Chartering a new Planet   Leave a comment

This past Sunday, I officially withdrew my membership from the Charter Fitness gym in Valparaiso.  It wasn’t due to any problems on their part; they’ve been a fantastic gym all these years.  Unfortunately, I’m just not in Valpo as much these days.  While there haven’t been any months where I’ve not made use of their facility since I moved, my attendance there was in a definite decline.

More to the point, I was able to join a new gym in Michigan City for just a dollar, and they only charged ten dollars a month instead of twenty.  Technically the Charter Fitness in Valpo only charges ten dollars a month nowadays, but I joined before that deal started.  I joined when it was called a Cardinal Fitness, and my twenty dollars a month meant that I could go to any other Cardinal Fitness I liked (which sadly never happened since they weren’t as widespread as they might’ve been), that I could invite a friend with me every time (something only used once or twice), and that I could “quit anytime” with no commitment.

That last part made my closure a little fun, actually.  When I went to the front desk (after a workout, of course) to ask about making it official, the employee there was one of the newer ones who didn’t recognize me on sight.  She said that I needed to have been a member for a year before I could quit; I had the pleasure of informing her that the place was a Cardinal Fitness when I joined, so I was probably good on that front (and that the terms of my original membership should waive that issue anyway.)  As another testament to how nice the Charter Fitness is, my unusual membership didn’t cause any problems, and we were able to get all the papers signed.

I’m still technically a member there, and will be for another nine days.  My membership will officially conclude on the twentieth of this month, so I was able to go again today.  I’ve not gone to the new gym in Michigan City yet, and part of me doesn’t want to; I like Charter Fitness, after all.  This new Planet FItness place is going to be different, and I haven’t found reasons to like it yet.

I expect that I’ll learn to enjoy it faster, though.  Charter Fitness (then Cardinal Fitness) was my first real gym.  Apart from a few confusing attempts to use the gym at Valparaiso University while I was a student, Cardinal Fitness introduced me to several of the realities of joining a gym.  I didn’t quite know what all those scary looking weight-lifting machines did (and to be honest I still don’t for a number of them).  The first time I actually made use of my membership, I believe I actually walked into Cardinal Fitness, looked at the machines, found the changing room, decided I wasn’t in the mood for it, and walked back out to my car.  The entire premise of the experience was a very foreign one to me.  I’m glad that I grew to not only enjoy Cardinal Fitness, but also to look forward to my trips there.

Today I went back since I was in Valpo and my membership is still good for, as I said above, nine more days.  I spent a lot of time preparing new podcasts for my MP3 player (Earbiscuits and some of the D&D/Penny Arcade podcast; I tried to get Welcome to Nightvale but couldn’t quite figure out how to get them downloaded), but when I arrived I discovered that I’d forgotten my headphones at home, and as such my MP3 player was effectively useless.  I absolutely loathe doing workouts without something to listen to (or at least a book to read, even if reading a book tends to make your time at a gym less productive).  However, I forced myself to endure at least thirty leisurely minutes on an elliptical.  My recent bout of pneumonia meant I hadn’t been to a workout for a while, but I was able to get through it by telling myself “Well, go another minute or two and see how you feel then” over and over.

That’s the real trick to exercising, I think.  Letting natural laziness work in your favor by saying “it’d take some effort to stop doing this now, might as well go a bit longer.”  Ultimately, I was happy with the workout and the natural post-workout rush.  I seem to have lost an unexpected amount of weight, a likely side benefit of the aforementioned pneumonia.

I don’t know if I’ll enjoy my new gym as much as I’ve enjoyed this one.  I’ll try it soon enough, I’m sure.  For now, though, it’s nice to know I have a little bit more time in the place that taught me to enjoy gyms as much as I do.

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