Nina In New York: I Quit The Gym. No, Really.

A young professional’s take on the trials and tribulations of everyday life in New York City.

By Nina Pajak

Something huge happened this week. Huge.

I quit the gym.

Omg. Are people allowed to do that? Am I allowed to do that? Have you ever done that? It feels terribly wrong. Like purchasing convenience store apple pies or eating more than two cookies at time. It wasn’t until college that I realized people actually did these things! Not. Allowed.

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We are a gym-centric city. In L.A. and Miami (our skinny sister cities), they’ve got nature and hiking and Billy Blanks and thigh-posuction and swimming and what have you, plus plenty of residences that can accommodate fitness equipment and in-home aerobic activity. If we tried this in our apartments, the moldings would crack off the walls and Mr. and Mrs. Goldblatt would have you evicted before you can say “Zumba.”

But we have to be thin. We can’t not be thin—this isn’t Cincinnati, people. So we gym. We spin and ellipticize and yoga and step and lift and squat. And it’s fine. Sometimes it’s good, even great! Until it isn’t. And you hate it. And you think if you see another NYSC you will scream, but they’re everywhere and you are constantly wracked by the guilt of knowing you’re both losing money every month and getting fat while you do it. But when you think about getting off your butt and going again, all you can see is waiting in line for 20 minutes for a machine with a broken TV that only gets C-SPAN, simply to realize how shamefully far you’ve let yourself slip.

And I for one have had it. I’m taking a stand against the tyranny!

Also, I just have no time, what with the puppy and all. And plus the weather and…so sleepy, but also the…lunar tide…

Listen, the point is that it’s done, I’ve broken up with the NYSC, and it’s making me incredibly uncomfortable. But theoretically, not belonging to a gym should force us to get actual real world exercise, absorb a little vitamin D, maybe even try new things. Shouldn’t it be liberating to know that I’m no longer obligated to spend hours upon hours each week inside a smelly, airless room? Our grandparents weren’t fat, and I highly doubt they devoted all that much time to vibrating on that antique shimmy belt machine or heaving old-timey barbells. Nowadays, we’re all about how “you shouldn’t eat anything your grandmother wouldn’t recognize.” Well do you think your Nana would get within 10 feet of a Pilates Reformer? Why doesn’t this concept extend to physical activity, too?

Yeah, I don’t know either. I’m afraid. Pardon me while I go drown myself in shame cookies.

Would you ever consider breaking up with your gym? Let us know in the comments section…

Dear Readers: I’ll now be writing about city life every day from now on. While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.

Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.

The Nina Archives:

Monday Morning Gripes And Grumbles

  • vitamin d foods

    There is soy milk, rice milk and many varieties of milk. They are available in most major supermarkets are all a good source of Vitamin D. You should always be sure you read the label carefully so that you know exactly how much Vitamin D is in the milk.

  • Ellen

    Walking is one of the best exercise you can do, and cost nothing to boot.

  • America First

    that double chin is not going to go away by its self.

  • nathan

    The gym is my temple.

  • Juliette

    I feel guilty just seeing people in gym clothes… quitting might just be the way out! Great column

  • sueg

    Carrie Bradshaw would ‘like’ this column. So do I!! Well done Nina!

  • Julie Lewis

    I quit the gym three years ago and have been SO much fitter and happier ever since! It is all about walking, stretching, and having fun. I’m never going back!

  • Ralph Kriznazki

    there’s just nothing like workin on the delts, glutes and lats.

    that’s just me!

    loving this column!

  • Hrothgar

    This is so funny. Reminds me of all the great gyms I have quit! Great to know that somebody else is doing the same!

  • kal

    Hey, don’t complain your ass is fat. Summer’s around the corner…

  • susan

    Ms. Pajak is quite funny. I love “If we tried this in our apartments, the moldings would crack off the walls and Mr. and Mrs. Goldblatt would have you evicted before you can say “Zumba.”” So glad you’re going to be writing every day!

  • Tom

    Why not going when you feel like and enjoy it! It must be fun, not a routine

  • Nick Dixon

    Worse is never getting there – the guilt is paralyzing!

  • littlemissmagicNY

    I also tried to quit the gym 2 months ago and they told me I had a 45 day time period to change my mind. I caved, and on day 44 I “re-joined” slash swiped my credit card for another hundo. :(

    Great column! Saw it on Matt’s facebook page. Congrats and I’ll be a daily reader!

  • Jeremy

    Eating more than six cookies at one go is shameful. Between two and six is just mildly embarrassing — so eat up and feel proud, Nina. I applaud your gym-abandoning!

  • Jacqueline Nicole

    I couldn’t agree more! Last Saturday when it was 60 degrees outside and I found myself headed to the gym to work out indoors on a treadmill I realized something was wrong. Good for you that you are planning to spend more time outdoors!

  • Rusty VanBuren

    A wonderful addition to my Tuesday morning. Keep it up!

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