Ode to the gym on this January morning

Wednesday, 9:15 am: My spin class is inappropriately full. “Doesn’t anyone work in this town?” I ask the gentleman next to me. He’s a regular in this class and I have semi-accidentally “stolen” his bike. It’s in prime real estate – second row, aisle, near the door. I hate going too far into the room because I’m afraid all of us heavy breathers have consumed the available oxygen midway through class.

Our instructor Scott is also surprised by his unusually large audience and takes the opportunity to flex his “spintastic” skills. (His word, not mine.) His mission: to whip our sorry asses into pro-rider shape in the span of 60 minutes. The gentleman next to the gentleman who’s bike I’ve stolen is a dramatic sweater. It’s running from his body in a manner most alarming to the average sweater. I silently thank the Lord I’m outside of his spray zone.

I divert my attention away from my misery for a moment by looking around the gym. All LA Fitnesses look the same with neon walls, images of leaping, happy models positioned between motivational words that read a lot like war propaganda: “perfection,” “achievement,” and “power.” Every piece of cardio equipment is filled with people ranging from college kids on break to hyper-social senior citizens. I begin to wonder how many are “January people,” as the gentleman next to me put it. How many out there are like me and the reality of just how much butter they’ve consumed in the month of December starts to hit the mid-section? How long will the woman half-heartedly working the shoulder press with her legs comfortably crossed last in this setting?

A steady stream of people walk past our full, sweating, bass-thumping, heavy-breathing class and give us a little smirk. They are probably looking at us and wondering the same thing.

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