Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The 10 Rules For January's Gym Noobs

 Battle Royale With Chese
To be fair, I'm the guy that kind of hates the other people in his gym all year round, mostly because they are usually (a) in the prime of their lives and grunty, two things I most certainly am not, (b) have no clue what they are doing or where they are going, which means they are everywhere I'm trying to go at all times, or (c) weird old guys that I'm clearly turning into. But then there's January, where hundreds of noobs show up and try to make this year different, and gahhh.

Now, I actually want them to succeed. I'm actually quite patriotic in my way; I try like hell to never hire outside of the U.S. despite the occasional corporate pressure to do so, vote whenever I get the opportunity, donate to the occasional cause, etc., etc. This is where I own a home and my kids go to school, so I want the area to do well, dammit, and part of doing well is being active and healthy. It's no fun to be in a community of people with body issues, as it just drags on you; spend some time in shockingly obese areas (the South!), and you'll see what I mean.

But then you all come to my gym, and all of those kind thoughts for humanity go right out of the window. Mostly because, well, some of you seemingly have never been out in public before, or have no parents or correctional officers to teach you the following...

1) Read the signs, then (gasp!) act accordingly.

Perhaps you do not know the meaning of the word loiter, or that everyone on the running track is, um, moving in the same direction. Also, there is a slow lane, and a fast one. It's all a big secret, except for it being on the huge signs.

Anyway... loiter means to be stationary. Which means that lying down to chat, being a bored kid splayed out while your parent does something else, doing your homework, performing yoga, dribbling a basketball, working the iPad while staggering like a drunk or going the wrong way while taking a call SHOULD BE DONE ANY GODDAMN OTHER PLACE.

Some of us -- lots of us, really -- are using the track as, um, a track. We're moving on it. And doing the bum steeplechase, or crashing into wrong-way butterflies, isn't part of it.

2) If you can talk while you are doing your exercise, it's not exercise.

Isn't it lovely, being able to catch up with friends while exercising? It makes things so much less lonely! And, um, pretty much prevents any chance of it doing you any damn good.

Here's what exercise is: sustained, concentrated work where you make your body burn calories to achieve a goal. If your version of that is so low impact as to not have any effect on your gabfest, you aren't doing it hard enough to do anyone any good. You are, however, infuriating everyone around you. Good job on that.

3) Masking your reek is, in fact, reek. Worse reek, actually.

Exercise purges toxins from the body. Do it hard enough, and even you will know that you are approaching Goat Status, and, um -- it's a gym. That's not just allowed, it's freaking encouraged. But when you decide that being a goat isn't tolerable, and go for the chemical dodge? Well, then you are just Goat Plus Chemical Dodge, which is, um, 100X worse. War crime, actually. Just do your damn workout and shower, and sweat like a human. Please. I'm begging you on this.

4) Watch your freaking kids. Especially the little ones.

I have kids. I love them more than life, and they have given my existence more meaning and value than anything. I can't imagine life as anything but their father, and treasure my time with them. That being said, I didn't come to the gym to see *your* kids, and I really didn't come to hear them freak out over whatever it is that they are freaking out about.

My kids are very, very smart; they save all of their worst moments for whenever no one else is around, and behave well in public. It pays off for them in spades. But when they have a rare off day, I take them the hell home, with speed, because I find it too mortifying to have awful kids in public. And when it comes to a gym, with things like free weights that can easily injure someone, or crash potential on tracks? Let's just move on.

5) I love music. Probably not yours.

Most people are good at keeping headphones on, but man alive, the people that don't, or feel that they need to have their phones play tracks on those crappy tinny speakers? It's amazing how well those cut through every possible defense. Nothing stops it. And no jury would convict.

6) It's a hallway. MOVE.

My gym has a cafe area. It's got couches in front of a screen. It's got a warren of spare rooms in the back, a big basketball gymnasium with bleachers, a spacious kid's arcade with cool physical video games, and multiple bathrooms. Which means that people... congregate in the high traffic hallway from the locker room to the basketball gym, or the choke point from check-in to the main machine and free weight area. And wonder why the place seems so crowded, when all they are trying to do is talk to so and so. GAHHH. MOVE MOVE MOVE MOVE MOVE.

7) Be efficient, or be willing to move for those that are.

I come to the gym, 3 to 5 times a week, for about 6 to 10 hours total. Those hours are dearly bought; I'm sacrificing sleep and other things I could be doing. It's kind of a mission to me, in that I'm here to get my miles or reps in, and the regulars in the gym -- you know, the ones that are trying very hard to not hate all of you January folks -- are kind of the same way. So if you need a lot of rest between sets, or aren't in any kind of hurry, step aside for the people who look like they are lifers here. It'll make the entire place work better. And prevent so many cars from having flat tires.

8) It's a public shower. Decorum, please.

If you are in one of these while performing some elaborate attempt at shaving, wearing a shower cap, applying some WMD-level pharmaceutical, or working on your stand-up routine... um, well, I'd tell you to knock it off, but you're probably beyond hope. Enjoy the next life as a dung beetle.

9) Men, for god's sake, develop bag discipline.

Here's a base rule of happiness: carry nothing that you aren't going to use. It's amazing to me how many guys will go into a locker room with some hoarding issue bag work: drinks, snacks, grooming products, three changes of clothing, a bathroom cabinet of products and God knows what else. It's also amazing to me how they always seem to find the locker next to mine, and how often they have kids. With even worse bags.

10) Clean up after your self, for heaven's sake.

Leaving your machine a sloppy sweaty mess is gross. So is what you're doing to the locker room with all of the crap from item #9. This isn't a hotel where you get to play Rich Douche who makes things hard on the cleaning staff; it's a gym, and if there's a cleaning staff, it's not getting here for a long damn time. I can't tell you how much hate people like that generate, but if we ever get the hate to electricity machine perfected, they'd light up the place. Like a Christmas tree. That's burst into flames.

Feel free to add your own in the comments...

1 comment:

CMJDad said...

Dude, I know what gym you go to. It isn't a gym as much as it is a nursery for young and old alike. There are a number of real gyms in the area that cater to people who are serious about exercise. Try one!

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