Sunday, April 29, 2012
I have a membership at the exit 8 Planet Fitness in Clifton Park. I go four nights a week at 5.30PM each night. I stretch, do cardio and light weight work, then stretch to end it. I never give the routine much thought. I show up, turn on the Wilson Phillips station on my Pandora, and go to work. But lately, I’ve started giving my gym life a little more thought. It is a HUGE part of my week, all things considered. What else do I do so consistently?
As I watch the PF world from atop the treadmill or elliptical machine, I began to realize it’s a reality show, full of little story lines and bizarre, colorful characters. It’s always the same people there when I’m there, doing the same exercises. Nobody really talks to each other. Everyone just goes about their business; lots of headsets and I-pods. Somewhere along the way, I subconsciously formed opinions about these people I spend four to five hours a week with, every week, and do not know personally, and never talk to. Opinions based on nothing but the way they look and what they do at the gym. For instance, there’s blue-warm-up-pants guy, and too-many-tattoos guy, and skin-tight-stretch-pants-and-goggles guy, and twinkle toes (he walks on the balls of his feet to build up his calves), and the cute brunette who wears black compression pants and does five minutes on the bike and two sit ups, then quits. Don’t forget too-tanned girl who talks on her cell phone the whole time she’s on the treadmill. Who are these lunatics? Four to five hours a week. Outside the gym, there are only a handful of people I spend that much time with.
As I run on the mill or work the elliptical, I try to figure out who these people are outside of their gym personas. Where do they work? What do they do for fun? When wondering this, you can’t forget about the guy who only comes to the gym and hangs out at the counter, never works out. I call him the Mayor. What does that guy do for a living? Perhaps I could ask that bulky guy who always watches himself in the mirror what his favorite Wilson Phillips song to work out to is, but, like I said, he’s only interested in staring at his abs in the mirror, doing that Mike ‘The Situation’ thing where he lifts his shirt off his stomach. Then there's that skinny guy who always wears the baggy Umbros, and insists on doing lifted-leg sit ups, giving the entire gym a really unwanted show. Maybe he’s super cool in the real world. But I’ll never know. I can’t get past the Umbros. I saw a guy work out in dress clothes the other day. There's a guy who works out in jeans. Huh? Gym people.
Do I ever see people from the gym outside of the gym? Sure I do. It's weird. But something even weirder has happened at the gym in the last few weeks. A handful of people that I work with have started going to my Planet Fitness. So now I see these people at the gym every night AND at work every day. And these people, ironically, are the only colleagues I don’t really talk to at work. So now I don’t talk to them at work OR at the gym, and they’re always at the gym when I am. So that got me thinking about the people who actually work at the gym, what a gaggle of characters they are. I couldn’t imagine being at PF for forty hours a week.
After my workout, I try to spend as little time as possible in the locker room. There are many middle-aged men who are VERY comfortable operating in the nude. Not there's anything wrong with that. I grab my coat off the hook and walk out of the PF for the day, saying goodbye to no one as I go, and nobody saying goodbye to me. Today while leaving, I wondered something else: What does everybody at the gym think of ME? Do they hate me because I stretch too long or always wear white socks pulled to the knees? Do they have a nickname for me, like really-big-earphones guy or way-too-sweaty dude? Then I relax a little, because such a thought is silly. If anybody has a nickname for me, it would be something like perfect-body guy or great-looking guy. Phew. I’m the only not-weird guy at my gym.
Any other gym characters or gym nicknames out there?