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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I won't leave until I've burned 500 calories, which is half as many as were in the burrito I ate for lunch

When it comes to exercise, I'm one of those  people who prefers health clubs to the great outdoors. In my warped little mind, it feels more authentic to exercise this way. I mean come on, any psycho murderer can run around the block and call it cardio, but real pros go to Fusion Fitness. The fabricated ritual appeals to me. I get dressed in all the appropriately clingy-yet-breathable garb. I drive to the appropriate location. I park. I smile at whoever's working the desk. I diligently work through my 1.5 hour routine (45 minutes on the elliptical, half an hour on weights, 15 minutes bike, with periodic trips to the drinking fountain by the massage center, not the one by the bathrooms because that one might be recycling toilet water). I try not to make eye contact with anybody who looks like they might be on steroids. And I always carry around a fresh towel to dab away excess sweat. Not that I sweat or anything. I'm too pristine for that. But if I ever did, even though I never would, I'd be polite about it and CLEAN UP AFTER MYSELF.

But going to the gym is always a crap shoot, because you never know who's going to step in and ruin your pleasant little fabricated ritual. Here are some of the people that have taken credit lately:

  • The guy on steroids who asks if he can “work in” between my two sets of reps because he just absolutely has to be on this particular machine at the same time as me, and of course I have to say yes because I'm afraid of him, and then he leaves the bench all sweaty
  • The girl talking to herself on the treadmill adjacent to mine, which isn't really a problem, obviously medicated people need to excercise too, it's just that now she's actually kind of shouting and if I turn my music up any louder I'll probably go deaf
  • That naked woman hanging out in the locker room who can't bring herself to put some damn clothes on even though she's obviously not showering
  • The dude who grunts in an uncomfortably sexual way during his bench press
  • That chick who stole my Vogue magazine that was literally four inches away from my feet while I was doing sit-ups, and then gave me a dirty look when I found her reading it on the last bike way back in the corner and reclaimed it, I mean that was ridiculous the way she made me feel guilty about reading my own magazine, and now she also knows where I live

I'd go on, but I actually do have to go to the gym pretty soon so I can time my elliptical workout with an episode of “House Hunters”. Those personal TVs they have on all the machines now...GENIUS!

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Omg, Sarah, thank YOU.
Someone needed to say it.
I mean, aside from me, everyday in my head. . .


Stay out of those artificial environments! Pick a state park, (maybe not a good idea in California but ok here) and walk run 5 to 12 miles daily or almost daily. Somewhere in that regimen do push ups and sit ups and gentle stretches. Do light weight training at home 2 to three times a week. And bee sure to carry a canteen of water on the hikes and don't talk to or make eye contact with strangers. On 2 days substitute a 30 to 50 mile bicycle ride for hiking. If you like the bicycling better then vice-versa. And move to Canada

Jason Jay

I don't know why, but that note about how the magazine-stealer knows where you live made me crack up. I think I was just pictured you saying that under your breath as an after-thought or something. Aside from that, people on steroids scare me as well.


Don't forget the people who forget to wipe down the machine before you use it. Yuck.


I concur, Sarah. I just don't feel like I'm really working out unless I'm in a gym. Something in my warped mind makes me think that I'm not really burning any calories unless I see it on the little screen in front of me. :)


I think the naked non showering person in the locker room is a franchise.
They are in my club too and my wife says there is also one on her side.
They never exercise, just wander around with a hairbrush.


I have request at the gym....WIPE DOWN WHAT YOU USE!I! To be safe I assume no one does so I wipe it down before and after.


I just walk. If I were to run, I might have an asthma attack. It isn't worth it.


While I don't adhere to a regular exercise schedule I do have a personal treadmill I can use when I'm feeling on the heavy side. Personally I suggest biking, a few nice trails and I can ride all day. Although there is a certain amount of risk you take when riding on an abandoned trail a few miles from home, but it's a risk I'm willing to take. I will grant you one thing, when working in the gym I don't have to worry about getting a sunburn, oh the horrors.


Okay seriously...what is it with the naked people? I've joined two gyms in my life and there were these old men that wouldn't put their damn towel around them in both. I thought it was just old perverted men. Its chicks too???
And if I see sweat all oozy and puddled up from someone I can't use the machine that day.


Carrying around a towel to wipe up after your sweaty-yet-never-sweaty self is a good idea. Carrying around two towels so you can save one for yourself and use the other to wipe up strangers' sweat and various fluids is even better.

Just don't forget which towel is which!



If I was you I would tear off the part of the front page with the address label before I left home just to be safe.


I love House Hunters. And Designed to Sell. That Clive...he's so witty.


Gyms are REALLY dirty places, especially with the MRSA staph infection going around!! Be careful of touching those germ-laden machines/equipment directly! I found a GREAT new product called HandleBuddies which are personal sanitary handle covers for gym equipment. They're washable and lab-proven to block germs. I love mine, and only $20 for 2 pairs!!!!!! You can get them online only at www.handlebuddies.com.


I'll go ahead and guess that Rich works for Handle Buddies. His comment just has that marketing air about it. :)

James, Tucson, Arizona

Another reason not to go to those overpriced gyms, other people's sweat all over the place! If I went, the stock for Purell would go up as I would be wiping down the equipment. Luckily, where I used to workout REQUIRED you go carry a towel and clean up after yourself. If you did not, you got banned. And forget about any idea of a refund (it was in the signup agreement.) They even provided FREE towels.
As to the freaks that love to run around the locker room in the nude, I had a solution for that problem. And it made them very uncomfortable. After that, they always wore a towel. And some actually dressed with it on. Modesty is always the best policy.


I can relate to everything in this post. I thought I was the only one with a million thoughts like this running through my mind in a simple hour workout at a gym.

Imagine everyone there has this going on in their head too. lol

btw, why elliptical AND bike? Seems like one or the other would be plenty?


What is going on with all the sweat and germ phobia? I never notice any sweat puddling and if it there is a sweat mark it dries up right away. I see people swabbing handles with anti-bactiaria wipes etc... Just wash your hands before you leave the gym and take a shower when you get home. And take a chill pill!! By the way - I have a naked chick in my gym too.

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  • Hi, I'm Sarah Lane, and I've been posting a mishmash of stories, images, videos, and links here since 2003. Read more about me >>

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