The dirty truth about Gold's Gym in Venice is that it is... Awesome.

I was fat as a child. Really fat. Obese. I have carried an average of 30 pounds over where I should have been at, most of my life. Not now (when I'm 5 pounds over ideal descending). But most of my life it has been my case.

Being fat. Being obese as a child/adult. Made me hate any type of sports, any type of movement. I was passed by much faster children in soccer, my gut and joints hurt when I ran, I got no positive validation from sports. So I hated sports and working out; gave up on it; who cares, reading and dreaming things up doesn't care if you are obese or not. The time these guys spent in the field I found a place to read.

I'm not gonna go into the whole withdrawl/bullying/isolation, lack of social skill and confidence building part I suffered as a result of being obese cause it's the standard stuff you know.

This year. Specially the second part of the year. My thinking on this changed. The interviews held with people engaged in an active lifestyle, what I observed at these places, was this sense of balance, this sense of giving, laughter, happiness, engagement, jokes. Except for 24 hours fitness and their bad fluorescent light and complete disregard for human-centered design - everyone else seemed to be at a good spot. Not only physically, but mentally, spiritual.

On the other hand, when I interviewed or had the chance to observe the seminar/workshop/class people doing the AA thing around the circle, I often saw the complete opposite. Even in the instructors, sometimes. These guys were looping around mental constructs that have no solution, trying to validate the limitations to themselves, how unique and/or difficult their experience was with others. The energy was heavy.

So. At gyms, working out their bodies, people were happy. At workshops, working out their minds, people were all over the place - looping. Why?

Easy answer. Because they didn't have the "all over the place" people issue, time constraints, etc, the people in the gym went to the gym, and followed through. Because of A, B. Not B has something A doesn't have.

What I think is the answer now. You work out your body. You move. Your blood flows. Your muscles are activated. You breath. You stretch. You hike. You are outside. Whatever. You see other people doing what you are doing, you connect. In essence, you take your mind off your mind by dealing with your body - you flow your attention away from your loops. Thus, lightness. (Maybe not for all cases, but for some cases.)

Conclusion. Maybe I should try the workout thing.

Living in Hermosa Beach. Seeing all those fit and shining Crossfit people. All the buzz. Having suffered pain never imagined in a the one and only Yoga attempt I had. And ultimately, being the victim of well executed location conscious targetted advertising  (a Facebook ad), I gave Crossfit a chance. The place was Crossfit Southbay. The place was awesome. Super good vibe. Amazing culture. People and instructors were positive, supporting, no BS. I liked working out in groups - it motivated you differently. Even not completing the drills, was cool. I pushed myself. I felt exhausted and awesome post class. Pounds burned away. It worked.

Now. Here's where the Gold's Gym thing comes into my story. Filming the documentary had me traveling the following months, sleeping on floors, cars, moving, so no time/mindspace/domesticity for Southbay Crossfit. Then, post trip, I found a place in Venice Beach. 20 mins away in good traffic, 40 mins away in bad traffic from it. In short, now an inconvenient place to go.

Well. The thing was crossfit, right. It was now my thing. Cool and sexy enough to continue to follow. So much so, that doing our November 42-day challenge (more on this in a future post), I kinda grabbed being the guy who did crossfit. So, Venice has a couple of crossfit gyms. I researched them online. Walked to them to take a peek, etc. Problem was their crossfit ramp up classes (necessary for "the real thing") weren't starting soon... my budget was so strained at the moment I couldn't afford them. What to do....

One day while walking to the beach. Clearing out my mind from staring at a screen in editing. I stumbled upon Gold's Gym Venice. Curious (because of its history... Arnold, etc.) I walked in.

My first impression was negative. Machines. The buff. Anacronistic "meat heads" some of them even. Here's history - here's past. Here's the stuff the new is walking away from. Take a couple of pics. Exit.

Three days later, my finding a place to workout for the challenge was still there. Yoga was not an option. I couldn't bring myself to follow through on some online routine by myself. I had to be true to the challenge, what to do?

In despair, walking again past Gold's Gym, in route to the sea to ask the Ocean for guidance and chill from editing. Again, Gold's Gym.

F**ck it. Let's do this. I saw some crossfit type of class. They had some crossfit looking setup in the garden outside. It was close by to where I worked/lived. Let's just do the high intensity interval thing here... take the class. Follow through on the challenge.

My first two times there were about this. But then, it all changed. I saw what this place was. And it was not anacronism or easy preconception. It was choice and possibilities. It had something for everyone. Here, really cool and serious weight machines, here spinning, here yoga/dance/crossfit type classes, the cardio thing, some weird machines, stretching. All was there for the taking. The trial was there. I didn't have to wait for anything. It was close by. Expedient. And with new eyes it not only had the romantic thing of for each its own. I found that each day I didn't need to have a routine 'cause I had space and/or machines to dream it up. I as I felt like and wondered about each day.

It was so cool to walk into a space without a plan, a routine, preconception, just a curiosity as to what I was going to do today. What did I feel like to get my heart pumping, my endorphins going, my posture better, my outlook up.

It was more cool though the people. Just like Crossfit Southbay, you looked at them and they were happy. Happy. Each one doing there own thing. Each one in an environment with energy, fun. For the body builders, the pictures in the wall. Yes. But for all something to do.

In short, Gold's Gym was awesome. Gold's Gym is where I go to workout and try things out (when not outside.) Gold Gym's for me was a living proof of the power of replacing judgement with curiosity and just flowing. I'm fitter, more flexible than I have been in my life now. Happy.

Gold's Gym was awesome and before you took my last posts as a sign of a soul flowing towards the last reaches of Pluto.... wanted to get the post out.

What type of physical activity do you like? What are you curious about? I invite you to displace judgement about yourself and it for curiosity. Make time to try it out.

Cheers!

Juan

Co-producer/co-director, Blood Berries and Butter

http://www.goldsgym.com/veniceca/

http://www.crossfitsouthbay.com/