I am a huge proponent of taking care of yourself. Impeccable hygiene, clean clothes, not being on a first name basis with the White Castle staff; all good things. Above all else, I’m big on the gym. I myself try to go daily, because I’m a huge fan of cookies and the only kind of jiggle I tolerate is that of Jell-O shots. I have earned the right to self-proclaim Pro status when it comes to my standing in the gym, and with great power comes great responsibility – aka it’s up to me to call out all of the unathletic n00bs that are doing it wrong. If any of the descriptions below pertain to you, please don’t stop going to the gym, just stop going when I’m there. It’s better for everyone that way.
The Fashionistas: Athletic clothing is the biggest contradiction in the entire world. It’s so comfortable and provides such free range of motion that it almost dares you to sit on the couch watching VH1 countdowns eating break-and-bake cookie dough. Gotcha bitch, you’re actually supposed to work up a sweat in those digs! Even if you don’t feel like shelling out the dough for “actual” workout gear, pull on a pair of sweatpants and a gross old t-shirt (with the arm holes cut down to your waist if you’re one of those dudes) and you more or less look the part. The leniency provided by what is acceptable in terms of exercise clothing is what makes me so dumbfounded by some people’s fashion choices as they burn up more of my patience than actual calories. We’ll ignore how awkward you look for the time being and jump straight to how uncomfortable it really must be to do the elliptical in camo cargo shorts and an Aeropostale polo shirt. This isn’t 1995, so I really am not sure where you even found Doc Martens, and I’m even more confused as to why you thought they’d be fun to ride the stationary bike in. Sure, there might be a tranny, the obviously anorexic girl, and the frighteningly roided-out freak present to distract everyone, but at the end of the day, the person wearing jorts and boat shoes does nothing to diversify the gym and everything to make themselves look like a giant idiot.
The Monthers: There are three periods of time during which the gym will be obnoxiously crowded: beginning of the New Year, three weeks before Spring Break, and middle of the summer. The skewed logic goes a little something like this: “It’s the New Year! My New Year’s Resolution is to get in shape and really stick to my workout regime! I want flat abs and non-flabby arms and everyone’s going to love me because of how great I look! I can’t wait to go from Nottie to Hottie in just a month’s time!” Let’s stop right there. The people that think this way have no real intentions of getting a six pack or changing any of their other unhealthy habits. Countless after-holiday Hydroxycut commercials and ads for the Insanity workout have given them about an ounce of inspiration that will sustain them until January 22 when they realize that while they may have dropped about five pounds, their get-fit-quick scheme is not going as planned. They’ll revert back to their old habits and free up the weight room right before the rest of us want to kill them, and then the beginning of March rolls around: “Omigah, SB ’11 is like, so soon! How am I going to find my soulmate in PCB if I don’t have a killer bod? I better stop eating like YESTERDAY and get my ass on a treadmill pronto!” Suddenly, you can’t find one piece of open equipment to save your life and waify little bitches with their shorts rolled four times who put on mascara strictly to workout in are wandering aimlessly around the room asking the jacked guys, “Am I doing this right?” Half of them are so hopped up on 5 Hour Energy’s and their permissible daily half-a-banana that it’s more fun to guess the over-under on how many Russian twists they can do before they just straight pass out. After everyone returns from break with a sunburn and a Facebook photo album full of regrets, they stress-eat their way through finals and the library becomes the hot spot, rendering the gym so wonderfully empty it could make a grown man cry. A few New Years stragglers will make the attempt again after the media reminds them that bathing suit season is on the horizon, but generally no one really cares. For some reason, though, the middle of July rolls around and everyone realizes that they don’t look as naturally good in their bikini as they initially thought: “What the eff, I can NOT believe Brittany posted that picture of me looking god-awful on our trip to Myrtle Beach. Did she not notice my obvious pooch and my cellulite eclipsing the sun? Mental note: she is totes not invited to Margarita Monday next week, but more importantly, I’m cancelling all my plans for the next year and Zumba-ing my life away!” Once again, the rest of us are forced to watch this over-eager display of manic kettleballing until the cycle runs its course once more. The Monthers may be a nuisance, and the death-glares I shoot their way as they take the bounciest Bosu ball (consequently ruining my life) are not just for show, but at the end of the day their inexperience is more amusing than anything. It’s important to remember that they’ll give up in a few short weeks, and you can get annoyed by other people, such as…
The Porn Stars: I cannot bench press 300 pounds. I’ve never tried, but I don’t see it going very well for me. So perhaps it’s rather unfair that I criticize the Mr. Universe contestants that pull off this truly incredible feat each day. But maybe they should realize that I think it’s rather unfair that I have to bear witness to their X-rated demonstrations of manliness as they grunt, yell, and throw around phrases like, “Yeah! Harder! Harder!” and “Uhhh right there yeah!” and “Push it! Stick it! That’s it!” Kudos to you, Muscular Ron Jeremy, but I think showing appreciation for someone else’s achievement is what they invented the high five for. If nothing else, could you be a little more specific in your expressions so I don’t feel like I’m watching Humping Iron on HBO at four in the morning? Why not, “Yeah! Lift that heavy bar harder!” or “Push those 180 pounds above your head!”? I realize that there’s some primal instinct that I’m apparently not in touch with that forces these sounds out of your body, but why so sexual? The bottom line is, I am made uncomfortable by the noises you produce, and I’d rather not hide my blatant immaturity just because you’re trying to be a big shot. Keep it down.
The Strollers: Regardless of what any Shape-Ups commercial tells you, walking is not exercise. Unless you are physically incapable of doing so, you should be traveling basically everywhere on foot on a daily basis. When I see a person taking up valuable treadmill space with what they think is “fitness,” I give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they’re warming up for the three mile run they’re about to pursue, because if they really believe that pumping their arms at 4.3 miles an hour for twenty minutes is really doing the body good, I automatically group them in the same category as people that think George W. Bush was a smart man and that bangs are universally flattering. In short: they’re delusional. Fine, the weather is getting colder and you don’t want to power walk your way around the outdoor track; why not just stride around the room and get on everyone’s nerves, it really wouldn’t be much different than the inconvenience you’re spreading as it is. Why would you force this much judgmental energy on yourself to begin with? At least if you’re using the Stairmaster you appear to be putting in some effort. A Stroller doesn’t even produce any real sweat of their own, they just get the remnants of the hard work of everyone else and deceive everyone into thinking they’re actually exercising. I don’t know if they’ll ever learn their lesson, but I intend to drive the point home one disapproving mean mug at a time.
The Geezers: Old folks in the gym don’t actually bother me at all. It’s just the fact that on top of working out and casually reading the captions of ESPN highlights, I also enjoy the eye candy that the gym provides. Middle-aged professors do little for my mojo, and I’d prefer to have as few visual obstacles as possible between myself and the über babe across the room doing clean presses like a champ. Shamelessly staring at hot boys is my Me Time – please don’t ruin it with your spider veins and unreasonably tight biker shorts.