The Cracks Are Showing

The evil side of Pure Austin Fitness is starting to poke its ugly head out from behind the façade of copious water fountains polished back to virginity every five minutes and free Q-tips. What is the dark side of this otherwise seemingly perfect gym? Food. Here, let me explain by first telling you the story of my workout…

I did a full workout yesterday: a warm up, close to an hour of resistance training and then 45 minutes on the elliptical. This was a tough one. I hit a wall right at the 30 minute mark where I felt like I just couldn’t go on. I took a break, refilled my water bottle, and got back on the machine before the pause timer expired and reset the unit. I mused for a while on what my problem was, thinking about carb starvation and trying to remember my high school biochemistry regarding stuff like ATP and ADP and aerobic versus anaerobic metabolism. Unfortunately there’s a gap in my knowledge between the science of sub-glucose cellular energy utilization and the lore of low-carb dieting, so I didn’t get very far. Eventually what I came up with is that I just have a 30-minute attention span these days for just about everything. I need to work on that. Can anyone suggest a good yogi?

In any case, there was an exacerbating factor: for some reason the food bar at this gym bakes a fresh batch of brownies every 11 minutes! Why on earth would they do this? I haven’t actually witnessed a brownie being pulled from an oven or consumed, but from the smell this is what must be happening. I know it’s every 11 minutes because I have a damned timer running whenever I’m on the elliptical machine. The cardio machines are in the loft above the snack bar, so presumably warm smells waft up, and I’m telling you, they’re making brownies. Cruel. Just as hawks can see the body heat of a field mouse from a thousand feet up, I, as a skilled low-carb dieter, can detect the radioactive glow of sucrose and fructose from great distances. Hence I avoid even looking at the snack bar as I walk by. But just from my peripheral vision and the continuous whir of blenders I can tell you they make smoothies and have an inventory of approximately one million nutrition bars. I refuse, however, to look at the menu or behind the counter to satisfy my curiosity about the brownie smell for fear of what I might find—worst case being actual brownies, piping hot from the oven.

peeping tom sign guyBelieve it or not, the food situation gets worse from here. As I’m struggling through my last 15 minutes of elliptical hell, to my right is a personal trainer talking to his client while she does a different kind of elliptical machine. This must have been a cool down for her, because they were just chatting back and forth. The trainer was talking about the 67-mile bike race he was in the previous weekend, which is impressive I admit. But then he starts talking about the celebratory dinner that night for all the racers. He’s talking about all-you-can-eat salad and pasta, all-you-can-drink beer, all-you-can-eat cookies and ice cream. Can anyone see the problem here? Should rail-thin personal trainers who are capable of riding 67 miles in a row (“but only 4 miles of steep hill climbing, so no big deal,” the bastard says) be allowed to use the phrase “all you can eat” within earshot of normal people struggling through a cardio program? I think not. And pasta for fecksake!

This is probably why I ate four meals, a bar and a low-carb dessert yesterday. I should sue.

I also had the joy of the peeping tom sign guy again. Two of the three times I’ve been to that gym there’s been a guy in a cherry picker working on a sign right outside the windows in the men’s locker room. It’s not a huge deal, but it is a little disconcerting. I noticed last night, though, that they did get the sign working, so presumably that’s over with.

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