Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Who do you think you are?

There are 4 categories of people in my gym (and no, it’s not small, medium, large and extra-large):

1. The Everyday, All-the-timers
There are people who you will see no matter how you change your routine. If you turn up one evening because you couldn’t wake up in the morning, they will still be there, working out like their life depend on it. These people usually have premier lockers so they never have to carry another gym bag or wear their trainers with their business suits and look like twats on the train to work (i.e.me). They probably also spend a large chunk of their wages getting their gym gear laundered by the in-house laundry and placed back in said locker on a regular basis. They look the fittest, most sculpted, utterly muscular and dare I say this, vaguely lonely. They all say hi to one another and the fitness coaches, perceptible nods as they walk by from one machine to another, something of a clique or club-ishness about their demeanor. A trainer recently told me that this is the social life for a few of them – they know all the coaches and trainers, attend staff parties and outings. This IS their spare time. I feel vaguely sad now that I know this. I am almost tempted to walk up to one of them and say “Come watch a movie. Eat some popcorn. Or a brownie. Anything away from here”.

2. The Persevering
The Perseverings think that the gym is important. That it will wash away the calorific sins of the previous night’s meal. They are usually focused on getting themselves between 30 to 45 minutes of exercise. So i-pod gym play list on or headphones plugged into the TV screens they jog, run, cycle, climb stairs or cross train. With brows furrowed. After all, this is a serious business. They must do it intently or not at all. They sweat a lot. I mean A LOT. Like bucket loads. And mostly they won’t get wet wipes to disinfect the handles of any machine they used that is now soaked in sweat. After all, the business of losing weight/ staying fit is way more important than wasting time wiping away sweat. Let the sweat be a lesson to the next loser that ‘no pain, no gain’. And how to achieve pain, you ask? Well sweat it out MAAAN!!

3. The Reluctants
There are people for whom just the effort of getting up in the morning/ packing a gym bag or going to work/ then rushing to the gym is exercise. By the time the bag has been unloaded into the locker (which looks and smells much like an smelly dungeon) and every square inch of branded clothing and perfectly styled hair is in place they are exhausted. Who wouldn’t be after all THAT effort? There are many many women who spend a large chunk of the morning grooming themselves before work, more time than they have spent on the gym floor. There’s an array of eye liners, mascara, shadows, foundations and powders, lipsticks, liners, gloss. And all that is before the mind-blowing hair products. I would say that, combined, my gym locker room cosmetics are worth a small fortune. Of course, before I can steal all of them and sell them on e-bay (yes, I know these are used products but they are snazzy expensive products so who knows) it is more likely we shall all blow up into a flammable mess.

There is a woman whom I see very often in the mornings who arrives in her gym gear wheeling behind her a small red strolly. She then spends between 35 to 40 minutes (I see her before and after my workout and she’s still at her locker!) taking out everything from it and arranging it over two of the lockers. Shampoo, conditioner, 3 different creams, body oil, hair dryer, curling iron (both of which the gym already provides), a variety of hairbrushes, outfit and heels for the day and sometimes entire manicure and pedicure sets. I kid you not. I also think she is just using the gym as her personal washroom, because I have never ever seen her working out. I think she might be an extreme version of this category. Real, but extreme.

4. The Laziness
For this lot coming to the gym is an imposition. They are there under duress, having been dragged towards the idea of fitness by a spouse/ partner or a nagging conscience. Especially in the mornings when the outside world is so hostile, the weather its unwitting partner. They mostly are also the ones who show off more. I have seen dudes in my gym that will wander around the weights floor and sit at for example, a lat machine and use about 20kgs as the weight to pull a bar towards them. As soon as they do a short set they swiftly, within the blink of an eye, change the weight to 70kgs and then sit there looking proud and checking to see who saw them do that. Set that is, not the slimy change of weights. There is a lot of this extremely lliar-like behaviour going on.

I’m not quite sure where I fit in the scheme of things. I think I am part Persevering, part Laziness – I spend 2 seconds every morning after my alarm goes off trying to lie to myself that I had a terrible night with fever/ cold/ tummy ache/ headache/ any ache (none of which is in the slightest bit true – I sleep the sound sleep of a healthy youngster) so I can turn over and have a glorious extra hour in bed. I usually manage to dispel the lie in seconds 3 to 5 and get up; but lately I’ve been doing this a lot more. On the days I do go back to sleep I end up feeling guilty and going in the evening therefore ruining things like line of domino’s where one excuse means I now cannot muster the energy to go the next morning. And so again I set an alarm, ignore it, tell myself I’m tired from yesterday evening and voila! its my very own vicious circle of hell and fat.

On the 4 mornings (or evenings) that I do attempt cardio I focus all 45 minutes on the TV screen. Watching the weather and travel news is my addiction in the mornings. What natural elements and shut down tube line of irate people shall I have to battle on my way to work today? Bad game shows are my thing in the evenings. People unable to answer the simplest of questions on the Weakest Link make me mad. Yet without the distraction I am just not motivated enough to get through. If there were no TV screen I would just not go. Simple.


  1. Anonymous9:52 PM

    I am sheer laziness (except for the showing off part).

    I hate gyms.

    HATE HATE HATE gyms.

    But I go. To pay for my sins.

  2. UHmm...I think I tottered between the preserving and the reluctant.
    but now, I am just stuck at laziness.

    ANd GAWD, i DETEST people who can't answer the simple questions too :)

  3. Anonymous10:35 AM

    There's an award waiting for you on my blog.

  4. hehe, I read this post last night just after I got back from the gym, and wondered what category you'd slot me into ;)

    "Come watch a movie. Eat some popcorn. Or a brownie. Anything away from here” haha, so true.

    And seriously how do you guys wake up in the morning and hit the gym? For me it's always after work, never the am!!

  5. I hate working out at the gym, because it is so BORING! I dislike television, so I would try and read a book or a magazine until the sweat in my eyes made it impossible. Except you can only do that on, like, the recumbent bike, and it's no good for the other exercises.

    Phooey. I haven't gone to the gym since college anyway, so what am I complaining about?

  6. I'm 5...

    Gym?? Oh yeh, I used to go regularly, long long time ago *yawn* been there done that types :P

  7. I'm in the category of people who have repeatedly wasted tons of money signing up for annual gym memberships that they barely used...

  8. Hmm. I don't think I fit into any honestly. I used to be a 3 times a week person but now instead of the gym, I tend to play tennis and cricket and other sports more for my 'fill'.

  9. I'd love to go to a gym but ...

    I love the IDEA. I think I'd go if (a) I could teleport there without having to make the effort of leaving the house (b) didn't have to fuss about what to wear before and after.

    I am AH-maaaaazed at your description of the woman who brings out her complete toilette kit -- I bet you're right! She doesn't have her own washroom where she lives! I think this is short story material, 30-in-2005!! The woman has two families, and sleeps on the tube ride from one to the other. She works as a hotel receptionist during the day and a stripper at night. Okay and that's as far as I can get on this sleepy Monday morgen!

  10. Hey. There's something for you over at my blog.

  11. Chakli and Ro: I am sorry. My next post might explain all. Or most.

    Marginalien: Yeah teleporting would be great - espeically on freezing winter mornings! Short story I don't think so! Your version sounds great though - I wish I ahd teh creative gene you do.....

  12. Ego n Alter ego wages war every morning when the alarm rings, and you can guess who wins... considering that I have never seen the inside of a gym!
    You write well :)
    Hopped over from Google Reader