One of the many amazing benefits at Microsoft is membership at the Pro Club. It’s a humble (cough, cough) facility in an enormous three-story building featuring three cardio centers, free weights center, women’s only gym, four indoor swimming pools, six indoor tennis courts, seven racquetball courts, nine squash courts, four basketball courts, physical therapy clinic, on-site podiatrists, nutritionists, dermatologists, scores of personal trainers, every type of class possible (including special rooms for pilates, spinning, circuit training, and yoga), childcare center, spa and salon, luxury restaurant, café, florist, dry cleaner, car detailing… and luxurious locker rooms.
The woman’s locker room has two hot tubs, two steam rooms, a sauna, two sets of showers, a tiled area to recline on chaise lounges and listen to a bubbling fountain, a carpeted area to relax and watch TV or read, and of course, the usual accoutrements, including hair dryers, irons, iron boards, lotions, potions, towels, and a machine to spin the water out of your bathing suit!
There are even concierges to schedule a racquetball or tennis court, handle your dry cleaning, sign you up for programs, and schedule an appointment in the spa or restaurant… you name. They’ll set it up!
I typically slunk into the gym early in the morning, rush into the locker room, stuff my bag into a locker then scurry to the brightly lit gym to read a TIME magazine while doing a little cardio. I then advance to the less-brightly lit gym (there’s a gym with no lights so you can totally concentrate on working out) to row or work on some of the weight machines. My last stop is the women’s gym for stretching and sit-ups.
When I first joined, I would swim two days a week, but got frustrated because my left leg is uncooperative following my accident. I can do a frog kick, but it drags when doing a flutter kick. I feel like a ninny doing the breast stroke (with a frog kick) when everyone is "crawling" across the pool. Plus, my right leg dominates and I spend lots of energy compensating for my right side pulling me across the pool. Grumble.
At any rate, I’d rather read and do cardio then gasp across a pool.
Several months ago, while deeply absorbed in a magazine, I nearly feel off an elliptical machine when Steve Ballmer walked by. "Whoa," I thought, "the CEO of Microsoft is hanging out with the common folks."
I thought it was an anomaly until I kept seeing him… several mornings a week!
The Hope Diamond when compared to the net worth of Steve Balmer is a mere trinket in a box of Cracker Jacks. The man has more money than most countries. One would think that someone as "valuable" as Steve Balmer would have a private gym and a legion of strategically placed body guards.
Maybe his body guards are cleverly disguised… or maybe not. He’s always with a Pro Club personal trainer and wears nothing like you’d expect the CEO of Microsoft to wear – baggy shorts, worn out shoes, and a t-shirt that some marketer probably gave him or came from a trade show.
Yes. Steve Balmer is up with the times. You’re just as likely to see him wearing a t-shirt for "Windows Server 2008" as one for "Windows NT – The next revolution in computing."
He’s also not afraid to work up a sweat. Lots of perspiration. By the time he leaves the gym, his shirt is soaked and his head hung with exhaustion.