Finding a Health Club (Part 3)

And the winner is: Sports West Athletic Club!

One last trip around town and it paid off in spades.

The health club was a storefront nestled inside of a old shopping center looking rather benign from the outside. I didn’t let the exterior deceive me.

I stepped inside the front door and was immediately transformed by the energy and ambiance. The front desk was bustling. There weren’t any guests being waited on, the staff was just busy. They were folding towels, reassinging locker keys, shuffling paper and all were animated and focused on their jobs. Great first impression.

I asked for the membership coordinator and a lean, muscular blonde named Roger met me at the front. He led me to his office first for a bit of qualifying: what was I looking for in a gym? Was I interested in classes, hydrotherapy, personal trainer, TRX, Pilates, Yoga, spinning? Did I play racquet ball? And finally, he asked, did I like socializing? He looked me in the eye and seemed interested in my responses. He didn’t write anything down, we interacted nicely together. He questioned and I answered. So far, so good.

We walked around the weight room(s) and I spied my favorite piece of equipment.

It is a must have for anyone with weak hips, especially those who work sitting down hunched over a desk all day. This contraption flexes, extends, abducts and adducts the hips, stregthening and helps increase range of motion. Physical rehabilitation facilities typically have it, rarely do I see it offered in a gym or health club but when I do it’s a deal maker right out of the box.

We continued our stroll into the main area of the gym where the TRX station was located. It had Bosu balls, sticks, therapy balls, steps, tires, ropes and bands. Everything needed for a functional fitness routine or a high intensity workout.

We hit an area dedicated to abs and core next, and I was excited when I saw this piece of equipment. It looked like I could get a bit of hoop practice and coordination in with my ab workout. And doing it was harder than it looked. Another fun way to work on the menopot that won’t melt away.


And finally we came across what I’d been coveted all along and diligently seeking: an indoor heated pool that was open 25-hours. Added bonus: it was a saline pool, mostly eliminating the dangerous chemical effects of chlorine.


The Athletic Club West also had a designated Pilate’s Studio complete with reformers, yoga and fitness class room, basketball court (full sized), and raquetball courts.

The health club offered a dry sauna, steam room, therapeutic spa, towel service, lockers with keys for daily use, a sitting room, juice bar with free coffee all for no additional cost. It was like being in spa heaven with a workout area on the side.

  • Cost: $45.00 a month
  • Open 24-hours
  • $40 value coupon on a visit to the spa they own next door
  • Two free personal training sessions
  • One month for free
  • Close proximity to the house, so no excuses
  • Wine tasting and social gathering everyThursday night at the juice bar

One of the most important components of change is having the vitality and energy to seize the day. Working out is no longer an option it is a necessity. If you don’t use it you will certainly lose it. I don’t know about you but I’m going down fighting. I don’t want to shuffle around at sixty because my legs are weak with my chin on my chest from osteoporosis and all the other stuff that comes with aging. We are in a battle people.

Change is all about having the courage, energy and wisdom to follow through. It’s the first step for living a radiantly inspired life. Go find a health club today. No excuses. Just do it. You will save yourself untold amounts of grief later on down the road. If you have to justify the cost think about all the time and money spent sitting inside a doctor office  being treated for heart trouble, diabetes, cancer and whatever age-related maladies  that start happening about now in late midlife.

You are building sweat equity (now and forever) to have a quality life for entering into the golden years.



Finding a Health Club (Part 2)

Fitness Connection was the one. Or so it seemed. On the surface it had all the trappings of the perfect health club:

  • It had a lap pool and a dry sauna
  • Group classes that were all included in the membership
  • The membership coordinator insisted on including $50 worth of supplements (no additional cost)
  • Location wasn’t terrible, but it was still a 15 minute drive pillar to post
  • It had basic (machine and free) weights, also included TRX, the Bosu and therapy balls
  • It had a flexibility room where yoga, Pilate’s and Spin were held, no extra cost
  • The club was not open 24-hours, so limited hours were a drawback and something I considered as a compromise.
  • Total monthly fee: $9.99 (Too good to be true.)

Sign up, enrollment, and processing fee: a whopping $300!!!

Unless of course I signed up for a personal trainer for another monumental $280 a week for the duration of the contract!!!

I was so bummed out I almost gave up the hunt. Fitness Connection was the last hope around Reno for less than $64 a month and having to get roped into a contract…and no matter what verbiage they used (contract, enrollment, committment, arrangement, blood) it all translated into being locked in by signature and bank withdrawal for the duration.

The membership coordinator used the Zig Ziglar sales pitch.  He asked me, “What is stopping you from signing up today?” He smelled the desperation I felt.

“Ah, I don’t want to spend $34.99 a month for a half-assed gym.”

(I didn’t say this directly to “Joe,” of course I didn’t have the nerve to say what I really felt.)

I waffled and hedged and sat through a lecture from a personal trainer (read the closer) trying to convince me it was the right place and perfect time for me to join as Joe sat at his desk staring off into space and picking his nose, waiting for me to fall over and sign the contract.

I got out of there, debit card still intact and told them I needed to check out some other clubs in the area.

I gave it 24-hours and decided to sleep on it.


Finding a Health Club (Part 1)

I needed to save my health and regain fitness and vitality. Diet and nutrition simply weren’t enough. Finding the right health club was the first priority after relocating. There were too many to choose from so I took the time at home and did my research.

Anytime Fitness

On the surface the storefront appeared to be an adequate fit. It was in the neighborhood. The gracious woman at the front desk quoted unreasonable monthly fees and justified the cost with little explanation. It woud stretch my budget. It would wind up being a compromise. It didn’t have a pool but there was enough functional fitness equipment and cardio machines to potentially make it work in the short term until I could find something better. I got a seven-day day free trial to test it out.

I love testing out gyms. I used it four times. I paid $35 for the key tag which allowed me 24-hour access and was excited about getting started.

The gym boasted bosu balls for balance, TRX for strength, standard machines and free weights with some added extras such as spinning and heated rollers to ease the soreness out of the muscles (post-workout). There were even a couple of group classes offering yoga and mat Pilate’s. There were no restorative options other than group yoga and some stretching classes and the times weren’t convenient for my schedule.


None of this was enough to get me excited to keep coming back. And more importantly during each visit I couldn’t seem to break the cycle of inertia.It felt like I was going through the motions to keep what little energy I had instead of gaining the strength and vitality I was missing. I didn’t leave the gym feeling refreshed, I left bored and unfulfilled.

In order to use Anytime Fitness for its maximum potential I would need ot hire a personal trainer. Trainer fees started at $55 an hour. And to see (any) results, I’d need to sign up for a minimum of three months.

  • Cost: $67 monthly
  • Minimum sign-up agreeement: 6 months
  • Personal training sessions for the duration of the agreement: $2,640
  • Additional cost: I would need to find a heated pool for water aerobics, swimming and hydrotherapy (on off days) to balance out fatigue and delayed onset muscle soreness from weight bearing exercise.

Deal breaker.




Midlife Crisis: Change in the Making


It was time to convert inertia into momentum. I’d changed my entire lifestyle over the past thirty days and was exhausted. I moved across country into the northwest. I changed job description and my shift was different from any I’d worked in the past. The adrenaline rush from rapid transition sucked the energy right out of me. The changes inspired me emotionally and mentally but physically I was leaking vitality like a chemical spill.

And after officially settling into my new digs I was having trouble just getting out of bed. Of course having to get up at midnight and work the 2-10 graveyard shift wasn’t helping anything either. Grocery shopping and working out were now pared down to chores. My life had been reduced to eating whatever I could find to shove down my throat, and sleeping off and on (when I could), between shifts. I was barely functioning.

Enough was enough.

I had to find a source of activity that would accommodate my crazy (new) work schedule and give me flexibility and regain vitality that wouldn’t put additional pressure on my already taxed immune system.

Fatigue is like being sick. Unless you root out the cause and fix it at the core nothing changes.

Activity was the answer. And not just mindless movement would do. My pursuit had to include restorative motion.

I decided on a health club and it would serve two purposes: I could gain strength and endurance AND restore my health by regaining momentum in a controlled environment instead of the succumbing to the inertia threatening to pull me down into the bottomless black hole of apathy and laziness.

My Nirvana must include:
• Location (close by in order to eliminate the “I’m too tired” excuse.)
• Indoor heated pool (to avoid the “I’m too tired” to lift weights and my feet sore from standing all night at work excuse.)
• Cost effective (I didn’t want getting healthy to eat through cost of living expenses.)
• I didn’t want Gucci or Grunge…I didn’t want to be reminded constantly of fat, frumpy and faded in front of gym rats who prowled the floors erecting egos or the vanity driven divas patrolling for swag.
• The equipment to handle busy times, including a vast assortment of cardio equipment and functional fitness accoutrements readily available since I was getting ready to prepare for new winter hobbies: cross country skiing and snowshoeing.
• 24-hour access most days of the year. No excuses to let days turning to weeks gone by like over the holiday’s when typically we get scattered and involved in too many things pulling us in all directions with little time to spare.

In Reno, Nevada there were plenty of options to choose from. It was a matter of narrowing down the choices.

I’d been living in the southeast for last two years where obesity reined and the entertainment revolved around drinks and dinners or festivals that celebrated food. I lost control of portion control and gained ten pounds in a matter of months. It was depressing and the threat of obesity colliding with middle age was what drove me to make drastic changes.

Change sucks but doing nothing proves much worse. It was going to take drastic measures to produce positive results. Adaptation is uncomfortable, especially adjusting to drastic changes at 59 years old. It can be done. And I was going to prove it so.

It was the beginning growth of a seed I was planting to start my life over again . The best was yet to come.


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