Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Female Perspective: The Gym


(Wait, what?)

So in a weird twist to this thing I call “My Life”, the following blog post is featured on

(I know. The irony is palpable, as I am not a man, nor am I healthy.)

The fitness editor / MH blogger / sleep model asked me if I would write a guest piece so that he could have a “female perspective”.

(Oh, I should probably mention that Adam didn’t just stumble upon me and think I was so amazing that he had to have me and my blog… we know each other from the hood… sort of…)

And I said sure.

(Actually I said, “HOLY SHIT! Are you KIDDING ME? YES!!”)

And so, for any of you brave souls who were redirected here from Adam’s Blog (I have a tendency to ramble quite a bit, so the whole thing couldn’t FIT on… I feel for you.

You have no idea what you’ve gotten yourself into…


Sometimes (and this is just how I feel, I don’t claim to speak for any other person but myself… and my boyfriend…) the gym can feel like a “boys club”. Especially when you cross that threshold into the free-weights. The last time I entered that area of my gym I was struck with an ominous feeling that I had entered “man-land”. So I quickly turned around and left.

(Not because I was intimidated or anything… I actually ended up in “man-land” because I got lost looking for the bathroom… it’s a little disturbing when you’re trying to find a place to pee and the next thing you know you’re surrounded by half a dozen grunting guys…)

So I tend to have a pretty good vantage point from my perch on the cardio machines. And I’ve discovered some things about the opposite sex while I’m pedaling, walking, and gliding away calories.

Men at the gym can be really annoying.

(Just so you know, I’m the first to admit that women are also super annoying at the gym, (don’t get me started on girls who wear a full-face of makeup to workout) but that’s for a different post.)

Now, I’m not one of those women who will sit here and say, “Ohmygosh will these pigs just stop hitting on me! It is, like, so annoying…”

For one thing, I think that guys should be smart enough to realize that a gym is not a bar, girls are there to get their sweat on… not get on you.

(If you didn’t realize that, then I hope I just opened your eyes to the fact that hitting on girls at the gym is CREEPY and ANNOYING, so cut it out…)

Another reason I won’t go into how annoying it is when guys hit on girls at the gym is because, personally, I have no experience with that. I don’t know if it’s because I’m not attractive (no! That can’t possibly be it!), or if it’s because I live in an area with very polite (and/or self-absorbed) men, or maybe it’s because I still haven’t mastered the whole “drinking-water-while-moving-on-the-elliptical-thing”, so it looks like I’ve been drooling on myself for an hour.

(I’m no expert, but I assume guys just don’t want to “tap that”…)

So instead, I have devised five categories of men that I have noticed while at the gym.

(I apologize in advance if anyone who reads this fits into one of these categories… but isn’t it better to hear it from some crazy chick who blogs than, say, that girl you’ve been trying to ask out for the past 4 months… consider it a public service announcement (“the more you know”).)

OK, the first category on Ally B’s List of Things that Annoy her at the Gym: Guy Edition:

(Drum roll please.)

The Strutter (aka: One Who Struts):

I was sitting in a recumbent bike, pedaling away, watching an episode of South Park on my MP3 player, when I glanced up at those around me, and noticed The Strutter.

He seemed to be in his forties, and he had shoulder-length stringy hair (I get not taking a shower before going to the gym, but this guy was in serious need of a deep-conditioning), and he was wearing a super tight black t-shirt and baggy black sweatpants circa 1984 (with the elastic around the ankles and everything).

His upper body was completely over developed compared to his lower body (his torso looked like an upside-down triangle perched on two skinny French baguettes, and he had no butt to speak of).

(DO NOT judge me for looking at his butt… it’s a natural instinct… and it’s not like there was even anything there…)

Anyway, so this guy is walking slowly back and forth in front of the recumbent bike station and I’m contemplating how he really needs a quality hairbrush and then I notice that he’s eyeing the woman next me. She looks about his age with long (well conditioned) blond hair and she’s beautiful in a MILF sort of way, pedaling in her pink sports bra and black yoga pants.

So The Strutter starts to do a few chest presses on the machine in front of Blondie and then he gets up, and starts walking in front of her again. And I notice that the guy is now clenching every muscle from his jaw right down to his non-existent butt.

If he were a peacock, his feathers would be out in full formation.

And Blondie just kept on pedaling and reading her US Weekly.

And so, The Strutter teaches us how his display of manliness did nothing for his intended target (Blondie didn’t seem to notice him at all), but ended up annoying those in the vicinity (ME).

So take your manly model walk somewhere else… it really does nothing for females… trust me.

Next category:

The Flexer (aka: One Who Flexes):

Now, The Flexer is similar to The Strutter in that they both enjoy clenching their various muscles. But The Flexer is not clenching for an attractive lady riding the recumbent bike, but for himself (at least as far as I can tell).

I was on the elliptical and my eye catches a fairly buff guy. Now, no, I was not staring at his muscles, I was actually caught off-guard because he was wearing grey sweatpants and an oversized tank top (please see the fifth category on this list: The Horrible Dresser, for more on why oversized tank tops should be discarded immediately).

The Flexer walked into the aerobics room (three sides of the room are mirrors, and one side is windows so that people working out in the main area can look in on the classes and make fun of the people who have no rhythm or who fall down… good times) and he proceeded to take his ugly shirt off and then roll his sweatpants up, transforming him into a sweaty and glistening muscled man with short shorts on.

(Again, see category five.)

He then spent the next ten to fifteen minutes flexing in the mirror. My favorite was when he would walk away, then turn around really fast to check out his butt in the mirror.

Now, I was thinking that maybe I should give him the benefit of the doubt. I mean, maybe he’s training for some kind of “show your muscles” competition… or maybe he’s spent all of his money on protein powder and bad workout shirts and therefore cannot afford mirrors of his own.

But seriously? Could he not flex in a more secluded and private area than in front of the entire gym? The locker room? His house? The basement in his mom’s house where he is living until he wins his first big muscle-showing contest? All places where I wouldn’t have to look at him.

(If you haven’t noticed by now, it’s all about me.)

So, The Flexer teaches us to flex on our own time, in a private place. I can handle if you want to see your biceps reflected back to you, but keep your clothes on in public… for the sake of us all.

(Would you appreciate it if I went around in public flexing in the mirror with my shirt off?)

(Wait, stupid (and awkward) question… moving right along.)

The Noise Maker (aka, One who Makes REALLY ANNOYING NOISES!):

OK boys, you know who you are. You can’t help but grunt and groan and count your reps out loud.

I understand that there is something in the DNA of guys that sometimes causes them to produce noises when they are lifting a certain amount of weight.

I can handle some noise - especially if you’re lifting the equivalent of my body weight - but keep it down. If it sounds like you should maybe not be on a weight bench, and instead on the toilet, you can bet you’re annoying most of the people around you.

(And possibly grossing them out.)

But the most hilarious and annoying Noise Maker ever was a guy who used to come in and run on the treadmill.

I don’t run, but I hear that at a certain point, endorphins kick in and you feel really good and happy-go-lucky and all.

(I’ve never gotten to that point… I usually pass out from lack of oxygen and the pain radiating in my knees…)

Well, this Noise Maker really enjoyed running. After a certain amount of time, I assume that his happy endorphins kicked into overdrive, causing him to scream out with glee.

The first time I heard this guy, I was working out on the treadmill in front of him and I heard a high-pitched noise. I thought it was my machine, so I paused my music and listed for the squeak again.

Nope, nothing. So I turned on my MP3 player and went back to walking.

Then I heard the noise again. I turned around and saw a very happy bald man sprinting on the treadmill, but assumed that he would have the decency to keep that kind of noise to himself, and who yells like that while running, anyway? So I just hit my MP3 player a few times, thinking it skipped or something, and continued on.

Then I heard a “Whoop!” so freaking loud I swung my head around at lightning speed just in time to see running man with a stupid grin on his face, followed by another “Whoop!” that confirmed that this annoying noise had been coming from him the whole time.

And it’ not like this noise just escaped through his lips. No, this guy was proud to be on his treadmill. When he screeched he sort of hopped and threw his fists in the air like he was about to run his victory lap. And every time he “whooped” he would shake his head like he was thinking to himself: “Holy cow! I am the MAN! Look at how fast I am! Can you believe this?”

Which caused me to think: “What kind of noise would you make if you fell flat on your face?“

So, this particular Noise Maker is just one example of a guy who produces really annoying sounds that make me want to push the STOP button on his machine so that he goes flying over the front.

So, keep it down… or else I am not responsible if my hand “accidentally” slips onto your STOP button… or slaps you.

Can’t Help but do Pushups Guy (aka, One who Does Pushups in the Most Inappropriate Places):

So I’m on a stationary bike, trying to get through another workout, wondering why the makers of stationary bikes can’t make a seat that is at least somewhat comfortable, when I look over and see Pushup Guy.

He approaches a shoulder press machine and sits down, adjusting the weight to some ridiculously high number, when all of a sudden he shakes his head and gets out of the seat. Then he gets on the ground, does about 20 pushups, brushes himself off, and then goes on with his regular workout.

Now, this doesn’t seem like such a bad thing, right? Pushups are really good for you (or so I’ve heard), so this guy couldn’t be annoying.


The problem is where Pushup Guy decided to do his impromptu pushups. He got down right across the aisle where everyone walks to get across the gym. He essentially blocked off half of the room, forcing people to make detours to avoid climbing over him!

(I must say, the desire to leap over him like a ballerina was quite strong… at least for me…)

It wasn’t just annoying… it was plain rude!

So, the lesson here? If you can’t help yourself and you just HAVE to do a pushup session: go to an appropriate area. Or at least get out of the freaking way.

And finally, I can’t help but make this last category:

The Horrible Dresser (aka: One who Makes Others ask: “Are You SERIOUSLY Wearing THAT?”):

I’m not one of those girls who dress up to go to the gym. I’m a big fan of baggy concert t-shirts and baggier pants. I really don’t try that hard, and I don’t really expect others to look totally put together either.

But sometimes there are those men who just cross the line.

You might not think that dressing badly is annoying (I mean, it’s not really hurting anyone else), but it can be distracting and sometimes even scary.

(And that makes me annoyed.)

I mentioned The Flexer and his stretched out tank top. What I’m referring to is when a guy stretches out the armholes so that they droop down by his waist.

It’s like this guy couldn’t possibly stuff all of his muscles in a regular t-shirt or tank top… no, he needed to stretch it out so that they could fit… and so everyone could see his nipples in all their glory…

(Seriously, if you have one of these shirts… destroy immediately. Your fellow gym patrons will thank you.)

Another annoying example of The Horrible Dresser: I’ve been seeing a lot of guys at the gym in jeans and a tank top. I mean, not only do these guys look plain silly doing squats in jeans (with a fine leather belt on), but it just can’t be functional.

This also goes for the guy I saw yesterday who was wearing a tracksuit with hiking boots.

(It was quite distracting.)

The other obvious thing that puts one in The Horrible Dresser category: short shorts on guys. Please, please, please, guys, if I can see you flexing everything you have to offer… well “annoying” isn’t so much the word I’m looking for as “horrifying” might be.

Plus, the gym is largely a family friendly type of place now… so keep those things to yourself, and get some longer shorts.

All in all, The Horrible Dresser might not seem like a very annoying thing, but I feel it is my duty to tell you all to run over to a sports store as soon as possible and get some more appropriate threads.

(Asking a female sales associate would probably ensure a positive outcome, too.)

So, as I said before, I apologize if you fit into one of these categories (or if you are actually one of the guys that I mentioned… I only criticize to help…) but changing certain things like NOT strutting around in front of MILFs, NOT flexing in front of 60 people who are trying to keep their breakfast down, NOT yelling, grunting, groaning, or squeaking (or at least keeping it to a minimum), NOT dropping and giving me twenty in my walking path, and NOT wearing inappropriate clothes to the gym, can make everyone happier while working out.

(Especially ME!)

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