For the longest time, I had it in my head that the only two places in town to get some serious exercise done was the J. Smith Young YMCA and Accelerate Fitness (previously Forum Fitness) on Talbert Boulevard.
When I say "serious," I mean the works: the weight machines, the free weights, the exercise machines (like treadmills, recumbent bicycles, etc), Zumba and yoga rooms and personalized service.
I was actually a sporadic member of The Forum for a while. I even bought
a book to show me how to use the machines and chart my progress. I wasn't intent on becoming
muscle bound — I just wanted to be able to open ketchup bottles.
I'm sure there might have been other places around, but I just never saw them. The Y and the Forum were the high profile outlets. I'm sure somebody could have been working out in a small cubby hole in some strip mall or in a church basement or perhaps even pumping iron on their front porch.
Then, two years ago, I turned 65 and that made me eligible to join Silver Sneakers, a program offered by the Y along with my health care provider. I don't pay a penny out of pocket. Just sign your name and start sweating. It's a great deal.
Almost as soon as I joined the Y, things started happening around town (I'm not implying that I had anything to do with that). The old Farmers' Co-op on First Street was being updated to house the state-of-the-art City Fitness and that was causing some excitement with the workout crowd.
About the same time (maybe earlier), CrossFit Hog Town opened (I get the idea behind identifying Lexington with hogs, but it still paints a picture for me of overly corpulent people roaming the streets looking for barbecue). Anyway, CrossFit was operating out of a small facility on Church Street and is now in the process of moving to its brand new building on South Main, which no doubt will increase its exposure.
A few months ago a rumor floated around town that a Planet Fitness was coming. And, indeed, work is underway at its Plaza Parkway location just off Highway 8. In fact, I got a flyer in the mail yesterday letting me know that I could join Planet Fitness for 25 cents down and $10 per month. Wow.
Suddenly, Lexington was becoming the capital of straining grunts and groans. Not bad for a city with a population (according to the 2010 census) of 18,931. The rapid appearance of all these calorie burners would suggest that not only about 17,000 of us need to be doing jumping jacks, but there's a real market for it.
Curiously enough, about the same time all these exercise meccas are going up, so are some new bakeries. Huh?
We already had iconic Fancy Pastry, but within the last two years — about the time of Lexington's fitness explosion — we not only got a Bagel Shop, but Red Donuts. We also picked up a bakery called Sinfully Delicious, which is almost directly next to Fancy Pastry. And now I see where there's another bakery getting ready to open on North Main Street, opposite a convenience store/gas station that offers Dunkin Donuts.
That's not to forget the near frenzy we had in Lexington of finally getting a Chick-Fil-A a month ago.
I don't know. Maybe Hog Town works after all.