My Gym Experience

New York City 10956

Last week I posted about my propensity for making excuses and my need to develop better habits.  I don’t have any new news to post about this week but in the interest of developing better habits I wanted to be sure to post this week so that I can make it a habit.

As I’ve mentioned I have joined a gym.  I am nowhere near what you would call a gym rat.  One of my servers is a self-professed gym rat.  She describes the feeling and experience of exercising in very much the same way I would describe the euphoria of eating warm chocolate chip cookies atop a mountain of Bear Claw ice cream.

Excuse me, I have to take a moment to collect myself.

Okay, as I was saying, exercise is more of a drudgery for me than an exhilarating rush.  There are a few people in my gym that exhibit the same symptoms as I do.  I call us RGPs (Reticent Gym Prisoners). You can spot them fairly easily in my gym, which seems to be mostly populated by the Enthusiastic Gym Operative or EGOs (more on them later).

As an RGP I can recognize (and relate to) the character traits of my fellow prisoners.  It begins with the slow walk from the parking lot to the gym entrance.  In the mind you are still battling with how much you want to do this.  You know that the rewards far outweigh the cost.  It’s just that the cost is immediate and the rewards are more long-term.  Once inside the gym it is customary to make sure that your thumb print scan is as accurate as possible being sure to leave your finger in place a few extra seconds to make certain that you are indeed eligible to exercise at this gym (of course, all the while secretly hoping that it blocks you and two over-muscled goons escort you back to the parking lot).

Once you’ve successfully signed in, you walk over to the equipment, making sure to adjust to the maximum comfort levels (comfort here meaning least painful) and begin your work out.  Now is when the RGP breaks down into a couple different categories.  First, is the Clock Watcher.  This RGP can be seen constantly looking at the clock on the exercise equipment eagerly anticipating its completion.  Second is the Distracted.  This is the category in which I fall.  Exercising is easy if I don’t know that I am doing it.

There are many ways to distract yourself.  One way is by competition.  This is when you keep a close eye on the person next to you and try to match or eclipse the pace they are setting.  This is a useful tool and I have employed it once or twice.  But this can be problematic especially if you wind up next to an EGO. There’s no way for an RGP to keep up with an EGO. If you do, you run the danger of doing some serious exercise (nobody needs that headache-or more accurately back, legs, shoulders, neck-ache). My distraction of choice is Netflix.  I enjoy putting on anything from the Food Network. I like Chopped. By the time the judges are enjoying dessert I have exercised for 20 minutes straight without realizing it. It’s a beautiful thing.

Occasionally, I will forget my ear buds or my phone battery is too low to watch something so I am forced to occupy my mind by observing the EGOs. This group too breaks down into several categories.  First, and my favorite is the Stalwart.  They are there every time rain or shine.  They are just basically consistent.  They have their distractions too. But they just work hard. I admire them and hope someday to be listed among their ranks.

Second, the Dreamer. These are the EGOs who are often new to the gym but they have all these grand aspirations to become the next Arnold Schwarzenegger.  They are only interested in getting as big and bulky as possible.  They are often seen carrying a protein drink around with them so they can “maximize muscle calibration” (it really says that on one of the bottles). They can be seen exercising in front of a mirror like some present day Narcissus believing that they can literally see their muscles growing with each rep.

The third (and by far the largest) group is the Socializers.  To be fair, this group can consist of RGPs and EGOs alike but since the very nature of an RGP is to hide in the background while exercising it is vastly more populated by EGOs.  They usually work out in groups and can be seen standing around unused gym equipment.

Mostly these groups consist of 3-5 people. They stand around talking while one of them (on a rotating basis) takes a turn on whatever equipment they have migrated towards.  Conversations include maximum number of reps, weight at which those reps were accomplished and number of consumed raw eggs. Compliments on one another’s muscles/physique are bandied about like bad jokes at a comedy club. They are an encouraging lot.  They can often be heard uttering phrases like: “You got this, Bro; Just one more, Bro; Dig a little deeper, Bro.”

It is my opinion if they spent as much time working out as they did jawing about what they did last weekend or the body building competition they will join once the creatine kicks in, they would all be bigger than The Rock.

Suffice it to say that I will never be listed among their number.  I don’t have the desire and I feel like my IQ is just far too high to be comfortable around them.  Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go to the gym now and sit in the parking lot struggling with my self-loathing.

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