I used to love my gym. I felt like a part of something as I handed my swipe card to the cheerful receptionist and beelined to the women's locker room. Yes, we areall making choices to be here to be better, healthier, happier I secretly chanted as I got changed and headed towards the treadmills. Back then, I could feel the adrenaline pumping and thrived off the sweaty energy. I would wave as I drove past it and proudly exclaim, "That's my gym!" Back when I thought that missing one run was going to undo every other run, I was there a lot. During the suffocating hot summer days, I'd be there. During the freezing cold and knee-deep snowy nights, I'd be there. I'd be there after work. I'd be there on weekends. Nothing says "loser" like being at the gym past 8 o'clock on a Friday night. Nothing.
I had a personal trainer for about a year which guaranteed a weekly visit. We ventured into that other area--the one with the mirrors and meatheads. I even did that terrifying chinup/dip machine and didn't die. Although, I would question her every time. She'd walk me over and adjust the weights and tell me to start with 15. I'd politely ask why she was trying to kill me and what I ever did to her. I was also doing a lot of speedwork training in a delusional attempt at a sub-two hour half marathon. It's a lot easier to do speedwork on a treadmill than a track.
Then my trainer moved away and I canceled the personal training package. I started taking karate classes a few times a week and running outside more and having more time and before I knew it, I hadn't been to the gym in two or three months.
I've been enjoying my casual status with running for the past few weeks. I started to feel gross and stuffy after the zero miles weeks and decided it was time. It was time to return to the gym.
I hate that place. Hate is maybe too strong a word. But it has significantly dropped in it's standings of places I like to be. First place--bed; Last place-- grocery story; Second to last place-- gym.
What I used to think was the stench of calories burning and muscle eating fat is now just plain stench.
Riddle me this, readers. I've been watching the same group of men play racquetball for about ninety minutes, three nights a week for two years. And not a single one of them have lost a single pound. They.all.look.exactly.the.same. (I haven't lost a single stinkin' pound in this adventure either, but my body has changed.) AND they have yet to figure out that the plastic doors are see through. Sometimes I just want to open the door and yell, "WE CAN SEE YOU!"
You're often on the same schedule as others and see the same faces every time. I swear there is a Shane Victorino lookalike who comes in around 8pm every night. I call him Shane Victorin-i. (Although, I don't think we'd be best buddies like the real deal and I would.) There is one overweight woman who works out in the pool and I've seen her slowly loosing weight over time. I want to say something but have absolutely no idea what or when. I'm proud of her though.
And there are the cute Asian ladies who come in every night. They're adorable and scary. I have no idea what they do there but they always seem to be getting out of the shower.
For a few months, I was on the same schedule as a lady who looks exactly like our high school drama teacher, crazy blond hair and all. She would attack the ellipticals with fury and seemed to change her shirt every twenty minutes. You know how I noticed that? Because I have seen that woman topless more times than I think necessary. There is acceptable amount of exposure while getting changed in an locker room and then there is this lady. She would seriously take her shirt off to go the bathrooms. And since we were on the same schedule, I'd see them coming and going! I've been going to the gym later in the evenings because a quieter, less crowded gym is a much more bearable, less rage inducing gym. I also thought this would spare me from the locker room flasher. Nope. The first evening of my return, I turn the corner and bam!
Another mystery of the gym is the sitting on machines. This phenomena occurs mostly in the men and mostly on the ab machines. Maybe I'm only noticing this because I want to use the ab machines and there is always, always, some dude just sitting on them staring off into space. I understand you need to give your muscles recovery time in between sets. However, is it really necessary to listen to the entire song? Do your three sets of 25 or 50 or whatever other macho number you're doing and move on. I've never observed a woman hovering on an ab or any other machine for too long. I assume this is because women a) naturally uncomfortable on that side of the gym and b) have darn much too to do to sit on a machine for five minutes without actually doing anything. More and more, I find that men seem to have this constant luxury of time whereas women are always rushed and always frazzled.
*Side note: I know that working out in public and even entering a gym in intimidating and hard for many people out there. By no means am I attempting to mock or discredit the efforts and dedication of those whom are there. I don't know the stories behind these faces.These are just the thoughts that bumble through my head as I pound away on the treadmill. We're all beautiful people.)
I'll continue to drag myself there as it's cold and dark in the evenings now and the morning thing just ain't happening lately. And I'll continue to roll my eyes at the prissy receptionist and dose my hands in sanitizer when I leave.