July 17, 2024 The Best Source of News, Culture, Lifestyle for Culver City, Mar Vista, Del Rey, Palms and West Los Angeles

Lose Pounds, Gain Friends!

I am back. I’ve been away. Not away from the gym, mind you—never away from the gym. Just away from my computer, away from calculating my diet, away from writing my column, which can sometimes feel tedious and trite, and as a writer, that’s something I never want to be.

So how am I doing, you ask? Let me tell you. I lost 40 pounds on www.fatburn.com. I worked hard, and still work hard and have managed to keep off 30 pounds. But I confess, I had some ice cream. I was weak. A moment of weakness turned into a summer of stopping by the Sweet Rose Creamery (damn that place for being so good) and suddenly I had gained back 10 pounds. But I’m not worried, because #1) I know that confession is good for the soul and #2) the burn fit program is fail proof. I got out of the groove a bit. Stella lost her edge. But Stella is back.

Truth be told, it wasn’t just Sweet Rose, but my father’s illness, my up-and-down festival of clients who bounced checks on me, or decided to break their contractual obligations that made me long for the escape of sugar. It is hard to stay healthy when your world is falling apart. My life, a whirlwind of trying to find steady income, doesn’t make for an easy time of losing weight. But, through it all, keeping me sane are my friends. Friends I’ve made at the gym.

Now, most of you, if you’re from here made your friends in college and if you live in town you’ve made more friends at work. But when you’re virtually unemployed and you write for a living and you spend most of your time by yourself, hunched over a computer or taking the occasional odd job whenever you can—it can get lonely. The gym is more than fitness machines and treadmills; it’s also become a place to meet people.

My closest girlfriends have been born out of the gym’s most difficult class—owner Tom Williams’ private hour and 15-minute torture session. We jokingly call it ‘torture’ though we crave and love the class. It’s the class that makes you feel like you’ve seriously worked your butt off. It’s the class that pushed me over the edge to lose the weight in the first place. And it’s the people in the class that inspire me to keep coming back.

It’s because of Williams’ personality that the gym is so dang friendly. In a way, it’s like we’re at camp and he’s the head counselor. “Today kids, we’re going to do plyometrics!†That heinous jumping up and down over step blocks, while holding weights and then lifting them—and yet somehow he makes it fun and doable, and the camaraderie we all feel while suffering through has somehow bonded us.

My gym friendships started with Nicole Cogan, the A-type mother of our group. She introduces herself to me with a warm smile and her South African accent (which I always mistake for Australian or British). She sets up my mat and everyone else’s ahead of time. She is organized. She is thin. She is blonde. She worked tirelessly on the Obama campaign. We adore her.

Jennifer Barry, a publicist, is smart, acerbically witty, perhaps a bit reserved, but I like her immediately, she she’s got it all going on. Melissa “Mel†Herrington, Jennifer’s client and a local artist, is a stunning girl who turns to me one day while Taio Cruz’ “Dynamite†is playing and says, “I like this song. It’s so happy.†And the song’s lyrics, “I want to celebrate and live my life,†gel perfectly with Mel’s infectiously upbeat personality. Robin Kurtzman, the newest member to our group, a fearless, petite girl with great legs invites me out to hang out. In a town where no one ever has time for anyone she has taken time for me. She, who is newest to our group, has gone out of her way to make me feel welcome. She is the hostess, the inviter, the person who wants everyone to be happy. Every group needs a Robin.

And on the periphery, but only because she is so busy with her music is Alanna Vicente, a beautiful model/singer who is actually very smart and supremely nice. (Just when you thought, all models were snotty airheads. It’s so not true). When I had to go to Boston, and didn’t have a winter coat and was low on cash, she offers me hers to borrow so I won’t have to purchase one (If only that coat fit around my hips!). These are the kind of people who are attracted to this gym. Good hearted, warm, caring folks who have your back. These are the kind of people who gravitate towards Tom. This is his gym and his gracious vibe is present everywhere. He’s a taskmaster when he trains and yes, we’re all afraid of his booming voice, challenging us to “Go faster, move, move, MOVE!†but we all adore him and the gym and everything it has done for us.

If we were at Cheers I’d lift a glass to Tom Williams; for everything he’s done for me; and for providing a space where I could build such wonderful friendships…to everyone else I say, “Get to the gym, get on the fatburn.com program, lose some weight and gain some friends.â€

tailfish@roadrunner.com

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