If you think people go to the gym to build muscle, improve strength, or lose weight, you’re wrong.
There are some gym personalities who seem to have other goals.
My opinion is of course biased. Primarily because it’s mine, i.e. subjective, but also because I’m someone who comes to the gym to get utterly destroyed and feel at least a moderate amount of muscle pain the next day. Otherwise it doesn’t count as a workout, right?
Between sets I observe other people. Not in a gym-pervy “how much do *you* lift?” way, but with, what you could call, sociological curiosity. And, as if they were unknown species in the wild, I analyse and classify them into types.
1. The Soviet group
Depending where you’re from you may not understand this meme:
Under Communism everyone had a guaranteed job. Whether they actually did something as a part of their position or not didn’t really matter. Many years under this system created an attitude towards work that some people still display today. But, to see it translated into the gym environment is a completely new to me.
Some people come to the gym in groups, and while one is doing their sets, the others (in numbers 2+) are watching. Perhaps, they are closely analysing the technique, and their Socratic dialogue is of high impact on the results of the one exercising, but I seriously doubt it.
I get it, you come to the gym with a gym buddy — that’s normal. But do you really need so much cheering up that you must bring along all your man crew? They just take up space around the rack!
At that pace of exercise your horde will have to be there for almost four hours for each of you to complete a decent workout.
My other thought is that maybe the standing team are just groupies and the one working out is a minor celebrity, who I simply don’t know. Maybe someone who dropped out of Britain’s Got Talent in the semi-final in 2011?
2. The Businessman
If you can talk on the phone while you’re on the bike or on a treadmill, you’re definitely not working on your cardio. Maybe I’ve been indoctrinated by the productivity books I read, but I believe that you have to focus on one thing at a time to make progress. And, isn’t pushing yourself harder the only way to improve?
Let’s be honest: you probably came to the gym to escape discussing the new budget for office snacks.
So, make the most of it! Run until your brain can’t think about anything else then breathing. Otherwise it’s a waste of time. You can probably walk somewhere else than on a treadmill and, as a bonus, see some nature — remember that thing? It’s green, like the kale smoothies you drink to give yourself an illusion of healthy nutrition.
3. The Socialiser
Texting while on an un-inclined leg press is a definite indication you’re doing it wrong, i.e. without the weight that makes your thighs throb with pain. FYI this applies to any leg exercise. Waving your legs nearly-freely is something you can do on a bar stool — why are you taking space on *my machine*. Also, what’s so pressing that you have to text or post about it now?
4. The Talker
I wish words were currency — maybe it would encourage people to use them more wisely.
And how are you? What are you training today? Oh my legs hurt so much after yesterday!
If you’re one of them, and are reading this: please just shut up, no one wants to listen to you.
Especially not the gym staff who hears the same thing every other hour, with the arrival of the new talker. Talkers seem to schedule their arrivals and take turns — there is always someone leaning over the reception desk chatting to one of the staff. I hope you realise, talkers, this does not count into your training time.
5. The Fashion Queen
Due to lucky genes or a miracle diet, the fashion queen has a perfect figure; not muscular, but thin, and thin equals desirable in the modern world. The fashion queen uses the gym as a space to validate her beauty.
Always only doing light cardio wearing the newest sports-wear: leggings and a matching sports bra or a crop top to show a completely flat stomach. Her long hair is always high up to dangle from side to side during her light jog. She even sweats elegantly, sweat just glazing her shapely arms, and, like another layer of make up only serves to accentuate her perfect features.
Always too aloof to catch eye contact with anyone, lest their sweaty gaze will scar her perfect skin.
Hail the Fashion Queen.
Anyone else to add?