Like a lot of people. I enjoy a good work out…a nice blood-pumping, sweat-drenching, funk-inducing workout. My body just feels better afterwards. And I’ve tried different types of workouts: Pole dancing, core-power yoga, beach runs, etc. However, it had been a while since I had been in an actual gym. My friend invited me to go along with her to her gym where I could get a guest pass and utilize the facility for a few days. I really enjoyed it and highly considered joining. But there was another gym closer to where I lived that I wanted to check out first.
This gym – I will refer to it as “Club Good Body” and will decline from providing the real name – is well known in Los Angeles and has multiple gym sites and thousands of members. I had seen employees of this Club at random places with tables, chairs, and a big banner hungrily trying to gain membership by stopping people as they walked in and out of stores. I would always walk past them briskly while shouting out that I was not interested.
But, on this day, I decided to get a guest pass and check it out. So, I walk into “Club Good Body” and tell the young lady at the welcoming desk that I have a guest pass. She tells me to wait while a representative comes to speak with me. Immediately I’m thinking, “Damnit!”. I didn’t feel like sitting in a chair while their representative asked me questions. But I told myself to chill and suck it up, and that it was just part of the process and that it wouldn’t last long.
I was wrong. It did last long…too long..nearly 40 minutes long. My representative — we’ll call him Jose — was a nice guy; however, his inquiries are what led me to never return to that gym. It was an interrogation: He asked me what my address was, What I did for a living, Where my job was located, How long I had worked at my job, What was my purpose in coming to their gym, when was the last time I had been to a gym, why did I leave my last gym, what was my current work-out regime, was I eating healthy…I mean, DAMNIT Jose!! SLoW Your RoLL! I JUST WANT TO WORK OUT! What’s with the interrogation?! I told him I felt like I was filling out a bank loan application instead of a simple gym guest pass, and I asked him why he needed to know and write down all this information.
Jose was trying to make a sale and gain my membership, and was filling out an application for me without me actually saying that I wanted to become a member. But the tactics that were used to make this sale are the same tactics that many people use : Fear and misinformation.
Jose said that he wanted to weigh me and calculate my body fat. His calculations determined that I was “average” for my height and age but that I was not at my “ideal” weight just yet and told me how many pounds I would have to lose. Then he turns his computer screen towards me because apparently “Club Good Body” provides their potential members with a visual of various body types so as to “help” them understand what condition their body is in. So on the screen was a computerized image of a woman. They had 6 or 7 images of this woman next to each other – similar to a scale – starting with the image of the thinner or “ideal” body shape and going all the way up to the image of the “obese” or bigger body shape.
Now, as I had mentioned, Jose said that I was “average”. And you would think “average” meant that I would land in the middle of this visual scale. Wrong. According to them, “average” meant that I was second to last on this visual scale, which placed me right before the “obese” image/category. Did I mention that this visual scale is color coded? And the “average” category has a yellow and red color code and “red”, of course, means that you are in the danger zone.
Needless to say this visual scale was complete bullshit. Not only did I look NOTHING like this “tainted, computerized image of a woman, but I’m NOWHERE near Obese. Thank God I can think for myself and recognize a blatant lie when it’s right in front of my face. But the sad thing is that so many women still have blinders on and cannot see the truth, they can’t see what’s real.
By using this scale, “Club Good Body” feeds off the insecurities of women by serving them a distorted image of a body that #1 is not even real, and that #2 does not mirror their shape accurately.The focus should be on living a healthy life, and not fooling women into believing that “good health” or a “healthy body” comes in just one image. These representatives make women become so fearful that they are not “ideal”, that the women seek the help and the membership of their club. And the color coding only increases this because of the psychological connections we make about colors: Green(ideal) = Good, Yellow (average) =Slow Down/Caution, Red (obese) = Danger/Stop.
Those tricky bastards. I told Jose that his scale was wrong and that this image didn’t reflect my body type at all. I told him that they needed to rethink this part of the interrogation because if I was someone who had a negative self-image, then this visual scale had the potential to sink me lower emotionally and mentally. Jose chuckled bits of nervous laughter, unsure of how to proceed.
On top of that, Jose says, “Also, here at “Club Good Body” we can provide you with a Trainer. The young lady behind me, Meagan, would be your trainer.” Meagan comes over to introduce herself and – not to be rude – but Meagan didn’t appear to be in the best physical condition to give me ANY advice.
And after all this, Jose says, “So which membership plan would you be interested in?” I said, “Jose I came to work-out. I don’t even know if this is where I want to be, because I haven’t gotten the opportunity to get a feel for this place and see whether or not I want to return.”
Jose says, “Oh yea! Of course! Go work-out and we’ll talk when you’re done.” What more did we have to talk about??!! And I had to leave my I.D. with him before I could go work-out, so I had no choice but to stop by his table before I left.
I worked out for 20 minutes before I decide to leave. Didn’t even break a sweat. All the treadmiills were taken, along with the other floor equipment that I wanted, plus I was on a time schedule, and that interrogation left me mentally drained and irritated. I bounced. Jose was surprised to see me return so soon. I told him I was leaving. He tried to get me to stay, but I told him I had run out of time and patience. He asked about the membership and I told him my plan was not to sign-up for membership today, just to utilize my guest pass. Jose could tell I was over it, so he quickly prints my guest pass and tells me to come back tomorrow and give them another try.
I didn’t go back. Instead, I decided to return to my neighborhood runs for now until I find a better gym. At least while running in my neighborhood I am free of distorted images and nagging sales people. I may not have the fancy equipment, but at least with my neighborhood runs I am reminded of what is real. I am real. I am beautiful. And my body is fucking awesome.