Saturday, May 07, 2016

Gym Politics

After having been a member at about half a dozen different local workout haunts over the years, I've made some observations and noticed a few things.

For starters, there is the tendency for people to generally pick the machine that is furthest away from other people, not unlike what men do at the urinals in public washrooms. This is the case regardless of what gender the other members are, in order to communicate that you are not trying to make a sexual advance on them. Problems arise, however, if the particular machine that you want is right next to the other member whilst there are other available machines that are not. The other member is not necessarily keen to the fact that you have a predilection for the adjacent machine due to it's particular idiosyncrasies, such as the particular software it uses.. firmness of the belt, or any other host of reasons. Now you either have to casually strike up a conversation to direct them to these advantageous idiosyncrasies upon approaching the machine, at the first point you gain their attention--or you have to pick the less favorable machine. There are other issues as well, such as when there are an even number of machines and the other members are at both ends, such as the infamous 7-10 split in bowling.

You have to make a decision about which member you will choose to be closer to and you know that they will both be trying to understand why you arrived at the decision you did. Now you are compelled to avoid eye-contact with both of them for the remainder of your workout.

On to the weights. Men tend to be competitive and aren't comfortable with another man lifting more weight. It's one thing if there is a gross disparity with regard to size or age, or if one of the members is an obvious gym rat who probably has no life at all, outside of the workout facility. But the problems arise when the other member is of a similar demographic. This is fine if you're the stronger of the two, but if you're the one holding onto the short end of the stick, you must carry the burden of  knowing that someone else is doing better than you are. Sure, you can try to rationalize this by looking for advantages in other areas, or perhaps reason that soon you will be lifting more than you are currently working with, but unfortunately the same thing applies to the other party as well.

Then there is the matter of checking out the hardbodies. At what point does a look become a leer, or a glance become a stare.

I've never been very good at establishing this line of demarcation and find myself erring on the side of an extended ogle. It's almost an automatic reflex for me, so I often unwittingly have a dreadfully sober expression on my face. I can only imagine what effect an icy-looking eyeball from a 196 cm strange man must have on a beauteous damsel. If caught in such a prolonged gaze, I feel I must avoid eye-contact with her for the remainder of my workout as well. Its either that or else give total commitment and actually hit on her. Nothing in between will do.

Then there are the staff. Oh the wonderful staff. At many of these large franchised McGyms, the monthly membership fees barely cover their overhead. They look to make extra money by up selling "boot camps" or other non-essential nonsense, such as personal trainers.
Don't get me wrong...I have nothing against a qualified personal trainer who actually cares about providing a service to a client, but at one gym in particular, of whose name I won't mention for legal reasons...all I ever saw were bubble-gum chewing know-nothing fraudsters who gave nothing but bad advice to the client and were only interested in making money. Later I was to find out that all they had to do to be able to tout the title "certified" trainer, is to take a Mickey Mouse two week safety course so they would at least know how to use the machines properly, but nothing more.

As promised, I won't be spilling the beans on what gym I am referring to in particular here, but let it be said that if you want to have a GOODLIFE in which FITNESS is a priority, then I wouldn't recommend you go there. In fact, the staff were so blatantly aggressive at that gym which i refuse to mention, they would run up to you and say things like "what are you going to work on today, buddy?", or "How is your training going, buddy?" as a precursor to the impending sales pitch. It occurred to me that "your mother" would be an appropriate response to the first query, and, "ask your mother" to the second.