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I recently took advantage of a deal through my workplace for a gym membership. I did so because this particular outfit has a gym near me that has a nice pool and the cost was reasonable and I decided it was time I did some swimming. I started last week, and I’m aiming to swim three, maybe four times per week. That will likely mean I’ll manage to do it two, maybe three times, but hey I have a goal.

I remembered from the last time I had a gym membership that I would have to endure a sales pitch or two – for personal trainers, special programs, classes, supplements and so on. This place was no different. I called them up for an orientation (so I could find the change room). They wanted to do an assessment. In my experience, assessments are sales tools. I said no thanks, I’m really mostly interested in swimming. But we could give you tips? Thanks but I don’t need tips. I know how to swim. Have you considered strength training? Right now I mostly want to swim. You should consider strength training. We have excellent personal trainers. Thanks, but…. If you don’t want an assessment, I’m going to have to ask you to sign this paper saying you refused. Can’t I just refuse? No, you have to sign the paper. I signed the paper.

A few days later I received a phone call at home from the gym. Is there a problem with my membership? No, not at all. I just wanted to ask you if you’d like to set up an appointment for an assessment. Um, I’ve had this conversation. I mostly want to swim. Swimming can be an excellent part of a well-balanced program. We can talk to you about that. Look, the only person who is going to do any physical assessment on me is my doctor. Oh, does your doctor work out custom programs for you? Look, I mostly want to swim.


I’m enjoying the swimming. I’ve been doing laps, alternating each lap from one stroke to another. When I get tired, get out of the pool and do some Chi Kung (pick your spelling) movements I learned years ago when I practiced Tai Chi. Then back in the pool for more laps, followed by a few minutes in the sauna and to the showers and home.


  1. oh that sales pitch stuff is so off putting isn’t it? I rang our local gym to enquire about pilates classes and they hounded me with phone calls for weeks afterwards

  2. I have a friend who’s a physical therapist. She’s appalled by all the muscle and skeletal damage she sees in people who participate in sports. More and more of her patients are high school age kids. BUT, she’s NEVER had to do physical therapy with a swimmer! She says it’s the best exercise for anyone.

  3. Oh God, that would drive me nuts with that assessment thing. We have a Y down the street which we’re likely going to join. I was so glad they were so laid back about the whole thing. I don’t even want to talk to anybody when I’m at the pool. It’s probably the only time in my life when I’m anti-social.

  4. Keep up the good work! Sounds like a good routine to me.

    I love my gym. It’s cheap and nobody bothers you. Also, I can get an assessment and programme from them for nothing. Well, it’s included in the monthly fee (36€). But so far I just do yoga, pilates and cycling. Would like to do some light weight training too. Poco á poco…

  5. That sounds like a really great program, actually. Most of these chain gyms (which is what I assume this is judging by the sales-y-ness) have these assessment things and try to push their programs. Good for you to stick to your guns and just go there for what you want to do. You are more likely to stay motivated by doing what you want rather than what someone pushes you to do.

    • I’m really enjoying the swimming, and you’re right it’s easy to keep doing the stuff you like doing. I think swimming gently works a lot of muscles.

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