I’ll be 51 in two weeks. How did this happen? It seems like only yesterday I was young and cute and skinny. Yesterday, 1986. The fact that I may not live forever is painfully clear. If I don’t get into better shape, I could drop dead any minute. As part of our home-school curriculum, we looked for a local martial arts class. As luck would have it, we found Workout-Time, a gym that also offers jujitsu.

Powertime_5 The membership is $64/month. Total, for all four of us, including classes, use of equipment, everything. Sweet. Of course, you get what you pay for. Workout-Time is perfectly adequate as gyms go. But Gold’s, it ain’t.

Having owned a fitness business for 17 years, I know my way around a gym. I’ve been in a lot of gyms in a lot of cities, London to California. I’ve never seen any place quite like Workout-Time. It’s a guy’s gym with free weights and the oldest Nautilus-knock-off equipment I’ve EVER seen. So old that the adjustable parts don’t adjust anymore, they’ve rusted
in place. So I do the leg extension with the foot thing at the lowest
notch, like I’m 6’1".

I don’t think the floors have been vacuumed. Ever. One of the mirrored walls was bashed by a weight, looks like a long time ago. The vinyl is all
torn and worn thin. It’s good gym etiquette to have a towel with you as you workout, to wipe down the equipment after you use it. This is the first time I’ve ever used a towel for protection. Kind of like a condom.

Powertime_4Oddly, Workout-Time has the best squat machine I’ve ever used. This design is perfect: puts your body in just the right position to work the glutes. See those two arms, the white things pointing down? You stand up between these arms, facing away from the camera, and lean your shoulders back against these arms as you squat.

Well, a couple of days ago, the right arm busted off while someone was working out on it. You could seriously injure yourself working out on a steel apparatus loaded up with a bunch of weight as it comes apart. Seriously.

But no injuries this time, and it’s business as usual. For a few days, we used it without the right arm. Then it reappeared, welded
back on. Gives you a little pause before you load up any of these oldies with discos… You gotta wonder what else is on the brink of busting. You decide not to think about it.

The boys are quite enthusiastic about Rigoberto (ree-go-BEAR-toe) and the jujitsu classes. They get to knock each other down and use weapons. Like the roku shaku bo, which is basically a big stick. You could put somebody’s lights out with one of those. When the class is full and everyone is waving a stick, I can’t watch. When the class is over and the boys are both sitting on their knees with their palms up and eyes closed, I can’t look away. It’s so lovely. I’d like to try this at home.

Jujitsu_1Rigoberto’s aunt made each gi which impresses me no end. Rigoberto took the boys’ measurements and a week later we have homemade gis. Ryan didn’t have his for the photo, but he looks as dashing in his as Mo does. You might be asking why we want our teenagers to be able to remove our livers with one hand. We have no answer. It just seems like a good idea at the moment.

There are fancier gyms around the San Jose area, with ALL the bells and whistles for considerably more money. But we like Workout-Time, it has everything we need for an excellent price. We are crazy about Axel (AXE-ell), the owner (that’s him in the doorway), and he seems to get a kick out of us. Powertime_3_2We are the only gringos we’ve seen here, besides the Bortmans who told us about the place.

In a fancy gym, we’d have to wear cute outfits and makeup, carry nice towels and ecologically-correct water bottles. At Workout-Time, we can go dressed as homeless people and no one bats an eye. Go in, get fit, go home. Keeps it simple. Which is important in our later years.

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