The Gym Rant, Part II

I’m back with more ravings about the gym. Don’t get me wrong–I love the gym. But I spend a lot of time there, so I’ve developed certain likes and dislikes, even prejudices.  Many of these are just personal to me.  They might not bother a so-called “normal” person.  That matters not, of course.  What matters–as always–is me.  If you’re interested in things that bother you, I suggest you write about them yourself.


Your beastly author

A few months ago, I posted thoughts on a few things that bother me at the gym. Since then, I’ve thought of others. Here goes:


Every time I go in the locker room, there is a naked guy. Oh, it’s not the same naked guy. If it were, I’d make a formal complaint. It’ll be some dude, and he’ll be naked.  The locker really is a public area (public, not pubic).  The public–me included–is present.  How about covering up?

Put on a towel. Better yet–your damn clothes. You can towel off back by the showers. No one–NO. ONE.–wants to see you towelling your ass. This is especially true if we non-naked folks are sitting.  Oh, do you want to sit down naked guy? Put on your damn clothes first or lay down a towel. We don’t want your ass matter on everything.  I’m sure I speak for everyone on that point.

Hey, here’s another problem. Don’t talk to me. You’re naked. You want to talk? Here’s what I have to say: “Put your g **damn clothes on!” That’s the same thing I’d say to a dinner guest or co-worker under similar circumstances.  Simply put, I am incapable of engaging in casual conversation with naked people, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Do you really need to bend over? Then, you damn well need to cover up. Getting naked in front of strangers is weird enough, but bending over? Unless you’re planning on tucking bucks, that ain’t gonna fly. Stop.  And see the comment above about the rest of us sitting.  Please.

Finally, you would think that folks who parade around naked would probably have enviable physiques.  Nope.  It’s like a nude beach.  The people who do this have every reason in the world to wear many, many layers of clothing.

Until we join the 21st century and embrace my plan for non-sexist, unisex locker rooms, I’m not backing down on this one.  And, if I do back down, don’t worry–I’ll wear a towel.


If you go to a gym long enough, someone will ask you to spot him.  If you’ve ever lifted weights you know what that means.  If you haven’t, I’m sure it sounds vaguely obscene, but it isn’t.

Here’s how it works.  Someone is lifting, usually the bench press.  He is working with weights that are just slightly too heavy.  He needs a boost to get going. So, you spot him.  On the bench press, this means you hold the weights to give him just a little more lift to get going. Sometimes, the spotter needs to stand there for the whole set, you know, just in case the weights come crashing down on the lifter.

Spotting is considered a courtesy at the gym.  It’s kind of like holding the door for someone.  I don’t mind doing it on occasion, but really that’s not why I’m at the gym.  I would, of course, like to point out a couple of things to keep in mind.

If you weigh, say, 300 pounds and are benching let’s say 400 pounds, you might need someone of similar girth to help you.  I’m 50 years old.  I weigh 160 pounds.  I’m in pretty good shape.  In fact, for my age, I’m in excellent shape.  It’s a solid 160.  This does not mean, however, that I am the appropriate person to spot someone benching 2 1/2 times my weight.  If you start to give out and the weight is coming down, what can I really do for you?  Perhaps I can hang on to the weights and crash down on top of you.  Maybe I can throw myself between the weights and your body to cushion the blow.  That’s about it.  If you are a behemoth of some sort, bring another of your massive ilk with you.  You guys can put on those big leather lifting belts and spot each other.  Trust me, it’s a better plan.

Also, if you need spotting for your entire set, it’s possible you’re using too much weight or you need a permanent assistant.  I’m there to work out, not be your spotting manservant.

With those qualifiers, I’ll spot you, just not too often.  If you bug me too much, I could just drop the weights on you  anyway.


Maybe this guy is just at my gym, but I don’t think so.  He uses dietary supplements.  He asks me if I use supplements.  “Do you use creatine?”  “Do you load?” “What kind of protein do you use?” “Do you use a T booster?”  The list is endless.  He’s like a drug dealer.  He wants to know what you’re doing and then tries to get you to do something else.

My gym’s Supplement Guy doesn’t look like he uses any supplements, but he does.  He’ll tell me I need more supplements so that I can look the Michelin Men who work out at the gym.  I’ve told him, gently, that some of those guys are using REAL supplements, nothing you can buy at GNC.  He doesn’t care.  He needs to tell me what he uses.  What he uses certainly doesn’t work, but he doesn’t care.

Supplement Guy bothers me and not just because I don’t care for idle chatter at the gym.  I’m in far better shape than he is.  He has no business suggesting I do what he’s doing.  In fact, he should do what I’m doing.  Maybe that’s why he asks, but I don’t think that’s it.


We all reach a certain age where people become curious about our age.  I guess.  I’ve been asked on several occasions at the gym about how old I am.  Why?  It’s possibly because I am an Adonis of some sort.  That’s doubtful.  I think it’s because I’m there almost every day, and some folks are fascinated that an aging fellow like me would do that.  There’s one guy at our gym a lot older that I am–20 years at least.  I’ll admit that I want to ask how old he is.  Even though I’ve known this guy a long time, I still won’t ask his age.  It just seems awkward.

It’s not an awkward subject for some people.  They’ll ask without hesitation.  Sometimes, this can be misconstrued.  I will believe I’m being flattered.  A while back, I was approached by a comely lass who couldn’t have been more than 25 years old (at my age, I can’t really tell–she was no more than 40 for sure).  Here’s the conversation:

HER:  “Excuse, me.  I hope you don’t mind me asking, but how old are you?”

ME:  “49”

HER:  “Do you use a personal trainer?”

[Now, it’s clear that she has seen something she likes. I still got it!]:

ME:    “Well, no.”

[This is 100% ME, baby!]

HER:  “Oh, I just wondered.  My dad is 46, and I’ve been trying to get him to get in shape.  I thought I’d ask if you used someone here.  Thank you , sir.”

ME: [sigh] You’re welcome.

Oh, well.

Here’s another one:

Young Man:  “Hey, how old are you?”

ME:  “50”

Young Man:  “Wow.  No wonder you’re here all the time.  It must be hard to stay in shape when you get older.”

That passes for a compliment in some cultures, I’m sure.  Here’s the deal.   Unless you’re older than I am, don’t ask me how old I am.  It’s not really relevant to anything other than your morbid curiosity.  I will say this, however, to these youngsters.  Check in when you’re 50.  It IS hard to stay in shape at my advanced age.  It’s called OLD MAN STRONG!


I suffer from some genetic anomaly which results in my having oddly feminine-looking legs.  I know this, because I’ve been told so on many occasions.  Usually, someone will say:  “I wish my legs looked like yours.”  That someone is always a woman.

I’ve worked on my legs.  I’ve lifted with them, run miles and miles–they’ve never changed.  They get no bigger or smaller.  That’s just how it is.  I also lack superfluous body hair.  I like to think of it as advanced evolution.  My ancestors crawled out the primordial ooze a little bit ahead of yours.  This only adds to the girlishness of my legs.


My penchant for sitting like this certainly doesn’t help with the girlishness of my legs.

I don’t need to hear this anymore.  If you see a man with girly legs at the gym, it is probably me.  Don’t tell me.  I know it’s a compliment, but it doesn’t come across that way.


My gym used to have cubbies.  You know, the little cubbie holes like elementary school kids use to store their stuff.  They were great.  They were in the work out area, and you could just toss your coat and car keys in one and be done.

This past year, my gym was sold to a large, national gym chain.  Overall, this is a good thing.  Whether it was the economy or just poor management, the gym had slipped some.   Equipment was in disrepair and cleaning was poor.  Plus, our gym’s owners had been subject to many complaints over their business practices.  It was probably a good time for a change, but it came at a price.

The price was our cubbies.  Why?  No one seems to know.  If the workers at the gym know, they aren’t telling.  Oh, we tried to protest, but it was to no avail.  Corporate America often ignores the little man.  Now, even if it’s just a light jacket, we must use the lockers.  Not only does this expose us to naked people, but we also must hang out in the stench of the locker room.  Do we need locks now?  So far, no.  At some point, they’ll probably force that on us, too.  Frankly, I thought my stuff was more secure out in the open where I could see it–in my precious cubbie.


Despite our begging, the cubbies are no more.

So, the cubbies are gone, and I’m none too pleased about it.  Sure, there was the time someone took my car keys, but they returned them several hours later.  And, yes, someone took my lifting gloves once.  I consider this a small price to pay for the convenience.  Oh, well, I’m glad I had the foresight to take pictures of them before they were gone.


Even this last ditch appeal to the Christmas spirit failed.

You might have read this and thought “He hates the gym. Why does he go?”  No, no, no.  I love the gym. That’s why these little imperfections bother me.  It’s just like with my children.  I dearly love them all, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have traits which make me curse them.  Much like the gym, I’ve spent quite a bit of money on them and gotten much enjoyment out of it, but they can and should do better.  I would blog about them, but the Draconian “rules” of the so-called child welfare authorities prevent that.

I could go on about such things as people working out in jeans or couples who hog up machines for 30 minutes at a time, but I think I’ll stop.  By the way, I just got back from the gym.  I’m pleased to report that I remain clothed the entire time.

© 2013

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