A health scare pushed me into my first gym membership when I was in my mid-30s, almost two decades ago. The specialist who took out a benign tumor and my right adrenal gland told me afterward that I could live to be 100, if I exercised regularly and ate mostly vegetables.

I still remember thinking, “I won’t live to be 100.”

Historically, I’ve not been a big veggie guy, even after that harrowing half year of diagnostic tests, hospitalization and recovery. But I did take the exercise advice to heart – sort of.

I’ve thought back on that horrible period in recent weeks, in the wake of LA Fitness buying the quartet of Buffalo Athletic Club coed fitness centers at Christmas time. I’ve also thought about how I approached my early forays into gym memberships and the more thorough approach I took in choosing the BAC when I moved back home to Buffalo from Central New York in September 2004.

BAC coed members have until Jan. 31 – this Friday – to shift their allegiance, and money, to LA Fitness or find another place to work out.

After talking with a few dozen folks about the sale in recent weeks, I’d be willing to guess that by week’s end most former BAC coed club seniors will have found their way to YMCA or JCC fitness centers (read why here); that the majority of women who spent most of their time taking BAC group fitness classes will end up at the BAC for Women clubs; and that LA Fitness will keep most younger BAC members, middle-aged, married coed members who like to work out together, and members who prefer spinning classes and cardio equipment.

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