Friday, October 2, 2009

Going to the gym is hard enough...

I've taken to going to the gym. Months ago I was running, but then I developed those shin splints I couldn't shake, so then I sat about lazily for a few months, and in August I re-motivated and re-started the tedious process of finding a gym in San Telmo.

Oh, there are gyms in San Telmo, but they ain't pretty. It's hard enough to go to the gym when it's clean, modern, and offers plasma TV screens on every treadmill (man, I miss Healthworks). But motivating to exercises in a dirty environment? on 80s equipment? to walk on a MANUALLY-OPERATED treadmill?! Simply not happening. And yes, people, they still exits!

San Telmo gyms are where all used First World gym equipment goes to die.

The process of choosing a gym was simply ridiculous. Unlike other parts of the city that are a bit more upscale (Palermo, Recoleta, or even the downtown/Microcentro area, for example), San Telmo doesn't have any "nicer" options, so us gym rats are left with hole-in-the-wall gyms. The fancy gym chain Megatlon, for example, doesn't have a location anywhere near me. Not that I could afford it anyway.

I spent weeks going in and out of the gyms in the area trying to decide who would get my $90 pesos/ month. Most are small, dusty, and have limited equipment. One, for example, only had one treadmill and one stationary bike and weights. Another one only had treadmills that were non-electric... I don't even know how those things operate, but I'm SURE they haven't been manufactured for at least 20 years! And one of the nicest options, a big place with a pool and yoga classes, required me to get a physical examination with one of their doctors before joining, and not only did I have to pay extra for that, but the waiting list to see the doctor was over a month long. Bureaucracy!!!

I finally settled on City Gym, a short 4 block walk from my house. I like it enough and the people are friendly, but I've really had to lower the bar. The machines are often broken, and no one wipes them down (how very fancy of me to expect my machines NOT to be slimed over with someone else's sweat). There are spinning classes, and I LOVE spinning classes, but the bikes are atrocious. The bikes I'm used to in the US have knobs that you can give a couple full turns to in order to achieve a variety of different levels, but on these bikes you just barely touch the knob and the level changes from easy to impossible. It's a bit of a mess. On the upside, one of my spinning teachers plays cumbia and reggaeton music and gets up and dances in the middle of the class, which is always hilarious.

I'm sure I've developed a reputation as that red-faced red-headed foreign girl, but I think I've gone enough now that people are used to seeing me around and don't gawk quite as much. Now I do the gawking. I can't believe the boys who work out in Chucks, or worse, alpargatas. Nuts.