The Costco Workout

usa-001Being late the party, what can I say about my first trip to Costco that has not already been said?  The bargains are good, the quantities obscene, and the clientele value-driven.  It’s only been a few years since I ventured into my first Wal-Mart, and Costco does not disappoint in taking that low price shopping experience to a higher, more frantic plane.

I was lured into wholesale paradise by the need to supply a party for 100+ people to celebrate my daughter before she heads off to the Peace Corps.  She had a detailed list of how many pounds of strawberries, half gallons of salsa, towers of plastic cups, dozens of chicken wings and cartons of frozen hamburgers we would need. The experience aligned with my expectations, but greatly exceeded them.  The warehouse atmosphere was charged; the palette stacks ominous, the sample ladies pushing nibbles at intersections ubiquitous.  Still, Costco seemed to amplify my preconceptions rather than change them until I realized something I had not anticipated. Shopping at Costco is great exercise.

First, there is the walking.  Costco has over a mile of aisles and my calves got a good stretch as we explored every one.  Second are the carts; double size versions of their supermarket cousins, my shoulders pulsed like Rocky Balboa as I pushed pounds of frozen meat. Towards the end of our visit, when we left our carts in a central spot to scatter and fetch those final items we missed on our first pass, I found myself curling cartons of 24 count power bars. I got a lower back workout lifting all the items to check-out and then replacing them to our baskets on the far side of the cash. The only thing that got lighter was my wallet. We motored our goods, and our quads, to the car and chest pressed them into the trunk. When that was full, we stretched our torsos stuffing things into the back seat as well. Back home my gluts burned trudging quarts of condiments up the stairs.

Aside from the illusion that we are saving money buying more food than we possibly need to eat, Costco might just be the healthiest shopping experience in America.


My new gym?


About paulefallon

Greetings reader. I am a writer, architect, cyclist and father from Cambridge, MA. My primary blog, is an archive of all my published writing. The title refers to a sequence of three yoga positions that increase focus and build strength by shifting the body’s center of gravity. The objective is balance without stability. My writing addresses opposing tension in our world, and my attempt to find balance through understanding that opposition. During 2015-2106 I am cycling through all 48 mainland United States and asking the question "How will we live tomorrow?" That journey is chronicled in a dedicated blog,, that includes personal writing related to my adventure as well as others' responses to my question. Thank you for visiting.
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6 Responses to The Costco Workout

  1. Laura LA says:

    I have never been to Costco, and have actually been a little bit afraid to go. Sheer size aside (though I become nervous in big, crowded places, so the size is enough to make me hesitate) I fear the amount I would purchase were I to join the crowd. But, perhaps I have been thinking about it all wrong. For the cost of some cases of dog food, I could get in a full body workout AND be fed a rejuvenating snack to boot.
    Thanks for the tip.

    • paulefallon says:

      Costco is not for the feint of heart, but it is worth the experience. There is an amusement park aspect to it – the towers or stuff mess with your equilibrium.

  2. Pat says:

    Excellent. I knew you would blog your experience!

  3. Adela Taylor says:

    Too funny, Paul!
    My shopping at Costco has always meant “massive amounts” of food and rewarded myself with a $1.50 hot dog on the way out!
    Had to quit my membership.
    Happy thoughts and wishes to your daughter – for her adventures in Peace Corp.

    • paulefallon says:

      Thanks Adela –

      I hope that Abby finds as much fun and reward as we did in our VISTA days, though maybe she can do without the accident! Hope all is well with you and your family.

  4. Susan Marie Nelson-Bensch says:

    Thanks for the fun read. I have been looking to find the steps or miles of the Costco aisle. The manager says he does not know. Your stating that there is over a mile of aisles was the best I could find. I guess I will need to turn on my iPhone walking app.

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