Bloggers and Bodybuilders


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.

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35 replies »

    • Hi Josh!!!!! You are right about that. I used to do everything in my power to avoid dropping stuff and now I am like oh, let me bend down and get that, or I squat down to get it and get right back up. I love that. I love muscles that work and don’t quiver when you try to use them.

    • Funny thing is, I think I am invisible there. Nobody notices me. They are all so busy staring at themselves in the mirror, while straining under their weights, they don’t see me at all. I think it helps that I don’t wear fancy gym clothes (so nobody can accuse me of being a poser), I go in with my bleach-stained t-shirts and the hand me down gym shorts and do my stuff. It helps that my 2 boys are there, checking on me, they are well-known in the gym (as they go twice a day, everyday) and they are HUGE – kind of like my gym bodyguards.

      • It must be great having two huge bodyguards! It does make me laugh that these gym bunnies spend so much time dressing in the ‘right’ gear and admiring themselves and are too busy to notice anyone else! 🙂

  1. Like the comparison. It’s a good one.

    I go to a special gym that is designed for fat middle aged women, although thinner and/or younger women and some older women also go. It’s a gym where people with injuries or arthritis go. It’s ace. In two years, I have lost 4 inches off my belt, half a stone (7lbs) and I can toss a wok and hold a heavy pan while I pour stuff out of it. I can also… well… I can’t actually physically run but I can galump for a bus without going blue.

    It’s definitely worth doing so power to you, keep it up.



    • Thanks MTM – I hope I can keep it up. Does put a bit of a strain on the already stretched schedule, but only because it cuts into my vegetating on the couch time. That’s funny about the pots, because I noticed the other day I picked up a pot to pour the contents out and my arm wasn’t shaking with fatigue. I laughed out loud about the galumping part – that cracked me up!!!!!! I noticed I flew up the stairs the other day trying to make it to work on time and didn’t have to stop to breathe before opening the stairwell door. That is a good thing. It can only get better from here. I just need to stick to it like you have done. 4 inches lost is a great!!!!!!! I can’t wait until that happens. I think I have gained 9 pounds – my boys keep telling me it is muscle – hope they are right.

  2. I hate hate hate HATE the gym. That’s why I long stretch at home-plus I can’t do diddly with my messed up shoulder.

    It goes feel good to be able to pick stuff up off the floor without staining 🙂

  3. Nice analogies, SD. Your mind is a fascinating place.

    I really liked the couple years MDW Karen and I went to Gold’s Gym. I took Pilates class twice a week after work. I walked the track. I used the weight machines. I watched and watched and watched people way more into it than I. Then Gold’s raised the price again, and we quit. 🙁

    • The boys wish there was a Gold’s Gym around here. They have been to the Venice Beach one several times and they say that is a real gym, because it is hot and humid. They say the one we go to now is way to air conditioned and you don’t get quite the same pump. I am not sure what this pump is, I guess it has to do with blood flow into the muscles and vascularity – or something like that. I am still trying to grasp all their lingo. I would like to take Pilates but I am afraid some of the positions would require a veritable control on one’s sphincter to not embarrass oneself.

      • I am now trying to hold it in, thanks to your Pilates comment, SD. Yes, much twisting and turning needed. I still can’t believe how much I adapted to that balance ball and the yoga mat. I was the only man in the class most days, so that helped. Maybe.

      • I guess Pilates gets everything on the inside and the outside aligned for proper functioning. So that would be a good thing. I really should try it!!!

      • It’s designed to increase core strength. I really did enjoy it because it gave me better balance all the away around, SD. You should try it if your too-airconditioned gym offers it. 🙂

  4. I gave up going to the gym about seven years ago and changed my diet instead. I hated every minute I was there. I still treat myself to the odd glass of wine and bar of chocolate so I’m still enjoying life after the gym. Keep up the good work and hope you last going to the gym far longer than I did.

    • I hated it at first, but I am beginning to miss it when I don’t go. I feel like a total slacker. It beats coming home and lying around trying to find something to watch on the 900 channels available on the television and not finding anything interesting. At least I can people watch at the gym!

  5. Very interesting comparison! I admire you for going–I’m too embarrassed to even try. I did order myself a treadmill that will be here next week, though.

    • Ooo, I wish I had a treadmill, or at least an exercise bike at home. Actually truth be known, nobody even notices me – so no need for embarrassment. I was kind of nervous when I first went in there, but I do my stuff and get the heck out of dodge.
      My boys tell me there is the “1000 Calorie” group – the girls that go in and get on the stair-stepper things and furiously climb stairs (pony-tails bobbing up and down), until they burn a 1000 calories – then they go home. I burned 64.7 calories on the bike after 15 minutes – I was thinking I would be there for hours trying to burn a 1000 calories (I calculated it – it would take me 3.86 hours on the bike to burn a 1000 calories) – guess I will never be part of that group. Oh well.

    • Thank-you. It is a slightly strange comparison, but these are the things that go through my mind when I am struggling to do the weights!!!!!

  6. Pretty good analogy. The only difference is that bodybuilders are obsessed by their body and writers about their writings. But writers can express their feelings when bodybuilders can only do the same thing, day by day even though the way of exercising may sometime be a little different. They are not free 🙂

  7. I like the comparison! It’s like Orwell’s Animal Farm of the gym! I did best when I had a treadmill in my home. I was in the best shape of my life. I think that part of it was because I didn’t have many excuses not to exercise, like driving to the gym. I’m going to have to suck it up and deal with the carnival that is the gym.

    • Well, for me, the good thing about being “middle-aged”, is I am basically invisible. The other thing is, everyone knows my sons, who are 6′ 6″ and 6′ 4″ and all muscle, so I am left alone to do my own thing. I really haven’t had any problems. I did hear someone say “Oh look how cute she is”, like I am a puppy or something – oh well, whatever. Good luck at the gym, I am about to go over there right now!

      • I try to get there by 4:30, before all of the hardcore people come in. I’ll stay as anonymous as possible by picking treadmill out of line of sight. lol I’m putting way too much thought into this!

      • I usually go about 7:30PM. Think they may all be at dinner at that point slugging back their protein shakes and egg whites.

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