thought about going to the gym tonight.”

Neil 2: “But whoops, I just ate”

Neil 1: “Maybe later. ”

Neil 2: “Oh, I’m sorry. I have to wash some towels later.”

Neil 1: “How about after that? ”

Neil 2: “Hey, isn’t playing with yourself considered exercise? I’ll do that instead!”

Remember, I live in Los Angeles. Being in the best shape is very important here, especially in the summer. Showing off your body is actually SO important to Angelenos that law firms in Century City now allow their partners to come in wearing bathing suits and bikinis during the summer months.

I need help with this gym thing. And here’s where YOU come in.

A week ago, I was reading a post by the charming Caitlin at Caitlinator. She was writing about how she was avoiding writing some resumes. I instantly related, because I just happen to procrastinate on writing resumes as much as I do about going to the gym. I wrote a comment to her, joking that we should make sure the other wrote ten resumes this week. If one of us didn’t, we’d have to pay the other ten bucks. I completely forgot about this “deal” until today. And you know what? — it’s not a bad idea!

Think about how much easier it is to write your blog posts than any of your “regular” writing. That’s because you know that someone — even if it is a crazy stranger living thousands of miles away — is reading your blog. We’re always motivated by others!.

So, I’m looking for a virtual exercise buddy for the next week. Just one week to see if it works — and get us both started. This person should be someone as lazy as me. He/she should hate going to the gym.

This is the deal: We each go to our gym, or exercise in some other way — let’s say twice this week — nothing too over-the-top. By the end of the week, if one of us fails to accomplish the mission, the loser has to:

1) Write a post humiliating yourself in front of the world.
2) Buy your buddy a CD of his/her choice.
3) Donate twenty bucks to some cancer research charity.

I think the fear of humiliation alone will make us exercise.

Anyone want to be my buddy?

A Year Ago in Citizen of the Month:  My Date with Rob and Kai.

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