I have regularly been attending the gym. I find the gym and all its inhabitants quite fascinating, although a bit odiferous. There is definitely a pervasive odor in there, above the sage/lemon grass fragrance I suspect the gym secretly pumps into the air to help with said odors. The pungent smell reminds me of my gym clothes in school, after a week of being used and not washed, and fermenting in the bottom of my gym locker.
It is almost like an anthill in the gym, so many people scurrying from machine to machine, the clanking of metal, the grunting and groaning of people attempting to lift weights way above their capabilities. Over in the special area, where the newbies dare not tread, in the free weight section, the people strain under massive weights while all are turned facing an enormous mirrored wall. I wonder why they look at themselves. Is it to check their form, or watch their muscles extend and contract? I don’t know. Between their sets, during their rest period, I suspect they are staring at the other people staring at themselves in the mirror. Everyone has ear phones in, and then I begin to ponder on what type of music they are listening to. I am the only one in the gym without ear phones, because I have a go-phone without the capability of playing music. But that’s okay, because I like the sounds of the clanking, and the grunting and the loud clap of weights being unceremoniously dropped (although it does make me jump a bit).
I have decided that weight-lifters are much like bloggers. This decision maybe endorphin (or hypoxia) induced, so don’t laugh. Between sets – 15 reps with increasing weights, I sit and watch these weight-lifters doing their exercises. Some of them are there every day, doing their thing, others I only see once or twice a week, some I have never seen before – and then only see once or twice. Some are very predictable in their routine, others flit from machine to machine, doing 1 or 2 reps and then they are done. Some just seem to spend most of their time just standing around, pretending to look at their phones while surreptitiously looking at everyone around them and secretly placing judgment on the amount of weight others are capable (or incapable) of lifting. Other weight-lifters seem to focus on one muscle group alone, while the more dedicated explore all muscle groups.
Are you seeing the similarities here or is it just me?
Some weight-lifters spend their time standing around with their protein shakers (my boys tell me this is the sign of a real newbie) and really don’t do much of anything except watch everyone else. There is definitely a hierarchy in the gym (I am at the bottom because I am middle-aged and plump, and I don’t have fancy gym clothes). The men with the tattoos and the bulging, striated muscles seem to be at the top, then comes the daily attendees, then the slim girls in the yoga pants that lunge around the entire gym with those free weights clasped in their dainty gloved hands, the unfit teenagers, and then the fit middle aged people with the unfit middle-aged people (in bleach-stained t-shirts and hand me down shorts) at the bottom.
There are also the people that are known competitors who have sponsors (I like to compare them to the writers/bloggers who are actually published). These people are special. They have made it. But then if they are not strikingly buff, other people in the gym will wonder why they have sponsorships, because they don’t seem exceptionally special, they are not the biggest or the buffest or the leanest and the rest of the people in the gym are always comparing themselves to them, thinking to themselves – how’d HE make it – what does he have, that I don’t. Maybe it is because they have a gazillion followers on their Instagram account (kind of like a writer’s platform) and everyone is completely fascinated about their meal prep and supplement intake. Who knows – maybe they have the gift, and the rest of us just don’t see it. Or maybe they were just in the right place at the right time.
It’s definitely a curious society, this gym society and much like the blogging community it is full of interesting people with diverse objectives and interests. I haven’t made any weight-lifting friends yet, but I also haven’t gotten into any altercations over using machines either. So, I am okay with that. Am I getting in shape? I feel better, and I don’t mind bending down to pick up stuff anymore. Little steps, my friend – that’s what it is all about little, tiny, microscopic steps.