and being single
An original story by Robert D. Rice

For the longest time the gym was thought to be the place to finally firm those lazy muscles, and tend to all that flab, chores that have been put off for so long. There are countless other reasons why we venture into the uncharted waters of physical exercise. Though in recent years, the local gym is a great place to get in shape, and find that special someone in the mean time. Now comes the task of deciding where to sign up, and be part of the action. Since any moron knows -- including the one writing this article -- it is where the gym resides as to one’s chances of romantic success. Nice surroundings attract nice people.

The first thing one needs to do is to check out the gym’s exterior maintenance. If the place is to start getting rundown this is where it begins. Are there loose splintered boards hanging? Does the place need a coat of paint? Does the entry level pro shop resembles what’s left in the best store -- in the worst part of town -- after the great clothing riots. As an enthusiastic entrant you will be asked by the receptionist, “ Is there anything you need? “ If all does not seem right the answer will pop up in your mind, “ Yes. More money to be able to afford better accommodations than this. “ Check out the place for cleanliness. Who knows what can be crawling, or airborne. Do the roaches call in the flies and mosquitoes for air support against the uninvited guests. If you’re not sick to your stomach after a few precious moments inside chances are you’ve passed step one. To be grossed, or not grossed-out. That is the question. We will more examine the three basic types of fitness clubs offered to todays tight body wannabe. Let’s go inside.

The Basic, Low Budget, Facility

This one usually can be identified by ranchos billboards, and neon signs that blink out of sync. The facility that conspicuously pops-up behind every guard rail, and off ramp, from Maine to Mexico. These are in the twenty dollars a month range. Cleanliness and places like this are usually not on a first name basis. If it weren’t for the noticeably low price, the prospective customer will have wished to put that same money toward a short stack of losing lottery tickets. But you stopped in to take a look. What can go wrong? Initial impressions.

The lack of floor space is immediately apparent. Everything and everyone is literally on top of each other. The social mingler will see this as ample opportunity to get to know members of the opposite sex; because they’re a captive audience; with everyone within whispering distance. Little do people know, this crampness most often produces that “ Buzz-off. I’m here to work. “ In a recent poll taken by Muscle Illustrated, 62% of those surveyed said they preferred a plentiful amount of floor space, “...So I can lay down and rest to relieve whatever hurts th most.. “

People types. Overzealous guys, gym rats, muscle animals, tend to gravitate to this type of establishment. It is the no-frills aspect of it that turns on the hard timers -- those who only go around the weight cycle once in life. In this group can easily be women as well; those being of equal dedication to bodybuilding. In a place like this a lifter gets a lot done -- there’s nothing else to do. Showering & storage facilities here should require that everyone get a tetanus shot before you take your socks off. Well, suck it up. What stagnant air there is thick; get lifting and get out and find a real life. The atmosphere for meeting those of the opposite sex are a tough go here; but the atmosphere for physical improvements here is a grungy inspiration. There’s nothing fancy here, just a lot of sweat and strain. Isn’t that the reason we go in the first place? Heck, no. Bring on the chicks and shovel in the beef!

Mid-level accommodations
Half way to somewhere

The mid-level club manages to wet-the-whistle of those who feel they have almost ‘made it ‘ in life; and this move up can only be proof of that. Conclusion. This might be the place to be. The parking lot is where superficial differences are immediately seen. Far fewer potholes are sprinkled between the street and the gym’s entrance. Generally, owners interested enough to maintain the outside, the interior stands a superior chance of being worthwhile. Let’s face it, nobody lays asphalt for free.

The yearly fee is payable in advance; followed by an additional initiation fee. Some clubs prefer to label it a membership fee. Call it what you will; this, too, is paid in advance. Watch out when paying with a credit card. Should you decide later to cease your association with that club; the burden of proof lay with the health club to notify the credit card company. Your telephoning will not be enough to stop the monthly deductions from being charged to your account.

If the new member is here solely to socialize they will soon notice attractive bodies got that way from hard work; and the added cost of membership makes them want to get more workout minutes per minute -- equaling less talk; though people on this level tend to be more friendly than at the lower end clubs. To top it off, you’ve seen some of the workout equipment that’s available on some cable show or another; though you cannot remember which one.

Top of the Line
Where I will be meets I am.

Immediately noticeable is the upgrade in the cars that are in the parking lot; not to mention the level of social acceptability of the owners of said cars. If anything can be said of this level health clubs, they give one that long sought after commodity. Status. Saturated here is the over-zealous belief that the attendee has somehow made it.

All fees are paid in multi-year increments, in advance, or by credit card. There is no canceling the credit charges once this elevated process is engaged. Sixty-two percent of those surveyed in a recent edition of Muscle Illustrated said, they chose the plush, high-end, facility above less costly gyms purely for reasons of social acceptability and name recognition. “ It’s the place to be for meeting people of stature, who could enhance my career at some point. “ Beyond the points of social elevation are the actual advantages that one can absorb. State of the art training equipment. Here, too, is the gratification that the attendee is able to see the exact equipment that is used by the big-boys on popular TV exercise shows. And with that equipment so close to one’s finger tips; now that TV body that was only a fleeting dream can be theirs for the developing.

Make sure the club that you are interested in has proper insurance coverage’s. Against fire, theft, vandalism, etc. Note: fifty percent of all health clubs go bankrupt during their first five years in business. Be certain to obtain a copy of their insurance carrier, in the event you awaken one day to find the gym has gone soft belly up.