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Surprises, Day 46 Part 2

March 24, 2010

I had no control over yesterday’s most uncomfortable moment, when I woke up to an overdrawn bank account from a major distraction error on my part when making a credit card payment last week.  Overdrawn by several thousand dollars – really.  Thankfully, Chase credit cards handled everything brilliantly and made sure I had an easy resolution to my problem so I could run to make my first personal training session at New York Sports Clubs.  First, I must tangentialize about my love of Groupon, who offered me this amazing month at NYSC for only $30, including three half hour personal training sessions.  I know Groupon prides themselves on giving offering a huge variety of services at really inexpensive group discounts each day (right now I have another gym membership, a dentist appointment, speed dating, a sailing class, and a circus arts class waiting for me to use), but they’ve even started to offer a promise of quality such that if one has a dissatisfying experience, he can request a refund.

Well Groupon, so far I can’t imagine having to take you up on that offer!  Unlike the gyms I can afford, like Planet Fitness or my previous membership at Lucille Roberts, New York Sports Clubs has a clean, easy atmosphere with a varied but smarter, fitter, and less desperate clientele.  No plastic suits or signs informing their members not to use them, no creepy and unattractive men drooling in my direction, no uneducated women slamming the weights down on the machines, and no boys club style antics of groups hanging around the machines I want to use for hours.  On the other side of the coin, unlike the Reebok gym or even Chelsea Piers (both of which I loved and do have more to offer), I feel no air of pretension from the members at the Crowne Plaza NYSC.  With a fantastic mix of so many actors, performers, and professionals, I feel right at home at this gym in a way I haven’t yet anywhere else in the city.

Although I won’t stay with New York Sports Clubs after this month (still too rich for my blood), I love it and couldn’t enjoy my month there more.  Having met Nick last week, the personal trainer I worked with yesterday, I found a fun person to show me the ropes.  In fact, I think I’ll have to find him some concert tickets or something to thank him in the end, since I had no idea this Groupon deal leaves him unpaid for our sessions.  Thankfully, he can schedule my sessions during a time when he gets paid a nominal amount for roaming the exercise floor with a “Here to help you” t-shirt, but his generosity exceeds his payment by far.  For those of you who have worked with personal trainers, should one ever tip them?

Nick gave me some excellent tips yesterday for toning my upper thighs and hips while providing me with a forty-five to fifty minute training session, far more than required for our first supposed thirty minute session.  Generally unable to afford a personal trainer, I haven’t worked with one since my time at the University of Maryland, whose unbelievably wonderful gym (seriously a reason to attend the school in itself) offered three one hour-long sessions for $55 to students.  At that time, I learned the value of working with a trained professional who can teach me exercises specific to my body’s needs.  After too long forgetting those benefits along the way, I joyfully accepted Nick’s help yesterday when he provided me with exercises that worked muscles I never train, which definitely explains why certain parts of my body never quite seem to tone properly.  Tonight I’ll head back to the gym for my first full boxing class, so popular I have the first position on the wait list.

Surprisingly popular last night, Pianos Bar & Grill in Bloomfield, NJ, hosted a cabaret competition featuring my dear and talented friend. Megan, as one of my more motivated and industrious friends, found the ad for this competition in Backstage Magazine and on Craigslist.  Considering the small cover and minimum and the fact that the bizarre voting process inspires each performer to bring as many audience members as possible (everyone has to vote for three different performers, and they weigh each vote equally), I personally think the establishment could afford better prizes.

With two hours of recording studio time offered for first prize as one of the best winnings, several performers fought hard last evening to impress the audience and present their craft.  Despite my bias, I do think Megan not only presented herself as the most professional of the group, and she sang and acted circles around pretty much everyone performing.  Thankfully, Megan’s friend Zachary and I became the fastest friends, having both worked at the Met while living in Washington Heights, and we thoroughly enjoyed chatting all night about the varying degrees of talent onstage.  I can’t remember the last time I had so much fun watching a show, and from some solid performers both comic and dramatic to some very over-dramatic and accidentally comic singers, I suffered no lack of entertainment.  Even good enough to miss LOST and Naked Angels again!  I sincerely hope that Megan wins on Sunday at their final round at 8pm at Pianos Bar & Grill in Bloomfield, just a short $5 NJtransit ride from Manhattan.  If you can go to support her, I promise you an evening you won’t forget soon (do make reservations in advance!).

As for me, I’m off to buy some hand wraps for tonight’s boxing class after lunch with Ariana.  Ooh – and rehearsals start back up for me with a couple of choirs at the end of the week.  I can’t wait!

inspires each performer to bring as many audience members as possible

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