Wednesday, July 09, 2008


The funniness of gym town is enough to keep me going to the gym, lack of inch/weight loss notwithstanding.

At a certain time in the morning it’s only the usual suspects who rock up to the gym. It’s too early/ cold/ hot/ cuddly for the rest of the unfit world. So by the time we were crossing the year and a half mark of gym adventures each morning I pretty much knew what to expect from each shiny new day. I’d do the cross-trainer or stationary cycle, V would do either of those or the treadmill for 30 minutes. Then we’d do weights. Or not. Then we’d stretch. Or not. All dependent on how long it took us to get out of bed that particular morning. And what time's train we need to catch to get in to work on time.

The bank of people working out on the cardio machines is pretty standard. So when there is a new uncle ski-ing on the cross trainer, jamming to the beat on his i-pod, I can’t help but make note. This uncle is new and very, very amusing. He wears only Lotto Apparel, T-shirt, shorts, shoes, socks and headband. He has an elaborate warm up routine. Right in front of the remaining 5 machines, our eyeballs protected only by the mini-tv screens in front of each. Lotto uncle does a small routine which includes, among many others, 15 jumping jacks and loads of arm twirling, like batons. Why he cannot do this routine on the matted floor space just below, or in the big gymnasium is beyond me. 10 minutes later, all warmed up, he climbs on the cross trainer and ski’s like his life and the life of a lot of invisible people tied with rope behind him depends on it. For 4 entire minutes. I kid you not. Then he gets off and does a whole cool down routine. From behind my curtain of sweat this looks like a slugs workout, slow and short and inactive. I feel drunkenly powerful at my own achievements.

The weights floor is Testosterone Central. If you are not a loudly grunting man you could feel wildly out of place. Or discriminated against. But I am not intimidated, just tired. From out-cross-training Lotto uncle by 41 minutes. I attempt some light weights. The heavily muscled strutting men are doing ‘sets’ on various machines. I stay out of the way but not far enough to avoid being the recipient of some scornful gazes towards the lightness of the weights. I ignore them and continue proudly on.

It’s my last exercise and I need 2 kg weights for each hand so I move to the racks where these are neatly arranged. Right in front a huge (6ft something) muscled man is beginning some serious looking weightlifting while lunging. He too has free weights, but as he holds them sideways I cannot see how heavy they are. They don’t look much bulkier than the ones I have. I retreat to a corner where I exercise as I watch him lift and lunge, doing a full set, accompanied by these loud exertion grunts. Set done he throws the weights to the matted floor. Then he grunts once. Loudly, for the kingdom loud. And clearly unnecessary now that said weights have been discarded. Every single person on the floor looks in his direction, startled and judgemental all at once. He turns to go without putting his weights back on the rack. Since I’m putting mine back I walk past his discarded weights to the racks. I can see the sides of his weights now. They are only 4 kgs each. I lift one in each hand and deposit them back on the rack, pleased with the symmetry I have reinstated. It takes not much more effort than the weights I had myself. For that giant grunting man.

Then as I go down the stairs I see him chatting in the foyer with an attractive young women dressed in designer gym gear who is fluttering her eyelashes at his every loud word. Turns out that the louder you grunt at the gym, the more eyeballs you can attract. Or rather certain eyeballs you attract. Unlike some you may or may not be grunting because you are actually doing a serious workout. That, apparently, is well beside the point.


  1. Hahahaha....reminds me of my own gym horror ago...

    hmm...I should get back to the gym :(

  2. Hahaha lotto uncle sure has a routine. So is V a part of the grunting club too?