Updated: Aug 11, 2020
Right before Covid-19 ruined workouts at the gym for everyone, I wrote this. My workouts were already ruined and it had nothing to do with a pandemic….
I work out for a variety of reasons. Physical and mental health, relaxation, self-confidence, and all the other crap everyone aims to achieve. But as an Author, I also do it for focus. It allows me to think more clearly about the creative ideas I'm developing. And despite the intent, the outcome is not always fruitful. While the gym is mostly about focus, lately I've become distracted by the people around me.
There are certainly some very attractive people at the gym, but that only inspires me. The problem I'm having is, what the fuck are these people really doing at the gym? I think because I'm inherently an introvert, I do not see the gym as a social experience. I want to blast music into my head and pretend nobody is there but me. I assume everyone is or should be like me. But then I see people talking to one another. And while that is strange and very foreign to me, it's not enough to distract me from my own exercise routine. The social aspect at the gym is only a symptom of the real problem: the way these people workout is stupid.
There are a variety of gym archetypes:
God bless you. You're 48-years-old and your doctor told you to work out or die. So you start working out. You've been sedentary your whole life and now you're going to hit the gym and turn it all around. Great job! But you're in my goddamn way. You're on the machine I want to use trying to figure out how it works. You sit this way, you sit that way, you turn around, but nothing, clearly, is making sense to you. I can watch from afar gritting my teeth in frustration, or I could actually show you how to use the machine and hurry things along. But then I would be socializing. And I can't have that. So all my focus becomes you, you novice, as you struggle to strengthen those bony little arms and shoulders.
You're the person who won't leave the machine because you're doing 20 sets of the same exercise for the next 20 minutes. You also don't have the muscles that reflect that much focus on a single concentrated machine. In fact, your muscles look weak, possibly from overworking them. Definitely from overworking them. So you're doing yourself no good and you're certainly not doing me any favors by monopolizing the machine I want to do my 5 minute workout on. You plant yourself on a machine and stay there for life. I find myself again, stewing, unable to relax and workout and allow creative juices to flow.
This meathead is the walking Facebook. Like the Lifer, you plant yourself on a machine and start a conversation with another meathead and use the machine as a place to lean against or sit on, but not use as intended. Oddly, you have big muscles even though I rarely see you put them to use in the gym. You use your mouth more than thews and sinews. You're posting with real people, liking, commenting, lol-ing and doing everything you can live and in person and on the machine I want to use.
Similar to the Facebook, you plant yourself on a machine and get social--but not with people in the gym; you're probably just as introverted as me, which is why you keep to yourself, post up on a machine and watch YouTube videos. Endlessly. You do a set every 10 minutes or in conjunction with actual advertisements. You could have stayed home and stayed off the machine I want to use. I just stare at you in disbelief. And my mind is a blank.
This person probably bothers and distracts me the most. Which is exactly this person's intent. Not just to distract me but everyone in the place. This person wants attention. MUST HAVE attention. It may be a gorgeous woman who aspires to be an actress; it may be simply a narcissist or a downright crazy person. But you know who you are. You decide your workout at the gym should be you blasting music into your head and dancing like you're home alone (where you should be). Or maybe you're doing wind sprints or running up and down the stairs. The gym is not meant for this bullshit. It can be used this way, yes, of course, but should it? Go to a track. Go to a dance studio. Go do your weird and distracting oddball exercises somewhere else. You're driving me nuts.
Obviously everyone has their own reason to go to the gym. And it may be to be social, to get attention, to annoy other people, or like me, it may be to attain some level of focus on the strange stories forming in your brain. Certainly I can do this at home, but I am going to exercise regardless. And whether I'm trying to focus or not, you're still in my way and my message to you is this: get off that machine!
Somehow I feel a little better now.