I don't recall the exact date, but it's coming up on the 5th anniversary of my gym membership.
Here's how I remember. The gym I was interested in joining had a discount promotion going, but I didn't make it in time. I was tied up covering the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and the presidential election. I told the story to the guy at the membership desk-- and he was kind enough to give me the lower promotional rate.
Five years later, I'm still a loyal member. I visit three times a week, religiously, on my days off. I cut back to one or two per week during the summer when I'm riding my bike.
Those first early days were comical. I had no idea what I was doing. Thankfully, some gym veterans helped me go through the settings on the machines. Plus, the time passes quickly when you have someone to talk with. I made some good and new friends, which is more important than the exercise.
The routine varies a bit, but it's generally the standard fare-- a little bike, treadmill, stepper, elliptical, and I've added some weights to the mix. Sweaty clothes, a hot shower, and I'm back in the car and on the way home. It's also a great opportunity to catch up on the news. The gym has a nice rack of TV's overhead.
I'm toned, especially the legs-- but there is much more work to do. My bad diet negates a lot of my gym work. At least, I'm stable and not regressing.
Occasionally, I think of all the people who have come through that gym during my five years. The core of regulars remain. So many others have joined. So many have given up. I think I know the reason. It takes a while to see results, and we are an impatient society. The advice: start small, have modest goals, get on a schedule. A little bit of something is better than a lot of nothing.