If you belong to a gym, you know the New Years crowd will soon descend upon the facility. Machines will be busy, the parking lot will be full and for a good two months the place will swell with momentary motivation, testosterone and a lingering scent of body odor.
Those who stick around will soon become initiated with certain people and unspoken rules of the gym. And while I’ve talked about this before, it bears repeating as the new crowd looms large.
So if you’re new to the gym scene, here’s a stereotypical primer.
- Some women will primp before the gym and then walk around without actually lifting a weight. Remind them that telling everyone about their fitness plan won’t make them healthier unless they’re doing it door to door — they love that.
- With men, you may see Hammer pants and fanny packs paired stylishly with weight belts and wrestling shoes. Do not be alarmed! This is apparently a conscious decision on the part of the “bodybuilder” and any attempts to suggest otherwise will be frowned upon.
- Outbursts and primal grunting are perfectly accepted and often encouraged with statements like, “You got this!” and “Lift that shit!” Interject your own encouragement like “Hugs not drugs!”— they love that.
- Chit chat may occur, but only when the other person is resting in between sets. If you are in the middle of an exercise, plan on someone asking you a question completely unrelated and irrelevant.
- If you’re anything like me, Sundays at the gym will consist of 50 percent of people talking about how hungover they are, 49 percent of people pretending to listen and you.
- People will be wearing iPods and the like, oblivious to the fact that if they sing, we can hear them. Join in — it’s fun for all!
- People will write things down. They will do one set of pull-downs and after flexing in the mirror to admire the results of those eight reps of awesomeness, they will record it in their little notebook. Ask them if they’re writing a haiku — the look on their face will be priceless.
- Men will voluntarily shave things women hate to shave.
- Most gyms have the hard core guys that know days of the week not by Monday or Tuesday but by Leg Day and Shoulder Blow-Out Bonanza sessions. Most gyms also have a group of older women that meet in the morning and get most of their exercise from running their mouths and fueling the rumor mills. Do not mess with their coffee.
- Do not stare directly at someone using the inner/outer thigh machine who is wearing shorts. It’s like staring at the sun—you will not love this.
- There will be stalkers. People will hover around and wait for your piece of equipment or cardio machine despite the fact that there are a plethora of other options they could be using. Make loud noises or begin singing to buy yourself a few extra sets.
- People in the parking lot will also stalk you for a closer parking spot, even though that defeats the purpose of going to the gym. Chances are it’s not a cardio day, and therefore not something written down in the notebook.
- And finally, the sweatier and grosser you get at the gym, the more people you will run into when you stop to the store immediately after. However, ducking in and out of the aisles with your cart and sprinting to the register can also count as cardio.
It’s really a win all around.
Like the blog? Buy the book.