Monday, October 18, 2010
A Tour of the Gym
I'm a pretty experienced gym person. I've been around and experimented like every college girl should.
I've been in the expensive, purpose driven, Olympic athlete-filled chain gym. For about 80 a month, you get to watch as girls the size of toothpicks and men with pecks the size of my head bounce up and down on the stair master for hours, or until someone enforces the dreaded "time limit." The treadmill is for running only. And by running, I mean sprinting for said "time limit" or until the machine forces the person to slow their ass down.
Gym etiquette is actually quite lovely at gyms such as these. Mainly, it's because everyone is so focused on running or elliptical-ing off every last lettuce induced calorie possible that they are too faint to talk. There's no loud chit chat (plus, it's hard to hear over the 90s pop blasting over industrial fans) or brutish men trying to pick up heavily makeup-ed women. It's get in and stay in till you drop or are removed by a staff member with a shovel.
Then there's the college gym. Tried and true it never fails to be a melting pot of athletes clinging to the hope that maybe they'll make it to the professional leagues, even though they play AAA sports. But there is also the unfortunate mix of frat boys working off the hangover from last night, sorority girls trying to pick up currently puking frat boy, and overweight smart people who are there only to fulfill the requirements set down by some 90 year old pseudo-gym teacher.
Obviously, gym etiquette is non-existent, except for Saturday nights or Sunday mornings when sorority girls get their cardio from the walk of shame.
And of course, there is the community gym. I am currently occupying a community gym every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. What you get from a scholarship and merit based facility is the mix between the college and the purpose driven.
There are people, like me, who are obviously there to get healthy. We're trying. We're trying our hardest and it may not be pretty (ask my boyfriend, I'm not pretty when I sweat), but give us credit. It's a mix bag of moms, old men, and 20-30 year old single women with nothing else to do on a Tuesday night (but watch Glee while training for a 5K).
Many of these people bring their children for the low child care cost and pool availability. But apparently, putting these kids in the care facility is easier said than done. Instead of fighting off bros and hos for the next spot on the elliptical, I get to be cut in line by an 8 year old who cant even pedal. They're, of course, sweaty, sticky, and full of germs that not even industrial strength gym cleaning fluid can get off the bench press.
But they aren't the worst. The worst is the high school boys. They are the inspiration, nay muse, behind this post. High school boys come in groups, or as I like to refer to them as drones, because as instantly as they set their weights up, everyone drops. Who knows what compels them to blast "Iron Man" at 8pm on a Thursday, but who even knows why they need it when they clearly tend to shout over poor Ozzie to. And what they shout is always a vulgar comment about a girl on the ski machine or an older man lifting light weights. They ruin the gym experience.
This weekend, I had my revenge. After overhearing a high school basketball player talking about how he had to enroll in a "fat woman's biking class" because his coach made him, my motivation kicked in to high, bitch like gear. Instead of helping him properly find his bike settings, every woman in that class ignored his grunts as he realized how uncomfortable a spin bike is. Then the class started. Through sprints and "half way ups," I could see him failing. His eyes grew beady and he was clearly in pain. When we shouted out our mileage, he was far behind us. And then it happened, he asked to leave. He blamed it on cramps so the teacher, a waif of a girl, pulled him off the bike and escorted him to the fountain. She made him down some pretty hysterical yoga stretches while we "fat women" continued to spin. He watched, head in his lap, trying not to pass out.
So, the next time you're at the gym, remember the gym/societal rules:
1. Children have no place in an adult gym. Nor do college frat boys with the same intelligence level.
2. Wipe down your machines so to avoid spreading last night's fresh herpes.
3. Dont wear makeup to the gym. Seriously. You'll look redic if you actually break a sweat. No one likes a sweaty raccoon.
4. "Iron Man" may seem appropriate. But it is never warranted.
5. Heed the time limit, even if you have the "big race" the next week.
5. Do not underestimate the power of a woman on a diet and her will to beat the treadmill/bike/elliptical/free weights/etc. She's got much more important things on her mind than which size of triceps will impress the most.