I learn something new everyday in this politically correct society I live in. I ruffle some feathers without meaning to I do admit using outdated terms and slang. However, I find it’s nearly impossible for me to remember every little detail. It’s partly due to how and when I was raised. I am a repeat offender of not knowing what the correct terms are for what and what’s long since gone by the wayside. I’ll start with spinners. “Well, they—Uhm, look like exercise bikes to me,” I said appearing to be as casual about my observation. “They’re spinners.” the fitness trainer corrected me rather brisk in tone.
Okay, they’re spinners… I thought and it brought to the forefront of my mind a ridiculous toy back in the 80’s called “Sit and Spin” where a kid would sit down and turn the crank of this massive-looking plastic circular device and make themselves dizzy for hours at a time. I had a sit and spin when I was growing up, made myself sick from it and eventually wore it out.
But exercise bi—ah, right… gotacha…”spinners”. What are they if they’re not exercise “bikes”? They are essentially an exercise bike, but with toe clips to keep toes strapped in the peddle. Only an avid cyclist would know what I refer to. And yes, I have tried toe clips in the past thanks to my ex-boyfriend who did get me into cycling more as a fitness thing and less about competing. Think of “Tour de France” kind of bike racing, for example.
My ex-boyfriend won a few stage races in his home state (nothing huge or famous as the Tour de France) back in the 80s. And he even designed a course for the following year after he won. Well, the exercise—alright, fine—‘spinner’ contraption I was staring at remind me of when a ten speed is mounted on a trainer so the rider can practice riding indoors during the winter. I had a trainer for my beloved Peugeot (yes, the kind that won the Tour de France) and found that I didn’t like having to keep my body stationary or risk doing damage to the frame.
I remember my first experience on a trainer and how bruised my ribcage felt afterwards because I couldn’t go through all the regular motions like what I’d normally do if I were cycling on an open road. So, here they were, the spinners with toe clips and handle bars—everything screams ‘exercise bike’ in my eyes.
But as not to offend the fitness trainer, I didn’t breathe another word about it and showed vague interest. I do this quite often whenever I feel I rubbed the other person the wrong way. Call it whatever you like, maybe I was being too courteous, who knows. And that pretty much summed up my incredibly fast two minute tour through my local Y yesterday.
They no longer like to refer to it as the Y.M.C.A. and the Y.W.C.A (Young Women’s Christian Association) is a thing of the past. They call it “the Y”. I suspect this was due because it would be viewed as “sexist” in today’s society to keep the Y.W.C.A. Everything is co-ed except the locker rooms, thank goodness! Not that I mind sharing exercise equipment or swimming with men, especially if they’re handsome and single.
And this co-ed existence (for lack of a better word) is completely new to me still now as an adult. Not that I mind. Heck, show me Erik Estrada thirty years younger (famous for the 70s TV show, C.H.I.P.’s) for those who may not know who I’m talking about, or find a handsome, respectable down-to-earth man, and yeah, the Y might be well worth my membership “grief” to find somebody. And it never hurts to hope and pray.
So, am I ready to tell the Y all about myself and what made me decide to join? Other than saying I like to keep physically fit and swim, I really didn’t feel like divulging every aspect of my private life to them.
And if I had said, “Sure, to meet some hot men,” that might have been taken the wrong way.
The Y is family friendly. When the fitness trainer asked me if I had any children I politely said “no”. And they sort of frowned my way like I had just said the four letter “F” word and it rang through the pool area.
The burning question lingers: Did I meet any handsome men on my first visit to the Y today? Nope. I was too busy trying to figure out why the treadmill wasn’t moving faster than a turtle. I increased the speed and that didn’t help much. And secondly, I came to observe and just watch how everyone interacts. There were a lot of families there today and sparse teenagers roaming around.
I wish I had lived in areas that had a Y.M.C.A. growing up in my teens, but I see the rules posted for them are quite strict, so I don’t know if I would have like it as much back then, if even at all. Not that I was rule breaker as a teen or horsed around, or was loud, I did like to do things without so much restriction whenever possible and it gave me a taste of independence.
Basically, yeah– the men were alright that I saw at the Y. I didn’t see any drop dead gorgeous men as of yet, but that mean I won’t. I tired of the treadmill after giving up barely shuffling along at a turtle pace and found it rather a time-waster and boring. I can see why people turn loose of treadmills. Either the tread mill burns out and other times the novelty of them wears off.
I decided to try out another exercise bike looking contraption with handle bars. Some of the handle bars moved, others were stationary. Then I tried out a stair master machine, both of those I liked much better. You’ll notice I refer to the exercise equipment as “contraptions”. Doesn’t mean I’m inept by any stretch of the imagination, I just don’t know the specific ‘name’ of the exercise machine and it all looks alike in my eyes.
At the very last moment I tried out an “Ab-roller coaster”, I believe it was. It’s an exercise machine where you place your knees on this padded seat-like device, grab the handlebars and pull using your body’s motion to strengthen your inner core. Since it was my first time using this machine I went slow knowing that the starting and stopping would take some getting used to. I liked that machine a lot better than trying to do the inner core ab exercises at home that contort your body like a pretzel.
What I dislike most about the Y: How difficult it is to become a member. I did proceed on with producing the extra paperwork required, but I have a sneaking suspicion the IRS is going to be my major hold up for quite some time since their online e-form isn’t working. And the snail mail route I had to take (or think I had to)… nobody at the Y made this exactly clear to me since I spoke with two different people. Eventually I will figure it all out.
Oh, and no diving boards. At least the tiny ones I noticed barely jutting out over the water in the deep end of the lap lane pool resembled something no bigger or wider in width to a peel and stick tile. Long gone are the days of the high and low diving boards… bummer.
The deep end of the lap lane pool (it went 12 feet down) was creepy looking at first for me. It took me some getting used to probably because I never swam in water indoors that deep before. And once I did it was no big deal. I think seeing those black painted lap lanes and crosses at either end were kind of eerie (don’t ask me why). Maybe it’s all those supposedly haunted ‘abandoned’ swimming pool stories and urban exploration pictures I always seen on occasion… eh, oh well. I do love swimming. I also feel it’s another great form of exercise and easy for everybody of all ages.
And I am so thankful for my former training in the water going way back to my days spent in daycare growing up as a kid. The daycare teachers took all of us kids to our very first course in learning how to swim at the public swimming pool. I believe I still have my card listing each swim course I passed. I learned the back stroke, dead man’s float, the breast stroke, using a boogey board, (that’s where you hang onto a floater device and kick with your feet)…and every kid gets introduced to the ‘doggy paddle’ early on.
Let’s see what else did I learn way back when? I also learned how to use the diving boards, swim to the ladder, and how to hold your breath when under water, too. And I do credit my dad, who for a while when he operated his own white water rafting company, I learned how to float down a river if I were to ever be thrown out of the boat (thankfully I never had to rely on this life-saving swimming maneuver, yet). I had to learn proper ‘rafting’ safety… and mind you, I was learning in this at around the age of 10 or 11 and it was done in the icy rivers of Colorado… so yeah, all that previous experience still serves me well.
And if you ever wonder why somebody falls out of a raft and suffers an instant heart attack and doesn’t live sadly (reports of this happening all the time during the summer months in Colorado were more than I care to recall), this is because the water temperature forces the body to go into sudden shock, and it can happen even to a healthy person even fairly young as well.
I did inquire at the Y about updating my swimming techniques to see if I learned anything new I could add with my swim card from years ago, but all the Y offers is teaching kids how to swim, but I was told there is no ‘refresher’ swim course or anything like that being taught for adults. Oh, well, it never hurts to ask. The closest thing they do offer is lifeguard training. Now, I won’t say I’m an expert when swimming or even an Olympic gold medalist because I would be lying.
I do enjoy swimming immensely and always have from the first day they throw you into the freezing cold water at the public swimming pool at 7 in the morning before the summer heat warms the pavement. And it would always take me five minutes for my body adjust to the temperature. If you’re not awake on the ride to the swimming pool, the lifeguards and swim instructors make sure you are bright-eyed and bushy tailed when they give you a hand and yank you into the pool with them.
Oh, and I wasted twenty minutes trying to lock my personal belongings in the locker at the Y. Sounds crazy, but it was a nightmare! I arrived for the open swim with forty-five minutes to spare with my lock that was too big for their gym-like lockers… arg! I got more of a work out just running back and forth to my vehicle to put away this, take out that, change out flip flops and shoes, put on dry socks, etc… I snagged my wallet and returned to the front desk to purchase (and return five minutes later) a combination lock that impeded my locker possibility. The staff gladly refunded me and graciously apologized about the inconvenience their combination lock caused me. I wasn’t terribly stressed over that. Me and combination locks have never gotten along.
So next time I go I will come with a regular lock and key. I just have to figure out how to attach my key to my person when I swim so it won’t get in the way and/ or potentially lose it, either. I have one of those stretchy key rings which worked okay, but it still got in the way of my swimming. It’s never wise to swim with dangling keys or jewelry of any kind because this could get snarled in the pool drain if you like to swim in the bottom, that is. I heard countless horror stories where people have drowned when wearing necklaces, bracelets, ankle bracelets that became tangled in a pool drain. I know what I did wasn’t smart today, but the staff will warn you they aren’t held personally responsible for theft that might occur.
Oh, and some better advice: DON’T wear flip flops in a slippery women’s wet locker room or men’s, if you’re a man. I nearly did the banana splits without trying. Flip flops are so dangerous over wet floors and/ or buffed floors as well. I know I’ve taken near spills in my own home over peel and stick tiles. Here again, find water shoes or something with traction. At the Y (in my local area anyway), they won’t allow street shoes to be worn in the pool area. And yes, even without foot wear, the tile floors are slippery in the pool area. All in all, it was a good busy day. I think I might return once this hectic week slows down and everything can get back to semi-normal. For some reason everybody and their brother will drive like a crazy person just to make it to the water park which is in the same area (ugh!) Maybe it’s the summer heat in combination with that, who knows. Thanks for reading, liking, re-blogging, sharing, tweeting… etc. 🙂