I love my gym, but I can hardly vote for it as the best health and fitness center if it’s killing people

My gym, Big Sky, has been rated as the “Best Health and Fitness Center” since 2003 by the Hartford Advocate. I love Big Sky. I am actually a member of Bally’s as well, and in the past, I have been a member of two other health clubs in the area, so I can attest to the excellence of Big Sky. It is the cleanest, most modern, most well equipped gym that I have ever seen outside the movies.

Yesterday I was asked if I would be willing to participate in the Advocate’s online poll in order to ensure that Big Sky is the “Best Health and Fitness Center” in 2012 as well.

I declined.

When asked why, I explained that although I think Big Sky is the finest gym in the area, I could not in good conscious vote for it as the best health and fitness center.

In addition to its many amenities, Big Sky offers tanning to its members.  Four tanning rooms flank the hallway between the gym and the locker rooms, and not a day goes by when at least two are in use when I arrive.  Women enter and exit those rooms constantly (I am sure that there are men who use the tanning rooms, too, but in the two years that I have been a member, I have yet to see a single man do so), and every time I see one stepping into or out of a booth, I am shocked at their level of stupidity.

Seriously increasing your risk of cancer so that your skin can be slightly darker than the people around you strikes me as one of the most vain, insane and stupid things that a person can do. The fact that Big Sky offers this service to its members makes it impossible for me to vote for it as the best health and fitness center in the area.

Consider the reality:

It is highly probable that at least one, and probably many Big Sky’s members will someday die of skin cancer as a result of their daily tanning sessions.

Had I been asked to rate Big Sky as the best gym in the Hartford area, I would have happily done so.

But the best health and fitness center? I don’t think so.