Sunday, January 29, 2012

New faces at the gym

It's January, which means it's Resolution Time, and the gym is full of those new resolutioners.

I've been there long enough that I'm a Regular, the trainers know me, and some of the patrons from my classes know me too. I know a couple of them by name, though no one calls me by name, I take pleasure in being one of the "in" crowd.

There's a distinct increase in busy-ness that I figure will slack off in a few weeks as people realize that Losing Weight Requires Discipline, and those half-hearted attempts to lift weights won't actually result in weight loss without something else involved.

There's Dreds girl. She's got an ENORMOUS head of messy, kinda nasty-looking dreds. Now, I like dreds, generally; I like the small, neat rows, carefully maintained. But the thick, slept-in icky ones? No thanks. Her hair is twice as big around as the rest of her. She's one of those who wants to lose weight, but doesn't have much to lose; she's soft, but not huge. She'll probably quit when she realizes six pack abs don't happen in six weeks of bench presses. She's usually got a Man hovering around her, telling her what to do. He's not one of the trainers.

Then there's Let's Work Together resolution pair. They're both substantially overweight, and clearly there for moral support. I'm all for it; it's so much easier now for me now that I have friends there at the gym who notice when I'm making progress, and shout encouragements when the trainer's being particularly brutal.

The problem with this one is they're there for 30 minutes, work the same four machines in the same order, and do so at such a low speed and weight that they're not actually DOING anything. They talk the whole time, and you can watch; they're clearly working the "lose weight in X body part by doing X exercise" myth, because they have large thighs and are always working the thigh machines. They'll stop moving when they talk, and then remember to keep moving the weights. They won't last long, because what they're doing will do nothing in the end to reduce anything. I want them to succeed, and have even tried to encourage them to join me in the classes (I'm familiar with one of them, in passing "hello, we live in the same area" sort of way.)

They're afraid, though. They're afraid they'll look stupid, or that people will point and laugh. THe thing I learned pretty quickly about that is no one does... they're too busy worrying about looking stupid themselves, or just trying to get through the next exercise without falling over!

There's a sort of camaraderie in these classes, a shared trial of pain, that means you can shout and grunt and groan and everyone laughs and grunts and groans and shouts with you, because it HURTS, and you're all hurting.

Part of me wants the newbies to hurry up and fail and go home so I can have My Treadmill back, but the other part wants them to succeed so I can learn their names and shout encouragement when they do the classes with me.

I know they won't, though.

Then there's My Boyfriend Will Make Me Pretty. He stands over her, tells her how to use the machine, sets the weight way too high for her to handle, and laughs when she can't do as many reps as he can. Then he tells her to get up and he shows her how a Real Man does it.

Then they move to another machine, and they repeat it. She's wearing a cute outfit with words across her butt, probably "Juicy." She's already pretty, but he clearly wants her to be prettier, and she's letting him bully her into something that she hates. She won't last long, because she's not there for herself, she's there for him, and when he gets bored of being better than she is, he'll stop forcing her to go.

I wonder if he's paying for her membership.

Then there's the Old Couple. They're so adorable, and I love them. The guy comes, his wife sets him up on the treadmill, and presses all the buttons for him. He starts walking, and she joins us in our scary classes, and does a great job. I don't know her name yet. But I like her, and always make a point to talk to her after class.

One lady isn't a newbie at all; she's been going longer than I have, and she's got incredible focus. She's very overweight, but she's SO determined, and I've seen a definite change in her body - what she's doing is working. She works the cardio machines for hours, never makes eye contact, never uses the lockers, and works the weights constantly. She's making a life change, and it shows. I want to tell her that I've noticed her progress, and she's doing a great job, but she's very close-off from the world, and in four months, I've never even been able to catch a glance, so I don't want to intrude on her zone, since she's clearly IN IT.

I like to people watch in the gym.

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