Thursday, April 18, 2013

Five Reasons Why the Gym is the Worst

With summer fast approaching we find ourselves scrambling to transition our bodies from pale, grotesque lumps of flesh to gleaming Adonises(Adoni?) and lady Adonises(Aphrodites I guess). We usually settle for something in the middle, but to get there we have to face a monster that might be worse than the social scorn wrought from having abs that are playing hide and seek in layers of fat. The foul beast goes by an inconspicuous name, but don't let the name fool you. It is evil to the core and it feeds off the pain and suffering of humans. This fearsome creature is none other than the gym. I will push through the pain and the post-traumatic stress to try and save you before it is too late by helping you see why the gym is the worst.

5. Locker room

As you first enter the gym like the frightened creature you are, your natural inclination is to head to the locker room so you can put on the appropriate attire or at the very least lock up your scant valuable possessions so you will have a means of egress once the hellish session is over. This feeling is a mistake. The locker room is something to be avoided, like an angry grizzly bear wielding duel samurai swords. Scratch that. I would never be able to not stare at a such a bear. I guess you should think of the locker room more as a place where old naked men congregate because that is actually what it is (I can only assume the ladies have this issue as well but with old ladies instead).

Once you step into that room you have unofficially struck an accord that you are willing to see the withered nether regions and that you will not complain as they maintain eye contact every second that you are in the process of changing. Don't blink because the moment your eyes reopen there will be more of them and they will be closer. Just like the weeping angels on Doctor Who, but with less clothing.


4. Curl Bros

After leaving the locker room you see that the gym is full of a variety of people. Most of them feel the same way about the gym that you do, so in that sense you have a bit of camaraderie. There are those others though, that make the gym a dark and dismal place. These fellows have been given the moniker of "Curl Bros". All of you who have visited the gym have seen one even if you were unaware of the name. These are the guys that like to sit around in super tight tank tops and lounge in front of the mirror curling. You might also see them using the squat rack to do more curls. Do they ever do leg work? No, because girls dig defined arms brah. Never mind that by ignoring their legs they look like inverted Christmas trees and not in a good way (I am assuming there is a good way).

Stupid drooling tree

One of these days I fear that I will see one of these Curl Bros collapse under the weight of their inflated arms and egos because their legs just can't hold up anymore. I fear this because if I am the only witness I will not help them and I will end up in Hell because this one act tipped the scales out of my favor. I can just see a stupid Curl Bro doing that to me on purpose somehow. Grrr. So if you or someone you know suffers from this disease, please cure them, because as we learned...

3. Sweat everywhere/smell

Do you want to know what smells amazing? If any of you guessed the gym I don't think we should be friends anymore. When you walk into a gym your nostrils get hit by a wall of the accumulated sweat and tears of thousands of tortured, unwashed souls. It makes your eyes water and weakens your resolve. It is a very powerful force to be sure, but you already walked in so you can't turn around because that makes you look like a quitter and you are no quitter. So you brave the odor and press on just to see that half of the machines are currently being occupied by the sweatiest beings in existence (one is probably me).

As you look on you see a veritable downpour of body water splashing over everything: the weights, the seats, the grips and the innocent bystanders (sorry about that one time Danny).  You know that they will attempt to wipe it all up with either an insufficient paper towel or a towel that has seen too much in his day and is contemplating ending it all, but they can never take that image out of your noggin. In the immortal words of Futurama "You've watched it and you can't un-watch it".

I think you all deserve a nice puppy break before we continue.

2. Feeling of being watched/overdoing it

After you get over your case of the ickies from the sweat you get into your routine. Things are going well. You are lifting things or moving your body and it is hard, but you know that is good for you because you were told so. After a moment you pause. You swear that you can feel eyes on the back of your neck and it fills you with a sense of foreboding. You quickly turn around, but see nothing. You make a quick double take and BAM you catch the perp in the act of watching you. I am not a pretty lady, but I still have people watch me work out and it makes me really self-conscious. Stop looking at me with those judging eyes! A part of it might be that I lift heavy things, but I still imagine that they are doing it for the sole purpose of making me feel awkward.

I know! Please stop, I am begging you.

Now that is has been established that you are being watched you feel obligated to do more than you planned. That bench press you were going to do clearly isn't manly enough or that speed you are running isn't nearly fast enough so everything gets turned up a notch. It doesn't matter that you can't do more, you still try. Your muscles ache and you feel your sides attempting to split from the cramping pain, but still you soldier on for that random stranger watching you.

 If you are lucky you have a spotter that will see you dying and come in to help. For those less fortunate and foolhardy that have no spotter it is much worse. As you struggle to thrust the weight skyward you hit a wall. Not a real one, but one that feels solid enough that is causes your elbows to shake and that shakiness passes from the elbow to the rest of the arm and leaves the whole a mass of squiggling jelly. At this wall there is no passing go and there is nowhere for the weight to go but down, and down it comes. It falls down with a sudden force that causes the air to rush out of your lungs and as you struggle to regain your breath you begin an awkward slide/shuffle that will allow you to slip out from the bar's grasp and onto the floor. From the ground you begin to gather together your wits and gain your bearing, you look around and you see that now there is a whole gaggle of people looking at you. They were drawn in by the clanging weights and the scent of fear and embarrassment.

Nope, nothing wrong over here.

1. Next morning/overdoing it cont'd

After suffering that humiliating defeat you finally start to get a rhythm going. You are going between machines and benches and going through reps like it ain't no thang. You had set a limit on what you were going to do before you got there, but what does past you know about your abilities? Nothing is what. So you breeze past your limit because it doesn't really hurt that much at the time. Little did you know that past you was trying to save the future you from current you's stupidity.

You headed home feeling like you had done some good work. You managed to survive the gym and all its horrors. You curl into bed looking forward to drifting off into peaceful slumber. The next morning you hear your alarm and you think that today is going to be a great day, until you try to extend your arm out to stop that racket. What is wrong with you? The mere act of moving in any way is causing you to whimper like a nerd that just saw someone open a packaged 1978 vinyl cape jawa so a child could play with it (darn kids). In that moment you discover that you have muscles that you never knew existed and they all hate you and are attempting to prove it.

What in the hell is an abductor and why won't it stop?!

Overdoing your workout is a mistake that most new gym goers and a lot of seasoned vets make. It'll make simple things like going to the bathroom (squats) and washing your back (shoulder and bench press) nigh on impossible. I will admit that there is chance that a tear has managed to squeeze its way out of my face the day after overdoing a leg day. It isn't pretty to see and it is much worse to feel. So keeping that in mind you should do yourself a favor and listen to past you and stick to what you had planned.

I know that the picture I painted of the gym isn't pretty. In fact it was downright ugly, but remember that the gym does have some good in it as well. A healthy you is a good thing, right? You bet your britches it is. So even though there are some things at the gym that are less than awesome, just soldier through them and press on, because taking the gym head on that is the only way to defeat this beast and you are a winner.