Tuesday, 20 September 2011

G is for gym bunny and SPS is for Serious Psychological Study!

Tonight I decided to go to the gym with my husband. I conveniently forgot that last time I almost sustained an injury by falling asleep on the treadmill and nearly getting sucked into the revolving conveyor belt thingy. I conveniently forgot that it was SO boring and SO hot I felt like I was in the middle of a high school physics lesson whilst the building was on fire. I also conveniently forgot that my husband is a confirmed gym addict- who knows the ins and outs of every machine- and can do ridiculous reps on even the scary looking transformer style ones. Oh, and he is seriously, SERIOUSLY competitive.
            It started really well. Before we even set off, we argued about how long we would spend at the gym. After 15 minutes of heated debate (he wanted to go in the sauna, which screams bacterial infection to me) we took separate cars. To the same gym. Exactly. When I got there, he was already on the rowing machine, pumping away. I jumped up onto the treadmill as cheerfully as possible and, after twelve false starts, during which I entered a race with the other people on the treadmills (not that I couldn’t have won, they had all just had a really long head start. Some of them were sweating already!) I also nearly ended up on a circular track (what the?) and a cross country trail… up a mountain. In my confusion, I managed to turn the little screen thingy into a television screen- which would have been excellent had there been anything except for crap soaps on. I really would have fallen asleep if I’d had to watch Eastenders! So, knackered from all of the technical confusion, I started what the machine optimistically called a ‘warm-up,’ which was just walking. Since when has walking been called a warm-up, have you ever heard anyone say, ‘I’m just going for a warm-up to the shops?’ My point exactly!
            And within ten minutes (and 1.1 miles) I hit the wall. This was a wall unlike any other I have ever encountered. This was the wall of boredom! I realised that I could not get down from the treadmill- with less than 2 weeks to go until the race, the only thing that should be able to get me from the belt is the fire alarm- and even then only if I can actually see/smell/feel the fire. I had to keep going. And then I saw him. Directly opposite me, on a cross-trainer/ski poles swinging/ kossack dancing contraption thingy was Mr ‘I think I am gorgeous.’ Five foot four, bald head, bulging biceps with a tummy to match. Oh yes girls! You know the one. I watched him discretely for a while and became concerned that he had a repetitive tick, his head kept twitching to his right shoulder. When I realised that he was actually watching his muscles, I nearly fell off the treadmill. I swear that at one point, he actually kissed his bicep, I kid you not.
            Well, that got me started. I spent the next 30 minutes fully immersed in an anthropological study which I am sure will qualify me for many social psychology awards and prizes. After my intense scrutiny, I can say without fear of contradiction that the gym goers at my local leisure centre fall into the following categories:

Mr ‘I think I am gorgeous’
In he comes, swaggering like he’s carrying a roll of carpet under his arm. Calm yourselves ladies- he’s five foot three, bald as a coot and smells like a badger (as a result of his masses of testosterone of course)
Miss ‘girl on the pull’
She totters in on high heels in tiny short shorts. She doesn’t know how to work the machines but it doesn’t matter because she’ll giggle and someone will come to help her.
Mr ‘man on the pull’
He wears a vest. It’s a tight one. He thinks cardio work is for morons and simply stands in front of the mirrors lifting heavy weights, grunting so that everyone knows how hard he is working. If Miss ‘girl on the pull’ is nearby, he will place one leg onto a bench to gain greater leverage for the mega strong dumbbells. Yeah baby.
Mr/Miss ‘I really don’t care, I’m just here to work out. Please leave me alone and stop staring at me.’
These people come wearing mis-matched clothes. They have busy lives and want to get in, do their exercises and leave- asap. Completely unaware of whatever else is going on, they simply move from one machine to the next. A blur of movement. A flash of speed. And they’re gone.

For the record, I definitely belong to the last category. I reached the dumbbells tonight only to realise that I had panda eyes- huge black circles of mascara the whole way around my eyes. Did I care? Nah. I just wiped them on my sweaty t-shirt… must to my husband’s horror!
            So dear reader, which category do you belong to? Perhaps you belong to an entirely different group, in which case please let me know. I will add it to my exhaustive list. Yoga and aerobics tomorrow which could start a whole new chapter in my psychological study.

Happy times x


  1. Definitely belong to the last group when I go to the gym - though don't have a particularly busy life (retired). But yeah, I go round most of the machines, pump a bit of iron, then half an hour on the dreadmill and away home. Don't do socializing and my skinny body isn't ready yet for posing!

  2. I would belong to the Invisible category - I wouldn't be seen dead in a gym (unless it had a pool, a jacuzzi, a steam room, a Roman room and a cold plunge!) in which case I'd be seen in any of those areas. I prefer to jump on my treadmill in the privacy of my own home, where nobody can see me! I've popped into the private gym (otherwise known as the workout bench in our garage) which belongs to He-Who-Must-Be-Ignored aka My Husband but lifting all those weights just seems like very hard work.....