A little piece of Austin kitsch that’s made me chuckle for the past six years is the humongous plaster sculpture of an arm above Hyde Park Gym. It’s complete with bulging biceps, protruding veins, orange spray-tan and an impressive dumbbell, and what I’ve always found particularly funny about this fitness icon is the fact that Austin’s Hyde Park area isn’t exactly chock-full of weight-lifting junkies. What I mean to say is, this historical neighborhood of Austin tends to house creative types, yuppies and gardening grandmas whose strength-training routines are limited to carrying heavy stacks of books from one coffee shop to another. I’ve always thought the gym’s masthead was missing its target (skinny, glasses-wearing and coffee-sipping) market for this reason, but when I visited the gym this morning I actually found it to be teeming with more muscle-bound people than I’ve ever seen in my life.
This place seriously had Gold’s Gym and Miami Beach beat in the ripped category, and whenever I drive past this plaster homage to lactic acid I will laugh for a different reason from now on…I’ll laugh because of my former misconception and because I’m just so darn happy to have orange-free skin and heavy books in my arms.