I joined a gym my first week in Florence. The Italian word for gym is palestra. I wasn’t able to join a gym in Rome because Roman gyms only allow year-long memberships. In Florence you can go month by month. Have I mentioned how much I like Florence?
I am now a card carrying member of Palestra Ricciardi. Palestra Ricciardi is the equivalent of Gold’s Gym in the United States… well, the retarded cousin that no one ever talks about equivalent, but who am I to judge.
As a requirement of my membership I had to obtain a passport-sized photo of my head within 48 hours so that it could be stapled to my paper membership card and give me full access to the facility. Ah! Now I understand why there are so many individual photo booths located throughout Italian cities. Based on what I witnessed several times on my walk from Rome's Termini Station to my apartment, I thought they were provided as quick accommodation for random blow jobs. But, I suppose, I could have misinterpreted that one.
Anyway, even though I had to pay extra for the cycling classes at this gym, I knew it would be well worth it because running to keep in shape when I had no access to a palestra was KILLING my knees. Cycling classes provide me the cardio without the threat of being crippled in my old age.
Cycling classes are offered 4 times a week; Monday and Wednesday at 1:30 in the afternoon and Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 in the evening. My first class was Monday at 1:30 PM. I got to class about 10 minutes early to warm up on the bike as it had been 2 months since my last cycling class. I fitted the bike to match my size and started a steady spin.
Apparently group exercise classes in Italy start promptly at whenever the instructor decides to get his or her ass into the class because, so far, no class I have attended in Italy has started on time. So there I was doing the self-induced warm up with the rest of the “dedicated” women in my class when the clock clicked to 1:40 PM and still no instructor. Jesus! I thought to myself, this is really annoy… and then the instructor walked in.
OH HELLO! I think to myself. And there he was; my perfectly toned, perfectly chiseled, and perfectly HOT cycling instructor! YESSSS! I knew these cycling classes were going to be worth the extra money! No wonder no one seemed to mind he was 10 minutes late. This guy was gorgeous!
Of course I could not understand a word he was saying, but luckily cycling is an easily mimicked activity. The instructor (BLOG UPDATE: his name is Fabio) got off his bike several times to check the cadence of our peddling. His perfect butt was so distracting I silently prayed he would get back on his bike and stop tormenting me. I mean, really, what's a single girl to do?
After 55 minutes, I was completely drenched in sweat and I could feel my face was flush with exhaustion. And, of course, I was not wearing any make-up seeing as how the gym is the only public place it’s acceptable to be without professionally applied make up.
When class was over, I hung back a bit and watched what the other class participants were doing to clean up their bikes. After I felt like I knew what to do, I walked to the paper towel dispenser at the front of the class. That’s when Fabio came over to me with a cute smile and started speaking in Italian. “Shoot!” I didn’t understand what he said, and I didn’t want to wing this one with a guess at an answer. I had to admit I didn’t speak Italian. “Oh, you’re American!” he replied in English. “YAY!” I think to myself, “He speaks English. This day just can’t get any better!”
Turns out he asked me if I liked the class. By the looks of me, he probably thought I was going to have a heart attack because I was so spent by the end of class. “Hmm, how did I like the class? How did I like the class?” The image of his perfect gluteus maximus ran through my head. “Yeah, I liked it a lot.” I replied with a slight smile at what I was really thinking. “See you at the next class then?” he inquired. “Certemente” (certainly) I offered.
Of course you know I’ll be at EVERY CYCLING CLASS THAT GYM HAS TO OFFER for as long as I am a member! Hey c’mon, I’m just rededicating myself to a healthy lifestyle. Plus, I can't disappoint Fabio. There's nothing wrong with that, right?