You no doubt recall that one of my goals for 2012 was to join a gym here in Paris. Not very original, as far as New Years Goals go, I know, but a good one for me because 1) I hadn’t worked out regularly in a gym since early summer, and 2) I am eating a lot, and 3) I need to mingle with the French more, and 4) I am drinking a lot (but only on the weekends, as per another 2012 goal), and 5) I figured it would be good for at least one blog post.
I called one of my friends who joined a gym when she got here a year ago, and asked if she would take me on a tour and let me go to a class with her. She enthusiastically agreed. It seems she really loves going to the gym and was eager to get me on her team. The gym is called Club Med and is a chain with many Paris locations. Yes, it is affiliated with Club Med vacations, but as far as I can tell it is only by name. I keep waiting for someone to offer me a massage or a drink out of a coconut shell, and nothing yet. But it’s that hope that keeps me going, day after day. That and the hope that I will be able to get back into some of the pants I brought over with me in August.
Although there is a small location just around the corner from me, so far I have been going to the “super-center” gym my friend goes to because it seems a little nicer and because I like seeing my friend and occasional other ex-pats. I have always been a morning exerciser, and if I walk the dog a half-hour earlier in the morning, I can catch the bus and make the 8<30 class called Body Sculpt. This class seems to be popular with the Older Set, although there are always a few youngsters there to make us feel worse about ourselves. The teachers rotate and also rotate their own routines , so it hasn’t gotten boring yet. The first class I tried was really crowded and we inadvertently ended up in the very front row, right in front of the teacher who I swear never smiled the entire 45 minutes. The other classes have been better, and some of the teachers do occasionally smile and joke around with the class. I always kind of worry they are talking about me when they joke with the French people around me, but because I am definitely closer to the beat than most of the others, I doubt that they are laughing at me. Maybe at my big clunky American tennis shoes, but not at me. I am learning to count backwards in French, and also getting a good review of body part terminology. Occasionally I will understand something being said to me or around me, and that’s always cause for a petite celebration in my heart. Those little triumphs can go a long way toward boosting self-confidence. The classes are challenging and varied, although I haven’t tried anything other than Body Sculpt, “Abs, Butt and Thighs” (or something like that) and Body Balance, which is kind of an intro to yoga. They also offer Body Pump , Body Combat, Spinning, Yoga, and many others.
When I mentioned on Face Book that I was about to take this plunge, several people commented that they pictured the French women leaning languidly against the machines, in sexy togs, smoking and chatting away. Actually, the people on the machines seems to be sweating on them. The workout clothes are generally conservative. No Nike shorts in sight for the women, though- all wear lycra pants, usually full-length. The lingerie spotted in the changing room is a bit racier than one usually sees in gyms at home, and that’s all I am going to say about that. Most of the French women do seem to work out in full makeup, which is weird to me, but not unheard-of at home. Smoking is not allowed in the building, and I am surprised that I don’t see hundreds of cigarette butts on the steps leading down to the gym, as people frantically inhale their final lung-fulls of carcinogens before working out. Maybe they stick them in their sports bras so they can finish them later.
The music in my classes has been almost entirely American, and almost entirely bad. I was kind of happy to hear Shania Twain on Friday, though. Gotta love “Feel Like A Woman” when your thighs are on fire from a set of squats that you know is only half-way over.
Other than riding a bus to and from the gym, and not understanding most of what the instructor says, it’s not unlike going to the gym at home. You go, you sweat, you suffer, you leave, you inhale a croissant, and you hurt the next morning. And then you do the whole thing over again.
We will be gathered around our Slingbox this evening, waiting for Ellen to come on and hoping to see my daughter’s smooth moves on national (and in our case, international) TV. I’ll report back.
17 responses to “How is that gym goal working out for you?”
It’s still dark at 8???
Yes! I guess I haven’t mentioned that it’s super dark here until 8:30 or so and gets dark again at 5:00!
I like reason no. 5 for joining the gym. I have found myself doing many, MANY ridiculous things in the hopes it will pay off in one blog post. And a lot of times it doesn’t.
Ok, I have never replied to a blog before but I’m going to give it a shot. You are one brave soul to try a gym in a country that doesn’t speak your language! However, you MUST try spinning! I’m addicted to it and much of it is in the dark (at least it is in the US) with music blaring and big video screens so you nobody can see you. You have to go at least 5 – 10 times before you decide if you hate it or love it. Let me know what you think. I love reading your great stories and I can’t wait to see you in April!
Hey Jane! I did spinning at home and I did love it! I wish it would be in the dark here, but I don’t think it is. And I did hate it until I loved it! Remind me of when you come in April. I am now going to NYC April 5-9 and Bali on the 20th. Hope it doesn’t conflict!
We arrive Friday, April 6 but will be driving up to mont st. michel for one evening. We will be in Paris from April 7 – 15 leaving in the a.m. of the 15th!
You go girl!!
Our apt is at 17 AVE. DE LA BOURDONNAIS in the 7th arr so any suggestions on good places to eat that are close by would be helpful. Also, any other suggestions on special exhibits, museums, sights, ect would be appreciated!
Does your Slingbox work well? My friend in South Africa has nightmare problems with hers, but she has problems with pretty much all technology in South Africa. Internet/technology is definitely not the same everywhere. 🙂
We don’t use it all that much. Our internet stream is generally kind of unreliable, and I would say that our slingbox suffers from that. We have it hooked up to our computer, not our TV, and we don’t watch it all that often.
What channel is Ellen on? I might try and watch it on our Slingbox too!
I think it depends on where your slingbox is coming from. OUrs is in Austin and Ellen is on channel 4 at 11:oo pm here, but friends are watching on their slingbox from Houston and it’s at 9:00. You have to google to find out what channel and time in the city where your tv is coming from.
Oh, sorry, I meant what station – ABC, NBC, CBS, etc. But I’ll just google it!
Kate, per my 2012 resolution I went to the Club yesterday afternoon . Silly me, I hoped to escape the football play-offs that had been on in my living room since noon. There were 6 treadmills all tuned to, yes, the play-offs so I got to hear 6 men yelling about being offisdes instead of just one. Hoping for silence today.
Ha! At least at the gym you only had to hear the men and not the game, right?
I would have pictured cigarette butts all over the place too. Good to hear they aren’t. I wonder if the French have a similar campaign about how toxic they are…www.toxicbutts.com
OH nooooo- they have no problems with cigarette butts. They are everywhere. I would tend to go with the “sticking them in the sports bra” explanation before that one! I heard that soon there will be fines for people who throw butts on the ground, but it’s going to be a slow process.