Roughly a month after joining the Brooklyn YMCA I finally made it down there for my first of four free sessions with a trainer, O., a tall muscular black guy who was clearly wasted on me.
"First off, can you fill out this form?" he said, handing me a clipboard.
I got through providing my name, age, and address okay. (International money laundering scam alert!! Hopefully the YMCA keeps the documents in a vault.) Then I hit my first snag.
"Um, when it says 'Activities You Enjoy,' does it mean physical activities?"
"Yes," said O.
I crossed out "Reading, Writing," and left "Walking."
"Walking's good," he said encouragingly. That gave me the strength to continue. Twice the form provided me with the option of saying I was interested in weight loss; twice I refused to check the box. Take that, societal expectations of women!
The last section mandated that I list three obstacles to my success. I wrote down two and then paused. "Is 'inertia' the same thing as 'laziness'?" I asked.
O. shrugged. "One time I had a guy here who was like 300 pounds," he said. "And he wrote down, 'Too many women.'"
"That's good!" I said. "I'm totally going to steal that."
I signed the form, agreeing to commit to exercising 30 minutes 3 times a week, which is really something for me. I think exercise is like parenthood: something responsible people do, sure, mostly when forced, but which sensible folks avoid as long as possible. Of course I have friends who exercise; on this topic, just like parents, they become gushing Patty Hearst types. Perhaps I too will become an endorphin junkie, but I'm skeptical.