The Layout

<!– Field notes for becoming Fitter Happier –>

A quick overview of the geography of Premier Fitness, from my tour on Wednesday and a quick visit today:

The main workout area is divided into three sections: the first is a cardio section composed of treadmills, etc. that faces a bank of televisions (I haven't seen what is playing on these televisions yet … perhaps the 99th percentile?); the second features basic universal weight equipment, designed to work all of the muscle groups; the third offers free weights as well as machines specifically devoted to leg exercises.

There are five satellite areas from the main gym area: a fitness testing area for new members to the club; a women-only workout area; an aerobics/kickbox studio; a spinning studio replete with stationary bikes; and a boxing studio that includes heavy bags, peanut bags, a full canvas ring, and a hard-ass-looking instructor.

From my visit to Krystal's office, and after walking by the open door to the women-only gym, I noticed that there are giant billboards in the women's workout area that exclusively feature a thonged female posterior. While I am a big fan of thonged female posteriors, I can only imagine the sort of "encouragement" this provides for the women working out in this area. The aerobics studio also offers billboards of idealized and disembodied breasts, triceps and glutes, both male and female alike.

The main gym area smacks so strongly of Foucault's disciplinary technologies it is bracing. However, there are elements of Baudrillardian hyperreality here as well: the order (odor?) of consumption is strong, since everyone is really here to purchase sex, no matter how diluted the form in which it is represented/commodified. The simulacra is that everyone is beautiful and that sex is readily available, when that is most far from the truth. As a matter of fact, the patrons (conveniently enough) appear to be tripolarized into those mawkishly thin, desperately obese, or humorously hypermuscular — none so beautiful as to warrant an appearance on one of the facility's billboards.


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