Posted by: Stephanie Tuck | January 7, 2012

To Gym or Not To Gym?

 photo: Everett Collection Jerry Lewis in “Cinderfella”
Below is my favorite story about the mad rush to join a gym this time of year. It ran in the Wall Street Journal on January 6 and it’s not only humorous, it tells it like it is. Gyms can take some deciphering – they can feel like visiting a foreign country  until you get the hang of their respective and unique cultures, and a sense of humor definitely helps. Every January, gym memberships spike as millions of couch potatoes swear that this will be the year for them to get fit.  By February, the crowd has usually dissipated.
I am a bit of a gym rat – just can’t shake my Zumba addiction and my love of working out, hard, with great trainers – but hey, the gym may not be for everybody. There are lots of cool ways to work out at home: DVD’s, Wii, podcasts and on. The DailyBurn is a cool digital platform (website, app)  that you subscribe to and it sends you personalized workouts every day that are constantly being updated, from yoga to kick boxing to weight training, so you won’t get bored. Or how about this: my building has a treadmill and maybe you have one at home, too – if you  like junky TV shows like The Bachelor or any of the Real Housewives shows (FINE, I enjoy them – I am not proud) don’t just sit on the couch and while away the hours feeling superior to the ladies you see on the screen, watch while jogging or walking with an incline. BAM! You’ll  get lost in the crazy behavior (“batshit crazy,” is how one friend described the new season on  hopefuls on The Bachelor,  and I can’t disagree, but I do wonder how “batshit” became a descriptor for levels of psychological health …any ideas anyone?) and the miles will roll away. Best part: you won’t feel like you just lost time you’ll never get back when you savor the details of Kim Kardashian’s fake marriage as you actually did something good for yourself.
But back to the beginning. The WSJ piece below made me laugh so check it out. Happy New Year, everyone. Here’s to a wonderful, happy, fit and love-filled 2012. To read more about gym culture – kind of an interesting topic –  check out this and this. xxoo S

The 27 Rules of Conquering the Gym

By JASON GAYColumnist's name

This is the time of year when even people who hate the gym think about going to the gym. Many of us are still digesting whole floors of gingerbread houses, and jeans that fit comfortably in October are now a denim humiliation.

Sweating is a good way to begin 2012. Exercise, like dark chocolate and office meetings that suddenly get canceled, is a proven pathway to nirvana. But if you’re going to join a gym—or returning to the gym after a long hibernation—consider the following:

1. A gym is not designed to make you feel instantly better about yourself. If a gym wanted to make you feel instantly better about yourself, it would be a bar.

2. Give yourself a goal. Maybe you want to lose 10 pounds. Maybe you want to quarterback the New York Jets into the playoffs. But be warned: Losing 10 pounds is hard.

The New Year’s push to lose weight is bringing crowds to gyms. Jason Gay offers tips to conquering the gym. Photo: Getty Images.

3. Develop a gym routine. Try to go at least three times a week. Do a mix of strength training and cardiovascular conditioning. After the third week, stop carrying around that satchel of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies.

4. No one in the history of gyms has ever lost a pound while reading “The New Yorker” and slowly pedaling a recumbent bicycle. No one.

5. Bring your iPod. Don’t borrow the disgusting gym headphones, or use the sad plastic radio attachment on the treadmill, which always sounds like it’s playing Kenny Loggins from a sewer.

6. Don’t fall for gimmicks. The only tried-and-true method to lose 10 pounds in 48 hours is food poisoning.

7. Yes, every gym has an overenthusiastic spinning instructor who hasn’t bought a record since “Walking on Sunshine.”

8. There’s also the Strange Guy Who is Always at the Gym. Just when you think he isn’t here today…there he is, lurking by the barbells.

9. “Great job!” is trainer-speak for “It’s not polite for me to laugh at you.”

10. Beware a hip gym with a Wilco step class.

11. Gyms have two types of members: Members who wipe down the machines after using them, and the worst people in the universe.

12. Nope, that’s not a “recovery energy bar with antioxidant dark chocolate.” That’s a chocolate bar.

13. Avoid Unsolicited Advice Guy, who, for the small fee of boring you to death, will explain the proper method for any exercise in 45 minutes or longer.

14. You can take 10 Minute Abs, 20 Minute Abs, and 30 Minute Abs. There is also Stop Eating Pizza and Eating Sheet Cake Abs—but that’s super tough!

15. If you’re motivated to buy an expensive home exercise machine, consider a “wooden coat rack.” It costs $40, uses no electricity and does the exact same thing.

16. There’s the yoga instructor everyone loves, and the yoga instructor everyone hates. Memorize who they are.

17. If you see an indoor rock climbing wall, you’re either in a really cool gym or a romantic comedy starring Kate Hudson.

18. Be cautious about any class with the words “sunrise,” “hell,” or “Moby.”

19. If a gym class is going to be effective, it’s hard. If you’re relaxed and enjoying yourself, you’re at brunch.

20. If you need to bring your children, just let them loose in the silent meditation class. Nobody minds, and kids love candles.

21. Don’t buy $150 sneakers, $100 yoga pants, and $4 water. Muscle shirts are for people with muscles, and rhythm guitarists.

22. Fancy gyms can be seductive, but once you get past the modern couches and fresh flowers and the water with lemon slices, you’re basically paying for a boutique hotel with B.O.

23. Everyone sees you secretly racing the old people in the pool.

24. If you’re at the point where you’ve bought biking shoes for the spinning class, you may as well go ahead and buy an actual bike. It’s way more fun and it doesn’t make you listen to C+C Music Factory.

25. Fact: Thinking about going to the gym burns between 0 and 0 calories.

26. A successful gym membership is like a marriage: If it’s good, you show up committed and ready for hard work. If it’s not good, you show up in sweatpants and watch a lot of bad TV.

27. There is no secret. Exercise and lay off the fries. The end.


  1. […] a list of rules for successfully deciphering the battlefield we call the gym, and it cracked me up. I wrote about it, of course, so you guys would see it, too.  I’m happy to say, Jason is back, in all his […]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: