Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Going to the Gym.... Part 1

I have been a regular attendee at the gym for about six years now. I started off going to the awesome gym we had at the University of Maryland, College Park to the one at the Defense Logistics Agency before finally landing up at LifeTime Fitness in Centreville. I have been going to LifeTime for a while now and I must say it is probably one of the better gyms I have been to in terms of equipment, services and facilities.

Being such a frequent visitor to the gym I have taken time to notice some of the behavioral patterns that seem to emerge either by design or by nature in almost every gym I have been to. Yesterday evening as I trotted away on the elliptical machines overlooking the pool area, I had time to ponder some of these archetypes. Here are some of them, in no particular order:

Super-Men and Super-Women: These are the folks who are quite simply built as if chiseled from stone. They have rock hard abs, extremely large biceps and pecs. They are also often the ones you see walking around with a weight belt and a small notebook to note down how many reps of what weight they lifted. They often have a penchant for lifting the equivalent weight of a baby elephant for one rep while grunting and growling either to attact attention or mask the sounds of their muscles tearing. To hear their conversations, they will speak on such important topics as what protein shakes are good and how many raw eggs they consumed.

Groupies: Who said rock stars are the only ones with groupies? These are the folks, most often young ladies, who enjoy hanging out with Super-Men either to admire their muscles or to towel them dry after their one rep. When asked to join in the lifting, they will often demure and protest in sweet voices while acting helpless and 'scared' before lifting a tenth of the weight of the Super-Men companions. Their dress can generally be termed as scanty. An interesting phenomenon associated with groupies, they will be in the gym for upwards of three hours. Actual workout time will be five minutes.

Speeders: Speeders are the ones you see darting from machine to machine or station to station with the determination of Pavarotti at an All-You-Can-Eat Italian Buffet. They typically pride themselves on the fact that they can complete a full workout in ten minutes. If you make the mistake of occupying a machine in their routine for more than five seconds you will experience the hemming and hawing as they attempt to lay a guilt trip on you in order to get you off the machine. Attempts to 'work in together' are often met with sighs of resignation and reluctant acceptance.

Cardio-Freaks: Cardio-Freaks generally occupy the area of the gym where the treadmills, ellipticals and bikes are. They generally can be differentiated from the general population by the fact that they are moving about a hundred times faster than the average person. In a never-ending quest to be in the upper echelon's of cardio fitness, these folks are most often to blame for machines that are out of order due to the fact that they, peddle, run or .... ellipitate... faster than even a machine can go.

Socialists: These aren't politcal socialists but rather a group of friends that typically come to the gym together to workout but the body part getting the strongest workout is the mouth. Socialists tend to travel in packs of about three or more and will migrate from machine to machine occupying it for extended periods of time. You can often see Speeders hanging around them sighing loudly. As with Groupies, Socialists tend to state actual time in the gym as opposed to actual workout time. It is a requirement for non-Socialists to stand in awe when they state that they go to the gym for four hours daily but never lose weight.

There are many more... details to be released in Part 2!



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