Enquiring minds want to know, what is it with guys at the gym? Noises–sweat that is rarely managed–more noises–wandering eyes–more noises.
Seriously? it’s just gross.
We don’t belong to some high end gym, in fact we don’t belong to a gym at all.
We do however pay an association fee in our neighborhood which primarily covers the cost of landscaping, but also includes the use of a community gym. It’s actually pretty great. The room is a decent size, there are 3 ellipticals, 1 stair master, 3 treadmills, 2 recumbent bikes, a smattering of weight machines, a couple of benches and plenty of free weights to use.
For the most part I have never consistently been a “gym person.” There were years when I ran, first with a double jogger, then a single, then happily solo. I wish I had recorded the miles I clocked, but back then we had to rely on training logs, you know the kind that require pencils and a notebook to write in. Yeah that never happened…but there were A LOT.
I’ve also had the lazy years. Yes, the honest to goodness truth is there were years when I neglected to take care of my body, years that if I could, I would take back and switch things up, but that can’t happen so I focus on what I can do now.
OK. Back to the guys.
This morning I stepped onto the elliptical machine just after 7AM. There was one guy in the gym already, he was on a different elliptical. As I always do, I retreated into the world of my music while I churned out 30 minutes of cardio. I noticed Mr. Elliptical was watching TV. He was fine. At first.
About 15 minutes into my routine a regular I secretly call “Mr. Disrupter” slammed through the door. As seems to be his modus operandi, he had run to the gym. Did you catch that? Running means sweat. So Mr. Disrupter, without as much as a swipe of the t-shirt to his face, marched over to one of the weight machines, changed the way it was outfitted from a bar to a rope loop. And then, still dripping in sweat, he proceeded to yank the rope aggressively over and over. Um…if I could see his sweat fly in the reflection of the mirror?…Yeah. Nasty.
The thing about Mr. Disrupter is he is in constant need of fresh air. Or that’s the story I tell myself because he has an unruly habit of banging in and out of the room between sets. Sometimes he walks all the way around the building and slams through the doors on the opposite side. Annoying.
As best I could I tried to stay in my happy place.
Mr. Elliptical finished up his cardio, dismounted from the machine and didn’t bother to wipe it down. And people look at me funny when I wipe down a machine that I am just about to use. Really?
He sauntered back to the free weights. I ignored him. Or I did until I happened to glance in the mirror and noticed his eyes fixed on my ass. Pahlllease. He saw that I caught him and looked away. Once again I retreated into my zone. Well I did until Mr. Elliptical appeared alongside the stair master which is right next to the elliptical I was on. He then used the bar of the stair master to stretch his stuff.
Scowling is the easiest way to get someone to realize I am in my 50’s. Every wrinkle participates in the fun of making a disgusted face, thus making me age within a nano second.
He finished up and thankfully left. Then it was just me and Mr. Disrupter.
On the news I saw that they were talking about a woman who had been abducted, then found. I glanced back at Mr. Disrupter and decided he actually looks dangerous. I began writing a crime novel in my head where I was the main character. I imagined my fictitious self texting my friend Colleen the word-HELP. Only in the crime novel she assumed I am saying HELP because she thought I was at the gym dying on the elliptical. But really I was stuffed in the trunk of the Disrupters car. The car he stashed for opportunities when he is alone with a middle-aged woman at the gym. He is sneaky like that because a woman wouldn’t think he has a car stashed because they assumed he ran.
Thankfully. Well…maybe not thankfully…another regular, Mr. Noise, walked in. Then I was safe from both my imagination and Mr. Disrupter.
So Mr. Noise. That guy has to be in his mid-to-late 70’s. I don’t think I have ever seen anyone in my life run faster on an elliptical. He literally looks as if he is beating the crap out of the machine. Oh and the noise part? He exhales so loud through his lips that they flap. Not sure how to type the sound, but it is usually reserved for 10 year old boys…
He pounded the pedals and snorted 10 feet from me until I cracked. Cardio done. I hopped off the elliptical, wiped it down and moved on to the weight machines then stretched.
By the time I was ready to leave 4 additional men had showed up. That is highly unusual.
Most days I share the space with a great guy named Larry. Larry is the antithesis of the other men I mentioned. Keeps to himself. Cleans his machines before and after each use. And apart from a quick nod and a smile he keeps to himself.
And isn’t that the way it should be?
Well in the end the good news is all these people are doing what they can to take care of themselves. And the better news is winter is coming and that signals the end of snake season which means I will spend more time on the trails then in the gym, happily alone.
Carol Cassara says
Sometimes it’s steroid aggression. Not always. But sometimes.
Angela Weight says
I wouldn’ve scowled too. People like Mr. Disrupter make me sick. They don’t acknowledge anyone else in the world unless it’s to make sure he have your attention. All kinds of blogging material at the gym.
I recognize all these yahoos. Are you sure you’re not at my gym? I laughed at your scowling line. Yes, darn it. It certainly shows every blasted line.
Lois Alter Mark says
YUCK! This is why I don’t go to the gym (ha ha, that’s so not true but it gives me a good excuse). I am, though, going to take a shower now!
Cathy Chester says
I’ve joined so many gyms over the years, and this was one of the things I hated the most. Men sounding like they’re having good sex as they lift weights. Turned my stomach. Girls wearing dental floss up the (sorry) butt to look cute, but not looking cute but disgusting. Sorry, I digress.
So with you on this one, Elin.
Carpool Goddess says
I think I need to go to an all girl gym. There is always some guy grunting or sweating heavily nearby. And most of them don’t wipe down the machines. Gross.
Ruth Curran says
We go to a nice gym (we put our time in at the gross version so we got “grand-fathered” in to the new and improved gym without the new and improved price) – one where the people are all a bit too fit :). We have a gassy guy who always ends up at the machine next to me…. You can block out the sounds with earbuds and a good book. You can block out the just a bit too pretty by closing your eyes but gassy guy is tough to ignore :)!
Nancy Hill (@Nerthus) says
I wish there was still an all woman’s gym in my town. There was, once, but it went away in the late 90s. I use my “look of death” when gross guys do gross stuff.
Kim Tackett says
Oh, I think you need a new gym. Or a women’s running group!
Funny stuff indeed! There is a whole website full of awkward gym moments that my son shows me. Hehehe!
writing a crime novel in my head!! Love that!!