Tag Archives: Gym

10 Reasons Going to the Gym is the Worst

If you’re anything like me, you spend most of your time in the ten-foot cube that contains your computer. You understand that fresh air and sunlight are good for you, but before you can justify going outside, it’s important that you learn literally everything on the internet. This goal seems always just out of reach, and as time goes by and food and energy drink–intake continues, you find that your body weighs more than it did the day before. As you get ready to travel to the bed part of your cube, you shut down your computer and see your reflection in the blackness of the monitor. Suddenly you are struck with an overwhelming sense of self-loathing. How could I have gotten my priorities so wrong? How can I spend day after day just sitting here, as if—ooh! Half a Snickers bar!

This continues evening after evening until eventually, you find yourself at The Gym.

The Gym is a terrible place, based solely around your most hated activity: exercise. Usually you end up here thanks to the prodding of some well-meaning friend.

The problem with this is that said friend is going to be somewhat experienced at The Gym and will try to force you beyond your limits, saying things like “one more rep” when you haven’t even managed to do a single rep yet. The friend won’t understand when you feel a weird twinge in your “body area” that is probably your spleen cramping up. And when you refuse to do certain exercises because “the bar is too spiky,” you’ll only invite a second round of prodding.

Which brings me to…

The 10 Reasons Going to the Gym is the Worst

“Bitching Out” is Not Permitted

People at the gym tend to be really into bulking up and being tough. They’re not like you or me, daintily prancing through life, turning our noses at the slightest whiff of physical labor or exertion.  We’ve turned “bitching out” into an art form, but nowhere are our portraits of frailty less appreciated than in a place where the only paint is blood and it’s smeared haphazardly on a canvas of PAIN.

Well aware of this, you have to do your best to conceal your weaknesses. When you pick up those five-pound dumbbells for inclined press and someone scoffs, you tell them they’re to help you rehabilitate your injured rotator cuff, which you presumably injured by having too much sex. That will make them feel abashed, and maybe they’ll even move somewhere where they won’t look at you.

Additionally, when your arms are shaking after two reps, and you know three will be your absolute limit, shout out “Ten!” in the gruntiest voice you can muster. You want it just loud enough to be overheard, but not so loud that it’s obvious you’re lying. If anyone knew how little weight you were actually lifting, you’d certainly lose your man card.

And most important of all, you must wear dark sunglasses. To hide the tears.

Music Selection.

Gyms are always playing music to help those ripped guys get pumped up, but screaming and heavy metal aren’t your idea of a good time. So you load up your iPod with all your favorite hits and head to the bench press. You’re actually doing pretty well; this Disney is getting you in the zone.

But then someone asks you a question and you have to pull out the earbud to answer. You realize it’s blaring “A Whole New World” loud enough for the whole gym to hear. Why did you turn up the volume so high?

Not to mention that whenever a really good jam comes on you can’t help but dance to it. Your head bobs to “What is Love?;” your feet shuffle to “Party Rock Anthem;” and you superman ho’s to “Crank That.” How do other people not do this?!

Yoga Pants

Mother of god! It’s like she’s not wearing anything at all! And every single girl is dressed the same. You try to lift weights, but you find yourself imagining each girl naked. You’d think this would be a good thing about going to the gym, and it is…until you’re  yanked from your wonderful stupor by the realization that you’ve been caught.

That blonde is totally glowering at you. It hardly seems fair; she’s obviously just there to check out the yoked guys in tight tees, which are the male equivalent of yoga pants.

I don’t see why we have to dance around the fact that we’re clearly all working out to try to get laid, and that guys and girls are both wearing outfits in an effort to attract the opposite sex.

Maybe the reason I always get glares is because I’m working out not to get laid, but because of a doctor’s recommendation. Or maybe it’s my excessive ogle-induced drooling, or ’cause girls don’t want some guy who’s not in great shape slavering over them. Maybe I need to start wearing tighter shirts, and potentially they ought to not have puns on them.

Bros

Bros eschew yoga pants in trade for tight t-shirts to show off their “guns,” and their primary exercise is attempting to impress the female denizens. Sometimes they’ll ask you for a “spot.” You might not know what that is, and even if you do, you’re pretty sure you’re incapable of doing it. Or maybe you and a bro will both arrive at a machine simultaneously, and trying to figure out who gets to use it will be incredibly awkward, especially since you both have headphones in and communicating is reduced to a series of non-standard hand signals.

You’ll do your best to convey that you only have one set left, and then the other guy will hand you a stick of gum.

Statistically Induced Feelings of Inadequacy

I have a theory that everyone will always be better than you at everything. Like if you go to play tennis, odds are that everyone there is fantastic, because, after all, they’re at the tennis courts. You’re much more likely to overlap with the people who play all time than with people like you, who only leave the house when you’re out of beer or ramen.

This applies to everything, really. If you sleep with someone, it’s likely they’ll be better in bed, because it’s easier to pull a girl who tends to be looking for some action, and if she wants to hook up with you, well, it’s probably less because of your gym-toned body and more because of her alcohol-induced desires.

So according to this theory, of all the people at the gym, you will be in the worst shape. Now that I think about it, this isn’t really comedy—just sad, sad math.

The Cute Receptionist

Sometimes things look like they’re going to work out. Sometimes you manage to flirt with the receptionist on the way in, and she doesn’t even ask for your name because she remembers. You’ve made an impression! You note that she too is wearing yoga pants, and, inspired by her callipygian figure, you spout a few choice lines at this girl who’s obviously been hired because of her natural endowment. She laughs pleasantly. Victory!

But then you have to pass her on the way out, covered in sweat and hobbling because your legs feel like the jellied embodiment of overexertion. Why did you think you could squat 200 pounds? She says bye to you all cute-like, and you attempt to wheeze out something clever, but your asthma gets the better of you and you simply cough in her general direction, spittle crashing down to the floor alongside your hopes.

The Whole Experience is Gross

Sweat everywhere! Pouring off the fat people, dripping onto the floor, coating the backs of the benches. You’ll be unable to avoid having your skin gain a coating of the sweat of thousands. And once you’re done with the ordeal, your friends will make you drink horrible protein shakes. And you have to ingest all these weird supplements all the time that are only legal in Asia because they’re liable to make your heart explode with pure INTENSITY.

Pain

Soreness? What is this new sensation? Tell it I hate it.

To Look Good, You Must First Look Bad, Young Padawan

So you’ve failed with strangers and the receptionist, but there’s still one category left: people you already know. They’ve gotten a taste of your delightful personality, so you have a little more leeway with them. One shows up to the gym while you’re lifting something alluringly heavy, and she sees your muscles bulging. It’s on. Plus, she’s wearing those skin-tight yoga pants you like so much. She must have put them on just for you. She walks over, smiles, and gives you a hug. Oh god! Not the hug! She didn’t realize how horrifically sweaty you were, and your deodorant seems like it must have worn off a decade ago.

You’re sure that twitch was her smile faltering, and she makes a quick escape. Next time you see her, you try to avoid eye contact.

Why do you always have to run into everyone you know when you look your absolute worst? And how do they manage to sweat the exact right amount to give them a healthy sheen instead of a repulsive coating?

Buyer’s Remorse

Even though you know going to the gym will mean you make a bad impression on somebody, you still feel compelled. You already paid the damn membership! You better make the most of it. Even if you do feel tired today, and even if you did eat a salad this week. If you don’t go, that money is wasted!

Then again, you already paid. What does it matter now? It’s a sunk cost; going costs the same amount as not going, and there’s a Twilight Zone marathon on TV, and your couch is looking extra comfortable, and you’ve really been wanting to try that new brand of microwavable pizza…

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My Manliest Day

I’ve already talked about how unmanly I am. And now I’m going to again, in hope that rehashing a topic will allow me to sneakily circumvent the writer’s block that’s been dropped square in front of me like a henge of stone erected by anti-creativity druids.

Like writer’s block, my distinct lack of virility is a condition that plagues me day and night and dusk and dawn and all those obscure times in between (the witching hour?).

Sure, balding may be related to high levels of testosterone, but our backward and unforgiving culture still places a premium on a nice, masculine head of hair. But the head is the only place they want it! Thanks to the oily and sparkling likes of Brad Pitt and Robert Pattinson, hair has become a thing to be reviled and waxed away. Gone are the Connery’s and the Hasselhoff’s, replaced by pretty boys who do nothing to convince women that my massive quantities of shoulder and back hair are in any way desirable.

With the super bowl coming up and my friends still making fun of me for my womanly hands and inability to burp (which makes chugging beer an impossibility), I felt it important to reassert whatever masculinity I had left.

This is the story of my manliest day.

Perennial friend Tom was in town for a visit, and I think some of his man-essence rubbed off on me when we chest-bump-greeted each other.

Tom’s an officer in the marines, trained through sweat and blood and things that look like tears but are actually just blood-sweat dripping near his eyes. This is a man who loves American football with a healthy, brazen disinterest for any sport lauded in other countries. Ever since Prometheus graced our race with the gift of fire, true men have been natural born grillers, and Tom is no different. He honors the Titan’s sacrifice with his expertly roasted corn, delicious vegetable medleys, and most importantly, perfectly charred eagle meat.

And now he was at my apartment, helping bar mitzvah the crap out of me.

The first thing we do when he shows up is crank some Linkin Park to its full, screamy volume and step outside into the courtyard. Next, we remove our shirts, brazenly flaunting the double standard which allows we men to be topless in public. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about equality, especially concerning this particular topic, but as long as the law favors the harsher sex, I’m going to flaunt my nipples at every opportunity.

As a marine, Tom was well aware that unlike Samson, modern day “bros” draw strength from a lack of hair, so we power up a razor. As “Bleed it Out” blares into the waning light, we shave each other’s heads and damn well leave the chest hair alone. Passers-by are stunned by our increasing virility, boosted with every swipe of the blade. I think the scene may have been undercut a bit by our singing along to Linkin Park, though. Especially since we changed the words to “shave it off, cut it shorter, just to sweep it away!”

Newly badass, we hit the freakin’ gym, dawg, cause it’s time to get our swell on. On the way in to getting’ big, we hella flirt with the receptionist, and she’s totally diggin’ our swag. Sure that one of us would tap that later, we give each other a fist bump and head to the weight rack to pump some serious iron and get cut. There are a ton of bros there, so we give them fist bumps too and say, “Sup, bro?” They say “Sup, bro?” And even if we don’t know a guy, we throw him the “Yeah dude. We totally work out” head nod.

Feeling swoll, our guns loaded with blood and looking huge, we get back to the man cave with just seconds to spare before the most sacred of all endeavors begins: the fantasy football draft. We can’t go straight to the draft, though, cause we gotta have our post workout protein shake with creatine. We toss two scoops into some milk and drink the crap out of it. It tastes almost like food.

It may have cost me in the draft, but I’d been a man for a few hours now, and in that short time, I’d learned that you never, ever miss your post workout protein shake. We transition into beer (the nice kind—that comes in bottles!), and start scouring the internet for player predictions, arguing furiously over injury potential, ability to make big plays, and whether or not it’s morally acceptable to draft the evil, cocky, cheating, Tom Brady, who always defeats the Chargers in the playoffs then goes home and smirks about it while sticking it to his Victoria’s Secret model wife (consensus: it is immoral, though the person who did draft him ended up winning the league—that bastard).

I’d never felt more American than in this moment, drafting fantasy football players with a marine while drinking beer. Plus, we’re listening to country music. We sit there, reveling in the greatness of our fine country and thinking patriotic thoughts, images of voting flashing through our heads. Voting, followed by thoughts of mindless consumerism, thanksgiving dinners, global ignorance, and eating pie in the back of a red pickup truck on the way to a reenactment of the American revolution. If there’s something more patriotic than that, I’d like to see it.

Draft complete, we find ourselves too manfully energized to attempt anything akin to sleep, our muscles alive with awesomeness. But how to pass the time at this hour? We’re already drunk. We’d already worked out and hit on girls and shaved our heads. And neither of us feel like getting into any fights or building anything with power tools. If not that, then what?

In a moment of perfect mental harmany, we look at each other and, like two girls excited about manicures, simultaneously squeal, “Fight Club!”

The next two hours were spent watching Edward Norton and Brad Pitt beat the shit out of each other in the most primal display of raw masculinity ever to grace the silver screen. I’d never seen it before, and my life was forever changed. I wanted to thank Tom for all that he had taught me, but, warmed by alcohol and images of men fighting each other just to be able to feel something in a world bereft of any true emotion, I fell asleep.

But when I awoke, there was no sign that Tom had ever been there. The only hair on the porch outside was blonde, and half the beers remained untouched. My friends had seen us together at the gym, hadn’t they?

Hadn’t they?

 

 

 

 

Stay tuned for the future, in which the writer’s block may have been lifted by the crane of inspiration, who, with a mighty caw, will hopefully muse some thoughts into my brain.

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