Tuesday, January 14, 2020

As the fat burns ... through my bank account

man sits on weight bench at gym

Terror grips my every fiber whenever my wife opens a conservation with me using the phrase, “What do you know about …”

Her inquiry is almost never about something I:

a) actually do know something about, or
b) would like to discuss such as
     1) third-string catchers in New York Mets history, or
     2) what’s better for list making: letters or numbers?

But my pre-Google reputation for being a fount of useless knowledge, second only to my ability to tap a keg, was one of the charms she found irresistible in our initial courtship, so she keeps trying.

“What do you know,” she inquired shortly after New Year’s Day, “about PineappleHypothesis?”

“Umm, it’s a gym,” I said. “It was the hot thing a few years back. I recall seeing some people posting sweaty photos and words about it on Facebook before my feed was hijacked by the Russians.”

As you have probably guessed, we are now members of said gym. But at a very low, LOW introductory price.  I just hope the other gym we belong to doesn’t find out. Galaxy Healthfulness, that other place means nothing to me! NOTHING! It’s not like we’ll really be cheating on you. I’m sure after a week or two we won’t be working out there, either.

A 2018 International Health, Racquet and Sportsclub Association report states that more than one in five American adults belong to gym or fitness club, an increase of nearly 34 percent in 10 years. However, a 2014 article on CreditDonkey.com (tagline: “Don’t spend money like an ass”) found that gym owners expect – not “know” but expect -- less than 20 percent of people with memberships will use them consistently. So for us it’s goodbye, discretionary income; hello, Great Slothful Majority.

“But, My Love,” I said, “what about our home gym?”

Ah, yes, the home gym. If you judged our family solely by the fitness equipment in our basement, you’d think we owned a sweat shop run by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Shaun T.

Elliptical, treadmill, stationary bicycle.

Weight machine, weight bench, dumbbells.

Yoga mats, stability balls and rack of DVDs sporting covers of glistening hard bodies and titles like “Shred!,” “Insanity Max!!” and “Triple Exclamation Points!!!”

On closer inspection, you’d notice the only pieces of equipment down there without a thick layer of dust are a bean bag chair and an Xbox One.

“I need the motivation of someone standing over me and yelling,” my wife said. Before the offer of my services -- at half the new gym’s rate, no less – could even start to leave my lips, her eyes started burning a hole through my soul which I deftly deflected with my beer can.

Don’t get the wrong impression. No member of our family would fall among the 28 percent of Americans labeled inactive by a 2018 Physical Activity Council Participation Report. My wife, daughter and I all play tennis, on teams or clinics, at least once a week – usually more. My son plays baseball, basketball and works out regularly at his high school gym. Even the dog, usually accompanied by me, gets in a mile-or-so stroll on most days.

But if we are a nation obsessed with trying to get fit, we are even more of nation obsessed with buying memberships, equipment, clothes and other gadgets to delude ourselves or fool others into believing we are really doing it this time. I mean why practice yoga when you can blow $118 on Lululemon yoga pants that say, “Hey there, hater – just you wait. One day my fanny could possibly look a lot … well, maybe somewhat better ... in these.”

Now pardon me. I have a new FitBit to charge.

Photo by Maciej Karoń on Unsplash


  1. I’m was happy to read another post from you, I actually raised my cheap glass of Merlot and gave you a toast ~ to an empty room, but a toast nonetheless.
    When I was a younger lass, I gave my dad some type of trivia book for Christmas every year. It was his ‘bathroom reading’ and he looked forward to it annually. He proudly walked around, endlessly reassuring us it was okay to ask him anything because he was “The Greatest Fount of Worthless Knowledge on the Planet!”
    Thank God you were able to deflect the burning hole in your soul ~ keep that beer can handy.

    1. *** I was
      Few things suck more than attempting to type sans old lady reading glasses.

    2. Hey Julie -- nice to hear from you. Your dad sounds like my kind of guy.

  2. Love it. My wife made me buy a treadmill for her last year ("I'll never go to the gym" she says.) She has used it exactly once in the two months we've had it. I've used it a couple of times, but mostly I use our recumbent bike (that we got for free when a relative decided it was clogging up their exercise room) I'm on a streak right now of 126 days of 30+ minutes of exercise. (That's days in a row, by the way!) I have thought about trying out hot yoga, but I fear I would collapse in a sweaty sweaty mass of my own effluvia.

  3. Good for you, Adam. But for a second there, I thought you wrote "I'm on a steak ..." Mmmm. Steak.


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