Since moving to a new town, I've been on a mission.
I'm in the market for a new gym. Yes, my building has one (that's one perk of living in an apartment). But sometimes it's not enough (since I work from home, I need an excuse to actually leave the building otherwise I fear I'd never breathe any fresh air or see the outside world. Besides, staring out the window into a courtyard while you're trying to get to mile 2 on the treadmill can be a bit tedious).
But so far my search has been anything but fruitful. It turns out that finding a good gym -- or the right gym -- can be as tough and challenging as finding the right jeans, the perfect foundation/mascara/blush/night cream, the perfect bathing suit, or a comfortable pair of heels.
In other words, finding the right gym is a highly personal (and frustrating) thing.
Crown me Goldilocks. Every gym I've visited has been either:
1. TOO HOT. Nothing is as uncomfortable as sweating before you even start to work out.
2. TOO COLD. Shivering through a workout is not a good idea, either. And I don't like having to wear a heavy sweatshirt while I work out; in fact, I like to be as unencumbered as possible.
3. TOO CROWDED. Getting psyched to work out can sometimes be tough enough; waiting to use the stairclimber or elliptical can be just the excuse I need to say "oh, just forget it," or lose any desire I came in with.
4. TOO EMPTY. When there are only a few other people working out, it's boring. The vibe just isn't there. I like to look around and get inspired. Show me someone who is sweating and panting, and I'll push myself into the sweating and panting zone, too.
5. TOO DIRTY. Ew, germs. Especially this time of year. It's too easy to pick up a virus (or worse) if the machines aren't wiped down. There are few things more gross than seeing someone's sweat adorning the machine you're about to step onto. C'mon, people, mop up your own sweat.
6. TOO MUCH OF A SCENE. Who needs a full face of makeup to work out? Not me. And some gyms I've visited look like an ad for Lululemon (although personally, I'm boycotting the company). Never mind the pick-up scene (or is it that I don't like that they're no longer looking at me, but at the hot bodies of the 20 and 30-somethings?)
7. TOO FULL OF "MUSCLE-HEADS"." Sorry, guys, your grunting and bulging muscles (got steroids?) are not a turn-on. In fact, they make me want to turn the other way.
8. TOO FAR. Life is stressful and packed enough without having to add time spent in traffic just to get to the gym - and back.
8. TOO DEVOID OF QUALIFIED STAFF. I used to be a personal trainer. And when I see people around me exercising the wrong way, all I can think is that they're injuring themselves - maybe permanently -- and I wish one of the staff members would be kind enough to notice and help.
9. TOO EXPENSIVE. $150 a month to work out? Really? That's a bit...steep.
10. TOO CHEAP. $15 a month might be affordable to just about everyone. And therein lies the problem (see numbers 3,5,7 & 9).
Need I continue?
I wonder... Is it my age?
I'll admit, I'm not the person I used to be where I could walk into just about any gym and find a way to get in a good workout. Those days are gone, just like the days of being able to sleep anywhere, go to the bathroom anywhere, find a decent meal anywhere and live anywhere are behind me.
Now, it's all about the atmosphere, the vibe, the comfort, the conditions, the right fit.
Or pretty close to it, anyway.