Thursday, August 02, 2007

Deep Thoughts From The Gym

So it’s officially been one year since I got on a health kick and got myself back into the gym after a few years of hiatus – last August was when I started my membership with Gold’s Gym. I’m proud of myself for sticking with my goal to shape up and reestablish healthy exercise habits. I am officially 10 pounds lighter than I was this time last year and I think with my new habits firmly in place now, I should be able to keep that off. I’ve been an on and off gym-goer ever since I was in high school, so by now I’m pretty well familiar with the goings-on in a typical gym. I’ve always wanted to compile my thoughts on being a gym dweller, and with the advent of The Mer Show, I now have that opportunity! So here goes...

First of all, one of my favorite things to do at the gym is to observe the regulars. I like watching them and trying to determine their purpose – is it to stand around and look pretty, attracting the opposite sex? To genuinely work up a sweat? Make their muscles big and billowy so that other dudes respect them? Do they not have anything better to do, so the gym sounds good? (I confess – sometimes that’s me!) I like trying to figure out their story. Like is the little blonde bimbo a college student? Stripper? Bored on a Tuesday night? What does the guy with all the tattoos do for a living? Waiter? Musician? Trader Joe’s bagger while he writes his screenplay? I like to give the regulars names. In the past I named two girls that followed each other around the gym giggling Amber and Jerri, for the girls on the first season of Survivor; the buff black guy in my spinning class Walter (Payton); the skinny, tall white gay guy in my Body Pump class Eugene, because he’s such an awkward dork. Then there’s Meathead, Rockabilly, Heather, Smoothie King, and more…

I have a lot of pet peeves in the gym. What is with girls that wear jewelry such as bracelets and dangly earrings? Is that necessary? And I can’t stand dudes that wear really overpowering cologne to hide the fact that they’re wearing no deodorant – gross! And when people leave a machine all wet and sweaty without wiping it down? There have been times I really had to stop myself from assertively approaching people. When people mouth the lyrics to the song on their MP3 player or the gym stereo, I’m not sure whether to giggle and watch or what… it’s such a train wreck!

One thing that really freaks me out is overweight group fitness instructors. Does that mean that if I attend their class, it’s not going to work? I mean, surely they exercise more than I do – if they teach a couple of classes per week and still have a belly roll or fat arms, is their class worth my time? I guess it’s not realistic that every instructor is going to have a perfect body, but subconsciously, I freak out a little bit if my instructors don't. On the other hand, how about those 50 and 60 somethings who look positively AMAZING?! There’s a 60 something lady in my spinning class on Saturday mornings who looks like a million bucks. She inspires me to get my booty in there and cycle!!

Now trainers… these are an interesting lot. Why do all of them give me the creeps? Most of them are in amazing shape, but they’re all so… creepy! Many of them stand around leering at the gym-goers and I’m not sure if they’re browsing us for potential business, potential dates, or just bored. There’s one at my gym now that sits at his little desk and flirts with girls as we walk by, and I watch him leering at people throughout our workouts. I just to work the front desk of a gym when I lived in Malibu in 1997 and the trainers used to talk about their clients all the time. It was enough to inspire me to never hire a trainer – pay someone $50/hr to gossip about my saddlebags and how much better I would look if I just got lipo and implants… NO thanks!

I’m not even going to get started about locker room etiquette. And I’ve never even been in a men’s locker room (shiver)!

And lastly, to my spinning instructor on the occasional Friday morning when I get up early enough… The Smiths, Morrissey, and Nine Inch Nails is not motivating music to make me want to work out, OK? I mean all three bands are amazing, but not at 8:00 a.m. while sweating my ass off! How about a little dance/ house music, cheesy pop, rock, disco, or something with some energy? That would be greeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaat... thanks!

So is it just me that finds the gym such an interesting study in sociology? How about you guys? Got any funny stories or introspective observations?

Love, Mer

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