I normally stay away from gyms. I like being outdoors when I work out. Gyms bore me, doing the same movements on a cold machine over and over again. I have a nagging feeling that I’m different from people who go to the gym, and I generally don’t thrive there.
I arrive at the North Boulder Recreational Center at 10:50 a.m. and decide to tour the facility before approaching people. The center is quite big, and it accommodates a variety of facilities: a swimming pool, a gym, classrooms for yoga and fitness courses, and even a day-care for children. Like many public buildings in Boulder, the center is LEED Silver certified. The parking lot is spacious and full, which means that the center is even busy on Tuesday mornings.
Antonio Cante is sitting on a bench outside the center when I approach him. In his late 20s, Cante is in Boulder to visit some family and decided to come work out at the rec center. He’s from Cleveland, and we chat about his Italian origins. He says that the center is in a good location and that there isn’t a big line to wait for the workout machines. When asked if there is something about the center that annoyed him or that he would change, Cante said that he has not been here enough to see anything wrong.
It is about 11:20 a.m. when I see a group of women exit the center with their children. Allison Breed, a local mother, tells me that the center offers classes for children under four with their parents. She is happy about it because she gets to spend time with her two-year-old daughter. “The parking lot is often full,” Breed complains before we depart, “and I have to look for parking somewhere else”.
I see a man locking his bike with a gym bag on his shoulder. He seems happy to chat when I approach him. His name is Jelle Geens, a robust 26-year-old from Belgium. He tells me he really likes Boulder, and I am happy to agree with him. He is working out for a triathlon competition, and he appears to be in great shape. He likes the fact that the center offers a different array of training facilities, which is ideal for someone like Geens who has to train for different sports. With a thick accent, he tells me he is is in love with the “mentality” of Boulder locals: “everybody here is nice, always smiling, and they all love sports”. The only thing that he does not like is the metric system. “When I am swimming, I cannot tell how much I have done! I don’t have any reference in the pool with yards.”