It is difficult being a fitness instructor in a world without phone booths.  For those who don’t know it, much of an instructor’s life spent in civilian clothes of one type or another. This apparel is not normally conducive to a class.

I once forgot my fitness rigging and ended up teaching a step class in a T-shirt and green twill pants. It was wet, itchy, and not pretty. Worse, the class was in the morning and I spent the day in the office with wet sweaty pants.

Getting into those spandex shorts has its difficulties as well. My office often serves this purpose well. There is a chair to hide behind, and I have venetian blind on the inside windows that I can close. It also happens late enough in the afternoon so there are no clients hanging around trying to get a glimpse of life in the fast lane.

The problem here is that I often leave an artefact of changing behind on the floor. One day a co-worker was staring at one of these artefacts on the floor. “Mike,” he said while shaking his head. “Are those your gauntch on the floor?”

I told him they were. I was thankful that he found them rather than the cleaner.

Getting into the garb is nothing compared to getting out of it. When spandex gets wet from excess sweat, it becomes harder to remove. It peels off making noises like latex gloves. It also gets cold quickly. If the air conditioning is on, or if a door is open letting in cold air, it’s not unusual to get frostbitten naughty bits on the way to the change room.

Once I taught a class in the West End Community Centre in Vancouver.  At that time in the West End, women joggers were being attacked by a sexual deviant who would lurk in the bushes and attack passersby, sexually assault them, and then run back into the bushes. Women were angry, but at a loss to determine what to do about it. All the police would tell them to do was to leave the walkman at home, and try to jog in groups.

When I taught this particular class, the changing rooms were closed for renovations. All my participants had gone home, and when I turned the lights out, all the lights from Denman street below gave a candle-like ambiance to the room. “What a great place,” I thought. I determined that I would get changed into my civilian duds right there.

As soon as I peeled of the Spandex shorts and I found myself standing in my altogethers, there was a large crash of a door opening bar of the fire escape and suddenly 10 women came in to talk about the phantom assaulter. As the switched on the lights, …

Later, at the police station, I was able to convince the police that I was, indeed, an innocent of being the phantom, but guilty of wanting to get changed in a public place that had, at least temporarily, no change room.

The staff at the West End Centre now has a locking closet where I can get changed without fear of chill blains or being shot as a rapist.

Mike Broderick is an Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he finds employment for people with physical disabilities. Part of this work means affiliation with the Vancouver Board of Trade where he is a member of the Ambassador Club, the Burnaby Board of Trade where he is a member of the Labour Task Force, the Tri Cities Chamber of Commerce where he is an active member of the 10X10 initiative, and the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce. He does some work as a field Archaeologist and is a  fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to alive magazine in Port Coquitlam. You can reach him at home at   or at

If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates



  1. Sharon Says:

    Oh no! Mike, I’m so amazed at the number of disasters you survive. It’s a wonder you aren’t dead or in the lock-up for the duration. Even so, thanks for all the giggles, laughs, guffaws and outright ROFL.

    BTW, what does Cecelia think about all this flashing?

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