I have been going to gyms for over thirty years. I know, with all that working out, you’d think I’d look better than this. I often wonder the same thing. One thing I have observed over my three decades of sweating and straining to look like the model from the Calvin Klein jeans ad in 1980, including having my hair cut just like his for a while, is that some things never change. Every gym has the same people going there every day.
I started out at an old fashioned gym full of competitive arm wrestlers. There was no air conditioning, and the only cardio equipment was one dusty exercise bike. Call me old school, but I still miss that place. No loud music, no annoying videos, no spandex, and in the summer, no shirts!
In Florida, I joined a gym full of old Jewish women, who apparently went to the same beautician because all of them had their hair dyed honey blonde. They had a treadmill, but the women did circuit weight routines under the guidance of an old Jewish guy who once was a gym teacher. Apparently the only Jewish gym teacher in the 1940s.
They were all so sweet. But, they did spend most of their time talking about where they ate dinner last night, where they were eating dinner that night and where they were going to eat the next night. Often I heard, “The food was terrible and the portions were so small.” Or “I was not as happy as I thought I would be.”
In DC, I joined a gay gym, but let’s not label it, the owner would say. Whatever. I missed all the fun because I always worked out when they opened, 5:00 am. Gym happy hour(s) is 5:00-7:00 pm. This gym had cardio equipment out the ass, and I just loved seeing all the people who did nothing but cardio every morning.
There is a famous personal trainer, whose name I forget (so he must not be that famous), who said a few years ago that cardio is a waste of time. He went on to say, “Look at all the fat people on the treadmills at a gym. Go back six months later, and you will see the same people, and they will not be any skinnier.” After I saw that interview, I did just that, and guess what? He was right!
As one of the unfortunate ones whose weight yo-yos as much as fifty pounds annually and semi-annually and biannually (I always get semi and bi mixed up, which begs the question, can someone be semi-sexual?), I know that diet is 50 percent of keeping in shape. I have always loved it when during one of my “plump” periods, someone would say, “Do you still work out?” The answer is, “Yes, and I follow my workout with a bucket of Popeye’s chicken. What business is that of yours?” as I wipe the grease from my face.
Would you believe I am also a certified personal trainer? I know. I am also the same guy who would watch those shows on TLC about the morbidly obese while eating a quart of ice cream, saying, “How did they get so fat?”
Now, I don’t like doing cardio inside. And after eating the cement on 16th Street while jogging four years ago and scarring my face for life, I don’t like doing it outdoors anymore either. After that accident, a friend of mine said, “That is why I don’t exercise. I don’t want to hurt myself.”
The advantage of not doing cardio is that for the most part, I have only had to share the gym floor with a couple of people every morning, while the masses, especially the “resolutionaries” who show up after January 1, fight over the cardio equipment. I actually saw a man demand that another man get off a machine, so he and his wife could be on side-by-side machines. Yuppies, you can’t live with them and you can’t live with them.
I coined the term resolutionaries many years ago, and now it is a commonly used word. I take full credit. Too bad I didn’t trademark it.
Now, I thought when I moved to Jessup and joined the nearest gym, a brand new facility with really good rates, I would again enjoy a fairly empty workout floor at 5:00 am, while the masses use the cardio equipment. I was semi-wrong (can one be bi-wrong?).
So, let me tell you about the people I’ve observed at my gym in the morning.
Volvo Man: This is the guy in his mid-fifties, who drives a brand new black Volvo. He tends to park on an angle, which if you are parked next to him, you will have difficulty getting out of your parking spot. He is near the age when his license needs to be taken away. He has a spray on tan that would make Snooky cringe, hair dyed a shade of black Miss Clairol quit making in 1969, Bruce Jenner shorts, black workout socks (which apparently are the latest trend), and a face that would knock a buzzard off a shit wagon. He runs into the locker room, throws his stuff into a locker while grunting loudly (he grunts a lot), then runs out and grabs the same Precor machine every morning. God forbid someone else grabs it. And beware if you are entering the locker room as he is exiting. He will run your ass over, and that spray tan will get all over your clothes.
Fruit Smoothie: This guy comes in wearing a track suit (non-bedazzled unfortunately), sits at the smoothie bar, orders a smoothie and shoots the breeze with the morning attendant. He finishes his smoothie then goes home. I assume his wife asks him if he went to the gym that morning, he says yes, and he is not a liar. It could be worse. He could be having an affair. Lately, he has had to drink his smoothie in silence because the new morning attendant has no personality, which brings me to …
Juice Boy: This is the young guy, around twenty-two years old, who obviously is not shy about putting a needle in his ass. He is cute, has a perfectly shaped head (I notice this because I wonder how people will look with shaved heads – a quirk of mine), a thickly muscled body, a perfect bubble butt, excellent posture, unfortunate steroid acne on the back of his arms and neck, and as I mentioned, no personality. None. He works the front desk two mornings a week. Sometimes, I try to engage him in conversation as I leave just to make him squirm. Maybe he is upset that even with his cute face, perfectly shaped head, beautiful bubble butt, and thickly muscled body, his testicles have shrunk to the size of raisins and his nipples are sensitive – and not in a good way.
Wonder Woman: This one is my favorite. There is something about a woman with an incredibly sexy body who can lift enormous amounts of weight that I find fascinating. I imagine if I were straight, this would be my type. She is attractive, and she knows it, and she can squat three-hundred pounds. I have nothing negative to say about her. I love her. And she can kick my ass!
Color Coordinator Man: This guy always wears color coordinated workout attire, but none of it is spandex or even tight. Who knows what he has under all those baggy clothes. However, his fleece sweat pants, T-shirts, baseball caps (he always wears a baseball cap), and hi-top Chuck Taylors, are always chosen to coordinate perfectly. He does a crazy non-stop workout that takes thirty-nine minutes, not forty, not thirty-eight. He always does things in multiples of three, except he never counts reps. He apparently has four different workouts, which he does in sequence, but comes in five times a week, so one is always done twice during a weekly cycle. He says hello to everyone, but he rarely engages in conversation, except to point out broken equipment. He also drives a different vintage car every morning. Yes, I have observed him a lot. He is a mystery.
Prep Man: This guy likes to break down any equipment he sees you using, and he is strange. One morning, I was alternating between calf raises and leg presses, and he broke down the calf machine right after I finished my first set. Mind you, we were the only guys in the gym at the time – a gym full of equipment, so he could have waited until I was done. I asked if he wanted to work in. He said, “Are you using that?” Now, you’d think the towel on the equipment (how gym rats mark their territory) would be an indication I was. When I said I was, he said, “I was going to use it later.” Really, so you are preparing it now? What are you, a sous-chef?
Hooker Wannabe: This woman is another of my favorites. She shows up in full make-up (I imagine my mother would have done the same thing), including false eyelashes and wears the latest in fitness attire. She then does thirty minutes of intense cardio, and her make-up does not run or smear or fade. I wonder if it is tattooed. I envy her. My make-up runs if I read about a heat wave.
Old Friends: These are two guys who work out together every morning. All they do is talk and talk. You’d think they would be conversationed out. I recently found out they work together, too. Needless to say, they have not transformed their bodies except their jaw muscles look bigger.
Weight Belt Guy: This guy goes to every gym. He comes in wearing his workout gloves and weight belt. He walks as if he stuck an air hose up his ass. He is not in the best shape, but you can tell he works out, even though is love of pork is also obvious. He starts by shooting the shit with the front desk attendant (the older one who has a personality) then struts around the gym before doing his first set and making sure everyone notices him while he works out. He also has very small feet.
I am sure you have similar guys and girls in your gym including the grunter, the yeller, Pigpen (the guy who smells like armpits and ass), the moaner, chatty Cathy, and a host of others.
By the way, one of the guys above is I. Hey, I know I am not perfect.
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