Next Stop: Gold's Gym Venice Beach, CA

I'm thinking of changing the name of my blog to "Confessions of a Gym Whore". What?? Bad idea? Might send the wrong message? Perhaps you are right. But the truth remains that I am reliably 'em and leave 'em. I play the field. I like variety. I get around. I AM talking about gyms, people!

I hadn't been to the legendary Gold's Gym in Venice Beach, CA for a few months and I missed the great step class offered on Saturdays. I parked the car and 'walked my block' (sorry, couldn't resist a little hooker-humor) and look what lay before me! The Angels sang and I had to take a photo of this scene:

How classic is THAT?! A 1960s orange Vee-Dub Van parked out back of Gold's Gym in Venice...Excellent!

This gym is old as the hills and very historic. Huge celebs have trained there- the most famous being a young Arnold aka the "the Governator"...way before he went Poly.

A young studly Arnold Schwarzenegger

There is something really magical about this particular Gold's gym if you have any sort of admiration for the kind of determination that it takes to be a body builder. However, it's not just a gym where muscle-heads go to grunt and moan (really, some people should be gagged). It's also a funky place frequented by hippies and bohemian-types as well as 'regular' folks (whatever THAT means!). Really, it's a gym where you walk in and you feel welcomed by your fellow gym-goers. Love that.

I snapped this photograph of the front of the gym but I didn't notice the hunk walking by... do you see him?

When I saw that I had inadvertently photographed him, the following conversation took place:

  • Me: "Oh, Sorry!"
  • Hunk: "Oh, NO, I am the one who should be apologizing!"
  • Hunk then whips off his top, revealing a bare chest, rippling muscles and a 6-pack (or was it 8?)
  • Me: Stammerring, blinking, ", apologies needed" (heh heh, classic moment at Gold's Gym! :-D)

Back to my step class...I hadn't been to this class for months (as I had been shakin' my tail all over town) and was instantly welcomed back by Heidi. This instructor is a wonder. Ridiculously fit and super sweet, she has tons of energy and is always up-beat and positive. She participates in charity events for organizations such a Make a Wish and is one of those rare instructors who try to learn all the students' names.

I will never forget the first day I took Heidi's class. She gave a kick-ass workout, with smiles and encouragement for everyone in the room. At the end of class she looked at us and tears started pouring out of her eyes as she announced that her 40-something year-old cousin had just passed away suddenly from a heart attack. She said that she didn't want to tell us before class because it would be a downer, but she felt the need to share the news with us afterward. Can you imagine? What a professional.

Once the other students gave their hugs and condolences and left the room, I approached her. This time tears were squirting out of my eyes as I told her that I had just lost my mother a few months prior. There we were: two strangers, hugging and crying at the Body-Building Mecca of the world. So surreal. It was one of those moments that I doubt either one of us will ever forget.

Here is a photo of me and Heidi- she is the supermodel on the right.

Thankfully, there was no sadness in Saturday's class. In fact, as we were leaving, Heidi said to us, "Thank you so much for coming and sharing your amazing energy with me!!" It goes both ways to be sure.

Have you ever had to "pull your socks up" and get through a day that you would have thought impossible? Have you connected with someone in a way that surprised you?


Allie (Protein Girl) said...

"Confessions of a Gym Whore" would get you as blocked as "Pimp My Protein Shake!" I'm constantly defending it - it's NOT porn people! Although I must admit, the vita-mix is dangerously sexy...

Amanda (Panda) said...

I am totally jealous that you get to just drop in to that gym whenever you want! So classic and fun!

I'm kind of a YMCA whore because I've got the city wide membership, so I like to mix it up, there are about 4 or 5 different ones I go to.

But I'm currently having an affair with a fitness center at a Chicago hotel... scandalous!

Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) said...

What a lovely post Deb! The bit at the end about the instructor Heidi. But I would say that the other Top Model is on the left: You! You look great, I love your attitude and spirit. Thanks of course for all your lovely comments this weekend on my bloggie, from name change congrats to dessert congrats. Muah!

And I have been diving into those nut butters big time. Between me, hubs, and the kiddo, dare I say, we're 80% done. Not quite HEABs style of eating but yeah, they havent collected any dust so thank you!!!!

As for connecting with people....all the time on the blogosphere, such as you:) Some people I never would think though that I would connect with and I Do. Although you were one who I Could tell right away I Would connect with :)

beekeats said...

This post made me chuckle. You're so funny Deb!

I always connect with people I wouldn't have thought I'd connect with. I usually go to the gym real early in the morning- and NO ONE my age goes that early, and some of my favorite people, I've met there. Also on the blogosphere as well, whenever I'm having a bad day, I just read more blogs! :)

Low said...

Wow, Heidi sounds amazing. That must have been an incredibly hard class for her to teach. Thanks for showing us around Golds Gym! So neat :)

Heather McD (Heather Eats Almond Butter) said...

If you're a gym whore, than I'm a total yoga studio whore. I "walk my block" almost everyday. ;)

Someday, I will visit you in LA - and we will gym/studio hop and go to fun raw/vegean restaurants and shop at Asian Markets.

I'm often surprised by how many strangers I connect with - sometimes all it takes is a smile. :)

Paige@ Running Around Normal said...

Wow what a gym! Love the VW van parked outside LOL

I'm new to your blog - I really like it:)

Deb (Smoothie Girl Eats Too) said...

Allie- see, I knew we were meant for each other :-)

Amanda- good for you with your YMCA hustle. That's what I do- I belong to two gyms and bop around town with all the affiliates! Work it!

Averie- Aww- sweet- think I'm blushing!

beekeats- thanks for the nice comment :-)

Low- yes, Heidi rocks.

Heabs- we are a couple of shameless hussies :-D

Paige- welcome and thanks! Hope you'll come back and hang out!

Hayley said...

I love this post Deb - thank you so much for posting all these pics of the Gold's at Venice Beach. I read a bodybuilding book a few months back (it was insane - really freaky but SO good!) and I think the trainer and the competitor worked out at that gym. I could be wrong, but let's just pretend. :)

I love instructors like that ...for some reason learning names means a lot to people and that's one thing Jazzercise really pushes. I do my best!

Yesterday was that day for me - after spending the afternoon crying I gathered myself together, taught a really fun Jazzercise class and felt a million times better afterwards. :)

Thanks also for your email and comment, by the are a truly great friend.

Deb (Smoothie Girl Eats Too) said...

Awww Hayley- hugs to you!!!

Janetha said...

i am glad you had me come take a gander at this post. i got a little choked up just reading it and i am glad you could have such a cool bonding moment with heidi. she seems like a great gal. that story about the hunk had me cracking up! i loved the dialogue! you are too funny. this post had so many great aspects.. i laughed, i cried, haha.. you are the best deb. xo.

Rhoda said...

I'm agreeing with everyone about this post. . . really wonderful and eye-opening.

How great that the two of you made that connection.

That's the other thing, sometimes in this cyber world of ours, that one-on-one connection is invaluable, and it usually happens through a mutual interest.

What a lovely day.

Tiffany said...

Awwww, that's my old gym. I put in three years there before heading to a smaller gym in Marina Del Rey. Thanks for the memories! That's where I met my personal trainer who eventually became my roommate and got me in the best shape of my life. So fun to see photos!

Thinspired said...

Awww, isn't it funny how we connect with people in the most unpredictable of places sometimes? That is a sweet story. Also, on a less serious note, I just don't believe that both of you were sweating it out in a step class moments before that photo was taken. You BOTH look like supermodels!

That weight room looks intimidating! I WILL conquer my little weight room here this week--I promise! :)

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