Gym Watching

I admit it. I have been slacking!

I have not been to the gym regularly lately. Like in the month of January, I think I only went to the gym three times for the whole month. Well, it was bone-chillingly cold. I was jet-lagged from the Philippines’ trip. I was busy in my ICU rotation. The dog ate my alarm clock (we don’t even have a dog). Black Ninjas barricaded the gym……

No more excuses!

In reality I miss going to the gym, not just for the health reasons, but for the amusement as well. Because I am a gym watcher.

My first gym experience was right after I finished my undergrad course in Manila. I asked my father if I can use the refunded laboratory fee deposit of 400 pesos from my tuition, to sign up to a gym for the summer. I then enrolled in a gym located somewhere in Quezon Avenue.

On my first day, I was intimidated by the hunky muscular guys and athletic-looking gals working out in the gym. I was a measly 115-pound in a 5′ 8″ frame person. I was a wimpy kid! In fact, I spent more time in the gym that day, sitting in a corner, watching people.

Fast forward to today (25 years later), I may have gained 40 more pounds of muscles (and bilbil) and I may be more adept now in using the gym’s equipment and machines, but that has not stopped me still from watching people in all sort of shapes and sizes, and the different personalities and their idiosyncracies.

Here are some of the personalities I have observed over the years. Though they are real people, they may not be just one person, as in every gym there is a similar version or so, of them.

1. The gym rat. She goes to every exercise machine, from the treadmill, to the stationary bike, to the elliptical machine. She looks emaciated, like she just got out of the concentration camp. I guess she doesn’t know when to stop. She doesn’t look healthy at all. Just like everything else, even if it something good (like exercise) if it is done in excess, it is not good.

2. The chicken-legs guy. He has big burly shoulders. Heaving chest and pectorals. Hulking biceps and triceps. But thin legs. Chicken legs! I think he forgot that he needs to exercise his legs too. Legs are important you know. They hold you up against gravity.

3. The perfect make-up gal. It is 5:30 in the morning and she looks perfect with her full make-up on. Going where? To the gym! To sweat! I think appearance is so important to her. Aside from exercising, she also socialize, as she seems to know and greet everyone in the gym. Maybe she’s running for a popularity contest.

4. The slob. Almost opposite of #3. He looks like he just rolled out of bed, with his bed hair and clothes that he seems to have worn to sleep. The shirt is an old tattered college shirt with a visible food stain. Maybe he really slept in the gym. Maybe he really don’t care what his appearance is. Maybe I should cut him some slack. What is important is that he gets his exercise.

5. The grunter. He grunts when he stretches. He grunts when he runs. He grunts when he lifts weights. And not just silent grunts, it is a guttural noise that you can hear across the gym. It is as if calling attention to all, how fast he is running or how much weight he is bench pressing. It is kind of uncomfortable to be near him. Sometimes the grunting sounds he makes is as if he’s choking and I wonder if I need to jump behind him and do the Heimlich maneuver.

6. The hog. When he uses a machine, he hogs the equipment and does not let others  use it in between his 21 reps (or that’s how long it seems!). He will definitely make your gym time longer. Make sure you get ahead of him or you’ll wait till kingdom come. He doesn’t know how to share.

7. The silent observer. He seems to be minding his own business yet he is keenly observing all the people around him. He is not a stalker, but beware of him. He will write about you in his blog.

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