I was helping a friend move the other day when he asked if I was still going to the gym. Now, this could have been an innocent question. Or even a compliment, perhaps inspired by the sight of my bulging biceps as I heaved his dining room table into the back of my pickup. But of course I didn’t take it that way. To me, if someone has to ask of you’re still going to the gym, what they’re really saying is you’re obviously not going enough.
But, I have been going fairly often. Maybe not often enough to make any noticeable changes to my physique, but often enough to notice some fairly interesting things.
Things such as:
People are capable of some amazing things while on a treadmill or stairmaster
I can barely jog and watch TV at the same time, but the people around me are reading magazines, checking facebook, knitting sweaters, and, for all I know, doing their taxes. All while maintaining a pace faster than mine! If I so much as try to switch channels during a commercial, I know I’m going to lose my balance and go shooting through the wall like Wile E. Coyote. But the multi-taskers around me make the guys in that OK Go video look like amateurs.
People really don’t care what they wear to the gym
Granted, I am one of them, but I’m still surprised at what others deem appropriate for working out in public. Basically, we see the gym as a showcase for our free t-shirts. Shirts with slogans from local radio stations. Tank tops advertising Pete’s Paving. Sweatshirts emblazoned with Mill River Fun Run 2002. Stuff most people wouldn’t use for a dust rag, we happily wear to the gym. But, strangely enough, while I have no problem sporting my “Diklus Miklus” t-shirt (a party favor from a friend’s bachelor party) or The New York Giants Run On Dunkin’ freebie (thanks, Jeff), I would NEVER think of wearing the complimentary t-shirt the gym gave me for signing up. That’s just tacky.
People like to relax at the gym
I’m not talking about working out to relieve stress. I mean straight up relaxing. For every two people busting their ass on a machine, there’s one who seems to simply enjoy sitting on it. I know I take a break between sets, but some people just seem to set between breaks.
Men will always be boys
No matter how much they can bench, deep down, men are still boys. I know this because every time I go to put my stuff in one of the gym’s lockers, Locker #69 is always taken. The surrounding 65-72 are all empty, but 69 is always full.
Everybody works out
The gym I go to caters to non-jocks of the world, and is actually referred to in some circles as Planet Fatness due to its less-than conditioned clientele. Signs proclaim the place a Judgment-Free Zone and a “Lunk Alarm” sounds if anyone gets too macho with the grunting or weight dropping. Which suits me just fine. But sometimes I feel worried for some of the people working out there. And other times I’m just worried about myself! The other day I was on the floor doing some sit-ups, and I look up to see an elderly gentleman, who clearly had suffered from a stroke at sometime, struggling to stand on a balance ball while attempting to lift a 50-pound barbell that was directly over my head! I think it’s great that people of all shapes, sizes, ages, and abilities feel comfortable going to the gym, but at the same time, if you can’t pump your own gas, you probably shouldn’t be pumping iron.
Everybody drinks water differently
I’m pretty much a camel when it comes to water, where a few sips from the fountain will get me through a two-hour workout. But some people have some strange drinking habits. There’s the Triple Sipper, who takes three quick sips from his bottle every time he raises it. The Squirter, who likes to squeeze a stream of water into her mouth. The Mister, who rather than drink the water, sprays it into her face while lapping it out of the air. And The Guzzler, who makes a big show of draining their bottle in a single sip, while soaking the front of their shirt. And don’t even get me started on the weirdos who carry around what is clearly a steaming cup of coffee. I guess that’s one way to feel the burn!
So there you have it. I suppose if I spent as much time watching my weight as I do watching people, I wouldn’t need to go to the gym. But then where would I wear my Diklus Miklus shirt?