I think I have located the key source of my discomfort at the gym (I say key because, let’s face it, I hate the gym. I despise it with the strength of a thousand suns.) My trusty workout shoes. Somewhere amongst the brain cells not occupied with what I should or shouldn’t put in my mouth, how much I really need to find a new job and/or finish my book, how I need to get more sleep/save more money/generally DO BETTER AT LIFE, there are a few dedicated to the assembly of the correct gym outfit. My brain is simplistic in that if a shoe has a Nike swoosh on it, then it automatically falls into the Perfectly fine for any type of sporting activity category.
I can now say unequivocally that this is not so.
In fact it is so far from so that it makes my head spin.
It’s a known fact amongst those that know me that my hate-hate relationship with the gym is in part due to the fact that I will be raring along, dropping the pounds, working that treadmill with the same enthusiasm that a well-paid stripper shimmies her butt down a pole; I will be busting those squats and grimacing through those lunges and actually producing results…and then I’ll injure myself so violently or comically that I won’t be able to set foot inside the gym again for weeks. This isn’t a matter of “if” or “maybe”. There isn’t a chance that this will not happen because it will. And I have resigned myself to that fact. So should you.
The fact that I have patella tendonitis in both knees is a testament to this. And while I could blame fate or the fact that life seems to enjoy defecating on me, I’m going to have to actually be smart about this and point the blame firstly at footwear and then look past the hypocrisy and blame myself for I am the chooser of said footwear.
To be fair, in days gone, when I was a young starlet on the netball, hockey and athletic teams for my school and before I turned into this grumbling, esoteric, exercise-loathing individual, I never had to differentiate between what footwear I wore because you know what? it didn’t matter. I sailed through seven years of secondary school on all those sports teams and the most serious injury I obtained a bloody knee and a lump above my eyebrow – which was a result of my friend Philip chasing me down the street doing impressions of The Rock until I slipped and introduced my face to the curb.
But these days, you’re apparently meant to have the correct footwear in order to exercise and I say “apparently” when I actually mean “you are definitely” because I meander from one injury to the next and now have two belligerent knees and it’s because I haven’t been proactive enough to throw out the damaged and dented trainers (I will
never call them “sneakers”) you see above and buy something snazzy like this pair:
I think we can all agree that I need to rectify this situation sooner rather than later.
And before I leave, I think it’s apt that I should give you a mini rundown of gym etiquette because the cretinous behaviour I encounter while I’m there is enough to make me want to run screaming into heavy traffic.
1. For God’s sake, wipe the machines after you use them
I have ZERO interest in absentmindedly using the chest press and then the next day screeching with terror at the hideous rash that has developed on my neck and arms because you think your perspiration is some type life elixir that needs to be shared with the world.
2. You are there to EXERCISE, not to speed date/look cute/pick people up
Seriously, people, what is wrong with you? Match.com is THAT way –>; keep your butt out of the gym. Taking up precious space.
3. If you’re going to stand around and preen/wait for someone to notice you, I’m going to say something disparaging about your mother
We’ve all seen them. The gym bunnies or pseudo-hunks who don’t actually set foot on a treadmill but loiter in the way of others (ME), puffing out their chests, flipping their hair, clenching their buttocks and standing under air conditioning vents to get the most nipple-through-spandex action. I don’t have time for this. What are you hoping to achieve? Please see point number two.
4. Similarly, it’s the GYM not London fashion week
I go to the gym in an old t-shirt and sweatpants and you know what, I don’t actually care. Excuse me for thinking that I’m there to sweat and not win the Fool’s Award for Best Dressed. Decking yourself out in gaudy and unnecessary gym getup does not make you any fitter nor does it help you lose weight faster. And for the love of God, some of you don’t need to be wearing spandex at all. Ever.
5. Don’t hog the damnable machines
Look. I don’t want to spend my entire evening at the gym. It’s enough that I am here at all; I have no interest in prolonging the agony. I want to go home and sleep. Therefore, if I see you sprawled out on a machine chatting it up with your buddy or you decide to just, I don’t know, tie up the leg press for 45 minutes, I am going to say something to you and it will not be nice. Or I might just throw you off.
6. Leave the instructor alone
He does not want to sleep with you. So don’t badger him. Recognise that any interest he shows in you is purely because he wants to secure that £25 an hour he charges to yell at you while you asphyxiate on the ascent trainer.
7. Don’t talk to me
I am not here to make friends. I will smile at you and return your cordial greeting if you happen to step onto a treadmill at the same time as me but our social interaction ends there. Don’t then try to waylay me with conversation of your daughter’s water-birth and how they had to massage her uterus to get things going. I frankly, don’t care.
8. In the same way, do not make eye contact with anyone
I get that we should all try and be friendly but eye contact only invites the type of eye-wateringly excruciating conversation mentioned in point number seven. That or Horatio Fugly over there will actually think you’re into him.
9. If you MUST use the showers, clean up after yourself
I can’t stress this enough, people. The number of times I have stepped into a shower cubicle and been assaulted with the sight of long hairs or – even worse – pubic hair alongside, scabs, discarded shower gel bottles, underwear, unknown bodily substances and – gag – sanitary towels has been enough to make me hop in my car and wait until I get home before showering. I will take a slightly uncomfortable 12 minute car-ride over a gym-shower-contracted verruca any day.
10. Bring your own water bottle
I just…I can’t…I don’t understand why you wouldn’t do this. Have you seen how many people use the water fountain? And how many of them do you suppose wipe it after use? And now think about how many of those people may have questionable hygiene or a weird sexual penchant. Bring your own shiz, my friends.
I’m sure there’s more but those are the most important.
Anyway, I went to the gym for the first time in a while last night and almost threw up on four separate occasions. It was just that brutal. So naturally my knees are two swollen, throbbing and angry balls of agony today. Nevertheless, I shall be back at the gym tonight. Sweating, grunting and cursing the folds of my stomach.
But on the bright side, TOMORROW IS MY FRIDAY. Bring on the birthday long weekend.
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Stereo. 20-something aspiring bon vivant. London based. Exceptionally Nigerian. Partial to snark. My default setting is "wry". Jeans and blazers are my uniform. Landlady. Speed reader, tuneless singer, hoarder of words, drinker of Schloer; I am suspicious of most people, have zero tolerance for tomfoolery, have a vast DVD collection, worship at the altar of Al Green, own too many bottles of nail polish, have small eyes, small ears and giant hair and owe approximately 86% of my awesome to the Parents Typewriter.
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