Thursday, August 25, 2005

yet another weird gym experience...

A few weeks ago, I read an article that stated the fastest way to burn fat was to work out first thing in the morning. This may be a load of nonsense, but I have none the less been dragging my ass out of bed at 6:30 and hitting the gym. Normally, my city gym is packed with the elderly and homeless and I find myself working out next to some old Chinese man in a wife beater and dress pants. I actually enjoyed this, as I find this environment significantly less intimidating than other gyms filled with trophy wives in pearls and ripped Ivy League lawyers eyeing everyone but me.
However, I’ve noticed that the clientele at my gym at the break of dawn in entirely hot and happening, the treadmills and ellipticals packed with flawless bodies in designer athletic apparel. Instead of freaking out and feeling too unattractive to exercise with these people, I’ve decided that if I do it long enough, I’ll turn into one of them.
So this morning, I plodded in, affixed my gigantic headphones, cracked open a Vanity Fair and got to work. Out of the corner of my eye, I notice a huge bodybuilder type, complete with that leather belt thing wrapped around him and one of those tank tops with huge armholes. He appeared to be wandering around the gym, offering unsolicited encouragement to everyone. Leather belt stayed over by the stationary bikes, and I relaxed slightly assuming I’d finish before he found his way to the hidden bank of elliptical trainers where I was sweating away to the Dixie Chicks. Of course, the hidden bank of ellipticals is where all the losers work out, people such as myself who prefer that no one see them covered in an old college t-shirt and sweat. Leather Belt seemed to think that this is where his enthusiasm was needed most and started in on the flabby middle aged housewife to my right. I turned down the volume and eavesdropped:
“Come on, girl. Bring it!”
She looked up at him, rightly confused. It was if Leather Belt suddenly fancied himself our only motivation to work out and without his cheesy catchphrases, we’d all immediately turn into obese couch potatoes. I couldn’t figure out why he was doing this and it occurred to me that he might have been a gym employee, but this guy was too nuts.
“Push it harder! Up that resistance!”
Are you kidding me? This was bizarre and starting to frighten me, but I would be far too obvious if I suddenly stopped and exited. I was clearly next in line for the ridiculous pep talk and I braced myself for his onslaught of crap. Lo and behold, he looked at me and said, “Not enough sweat, honey! Crank it up!”
Oh my god. Was he gay? Flabby middle aged housewife looked over at me in sympathetic sisterhood but I was starting to get pissed. Zoe forcing me to do overhead arm curls is one thing, but some beefy queen in a weightlifting belt and a shirt that exposed his nipples telling me to “crank it up” is entirely another. He backed up, now addressing the entire section of the gym.
“Come on, y’all! Bring it!”
To my horror, two people on treadmills responded enthusiastically, pumping their fists and upping their incline. No! Don’t encourage the madness!
I turned up my volume and returned to my Vanity Fair article, hoping that, like most things, ignoring him would make him go away. This seemed to work, and Leather Belt eventually moved to another section of the gym, thank god. I soon finished my cardio and headed upstairs to the prison yard weightlifting area, hoping that Leather Belt wouldn’t find me there and add another 50 lbs. to my leg press while telling me to "bring it!"…

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