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Two Guys Lose Weight: Just join a gym already, says Tony

Day 3: He works up a sweat just thinking about the downsides. But perseverance pays off.

January 12, 2011|By Tony Pierce | Los Angeles Times
  • Members work out on treadmills at the 24-Hour Fitness in Koreatown.
Members work out on treadmills at the 24-Hour Fitness in Koreatown. (Ringo H.W. Chiu / For the…)

There are endless excuses for not joining a gym: the expense, the looking sweaty and gross in public, the weirdness of the locker room, the new clothes and shoes that are required. 

Then when you weigh the possibility of signing up in January, the excuse machine shifts into overdrive and the faceless negative voice rattles on about how packed the place will be, filthy with people trying to make good on their resolutions.

But when a late-afternoon meeting canceled Tuesday, I took it as a sign and left work early and joined a plush gym across town.

Fie on you, evil voices!

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Over the last few days, I had researched a variety of clubs, and what I liked about this one was that all of the reviews on Yelp claimed it was very clean, the people were nice, and it wasn't a pick-up scene -- as many in Los Angeles can be. In fact, they said the clientele were probably a few years older than me. Which they were. Love that.

And as someone who appreciates a value, I appreciated that their four-figure membership fee was being waived for new members signing up in January, and the month of January was free as well. And best of all there was no annual contract, just a month-to-month arrangement, which someone with commitment issues can appreciate.

I could have signed up at a closer, cheaper facility, but I wanted the cost to be substantial enough that I would feel forced to go.

After the grand tour, I changed into my shorts and spent a solid 15 minutes on a very odd machine that simulated stairs. You had about four stairs at any one time, but you probably shouldn't spend much time on the bottom one because it disappeared pretty fast. I'm sure it was symbolic of something, but I never got into the groove of the thing.

When the machine said I had burned 100 calories, I quickly slapped the stop button and jumped off the crazy thing.

The machine I spent the most amount of time on was what appeared to be the lay-back-and-chill bicycle. There was a TV on it and a place to plug in your iPhone. I started pedaling. (I watch enough TV so I kept that off.) After a few clicks, I found a strenuous-enough setting and pedaled casually.

And then I texted my friends.

They were very happy to hear from me. And I them.

After half an hour of this, I saw I had burned off almost 200 calories. I went for another 15 minutes answering e-mails and being ridiculously productive. Sure, my legs were getting the majority of the workout, but I was sweating, my heart was beating, and since it was my first real exercise session in a very long time, I concluded it was a good start.

Food for the day: Breakfast: granola bar. Lunch: broccoli shrimp and a Diet Coke at a Chinese restaurant. (I didn't eat the rice.) Dinner: turkey breast sandwich at the gym's deli. Late-night snack: some baby carrots occasionally dipped in roasted red pepper hummus and a Diet Dr. Pepper.

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