Planet Fitness

So, there I was, a middle-aged man with the flexibility of a lamppost, finally caving to my wife’s relentless nagging to join a gym. Why? Because apparently, my idea of “functional fitness” – you know, leaping over fences like a startled cat and hefting bags of cement like I’m auditioning for “World’s Strongest Grandpa” – wasn’t cutting it anymore. Oh, and let’s not forget the daily Olympic event of getting out of bed without my joints playing a symphony of creaks and groans.

We sign up at Planet Fitness, aka “The Judgment-Free Zone” – which is gym-speak for “We won’t judge you, but the mirror sure will.” The plan? Three, one-hour sessions a week. Piece of cake, right? Wrong.

My wife? She’s like the Energizer Bunny on steroids. She bounces in, points at the clock so we can get a bearing on our start time, and zooms off. Me? I’m left standing there, looking like a confused sloth wondering what to do first and trying to motivate myself not to run out of the gym and spend my time at the adjacent Starbucks.

Susan’s workout routine? Fifteen minutes of actual exercise followed by 45 minutes of a post-workout massage. Mine? An hour of trying not to make eye contact with the hulking behemoths around me, all while attempting to lift weights that my seven-year-old grandson would scoff at.

One fateful morning, I decided to channel my inner Rocky and hit the gym solo. I strutted in there like I owned the place (or at least like I knew where the water fountain was).

After what felt like an eternity of grunting, sweating, and silently praying for the sweet release of death, I dragged my jelly-like limbs toward the exit. Feeling a mix of pride and nausea, I approached the front desk guy, who looked suspiciously chipper for someone surrounded by the stench of desperation and old socks.

“Hey,” I wheezed, trying to sound casual while discreetly wiping a small puddle of sweat off the counter. “Any chance you could tell me how long I’ve been here? I was too busy focusing on building these beautiful muscles to check the time.”

He glanced at the clock. “Sure thing. It’s 8:30 now. What’s your name and what time did you get here?”

“My name is Bob Sommers, and you know,” I said, waving my hand dismissively (and immediately regretting it as my arm muscles screamed in protest), “I checked in around 7:30, maybe earlier. Time flies when you’re having fun, right?” I chuckled, which quickly turned into a cough.

The young man started tapping away at his computer, probably searching for my name in the “Potential Heart Attack Candidates” database. After a moment, his eyebrows shot up. “Ah, here you are. It looks like you started your workout at 8:05. So… 25 minutes ago.”

“Twenty-five minutes?” I repeated, my voice cracking like a teenager asking someone to prom. “But… but it felt like hours!”

The guy, bless his heart, must have sensed my rapidly deflating ego. He leaned in conspiratorially, glancing left and right as if about to share a state secret. “Hold on, Mr. Sommers. Let me double-check. I might have the wrong Bob Sommers.

“He made a show of looking at something off to the side, then straightened up with a grin and said. “Oh my, I’m so sorry! I was way off. According to our security footage, it looks like you broke in through the back door at 5:00 AM this morning, a full hour before we opened. You’ve been working out for three and a half hours! Talk about dedication!”

I stood there, mouth agape, as he announced this to the entire gym. Suddenly, I wasn’t just Bob the Slightly Damp Gym Novice. I was Bob the Gym Ninja, the Dawn Warrior, the Break-and-Enter Bodybuilder!

As I limped out of the gym, basking in my newfound reputation, I couldn’t help but think: who knew getting fit could be so… criminal?

Cognitive Test

When my mom turned 90 years old the insurance company wanted her to take a cognitive test to determine the cost of her long-term health insurance. No problem. My mom is one of the sharpest and wittiest people I know at any age. This test was not going to be a problem.

Everything was set. The insurance company had arranged to have the nurse call my mom to schedule her in-home test for the following week and everyone was ready to go.

The following Tuesday my mom hears a knocking at the door. When she opened the door she saw a middle-aged woman wearing a nurse’s uniform carrying a clip board. The nurse looked up and introduced herself saying, “Hi Misses Sommers, I’m Julie from so-and-so healthcare and I’m here to give you your cognitive test. My mom responded by saying, “Hi Julie, I did not expect to see you until tomorrow.”

With that things went South quickly. Julie responded by saying. “Oh sweetheart, I’m sure you’re confused. May I come in and administer the test?”

I’ve known my mom for my entire life and I can tell you two things about her that Julie did not know. One, my mom does not like being treated like a child more does she tolerate people treating her older friends in this manner, and two, she is never confused and when challenged, she is always right. Let me say that again, she is always right.

With that, my mom paused briefly and said to Julie, “I tell you what sweetheart, before you come in, why don’t you check your little clipboard and double-check the date and time of our appointment? I know you think it’s today, but let’s make sure.

With a combination of frustration and the anticipation that she would soon be able to prove to my mom that her appointment was today, Julie flipped through a couple of pages on her clipboard looking for her appointment calendar. When she found it there was a long pause as Julie gathered her thoughts before presenting her findings to my mom in the most diplomatically way as possible. She slowly looked up and said, “You’re right. Our appointment is not until tomorrow.”

A tiny, almost imperceptible smile came across my mom’s face before turning into a sarcastic look of concern and compassion. Then she responded by saying, “Oh sweetheart, don’t be to hard on yourself, it can happen to anyone. If today is not a good day for you, I’d like to call someone to give you a ride home so that I know you’ll be safe.

Before Julie could respond, my mom put on a big smile and said, “Just kidding, bring your skinny little self in here and let’s get cracking”

How To Give An Acceptance Speech

Just Say Hi

girlsYou cannot like someone you don’t know. More importantly, others cannot like you if they don’t know you exist. Somehow, someway a contact has to be made before anything happens. And if you don’t make the effort to make that contact, there’s a very good chance it’s not going to be made.

Old Friends Good Memories

I had an opportunity to talk to an old friend from college recently. We were discussing this exact topic. He told me that when he was in high school he would often look upon a group of his classmates and say to himself, “If they would only come over here and say “Hi,” I know they will like me.” His comment made me wonder out loud just how many people feel the same way.

He went on to tell me that he came to the same conclusion when he entered college. “If I feel this way,” Tom said, “There are certainly other students who feel the same way.”

“So what did you do?” I asked.

“I just said Hi,” Tom said. “And let the conversation go from there.”

My New Mantra

This is my new mantra, “Just Say Hi.” It’s so simple and so honest and yet, the thought of it paralyzes millions. But why?

engineerWhen I was a in college, I was elected social chairman for our fraternity. My primary job was to persuade the female population on campus to attend our parties. This was not an easy task. I belonged to an engineering fraternity where most of the boys were terrified to speak to girls, much less dance with them and carry on an interesting conversation.

As the social chairman I was allowed to suggest the dress code which did not allow white socks, slide rulers or pocket protectors to be worn during fraternity functions. I also made it mandatory that everyone had to wear pants that reached past their ankles. Imagine the fun.

Freshman Stole The Show

During one particular party I noticed that a group of girls had entered the fraternity and no one had made an effort to speak to them. So rather than introduce myself and introduce the girls to my friends, which I did at every party, I asked each of the freshman who were pledging the fraternity to take turns introducing themselves to the girls in a specific way.

The upperclassmen thought this was a funny hazing exercise until they realized that the freshman were meeting and dancing with all the girls while they were standing alone in the corner drinking beer.

dancing2Most people will not introduce themselves to a stranger because they don’t know what to say and they’re afraid of putting themselves in an awkward position. It doesn’t have to be that way. Here’s what I had the freshman do that made meeting the girls easy and fun.

5 Easy Steps To Hi!

Step 1: Start by saying Hi! Say it with a smile while looking her in the eyes and say it like you’re excited to meet her.

Step 2: Introduce yourself using either your first name or your first and last name. Say your name clearly and say your name with pride.

Step 3: Then, ask for her name. Do not ask until you’ve given your name first. It’s inappropriate and rude.

Step 4: Repeat her name at least once out loud and do not forget it under any circumstances. If you do, you will have extra duties next weekend around the fraternity.

Step 5: Every girl you meet tonight is more concerned about how she feels about herself than how she feels about you. Find a way to help her feel comfortable. You can do this in three different ways.

  • Give her a sincere compliment.
  • Talk about something you have in common.
  • Talk to her about something she is interested in and be interested in her.

People are at ease when they have an opportunity to talk about something they’re passionate about to someone who is interested in listening to what they have to say. Be that person.

Good Advice

That was my advice then, and to this day I still get calls and emails from the kids (who are now in their 50’s) in my fraternity who attended those parties.

Liking does not happen until people know you. Give them that opportunity by introducing yourself first. Don’t be afraid. The more people you meet, the more comfortable you’re going to be meeting people in the future.

Most of the people you meet feel just like my friend Tom felt when he was in high school. They’re thinking, “If you would only come over here and say “Hi” I know you will like me.” And they’re probably right. Be that person.

Have the courage to know that when you walk up to someone and introduce yourself you are going to like them and they are going to like you in return. It all starts when you just say, “Hi.”

Likeability Defined

You Can’t Make People Like You

Try as you may, you can’t make people like you. It’s a misnomer. You “can” like other people, but you “can not” make them like you back.

But wait, there is good news. When you focus your attention on helping people like themselves (not being a people pleaser or a brown noser) there is a very good chance they will like you in return. Be the kind of person people want to like.

Likeability Applied To Business

Five Star Review System

The Likeability Guy 821 Kumulani Drive Kihei HI 96753 808-891-0449