The Gym Attraction

Which is the fascination with gyms? Why is everybody so obsessed to go to them? To shape their bodies? To be stronger? To be fit? Honestly, I was once in a gym… and it was horrible. Seriously, it was.

I was just a kid when my parents decided I needed to have extra-school classes. They decided martial arts would be good for me. Unfortunately, my sensei was not so cool as sensei Miyagi. He was more like into the “Cobra Kai” discipline, which means, that with only six/seven years old he wanted we could break pieces of wood hitting them with our bare hands or with a kick. Do you know these films with Van Damme and Lundgren? Well, they have really affected some heads in not the way it was pretended to make.

We also had to “avoid” the wooden brick. It is a nice game to learn if you think about it. Sensei knotted a brick of wood on one rope extreme. He started to spin, slowly first. Meanwhile, all the kids were around him jumping each time the brick passed. The problem with this game was sensei started to spin faster and, sometimes, he moved the rope upwards to check our reflexes and to see if we knew the differences between to jump or to duck. It was like that… I must recognize I was never hit on the “spinning wooden brick game” but I have not could break one piece of wood with my bare hands either. However, I could kick some folks in The Fight Club. After all, Brad Pitt was not real… Oopsie… (Spoilers Alert).

Thanks, Lord, my grandma saved me of that madness saying: “Girls, shouldn’t fight!” I agreed then… very agree. Please, understand my granny. She grew up with the “Umbrella Girl” mentality. It was other times… Anyway, I really agreed her argument in those times. Maybe if sensei used Miyagi methods or Jacky Chan ones I would not have minded to keep with my martial arts teachings, but with that guy…

Anyway, I have always been a bit Luna Lovegood girl but with Hermione hair and common sense. I wanted to go to the ballet and my family did not let me because I was “too big” to be a dancer and “dancers are anorexic”… Oh, come on! I am pacifist: flower power style. Why did my family decide to enrol me in the martial arts? Because “I needed to be stronger”… Maybe, Van Damme style? Hey! He dances too

Sylvester Stallone in Rocky Balboa. Picture courtesy Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Sylvester Stallone in Rocky Balboa. Picture courtesy Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

After that, I have not stepped inside any other gym in my whole life. Seriously, folks, how can you do it? Those machines seem to have been taken from the torturing times of inquisition to take you off: the sweat, blood and hope. It is like: Coach: Screaming “Do you believe?” And the poor folk with the tongue out trying to breathe without almost cannot say a word: “Belief. In what?” Coach: Screaming: “In the f* cult t the body?” The poor folk opens his eyes like dishes like saying “WHAT?!” Coach: “If you don’t believe you’ll never make it! 100 abdominals more!” See? It is the modern Inquisition… You need to believe and if not… torture.

However, with the years, my perspective about the gyms have changed considerably. It was in college when I discovered the true attraction gyms have. And, no, I did not step inside one.

It was a normal evening when suddenly my phone rang. It was a guy from a gym offering me the offer of the century on gym subscriptions. The problem with this weird call was the gym was located 40 kilometres far away from my home so it was impossible that was a local offer.

Keeping the conversation with the folk I discovered one of my college partners had given my phone number to her gym. It seemed if she shared the information and I joined, she would have a discount on her membership. I do not blame her. Who does not want a discount? Although, like I said: “No”. This gym conversation did not finish when I hung the phone.

Each time I went to college, “my friends” remembered me how fabulous is the gym world. Saying to me: “It is good to make exercise. You should do it… Blah, blah, blah”. Like I am so evil, instead of joining them, I downloaded a yoga podcast and I made my workout in my home but I did not tell them anything about the yoga. To them, I was doing nothing.

After months of gym conversations, I discovered the true meaning of a gym. Which, in most cases, it is to pay a membership to go the first days and after a month of so… just put a bunch of excuses like: “Today I feel down. I’m not going”, “I’ve the monthlies. Not going”, “It’s raining…”, “Not a cool outfit to go…”, “I think my gym crush is trying to flirt with other. Today, as revenge, I don’t go”… And the story goes on.

Sylvester Stallone in Rocky Balboa. Picture courtesy Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Sylvester Stallone in Rocky Balboa. Picture courtesy Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Because it is true. Most of the people do not really go to gyms to be fit. They go to flirt. Come on! Do not tell me you did not know it! It is a global human being behaviour! Do you know some birds have colourful feathers to attract the females? Well, we humans have gyms and men have the six pack or chocolate tablet. Not sure how you really call it… Even, Darwin knew it! Our species, in special: females, are addicted in a majority to chocolate. It is all explained in books! You only need to know how to read them right!

Luckily, for me, chocolate was never one of my favourites but I understand there are females which became insane with that flavour and smell.

Smell… Yes, that too. Because what I remember is gyms smelled pretty bad actually. In special, after certain workout classes; but everything is subjective I guess. Actually, I do not really know…

However, it is really shocking how the body cult can affect to certain brains depending on the place where they are located. And, with this, I travel to Los Angeles, of course.

I have told you of the handicap of to have been born in Spain. Do you know that to a person like me it is not so easy to rent an apartment or to become a roommate? No, it is not. Each time I say where I come from I usually get pushed away and, precisely, in not very polite ways.

First time I lived in Los Angeles I had to make a notarial paper from the bank saying that I had enough cash to pay more than ten months of an Oakwood rent -when I only needed two- and I also needed a paper from the film school saying they were “responsible” for me. And you can think this only happens if I try to rent this kind of apartments but, actually, it happens in everything.

The last time I tried to rent a room in that city. I did not have an answer from more than ten places and, finally, I finished with a woman sharing an apartment and I had to make several Skype and email sessions with her before she said: “Yes.” And, only, because I had the whim to see the Rebus exhibition by James Jean and to stay a bit longer in the city to try to make films with my “friends” who were constantly saying: “Come back I miss you. When are we going to make films?”

Anyway, after having compared both kinds of experiences. To live in a kind of Oakwood apartments it is quite expensive but in long term, it is far better for my health. At least, there is security, and if there is any issue in the apartment a nice guy comes and he fixes it. The only that I dislike are carpet floors and to have to go to make laundry outside my apartment but I cannot have it all.

The case is, when I was in the filmmaking school I was not the only one who lived in this kind of apartments: which has a gym, pool, jacuzzi… Very fancy… There were a bunch of folks in the same conditions than I. Some of them were living on the same kind of apartments which are to the opposite side of Universal Studios. I mean, if Oakwood is on right of the theme park on a map. The ones which I am talking are at left.

Sylvester Stallone in Rocky Balboa. Picture courtesy Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Sylvester Stallone in Rocky Balboa. Picture courtesy Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Fancy that! I discovered that the apartments on the left side were famous because they had some myths about who had been living there for certain time. Whatever… The important here is the gym.

I did not go to check it but a bunch of folks did. You cannot imagine the conversations after filmmaking class about nutrition, to stay fit, how to get the six pack, nice pectorals to impress the girls… Boys, you are all very cocky with these themes… And later, you start to compete to get the girls… Tk, tk, tk. What a bunch of very, bad, boys…

BUT, do not think girls are an exception… It is the truth they do not want to get the six pack. Well, they do not want to get it in their bodies… I mean, sculpted in their bodies. What were you thinking, dirty birdies? Although, they want to have a perfect: booty, flat belly, big boobs… And the story goes on… Yes, again. Because, at the end, it is all about the same: insecurities.

“I want this…”, “I want that…”, “I need this…”, “I need that…” because sometimes we think having those things -even if they are physical changes- we are going to get what we want but it does not really work like that. Trust me, I copied Cate Blanchett short hair once inspired by her and by Keira Knightley in Domino. It is not so cool, you must be each two weeks on the hair dresser! But, it really caused the shocking rebel effect I was looking for. Everybody, leaving their hair long for the graduation dinner ball on college and me perfectly pixie/breaking rules style. David, sing for me: “Rebel Rebel, you’ve torn your dress…” Have not I told you I also wore fake leather leggings before they were a fashion trend? Yes, when I was on music school last years between 15-18. I loved Aerosmith. So I was a kind of a “Crazy” girl like Liv Tyler, but only dressing like that… some times. My manners are not so wild.

Do not worry, I also know how to copy icon styles. I am not so weird, after all… Oh noes! I have just seen the new trailer of Ricki and The Flash. I have the same green lace dress that Meryl Streep wears. We are going to be matching sisters. I know it. It’s a sign… Sorry, just copying the way of express people around me uses. The sign, the matching sisters, the BFF, the bromance…

Sylvester Stallone in Rocky Balboa. Picture courtesy Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Sylvester Stallone in Rocky Balboa. Picture courtesy Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

What was I saying? Oh, yeah. Styles… Not Harry. Only styles… Look, anybody has the right to wear what he/she wants. It does not matter if it is for to look cooler or to try to attract the other sex. However, when you start to put your body in the equation that scares me a bit. To go to the gym and to make some lifts it is a thing, but I have heard so many conversations about the easy step: surgery. You cannot imagine how many talks in which I have been the theme: “get more boobs” has shown up. It is like: “an obsession”, in which for to have a partner you need to have more breast. Insane, but it is how people think.

In Los Angeles, I have heard all kind of non-respectful stories about why some people have not get the role. Most of them were based on some arbitrary things like the body or “you have a funny face” for this dramatic role… Random things like that. The saddest part is most of this “criticism” did not come from directors or producers, if not they were between actors. And do you know why people do that, don’t you? Imagine if I am evil that I made an open casting and a boy came. He told me, he had not said anything about that opportunity to any of their class mates because if he had done it, he would have fewer chances to get the role. In that moment, I made an X next to his name as a remember of to do book him but I let him perform. What am I trying to tell you with this? The problem, most of the times, it is not on the body. The problem is on the aptitude you have.

Obviously, if you want to flirt with others, a gym is a good place to start but, do not think that just for to go you are going to get what you want.

One of my “friends”, an actor, who looked like Jonah Hill when I met him, wanted to be the kind of “movie star” which makes Stallone movies. He, really, took it seriously. He lost a bunch of weight, he went to training: run, martial arts… He was working in Disneyland as one of the characters. Maybe, one day, I will see him in an action movie. Despite we are not “friends” anymore I am glad people improve their lives and they make their dreams come true. However, it is what I am telling you: it all about attitude. Have that always present in your mind.

And, why am I babbling all these silly things about gyms? Well, one of my “followers” is a non-born American girl who is trying to make her best in Hollywood. Her English is quite confusing sometimes, but she really has the dream to meet me and to meet her idols all together in a gym. Unfortunately, I think most of your idols also prefer to train at home as I do; but maybe, with a bit of luck, you can find Dwayne Johnson. I do not follow him but I have heard he is always posting pictures of him training. If not, go to the Venice Gym, you probably will find Danny Trejo. I know that. It is true. Some of my film school partners found him there and they shot a funny video with him. He did not even ask them anything.

So, please, folks. Do not pay a gym subscription only for to try to meet people. Even more, if you cannot barely afford it, ok? The same training, you can do it in your home. You only need discipline, alright? But if you want to find a mate, go for it. It is a good place to start.

More physical and styling issues… Clothes are for to play with them, like hairstyles. You can try several, be radical and experiment as much as you want. If you feel comfy with one style keep with it and do not let nobody will tell you: “You must change,” because that is not true.

I will tell you a bit scary story about “fame” or “success” in Hollywood. In the same filmmaking school that I assisted, they were giving acting classes too. Most of the people there, were concerned because when you came from outside of the States, to learn in an expensive school like that, people are scared that their “time” will pass. Which means, they feel: if they are not “discovered” while they are there, they are never going to be. For this reason, people, in special actors/actresses, get in despair and they try a bunch of stupid things.

Sylvester Stallone in Rocky Balboa. Picture courtesy Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Sylvester Stallone in Rocky Balboa. Picture courtesy Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

I remember the conversation some actresses were having about a party in the Playboy mansion. They even called the number provided but they went scared when the person who picked the phone told them: “To assist to this exclusive parties it is needed a casting”. Obviously, girls, it is the Playboy mansion… What were you expecting? They want the model like girls and not “any shape” but that, it is not a motive enough to start to think about surgery. Or maybe yes? It depends on what kind of actress you want to be… However, after, do not blame the casting director because he/she did not select you for the role, ok? And I am not talking about the castings on Playboy. I am talking about general castings.

Others, of those actresses, have married with wealthy men. Not sure where they met them but they did. In other hand, I have not heard their name in any movie or television series neither but, they are married…

See? Everything depends on what you really want and to fight for, like Rocky, but do not let nobody will change your mind and make insecure you about anything. Be comfy in your own skin. It is the best gift you have received.