Before signing up for that yearly special, give your gym a once-over

Is Your Health Club Good For You?

how much of a sweat members work up, the gym should not smell. Locker rooms and showers should also be clean and odor-free.

At the gym, always carry a towel and wipe off equipment after use.
Some gyms, such as New York City’s Asphalt Green, have spray bottles (filled with a mixture of water and a mild soap) and paper towels near equipment for patrons to use. Wash your hands after your workout. The gym should insist that members carry towels. If you plan to shower, take a separate, larger towel and shower shoes (keep them on to avoid athlete’s foot.) Avoid as much skin-to-equipment contact as possible. Don’t wear short shorts or thong body suits without tights or bike shorts underneath.

Check for membership.
According to McInnis, clubs with membership in the International, Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association “tend to follow basic health and sanitary rules.”

Book Review: AUTOBIOGRAPHY
BOOK: Defending the Spirit: A Black Life in America
AUTHOR: Randall Robinson
PUBLISHER: Dutton
PRICE: $25.95
CALL: 800-253-6476
The founder of TransAfrica, a 30-year-old lobbying group for African and Caribbean interests, chronicles his influential life as one of America’s most controversial and political fighters against racism. “Though it is no longer fashionable to say it,” says the outspoken Robinson, “I am obsessively black. Race is an overarching aspect of my identity. America has made me this way….” From his early years growing up in segregated Richmond, Virginia, where he first came head-to-head with racism, to his fight to end apartheid in South Africa, to his hunger strike to restore democracy in Haiti, Robinson’s gripping story serves as a history lesson–and wake-up call–for all Americans.
PHOTO (COLOR): DEPENDING the SPIRIT: A BLACK LIFE IN AMERICA

Book Review: ANTHOLOGY
BOOK: Go Girl! The Black Woman’s Book of Travel & Adventure
EDITOR: Elaine Lee
PUBLISHER: Eighth Mountain Press
PRICE: $17.95 paperback
CALL: 503-233-3936
The first travel book for African American women includes 52 travelers’ tales from Alice Walker, Maya Angelou, Jill Nelson, Gwendolyn Brooks and Audre Lorde, among others. The editor herself traveled the globe alone for two years and has visited 43 countries. “When I am abroad, I am usually afforded a level of respect and appreciation that I do not get in my own country,” says Lee. “It is when I travel that I am told I’m attractive, courageous and smart.” The insightful and inspirational accounts span the African diaspora and beyond, and explore issues of racism abroad, the search for black roots, the joys of traveling solo and useful travel tips.

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