Gym Times

Someone applauded me at the gym the other day.  She took her two hands, and enthusiastically clapped them together as I finished my final rep on the bench press.  I guess it wasn’t enough for her to  stand at my feet staring at me in anxious anticipation, biting her lip, silently rooting me on.  She had to voice her excitement.

I now go to the gym about 3-5 days per week.  And being a regular, most people have finally understood that by wearing headphones and avoiding eye-contact, I am not there to socialize.  I am making myself sound like some sort of anti-social jerk, but that’s not how it is at all…. let me give a run down of my daily gym trip:

– I leave my apartment at about 6 PM.  If I’m lucky, I won’t have to wait for a bus.  The bus ride is usually around 20-25 minutes.  Therefore, I usually am in the gym ready to work out by 6:45 PM.

– The two strongest guys in the gym are ALWAYS on the same lifting schedule as me.  Besides making me look puny, I have to wander around aimlessly trying to find a machine (they only have one flat bench press…along with 1 of every machine).

– People notice when I wander.  “Why do you keep walking back and forth?”  If you know me, you know I don’t mind attention (even enjoy it..), but when people notice me being awkward…well, that’s a different story.

– When I finally do start lifting, someone walks over and stands inches away, facing me.  He then crosses his arms and observes.  Once the first person is in place, one by one, people join, until a crowd of shirtless, jean-wearing gym-goers are breathing over me.  Naturally, I pretend I don’t notice them.  I do.  Not only do I notice them, I can feel their judging stares as they rotate around me, meticulously analyzing every rep, every move of my body…are my arms bent too much?  how about my posture?  why did I only do 12 reps and not 20?  3 sets and not 18…absurd.

– On some of these occasions, people will even strike up a conversation while I’m in the middle of a dangerous metal pole above my head.  “Can you correct my essay?” he/she will ask as they shove it in my face.  …….sure.

– I finally told my personal trainer that I wanted to do my own thing.  He took it pretty hard and vowed to get stronger than me.  I’m sorry but doing three different exercises 418 times was not what I had signed up for.

– The headphones are what turned around my gym-life.  I can take them off and say high to people, but when I have them in…people know I am there to do my thing and not chat.

– Gross things:  There is no sanitation.  No paper towels.  No cleansing spray.  Nothing.  And these big dudes go shirtless, sweating all over the machines.  My mom would have a heart-attack.  Not to mention the fact that they all seem to wear the same clothes everyday….(my students now go to the gym, and I often see them wearing the same clothes to class that they wore at the gym the night before…)

Alright.  I actually have to go to the gym.  it’s my birthday tomorrow and that means I won’t be making it there for a few days..



2 thoughts on “Gym Times

  1. Hahah…this sounds pretty different than the gym we had in Hangzhou. It was actually pretty modern. What I found most fascinating was that the guys and gals would take the locker room flip flops provided by the gym and wear them while they worked out. I thought the point of them was to wear them in the shower but I guess getting provided new shoes is exciting enough to wear them while they bench, work out, whatever. Doesn’t seem too safe to me.

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