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So now what do I do?

June 27, 2018, 8:30 AM

This exercise thing sucks.  I recently came to the realization that I’m never going back to Planet Fitness, and therefore I’m cancelling my membership.  No sense in spending $20 per month on something that I’m not going to use.

I can’t say that I didn’t try, though.  I signed up, and I went as I planned, i.e. after work, during the overnight hours.  I tried all of the equipment, and while the elliptical and the recumbent stair climber seemed like possible winners, the whole Planet Fitness environment intimidated me too much.  How ironic for a company that markets itself with a slogan of “No Gymtimidation”.  I got the specific feeling that they were more interested in their “No Gymtimidation” and “Judgement [sic] Free Zone” image than they were about fitness (and a few people seem to agree with me).  The presence of that stupid “lunk alarm” gimmick also sent off the wrong vibe, and I never even touched the free weights, nor did I have any intention to ever use them.  It’s allegedly the judgment free zone, but they’re constantly watching and judging everything that you do, and that made me feel less at ease with it than I preferred.  I just want to go in, do my thing, and leave.  Too much emphasis on individual conduct makes me uncomfortable because it makes me feel somewhat on edge, and that creates a sense of hostility, like I’m being micromanaged.  Perception is reality here, and that perception negatively affected my enjoyment of the club.

Additionally, I couldn’t find a location that I liked.  I found out that some locations were de facto closed on Sunday nights because they dismantled the entire facility to clean it on those nights.  However, because one of Planet Fitness’s big selling points was being open 24 hours, they couldn’t actually close the facility to clean it.  They had to remain open, even though none of the equipment was available.  So on more than one occasion, Elyse and I got dressed and went out, only to be turned away because all of the equipment was offline for cleaning.  That just speaks of poor planning on the facility’s part, since they could easily split the work and clean in sections over the course of a week in order to maintain full access at all times.  Other locations were better, but too far from my house.  I halfway liked the downtown Silver Spring location, but it was just too far away to be practical.

I also got the feeling that corporate was pretty clueless, after an exchange about finding out what equipment is available at each facility.  I asked them this:

Is there a way to find out what locations have certain equipment short of just calling around?  The downtown Silver Spring, Maryland location has some equipment that I have not seen at other locations (rowing machines, seated stair climbers, hand bikes, etc.), and would love to find other locations that also have this equipment.

Their response was completely underwhelming:

Hi there, Ben!  Due to most clubs being independently owned and operated, equipment will vary by location.  The best thing to do is just stop on by the front desk and ask to speak with management or see if your home club has a suggestion box.  We always love hearing suggestions from our valued members.

In other words, they have no idea what locations have what equipment, and so the only way to find out would be to call around.  Which is exactly what I was trying to avoid in the first place.  Thanks for nothing.

I also put myself on a pretty strict diet while I was going to Planet Fitness, and that just made me miserable.  I was always hungry, and what I was eating just made me gassy.  With the combination of exercise and the diet, I lost about five pounds in total.  Whoopee.

When I had my vacation in April, I took a week off from the gym since I was doing other things while on vacation, with the intention of resuming when I went back to work the following week.  I then took another week off from the gym, and then another, and then another, and I soon realized that I didn’t miss it at all.  For the last two months, I’ve been telling myself that I’m going to go back and get back into that routine, but I can’t make myself go back.  I just don’t feel comfortable there, and there’s no sense wasting good money on a membership for a place where I don’t feel comfortable.  Goodbye, Planet Fitness.  It’s been a learning experience, for sure.  What I’ve learned is that you’re far too interested in your own image as the judgment free zone, to the detriment of everything else.

So now what do I do?  I’ve put all of the weight that I lost in 2011-2012 back on.  Swimming, as I articulated back in March, is just too much trouble at the Montgomery County facilities when you consider the schedule and how lap swimmers are at the bottom of the barrel as far as access goes.  There are also no 24-hour indoor pools in Montgomery County, meaning that I would have to travel more than 30 miles to get to an indoor pool that is open all night, and that’s a bit of a non-starter in the middle of the night after work.  Then I also have a bicycle hanging up in my utility room that I have only used three times and stopped using because my knees are not strong enough, and out of those three times, I destroyed the chain twice and had to get it replaced.  It’s been sitting and collecting dust since November 11, 2014.  I should probably just sell the bike, but I also feel like a bicycle is one of those things that might come in handy for something eventually.

So we’re back at square one.

And sadly, I’m also lacking in motivation because of the results from the time when I did lose a bunch of weight back in 2011-2012.  I stopped losing weight when I got down to 275, and held at that weight for about a year and a half.  Nothing that I did could break that 275 mark.  The problem was that, even though I looked fabulous, 275 was still morbidly obese.  So I’m feeling a bit discouraged, because I feel like my best wasn’t good enough, and it’s made me hesitant to commit to another exercise program because of the inability to bust the 275 barrier.

Additionally, I remember the time when I was smaller as an unhappy time.  When I hit 30, my interests shifted, and that included less interest in the issues that my then-employer was interested in.  That was not a good time with work, because at that point, I knew that I wouldn’t be able to meet certain life goals while working there, and also knew that I would probably never get a promotion.  When I started pushing for a promotion, rather than more responsibility looking towards upward movement, I was offered additional work in another department where the person over that department and I didn’t see eye to eye.  I saw a disaster in the making with that, and so when I went to discuss my concerns, my boss just said, “That’s disappointing,” and dropped it entirely.  Then the following year, when I made the same pitch with more specific ideas on how I wanted to grow, I was told that there was no room for a promotion and that if I wanted to move up, it would have to be outside of the organization.  Then my scumbag boss took my suggestions and designed a new position around it, and rolled most of my responsibilities into that new position, which was created specifically to drive me out.  Thanks for nothing.

All that said, I was always much happier when I was heavier, even though I recognize that one didn’t necessarily have to do with the other.  Nonetheless, that nagging feeling is a hard nut to crack.

So if anyone has any suggestions about what I’m to do, feel free.  I know that my current situation is not sustainable, but I don’t know what else to do.