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

By Nina Pajak

Have I mentioned that I recently rejoined the gym scene?

After quitting my old health club in a huff for reasons I don’t precisely remember right now, I felt free! I felt like I was doing something no one had done in a long time. At least, not in Manhattan. I had no workout plan! I had no exorbitant fees or exercise buddies or gym staff members who knew my face well enough to ask me why so long in between visits? Mind your own beeswax, okay? It felt revolutionary, revelatory, and I was like a bird in the wind, just an unfettered soul in the great, wide, natural world without self-imposed guilt or external pressure to spend six hours a week in a sweaty room filled with sweaty strangers. Why do we do this to ourselves? What sort of lives are these? I felt like I’d done something important and new.

Then I gained a bunch of weight. Oh, right. That.

I mean, all I was doing was eating and drinking delicious things and not exercising. What’s up with this?

Then a bunch of people asked me if I was pregnant before telling me I didn’t actually look pregnant! No, of course I don’t! It’s the ruffles. The $!@#$!!*%@#@!*& ruffles.

All of this is to lead up to the fact that, as impulsively as I slammed the door on my last gym, I joined a new one. And blew two months’ salary on a personal training package in about three minutes. It went something like this:

Me: I’m interested in hearing about your personal training rates.

Gym membership guy: Well, let me get someone in here right away to discuss that with you! <blows silent whistle>

Seven foot tall, Adonis-like trainer materializes in extremely tiny membership office, towering over me. I am seated, at roughly eye level with his incredibly well-defined calf muscles.

Trainer <voice booming, as though speaking directly from Mount Olympus>: So, you’re interested in training?

Me <speaking incredibly quickly, craning my neck at 90° and straining to see his face through the clouds>: Well the thing is I got married and I was in great shape for my wedding I mean you know how it goes you probably get people in here with this story all the time right? ha ha ha anyway I worked out with a trainer before the wedding but I haven’t since then really and I gained all this weight afterward and I really need a lot of help and training to get back to where I need to be, I’ve just been awful and I’m so out of shape and I really want to do whatever I can do because I’m just so sorry that I let myself get here, I mean I haven’t worked out regularly in so long and I just let it all go, and it’s just awful I’m really disappointed in myself.

Trainer: We offer packages of all sizes, but I think you should start out with 30 sessio–

Me: Yes okay! That sounds great. Perfect, yes, thank you. How much is that?

Trainer: With a new member discount, it comes out to roughly–

Me: Perfect! Yes. Great. Here’s my credit card. Can’t wait to get started. Thank you. Thankyouthankyouthankyou.

Then I blacked out and didn’t come to until my card had been run. I’m told I signed my receipt, and I suppose I believe it. Take it from me and watch out for that hard sell!

See Also: NYC’s Best Weight Loss Programs | The Ultimate NYC Fitness & Weight Loss Guide

I will say that I am now about a month into my sessions, and I’m loving it. Nothing like an enormous and unplanned expenditure to make you feel confident about a decision. I’m committed, I’m motivated, I’m full-on atoning for my hubristic foray into a gym-free life. Who did I think I was, anyway? This is New York, not Texas. A girl’s got to keep herself together. This was the right thing to do. I’m fully drinking the Kool-Aid on this one.

Sugar free, of course.


Dear Readers: 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:

I’m Back, And I’m Not Going Anywhere. Until I Go On Another Trip.

Peace Out (For A Week)

Time For New York To Step Up And Commit Already

Let’s Drop This ‘Rehab’ Thing, Shall We?

The Great Purge

You Can Find Me At The Dog Run

Nothing Like Summer In The City

Watch & Listen LIVE