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Wow, What Gym is This?

July 26, 2012

The following is a fictional conversation between my best friend and me about my current exercise habits.

Friend: Hey, Joanna, why don’t you come to the gym with me?

Jo: I guess so. Any particular reason you’re asking me?

Friend: Well, I want a partner and I know you told me a couple of months ago you wanted to go out more.

Jo: (Laughs) That’s true, but why the gym?

Friend: Okay, I guess I just got the impression that you wanted to be more active.

Jo: Yes, I do. I feel trapped in my house sometimes and there are some things I’ve always wanted to do. But really, things have improved for me over the past couple of months.

Friend: I’ve been to your house a few times and I still see you on the computer for hours and hours doing whatever. I try to get you to go for a walk and you always say no. I hope you’re getting some movement in.

Jo: Are you serious? Are you really doing this to me?

Friend: I swear, I’m not bitching about your weight. I was thinking more about your moods.

Jo: Okay, I’ll give you that, but just so you know, I’m getting plenty of movement in.

Friend: Wow, that’s great. What, exactly?

Jo: I joined a gym and so far, I’ve worked my way up to 25 hours of exercise a week. My goal is 35 by the end of the summer. I usually get about five every day.

Friend: Seriously? You’re leaving me in the dust! What kinds of things are you doing there?

Jo: I would say I spend about 10 hours either power walking or jogging. Then I move on to five hours of squats and five more of weight lifting. And I do five hours of stretching to wind down with.

Friend: How much do you bench?

Jo: Up to 70 lbs. at a time. Oh, and I should mention that I’m working on speed and agility. My buddies time me while I do the squats and lift weights. So far, I’m the fastest one there.

Friend: Good for you! So you like your gym, I take it?

Jo: Oh, it’s the best I’ve ever gone to thus far. Everyone there is like family and we exercise together. You get a monetary bonus for every hour that you work out and they sell active wear to gym members at a discount. The best part is that it costs nothing to join and there are locations everywhere.

Friend: Oh, my God, I want to join.

Jo: Just so you know, they’re kind of competitive right now. You need to try to join a couple and you might not get into the first few. See, they’re not just a gym. They’re a family. They want to like you and they want you to like them back. Plus, every gym has a specialty and it really helps if you’re into the stuff that they do there. You know what I mean?

Friend: That’s different. I’ve never heard of a gym that cares that much.

Jo: By the way, every year that you’re a member, they give you a higher bonus.

Friend: Sign me up. What’s this gym called, anyway?

Jo: It’s kind of weird. They call it KPI.* If you want to find me, I’ll be in the space up front. They call it The Floor.

Friend: Okay. So what’s the workout called that you’re doing these days?

Jo: Retail.

*KPI: Key performance indicator

11 Comments leave one →
  1. vesta44 permalink
    July 26, 2012 10:14 am

    Yep, I belonged to one of those gyms for about a year and a half. 40 hours a week and it didn’t do a damned thing for my weight, but it killed my back/feet (concrete floors are not kind to your body in 8 hour stretches).

  2. Marilyn permalink
    July 26, 2012 10:19 am

    I worked at Walmart for many years. I did lose weight working there and I maintained the weight loss until a few months after I was fired. I usually worked more than 40 a week. Sometimes, our manager had us do stretches in the beginning of the day. I hated that. After the stretches, she or he would have us to the company cheer.

  3. July 26, 2012 8:42 pm

    Ha. It’s been a while since I’ve worked retail, but it never ceases to amaze me how many people think that me being a teacher means I sit at my “teacher desk” all day.

    Like, students have sometimes borrowed my desk chair (working in groups, easier than dragging their own chair across the room), and I have not even noticed until the end of the school day.

    We’ve done school pedometer challenges, and apparently I never walk fewer than 5 miles per day on campus, and the average puts me closer to 7 miles.

    And the teacher mailboxes are on the second floor, as are some of my friend teachers, so I have my own personal stair machine.

    I mean, I do other physical activity — yoga and running — because I like doing them, but my job? Not exactly sedentary.

  4. lifeonfats permalink
    July 26, 2012 9:42 pm

    I’ve also worked retail too and yes, sometimes you can get a better workout in that environment than a gym. I also worked as an activities assistant at a nursing home and believe me, that’s one of the most physical jobs you can ever do. I’ve suffered a few job-related injuries thanks to that, including a pulled shoulder muscle and internal knee bruises.

    Now, I have an office job for an early childhood intervention program and one of my duties is to file therapist and teacher notes in kids’ early intervention records. Some of those files are very heavy, especially if a child has been receiving special needs services since they were babies. There can be a lot of stooping, bending, and pulling involved and sometimes I’m doing it for almost an hour. I always joke I can lift weights with some of those files. And I’m not supposed to be doing any lifting because of a pinched nerve in my neck either. I also do mail runs twice a day as well. No, my job isn’t always sedentary, but I’m lucky I can move around.

  5. JeninCanada permalink
    July 26, 2012 11:06 pm

    I miss working retail for exactly this reason; I used to work in a busy pet store and our biggets sellers were large bags of dog-food. As a young, able-bodied woman I was always hauling these bags at least off the shelves to the counters, and often out to people’s vehicles. If I wasn’t doing dog food, it was 40lb bags of cat litter or sweeping and vaccuuming and cleaning aquariums. BUSY. My desk job now is *very* sedentry; not great for a very pregnant woman. I should be walking and doing squats and stuff but yeah, I’m not.

  6. July 27, 2012 12:45 am

    I work retail, but it’s desk retail – I’m a fraud mitigator for a clothing company. My company has a gym, but my only possible time to use it would be after 9pm, when I get off shift, and by then I just wanna get the hell home to my cats and my bed. XD

  7. bronwenofhindscroft permalink
    July 27, 2012 1:50 pm

    Conall’s mother, in the past, often got onto him about not doing anything when he arrived home from work. About three weeks ago, she saw a (very) small part of the plant he works at, and started asking questions about how he gets from one area to another. “Do you have a truck to use?”

    “Yes, but that’s only when I have to go do the water testing (the water pond is 5 miles away).”

    “So, how do you get around to all this stuff out here you have to take tests from?”

    “I walk.”

    “All the time?”

    “Yes. They have a small cart, but that’s usually got a dead battery, and when it’s running, it drives so slow I can make better time walking.”

    “Oh. I didn’t know you did so much exercise in a day.”

    Now she knows why, even on a “quiet” day when nothing’s gone wrong at all, he comes home and just plays on the computer most of the time.

  8. vesta44 permalink
    July 27, 2012 4:05 pm

    This is why I don’t follow DH’s doctor’s directions to ride his ass about getting more exercise. DH works at WalMart in maintenance, which means he has to walk the whole store, checking the floor for stickers (which have to be scraped up – you know, the ones the greeters hand to kids?), he walks the whole store to empty every one of the garbage cans, he empties every one of the garbage cans in the parking lot and front of the store, plus he cleans all 6 of the restrooms and the break room. Granted, ours is a smaller SuperWalMart, but I would venture to say he walks at least 3 or 4 miles in a 5 hour shift, and he does probably double that in an 8 hour shift. Then there’s all the walking he does when he’s called to clean up the messes customers make when they drop things in the aisles (jars of pickles, bottles of mayo/water/soda/etc). When he comes home, I’m not about to tell him he needs to exercise, and I’m sure not going to tell him that on his days off either, when he’s mowing the yard, trimming the bushes, painting the trim on the house/sheds, and doing general maintenance around our place.

  9. Andrea permalink
    July 28, 2012 3:59 am

    I miss that workout! I used to work at a grocery store on a steep hill. Best part was the sprints, also known as “that runaway cart is headed for a parked bmw! ” The best perk was hiding in the freezer a few minutes at a time on those hot days πŸ™‚

  10. July 30, 2012 11:45 am

    Bingo! For the first decade of my employable life, I was almost exclusively a restaurant server, and you really have to bust your ass to earn tips. During rush periods, I would be speed-walking non-stop to get orders in and food out as quickly as possible. I never failed to work up a sweat and I’ll bet my heartrate was in the aerobic range for two or three hours at a time. And yet I was never taught to think of that as exercise since it was work. But it made no difference to my body.


  11. July 30, 2012 3:16 pm

    I lost more weight when I worked in retail than any other time in my life! You are constantly burning calories at a minimum rate (not resting rate but not running rate either, but a steady burn) for at least 3 hours at a time. Plus, your food intake is greatly reduced and if you are smart, you will make sure you eat well (good foods instead of processed crap) and drink plenty of water. I lost about 2 clothing sizes when I did retail for about 10 years…may not sound like much but your body still plateaus. Sadly, my feet, knees, hips and back don’t like me working retail anymore.

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