Seven Ways To Make Me Go Apeshit In The Gym

1. Stretch In The Squat Rack. I realize that this apparatus is incredibly tempting to people who want to put their foot up on something and try to pry their calcified groins open, but for God’s sake, people, it’s a rack designed to withstand the weight of a quarter-ton (or more) of iron, in a way that allows people to pick it up and put it down safely. This is like using a carbon-steel kitchen knife to cut carpet. Find someplace else to air your testicles.

2. Mommie Talk On The Cardio Equipment. Yes, I know that twenty or thirty minutes on the cycle or the treadmill are dull, though they’ll be more exciting if you crank up the resistance a little. But please spare us all the top-volume gabfest about what little Mortimer and Iodine are doing at school, the Scouts, or the soccer league.

3. Hide The Shoe. I mean, the dumbbell. There is a rack, there are dumbbells that go on the rack, that is where people look for them; please don’t take all the small ones, which I use for kata punching before doing some serious lifting, and squirrel them in the circuit workout room for reasons known only to you and your God. I am sick of cleaning up after you.

4. Play “Big Dog.” If your idea of a set of squats involves holding TWO WHOLE FIVE POUNDERS at hip level and going up and down at a pace that doesn’t even make you open your mouth to exhale, you belong in the Zen studio up the street, nothing against Zen, you just don’t need to be cluttering up the free weight room.

5. Camp On The Equipment. If you really want to craze me, pick up your newspaper or Oprah Pick Of The Week as soon as you finish your set and browse through it till you are ready to start another one.

6. Play Hospital. Look, sweetheart: it’s a gym. People sweat in here, breathe in here, sneeze in here. I don’t blame anyone who wants to use those little spray bottles and paper towels the management provides to police up visible sweat smears, Brylcreem or whatever from the Naugahyde but if half your workout is spent sponging up every imagined haze of body fluids (while other members wait for the equipment), you need a therapist. In a quarter century frequenting places far grungier than this I have never contracted anything, not even athlete’s foot.

7. Carry Your Purse. God made combination locks for a reason.



19 thoughts on “Seven Ways To Make Me Go Apeshit In The Gym

  1. The P90Xers stole all the smaller free weights, the 15 and 20lbers, until they got the hint from us always going into their workout room to ask for them. (What the hell we use them for? Shoulders, flys, wtvr the hell they’re called.) Finally mgmt got the hint and loaded up a couple racks with small free weights. Useless color coded rubber coated things in increments from 1lb to 10lb. What the hell does anyone use a 1lb weight for? And they put the rack in the weight room, not the cardio room. WTF?

    Fortunately we are a high-tech firm and everyone’s too Type A to put up with anyone sitting around reading. If the metal isn’t actually moving, you will get bumped. It’s also why I had to notice the teeny new weights were not colored according to the IEC electronic color code (blk brn red org etc). Gawd, are there no standards?

    • Oh, the Engineer will love that notion of using the electronic color code on dumbbells.

      I once phoned ahead to a hotel to ask if they had gym equipment and free weights in the “workout room” advertised. The bimbo who answered the phone said yes. I arrived to find a small triangular rack of seven and ten pound weights rubber coated in lavender. Homicide was very, very close that day.

  2. Golly gee, there are a lot of people out there who want to do multiple sets of reps with light weights to stay toned and to stave of osteoporosis. Now, I realize that there are also people who what to heft large quantities of weights, but I believe we can all coexist in the same world. The bimbo referred to above was not lying when she said there were free weights, she just lives in an alternate universe to yours.

    While I realize that the folks speaking above have been lifting weights for a long time, it might be well for you all to remember that there are people out there whose weight lifting has consisted of lifting a glass of coke to their lips and when they finally decide that if they are going to push back their inevitable death by cardiac arrest they had better get their fat asses to the gym, the largest weight they can actually manage to pump for more than 4 reps is one that weighs one pound.

    I myself have had the salutary experience of deciding that I would get in shape. I availed myself of a rather good instruction book that pointed out that if you were a beginner, it might be well to begin your “weight lifting” regime with a week of doing sets of the motions of the exercises without actually holding weights in your hands. “Pooh pooh” I said to myself and the book. “I’m not that weak.” I began my new workout regimen using what I considered to be ridiculously small weights weighing all of three pounds. “Au contraire,” my muscles told me the very next morning. “You most certainly are a mass of wimpy weaselly soup, not a strong toned muscle is to be found in your biceps. Or any where else in your body for that matter.”

    Now, certainly, there is a lot of etiquette that needs to be observed in a gym, especially if it is a busy one. But it doesn’t seem quite fair to be so snarky about the people who are beginners and truly do NEED lighter weights, or who have different goals than yours and don’t want to ever heave around anything heavier than ten pounds when they are working out.

    This may appear like I am making my very own post, but I also have to add that there is research out there that indicates that when a person who is 75+ has osteoporosis, it actually does them good to sit in their wheelchair and heft one quarter pound weights (yes, one quarter pound, four ounces) until they can manage to do one half pound ones. This activity, regularly carried on, will actually help them reverse the bone loss they have suffered and eventually rise from their wheelchair to graduate to a walker. Of course, these people are not cluttering up your gym.

    • My point is that if someone is doing squats with the mighty total of TEN POUNDS, it is ridiculous and precious of them — not to mention thoughtless — to use our only pair of five pound dumbbells; they could hold a ten pound plate and get the same result, and they could do it in the warmup/circuit room, far from people who are swinging fifty pounders and using equipment designed to keep heavy lifters from hurting themselves or someone else.

      If all you can curl is five pounds, curl it and more power to you, but it’s maddening to see someone play “I’m doing squats with the big boys” when all she is doing is making her blonde ponytailed self look absurd and placing herself in the path of danger.

      • The image makes me giggle, because I am not the one having to avoid beaning the girl playing with the big boys. . .

        Maybe she’s trying to find a boyfriend. Of course, annoying everyone in the vicinity is probably not the way to do this.

  3. Oh. And for the record, I believe that ALL “Mommy Talk” should be confined to the privacy of one’s own home or kept amidst the other folks at your “play group.”

    And people actually carry their purse around the gym??? Maybe that’s where the missing weights are. . . A novel way to combine being totally annoying and lifting weights secretly.

    • Maybe the purse is where they keep their portable defibrillator.

      As I was out removing bermuda grass from the garden across the street this post just kept running through my mind. The whole thing about people moving weights around and not putting them back where they belong makes me wonder what their kitchen looks like. I mean, when I was growing up we were supposed to put away things we had used after we were finished with them. leaving the milk out on the counter after you have poured a glass of it rather than putting the container back in the fridge is an example of bad kitchen etiquette that translates to the gym.

      • I thought of what you said about the purse during today’s workout, and am beginning to think that really is what happened to the other pairs of five-pounders. We used to have three.

  4. You should put up a couple of signs:
    “If you can talk while you’re using this machine, you’re not working hard enough to shift any of the flab off your arse” would be my top tip.


    • Yes! I need to translate that one into Spanish and give it out to the gabby gym “social clubbers”. They talk so loud that even having my iPod on at full blast doesn’t drown them out.

  5. My gym clothes never touch ANYTHING in my house other than the laundry hamper. I always feel contaminated until I get home, shower and change. And I’m mostly talking about the yoga mats!

  6. What really drives me nuts is the four or five twenty-somethings standing around talking to the one person using the FreeMotion cable machine next to the one I am trying to use. They keep getting in the way when I adjust the arms. In the time I do three sets at nine positions, the one idiot working out only gets through two positions, and he is using the same weight settings I am. But they all sure wear fancier duds than I do. Bet they won’t be in my shape when they hit my age (their age when Nixon resigned).

  7. Oh, don’t get me started.
    How about these –

    8. When someone is in the middle of working with a considerably impressive amount of weight, what part of don’t fucking talk to me does one not understand? Actually, that applies to ANY amount of weight.

    9. I have a vagina, yes – it doesn’t give you, dick, a good enough reason to talk to me or give me advice on what I’m doing WRONG.

    10. Cloying perfume and the gym do not go hand in hand. I will puk on you.

    11. If I can see the outline of your reproductive organs, don’t act outraged if we all stare.

    12. If you are offended by grunting, go fuck yourself.

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