Do you gym? I gym.
If you don’t gym, you can pretty much ignore this. This is geared toward those of us who, not content to simply collect boob sweat in the comfort of our own homes, must inflict our grunting and dripping on complete strangers in a public place.
Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE me some gym time. I’m sure lots of you do, as well. And what’s not to love? It gets you out of the house on a lazy weekend (or is conveniently there on your way home from work). They have a variety of machines that cost approximately the same as Beyonce’s hair and thus are not a reasonable purchase for most of us.
Some gyms even have swimming pools, basketball courts, free towels and coffee, and even the promise of a whole hour when one can work out without tripping over dogs/children/significant others at least twice.
But as usual, it’s not that simple. As your friend and colleague, I am afraid I simply cannot allow you to just show up at an L.A. Fitness with no earthly idea of what the hell you are doing. This is because, regretfully, there are other people in the building who deserve a modicum of respect. Please allow me to throw out of a few points of instruction on how to interact with these people.
First of all, if you are not a regular gym-goer, or if you have joined a new gym recently, you may feel a bit out of your element. Not all the machines will look familiar. Some of them will look unfriendly to the point where they drive you to the free weights, never to be seen or heard of again. It doesn’t have to be this way!
If you really are uncomfortable, you can always hire a trainer for a single session. These one-timers usually cost a cool Benjamin, but it’s worth it. They will show you how to use every damn machine in the whole gym if you want, and, more importantly, how to do it with good form. Plus, they have been practicing ways to stifle their laughter at your weak struggling for years. However, if you are not possessed of the cash for a training session, fear not. Simply take it one machine at a time. Select whichever machine you wish to use. Stare it down from across the gym.
Let it know who’s boss here. It will acquiesce to your mighty will, or it will find itself out on its ass faster than you can say Tony Little! You can’t let this stainless steel punk psyche you out. You’re about to make it your bitch. Take charge of the situation and plunk that butt down on the seat. Usually there will be a wee diagram right on the machine itself that tell you in excruciating detail exactly how to use it. Take your time and read it thoroughly. You will think to yourself, “I look like such an idiot right now.” And you do. You do look like an idiot. But we’ll see who’s laughing when you’re pumping mad iron, instead of being rushed to the emergency room because you cracked your skull open with a 180-lb barbell.
Now, it is obvious to anyone who has seen a romantic comedy that the gym, far from being a sanctuary for personal betterment and meditation, is little more than a brightly lit nightclub where the only pills being popped are creatine. In fact, the chances of a scantily clad, profusely sweating, overly tanned stranger grinding their body against yours are only slightly less at the gym than at an actual nightclub. It is a danger that we females should be aware of, being largely the victims of such behavior. After all, our bodies are seen by most of the male population as castles to be stormed, and we must be sure to have armed guards stationed at every possible entryway. CAN I GET A WITNESS.
What I’m trying to say is, you will most likely get hit on by gross dudes if you go to the gym. I’m not saying it will happen every day. Most days you will probably be able to get a workout in utterly unmolested. It’s that one occasion when some Hulk Hogan-looking, old-pork-smelling, water-buffalo-snorting motherfucker gets all up in your grill that can really ruin your day.
Just keep this in mind: You don’t have to play dice with this son of a bitch. You are there to get healthier, not to be forced to look at the outline of his penis through his spandex shorts, and it is okay to let him know that. Ignoring usually does the trick pretty quickly, but if he needs a gentle but firm invitation to have a nice hot cup of go fuck yourself, don’t be afraid to say so. You don’t have to sit there and listen to comments about your body on the subway or at the grocery store. This rule should apply to the gym as well.
However, this whole flirting situation goes both ways. If you are indeed at the gym to find some strange, hey – that’s cool. Far be it from me to judge anyone on where they like to play the field. Just try not to wildly inconvenience anyone else in your quest for trouser snake (or poontang, if that’s your cup of tea). For instance: it is unladylike to sit, motionless, on a machine whilst you chitchat with a likely-looking specimen. Remember that whole thing about respecting other people? Some of them are sitting around, waiting for a machine to open up. Do your canoodling elsewhere so that people with less romantic ambition than yourself can work out.
Now, I am all for trying to make some connections at the gym if that is your wont. But there is a secret I must let you in on. It seems painfully obvious, but it must not be since I see it being violated on the reg. It is as follows: Wearing makeup to the gym is not in your best interest.
I get it. You’re hoping that super jacked trainer will be working today, so you slap on a little mascara before you leave the house. Maybe some liner. A girl’s gotta maintain, right? Except that as soon as you pop on an elliptical and start schvitzing, that shit is gonna be all over your face, KISS-style.
It gives the illusion of “I am trying MY ABSOLUTE HARDEST RIGHT NOW!” Not a cute look for anyone, really. And you probably look perfectly fine without it to begin with.
The same goes for certain kinds of workout clothing. If it looks cute on you, there is a good chance it is not a practical workout outfit. Exhibit A: Pushup bras. Sure, they make dem titties look like a couple of ripe, juicy mangos. But those mangoes are going to start moving as soon as your workout begins. And if there is a decent amount of padding involved, it is going to soak up sweat like a perfect little sponge and begin to smell like a dead gorilla’s rotting anus juice. Guess how I know this?!
Finally, let’s chat about the locker rooms. And the hair that grows upon your person. And what happens when the twain shall meet.
Listen, the locker rooms are not your property. They are there for your use, it’s true, but this is not an invitation to comb your long, very beautiful dark hair and leave giant, possibly sentient balls of it in the sinks. Someone has to clean those sinks. And that someone is questioning their will to live right now. So knock it off.
This all is really just the tip of the iceberg. I’ll probably do several more posts in the future regarding workout etiquette/advice. If anyone has enlightening information regarding gym funtimes, feel free to leave it in the comments. In closing, I am a huge advocate of getting off your ass every now and then. Your heart will thank you, your thighs will thank you, and your self-worth will skyrocket. I am just offering ways to make the experience relatively painless for all involved.