I feel the need

I feel the need

Friday, November 20, 2015

Look out X-perience Fitness...if I don't cancel my membership, you may find yourselves down one trainer.

Good afternoon!

I'm fluffy. I'm overweight. I'm heavy. I'm plump. I'm fat.

I'm well aware of my problem in this department and if you've been to this blog more than once, so are you.  I've battled weight much of my life, but once the second baby came my body sort of gave up so, in spite of my efforts in the last ten years I've managed to make sizable gains in the weight department.  I know this. No one has to point it out. I have eyes, I can see myself in mirrors and pictures and I know what pants size I'm wearing.

This year I decided I wasn't going to worry so much about every little thing I put into my mouth. Instead, I was going to make a concerted effort to exercise every single day.  I was going to enter and complete a walking 5K.  I was going to do my best to drink more water and less soda, and to eat healthier foods. If I lost weight, yay. If not, well at least I was trying to take better care of myself.

I've been taking 30 minutes walks every single morning for the last couple months. Rain or shine, I get up at 6 ish and go outside and walk up and down hills.  It's getting a bit cold for that now, and soon there will be snow. Which is why back in September I got a gym membership for myself because I didn't want to lose my every day exercise, but I knew there would come a day when it wasn't going to be smart to go outside.

Now admittedly, most people who get a gym membership are super gung ho the first couple months and then give it up.  I'm the
opposite. I joined X-perience fitness before they were in their permanent digs.  Got a membership for the whole family and it's cheap enough ($10 for hubby and me, $20 each for the kids because they want to go in the super late hours of the night) that it's a nice option to have when I can't use the sidewalks of my neighborhoods. Plus, I think a little resistance training is a good idea and I like swimming.

I'm telling you all this to give you an idea of the fact that I'm actually doing what I set out to do in January. I did the 5K.  I exercise every day. Thanks to my Fit Bit I make sure I'm getting 10-12K steps in every day...real steps, not cheaters, like some people think I do.  (Hey, just because I know how to cheat the Fit Bit doesn't mean I do it.)  Plus I make sure I get more than half an hour every day of actual, sweat producing exercise.  I haven't been to a McDonald's, A Wendy's, A Burger King, or an Arby's all of 2015 and my bread consumption is way down.  

So when X-Perience Fitness called a couple weeks ago and told me that since it's my birthday they wanted to give me a free meeting with a personal trainer I thought, hey why not?  Why not talk to someone and see if I'm on the right track?  And sure, maybe the trainer would give me a tour of the place since I hadn't been there yet and I was eager to start working out there during the winter months.

So I went in to meet the trainer. I got a young fellow, and we're going to call him P-Aaron.  (I have a friend from college who, if she's reading this is dying of laughter right now.)

P-Aaron and I spent a lovely time chatting about my goals and my weight and my habits and what I've been doing.  Then he said, "Well, let's weigh you and see where we are."

Now, this isn't my first gym.  If you recall, at Gold's I managed to get Crumb-Blowing Steve fired for his bad personal trainer habits. And I really liked KRAM who told me my work out clothes weighted 2 pounds and not one ounce more...but he always let me weigh myself without my shoes.

P-Aaron falls closer to the Crumb-Blowing Steve end of the scale.

I was wearing a coat...pants...shoes...and my purse.  AND the scale he put me on was NOT a scientific gym scale...it looked like the one I have in my bathroom.  He didn't tell me to take anything off, so I stepped and the scale as is...and look there, I was three pounds heavier than I told him I was.

(Yeah, and I was wearing about six pounds of "not me.")

So P-Aaron says to me, "Well, I guess all that walking you're doing isn't working is it?"

All I had to do was knock him down and sit on him and he'd no longer be a threat to women of a certain size anymore.

But I didn't. Instead, I let him walk me around one part of the gym.  I asked for a tour. He said, "Oh, you haven't been here before?"  I said no.  He pointed to a door and said, "That's the pool."  That was it. That was my tour.

Anyway, so he takes me to one spot and says, "Now I'm going to have you squat ten times for me."

I do it because I'm a good girl and I'm here to please.  And he's all but destroyed my self esteem with the weigh in.  When I finish he says, "Well, your form is terrible, but at least you did a couple right."

Didn't tell me what about my form was wrong.  Very helpful.

Then he took me to some weight resistance machines.  The first one is an arm pulling machine, which I'm quite good at. He puts 45 pounds on it and asks me to do ten reps. I do it.  He says, "Well, your form is bad, but you did it."

Then he takes me to another machine, an arm pushing machine.  He loads 65 pounds on it and tells me to do ten reps.  This about kills me.   I say to him, "This really is hurting me." He is suddenly quite interested in the television above my head.  By the time I was done with ten reps, which I did to spite him and I was in tears at the end, he says, "What's wrong?  You don't look so good."

I was actually dizzy when I stood up.  The arthritis pain in my hands, which I told him about multiple times, flared up worse than it's been in several months.  

We went back to his desk where he informed me we would now be meeting with another guy, whose name I forget, and it doesn't matter, let's call him Zak.  Zak was the Fitness Manager.

Zak was the sales closer.

I should explain. When I joined X-perience Fitness, I was told the history...the owners had been franchise owners in Gold's Gym, but didn't like the high pressure sales tactics so they went out on their own to a low pressure low cost gym where everyone could work out in an encouraging environment.

Then I met P-Aaron and Zak.

They sat on either side of me in a very small cubicle. I was still reeling from the pain in my hands.  P-Aaron told Zak everything we talked about...with his own spin.

Sarah wants to lose 70 pounds in six months.  (I never said that. I said I wanted to shop in the normal sized women's department and I was thinking about going on a vacation this spring.)

Sarah wants to be fit and run races.  (Nope, never said that. Said I'd like to try another 5K and maybe jog part of it this time.)

They talked over me for a few more minutes and then Zak picked up a notebook and said to me, "I'm going to talk to you about what P-Aaron has prescribed for you."

Wait, PRESCRIBED?  Like some doctor of fitness?  This 20 year old dim wit who didn't know enough to tell me to take off my coat and shoes when he weighed me is now a doctor who prescribes things?

After that I floated into a flashback of the last time I had a Kirby sales guy in my house. It was years ago.  The young guy came in under the guise of free carpet cleaning that turned into two hours of him telling me, and I quote, "If you loved your children you wouldn't make them live in this filth,you would buy the Kirby."  And then, after being in my house for three hour and NOT cleaning my carpet, he had his manager come in because she "just happened to be in the neighborhood and this was his first week and she needed to see how he was doing."  

Not my first time with a Kirby guy and I knew how that was going to go. Manager was the closer.  The high pressure person.  I'd been through this before.  The pair was in my house for about another fifteen minutes when my husband informed them they had to leave. They then spent the next half hour outside our house (on the sidewalk, which was about twelve feet from our bedroom windows, which were open) arguing with each other about why we didn't buy the Kirby.

Zak spent time showing me pages of dollar amounts. It seems P-Aaron felt that if I wanted to lose 70 pounds in 6 months, I would have to meet with him twice a week at minimum for the next several months.  And that would cost a low low amount of...


Let me put this into perspective. I'm paying $60 a month for a gym membership so I have someplace to go when it's too cold to walk outside. I have a treadmill at home, but sometimes a girl likes to leave the house.  I didn't get gym memberships for the four of us so I could pay another $504 a MONTH to a guy who was only marginally better at his job that the guy I got fired.

I told them both I enjoyed their company, but I wasn't going to be paying $504 a month for a trainer.

That's when it got ugly.  Zak said things like, "But this is what P-Aaron prescribed" and "Don't you want to be healthy?"  and "You can TOO afford this."

I put my foot down. and I put my other foot down.  I said, "I came here for a talk about health and a tour of the place. I got neither. You two were clearly Kirby sales people in a former life."

"No, I've never sold Kirbys," Zak tells me, "What we sell actually works.  You should try it."

Nope, not going to happen. 

And then, in a move that felt both insulting and ridiculous, Zak informed P-Aaron that he needed to walk me to the door. First of all, I knew where the door was, second, I AM a member of the gym, I can come and go as I please.  But no, there was one last thing they needed to try and do...

P-Aaron walked me to a rack of protein powders and supplements.  "If you won't take the training I've prescribed you, at least you need to take supplements and you need more protein in your diet."

How would he know?  We didn't talk about food.  We talked about exercise and weight and Oprah.  We didn't talk about food.

After much discussion I finally broke down and bought a bottle of Vitamin D because it's probably a good idea for me to take it anyway.  P-Aaron set and appointment with me to follow up...that's supposed to happen next week. 

I think I won't make that appointment. I think instead I'm going to write a strongly worded letter to the X-perience Fitness corporate office and tell them that their sales tactics are worse than Gold's. At least Crumb-Blowing Steve never mocked my weight loss efforts.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Sarah went to a concert...and this happened.

Good evening all!

As many of you know, I tend to have mishaps where ever I go, but especially when I go to concerts.  And as many of you know, in the last several years I've seen one musician over and over again, and that's my favorite of all, Rick Springfield.  

For reasons I don't understand, the last several Rick Springfield concerts have involved great music, yes, but also bad, bad, BAD behavior on the part of the fans, most specifically, fans sitting directly behind me.  In Wisconsin Dells, I sat in front of the WORST PERSON ON THE WORLD, who managed to dump her gigantic adult beverage so completely, the crippled woman sitting next to me had to get up, struggle to the bathroom with use of her canes, and try and clean herself up. and the WORST PERSON IN THE WORLD'S drink was large enough that not only did she douse a handicapped lady who then had to miss a good chunk of the concert, she got my feet and the feet of about six rows in front of us soaking wet with a combination rum and coke, heavy on the rum.  

A few months later, I saw Rick in Madison doing a stripped down version of his show. No wild drinking and general naughtiness, right?  Wrong. Again, the woman behind me, a woman who didn't get taken out much (by her own drunken admission) managed to howl and hoot through much of the quiet storytelling, and yes, did spill her wine which hit my shoes.

I've been to Rick shows in Milwaukee where security had to be called on a woman in the balcony who simply would NOT LET GO of Rick.

Then of course, there was the Summerfest debacle two summers ago where the Rick fans took up the first eight rows of seats at about noon for a 10 PM show and got pretty surly throughout the day. By the time the last band before Rick came up, one of the Rick fans decided it would be big fun to pick a fight with the bass player in the band to the point where the bass player informed the fans that he was done and the "expletive guy in the front" could come up and finish the set.

And, let's not forget Red, the woman from Memphis who came to Nashville to see Rick. She and her husband sat across the table from up and she drank her body weight in mixed drinks and champagne.  She managed to rouse herself for Rick's older, more familiar tunes, but passed out during his new songs. It was fun watching her try to climb onto a wobbly folding chair and, finally, her husband had to fireman carry her out of the building.

I've been to meet and greets for Rick where some of the women, disappointed that they couldn't meet him (because they got there too late and it was a very strictly limited event, WHICH THEY KNEW) discussed doing bodily harm to Mrs. Rick because they figured she was the one denying them their GOD GIVEN RIGHT to meet him.

Sorta makes the fact that I wrote a romance featuring a Rick-like character seem a little less nuts, doesn't it?  

Now, I'm telling you this because I was pretty much under the impression that this was how people of my age group behaved at concerts featuring hit makers of the 80's.  I assumed general drunken howling and disregard for others was the norm. It embarrassed me, to the point where I actually did give up Rick tickets this summer.  I was supposed to go see him perform at a large wine tasting event.  I don't have good luck when alcohol is just served at a concert. When it shares billing with the musician...I'm starting to run out of shoes that don't smell like rum and coke. (And sure, it was also my parent's anniversary, but honestly, I was starting to fear concert goers.)


((It's just some of his fans might need an hour or two with 'Miss Manners.))

Anyway, a couple months ago my husband asked that we get tickets to go see Colin Hay.  For those of you who don't know, Colin Hay was the front man for the 80's mega group "Men at Work."  It was my surprise when my husband shared with me recently that he was a big fan of the group.  Hard to tell, what with me dragging him to all these Rick shows in the last few years, just what kind of music the poor guy likes.  But Colin Hay has pretty much gone out on his own in the last several years, he's released a number of albums of really solid sort of semi mellow folk pop music that tends to stick in my head.
 And hey, I never know what to get hubby for his birthday, so sure, I got the tickets.

The concert was this past weekend, on Halloween, in Madison, in the same theater where I saw Rick with the stripped down show and got wine dumped on me by "never goes out lady."  I considered, since it was Halloween and all, wearing a rain coat. I mean, if my shoes got soaked on a Thursday night, how bad was the alcohol rain going to be on a Saturday night and Halloween on top of it?

We got to the Theater, (the Barrymore Theater in Madison, WI, if you have a chance to see something there, go. It's a blast.)  and got our seats.  We ran into friends of ours from church who were with a couple who'd been to several of Colin's concerts, so we got the low down that there would probably be a meet and greet after.  I was pretty jazzed. I know how these things go. It's a cattle line of 400 women, all inebriated, all grousing at how long it's taking to see him, and all very certain they are the one he's going to love.

Pressure was off of me. While I enjoy Men at Work and Colin' Hay's work, I'm not a fanatic.  But Hubby bought an album and wanted to meet him, so I was prepared to knock people down to get to the front of the line. Because...you know...that's how it works.

The concert was amazing.  Colin Hay is hilarious, fowl mouthed, but not raunchy. He's just funny, and super talented, and we had a wonderful time listening to his stories.  The couple behind us,
dressed as superheroes, did not hoot and howl, in fact, no one did, everyone was perfectly well behaved. Except for one guy in the front who fancied himself Colin's best friend EVER and kept making suggestions to Colin as to how to make the concert better.  

That got old. 

But for the most part everyone was cheering, singing, and enjoying a lovely night of stories and acoustic music.

We got outside for the meet and greet, and it wasn't hundreds of women. It was about twenty people waiting politely in no particular line.  One fellow told me Colin was prompt and wouldn't keep us waiting. He didn't. About 20 minutes after the concert he came out to polite applause and chatted quietly with each fan. He took some pictures, but mostly it was quiet talk just him and the fans. No handlers moving the line along. No one pushing or shoving.  Even the people in costume, people who clearly had someplace else to be, were quiet and polite and just waited their turn.

Hubby got his album signed and I didn't take a picture because Hubby didn't want it.  I thanked Colin for finishing the concert with favorite old song of his (over kill) and my favorite new song of his( Next Year People.)  

It was a tremendous evening.  And we emerged from the theater smelling pretty much the same way we did when we got into our seats.

So here's what I realized.  Bad behavior, spilling drinks and getting hammered to the point where someone has to carry you out of the building, and being rude to musicians who are not the headliner is NOT normal behavior for fans of 80's singers.  It is very possible and very expected that we all behave and allow the artist to do his thing on stage and off without anyone in the audience pondering violence just because they didn't get face time with the performer.

So...next time you go to a concert, ANY CONCERT...keep your drinks in your cups, keep your hands to yourself, applaud the music, and enjoy whatever personal time you get to have.  Now that I know it's possible for this to happen, I'm going to be watching you all more closely.

That should scare a few of you out there.

Fun Fact Friday: Now that it's dead, Sarah reveals a childhood dream.

Happy Friday all! What do you want to be when you grow up? That's a question we ask little kids...and I haven't a clue why....