Sunday, July 29, 2007

Rant: Just 'cause I am a chick doesn't mean I am not serious about being here and other gym rants

Thanks Brett, for the topic.

I like to go to the gym. Many days I do group fitness, but at least a couple of times a week, I like to go and do weights with my partner. Yes, you heard me, I lift weights. No, I am not trying to tone so much as I am trying to gain muscle mass, if not muscle size.

I go with my partner so we can spot each other, encourage each other, and do technique checks. I also go with my partner, because if I am there with a guy, I get noticeably less aggravation from other gym goers -- fewer 'friendly tips', fewer stares, and definitely fewer people who refuse to treat my workout as though it is a real workout.

My gym is a small gym, and there is not a lot of room to move around. The space to monitor your technique in the mirror is limited (not that technique seems to matter for the vast majority of people using the gym). Recently I was doing front shoulder raises with a 4kg dumbell in each hand, and standing a few feet from my partner; it wasn't clear that I was 'claimed'. One of the guys who uses the gym decided it best to walk in front of me instead ot taking the four extra steps to go around, interrupting my flow. I suppose he thought that since I was a girl, and using a light weight, and he did me the huge honour of saying "excuse me" as he interrupted me.

Well, now I am pissed off and intolerant, so here are the new rules:
  • Do not talk to me unless you have something relevant to say to me, like 'are you finished with those weights'. If you do talk to me, listen to the answer.
  • Do not fuck with my workout. Wait, or go around. If you go through, I will hit you with my weight, even if you say excuse me.
  • Do not sit on the machines and talk to your friends; if you want to talk there are couches in the lobby, or there is the sauna. There is only one of each machine, so chances are, people are waiting to use it.
  • Do not touch my bag, I left it where I wanted to find it. I am sure you have some compelling reason why you need my hook more than I do, but I am afraid telling me that reason would mean telling me something irrelevant.
  • If you sweat on something, wipe it up -- yes, even if it means wasting 30 seconds of precious personal trainer time in an hour's workout.
Speaking of trainers, here are some rules for you, because frankly, members take their courtesy cues from you, and the cues are clearly not good enough.
  • Do not monopolise any machine with your client -- I know you have your favourite exercises, but I would like to use the puley machine before the gym closes.
  • I do not need to hear what exercise your client is going to do next from the other end of the gym. That is their business, and yours, so keep it down.
  • Watch and correct the technique of anyone doing something dangerous, not just ypur client. Safe moves take up less room, and I will be pissed off if I can't use the weights because someone else hurt themselves.
  • Oustide the stretch space is not an appropriate venue for boxing-based cardio training. Go down to the sports hall or out to the poolside.
  • Greetings are not irrelevant.
It sounds as though I hate my gym, or at least the people in it. This simply is not true; despite the fact the gym is small, it has state of the art equipment, and generally speaking is more woman friendly than my old gym. When all you have to bitch about is peple getting in your way in a small gym, you're doing pretty well, really.

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