Saturday, August 28, 2010

Day 89, Secret Agent Mission

I finally made it to a gym for this week's assignment (to look at what's happening at the gym, what the people look like, what the deal is in comparison to how we've trained these past 90 days). To start, let me just say that I had a lot of fun with this assignment. I've always said that if my family was tragically killed or something I would toss in my lot with spies or CIA or whatever, and become a trained killer machine, fighting for American ideals or somesuch nonsense. Part of why I chose Jennifer Garner for the image bar up there is because I think she's so badass in Alias, and I saw SALT a few weeks ago and it was so fun! Anyway, this little trip to the gym was as close as I'm getting to a real life spy mission, so I had fun.

Ok, here's my report!

Gym: Crunch
Today being the first day I've had time to do this, I went at a weird time - 2pm on one of the most beautiful Saturdays NYC has seen in a while. So, the gym was pretty empty. BUT, I realized that the people there are probably your classic 'gym rats', since they're opting to be inside working out instead of outside enjoying the pleasant temp and sun.
So I had to go thru the whole process of pretending that I want to look around and potentially join, which turned out to be really funny. The poor guy who showed me around was very confused (more on why), and I almost wanted to tell him about the whole ruse by the end, but then I thought better of it.

He started by asking me what I currently do for fitness. This was funny, and I decided to act totally nonchalant about it. My answer: "oh, well I workout at home, alone." That kind of threw him, and of course he wanted to know more. Second answer: "well, I jumprope and I use my own body weight and resistance bands to do strength stuff. [shrug]" At this point he was obviously perplexed by me. He then asked how it was going for me. I shrugged again, but then flashed him a big bicep flex and I think the man almost fell off his chair. HAAAAHAHAH! I wanted to laugh and then bounce out of my clothes in the Pink Lady bikini and be all like "SUCKERS! GET OUT OF THIS GYM!"
But instead I just smiled.

So then we went on the tour! This is where i had to tell more lies (lies! lies! lies!) and say I was interested in using the elliptical (a machine that, as far as I can tell, seems to work people on it as hard as napping does), and spin classes, and all kinds of things that I never want to think about anymore. This is where I got to check people out though. Now I will say that there was one woman who was in serious shape. She had super low body fat % and was just ripped. BUT, I wouldn't say she was in peak condition - she was sprinting on this treadmill, looking at 6 different flat screens, listening to music, all on this gorgeous day when running outside would be easy (not too hot). Far from peak, little muscle woman was, in this respect at least.

Other than that, no one else looked great. Lots of flabby mid-sections, not much sweating. This morning during the PCP workout (which, ahem, KILLED ME), I made an extra point of looking at myself tortured with pain during the shoulder exercises. When I'm struggling with the damn DaVinci's I almost look like a different person because i'm making crazy faces and squealing. No one at that gym was even close to failing at anything, I can tell you purely from their relaxed faces and lack of discomfort.

So we tour, it's fine, the bathroom/locker room is gross. I did like that the place was filled with light, and has big windows, so that was nice. but that's about all. He told me about all the classes they have, which actually did sound like fun classes, but I'd rather play sports as a fun active thing, not go to a gym to take a class (though a dancing series is the exception to this!).

Through the whole tour he kept asking me things, and I would reveal little PCPisms but in such a chill way that he continued to be impressed and confused. I think the guy gave me 10 fist-pumps during the tour, I noticed that he wanted to give one for every time I said a PCPism. yet, here he was trying to sell me on a place where many PCP habits can't be practiced effectively. funny!

On top of all that, we then sat down and he revealed to me that they also have...PARTIES. To which I immediately wanted to know more. What kind of parties? and, of course, what's served at these parties at the GYM???
So every month they have a party (the whole gym was very scene-y, so I'm thinking the party is a way to hook up with the people you've been making eyes at over the staff-infection-infested rowing machine), and at this party they serve "all kinds of appetizers" and "tons of liquor/booze". I raised my eyebrows to this, at which point he just kind of nervously laughed.

Now, there was 1 cool thing about this gym:
they have a live DJ spinning in the workout area on Tuesdays! I like this because it's hard for me to stay on top of music choices, and as we've recently learned, the right music helps pump up the workout.
And, it wasn't a terrible place or anything - people were nice and I remembered how good it feels to join a new gym and have that sense of promise and optimism about your goals. But, inherently, the whole place got in the way of helping people to get fit - the main thing the place at least SAYS it's there for. So, that's the ultimate fail I suppose.
won't be joining Crunch anytime soon.

However, I did used to love going to the YMCA. I would swim there with a friend of mine and we were true regulars in the pool - we had fun and got to know SO many characters, and we stayed relatively healthy. I think the Y is a different place though - there are so many kids and families, and it's a community space as much as a gym, and that's what it's trying to be. It still has the flaws I saw at Crunch, but I can respect a place like the YMCA in a way that i could not at all respect this thinly veiled nightclub called Crunch.

At the end of my little meeting with the sales guy, he said something like, "well, you seem like you're in pretty good shape already, so you'd be great here," and I wanted to say "you have no idea, so no thank you CRUNCH!"
But I did one final shrug, just to continue confusing the man, and I thanked him for his time.

what a fun mission!
what a strange place I discovered.

Soooo, then I moseyed down to the beloved food coop and reflected on the other pcp component - our new way of eating. I filled my basket with fruits, veggies, trying to find new fruits and veggies for this week - so fun! I got two new grains to try - amarynth and red quinoa! and I got these post-pcp treats:
I felt so happy and healthy and excited at the fact that, when I thought of getting some stuff for after day 90 that I wouldn't have bought before, I didn't reach for ice cream or packaged chips or candy or anything like that. Instead, I got all weak in the knees for delicious dates, dried unsweetened cherries, dried figs and garam masala cashews. Y-U-M! These are mini indulgences that I'm glad to start having back in my life. They're not unlawful (definition here), but they're still treats, and I'm really glad to move forward with this kind of thinking.

Plus, I still also got all this stuff:
YUUUUUUMMMM. I will always be eating these types of foods from now on!

and then I made these for lunch:
Such a great pcp lunch! and I swear, all that food equates to 150g carbs, 120g protein and as many veggies as I want! These little sandwiches were so tasty!

Day 89 Mini Sammies
6 slices whole wheat bread (small oblong loaf)
1/2 avocado, distributed onto all the slices and spread
spoonful of sauteed peppers and onions onto each bread
1/2 large tomato, cut up with a slice for each bread
Chicken sauteed/poached with onions, garlic, spices

Smash each mini sammie together and consume!

Oh, and on the side I broiled a portobello mushroom and spooned some of the onions and garlic on top.

still full, and veeeery satisfied!

p.s. The workout today was insane! I was a maniac with crazy grunts and sighs and whines, but I got thru it. planks with the arms wide are way harder! v-sits without touching legs back to the floor are way harder! no rest b/w sets are way harder! but it all felt great, in that painful inexplicable way...


  1. haha i like that you were using some pcpisms and he was impressed yet confused! would love to have seen that! ooh those sammies look great!

  2. love your secret spy mission - that guy was totally flummoxed by you! nice work.

    rockin it hardcore 'til the bitter end, elena!

  3. I failed so good at some stuff that after the 2nd set my muscles wouldn't even budge for 1 rep. I was pushing and grunting and nothing would work. Some tearful laughter escaped my lips at one point, I sounded rather insane.

    Good post, love your description of the perplexed guy! Now, I'm off to celebrate a bit early. Best friend in town for a night!! Woohoo!

  4. Great story--also, so good to see someone else who loved Alias. The first two seasons were so well-balanced between the family drama and the ridiculously entertaining spy missions. I'll still watch anything Jennifer Garner is in.

    Also, those sandwiches look delicious.

  5. LOVE IT. Down with gyms up with PEOPLE!

  6. Crunch sounds really awful.
    But the red quinoa is awesome.
    This might be good with it: