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LIFE & TIMES / WENDY MILLER

Waking Up to Those Calorie Counters

January 27, 1994|WENDY MILLER | Wendy Miller is editor of Ventura County Life

Each year, in early January, I start dreaming about moving to the Midwest--at least the Midwest of my imagination. That's the place where people eat foods filled with cream cheese and butter all the time, not just during the holidays. Every day is fried chicken day. And it would be considered an affront to refuse the mashed potatoes and that really white, viscous, 40-weight gravy.

In my calorie-laden dream town, everybody pretty much looks like the mashed potatoes, but nobody cares. Life is just an endless series of potluck dinners and company picnics, with all of us tucking into Parker rolls with one hand while we adjust the elastic waistband on our stretch pants with the other.

Then I wake up and find I'm back in the land of much sun and little clothing. And thoughts of barbells replace visions of meatloaf.

This time, I surfaced from my reverie to find Bill Locey standing by to pitch me a story. Locey, who writes the weekly Night Life column in Ventura County Life, knows his way around an exercise machine about as well as he knows his way around a local club.

A while back, he realized he was spending too much of his time in one of two positions: seated or prone. That is when he decided to throw down his fork and get into shape. Who better to write this week's cover story, an annotated guide to the gyms of Ventura County?

"A couple of years ago, I started riding my bike everywhere and I joined a gym," Locey said. "I've lost 20 pounds since then, and I've kept it off."

So why did Locey, who belongs to one of the gyms listed in today's story, decide to join the one he did?

"Because it involves a 14-mile bike trip from home and it is close to the office," he said. "Like I said in the story, territoriality is a principle reason for choosing a gym. Most of the people I talked to seemed to join gyms that were near their homes."

And many others, according to local fitness experts, tend to lose interest in the gym within minutes of joining one; regular attendance is quite low at some of the county's gyms.

Locey, who says he works out at his gym at least three times a week, is convinced this will not happen to him--he's hooked on exercise.

"I have to be," he said. "I drink too much beer. Otherwise, I would weigh 300 pounds and look like Meatloaf."

Did he have to mention meatloaf?

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