Gym GirlThere is a particular strip of sidewalk about a block from my house that funnels directly into the closest neighborhood gym.

This chain is one of the cheaper ones in the city so it attracts a high volume of gym-goers (Washingtonians are not known for their splurging, after all) and on a random Tuesday after work, you might find yourself walking this stretch of Connecticut Avenue with ten to twelve others on, what I like to call, The Walk of Doom. Everyone is dressed in sweats, shivering in the cold, looking pale, chubby, miserable, and generally unmotivated.

Personally, I’m a pretty big fan of the gym. I have a go-to workout routine (I know, I know, Jillian Michaels reminds me repeatedly in women’s magazine to “shake things up!” and “challenge myself!” but my personal opinion towards that concept is meh), so for me, the gym never feels all that arduous or soul-sucking.

I always bring a junky magazine, set it up on the treadmill, and run at a pace that is conducive to reading about Britney’s growing derriere while I (hopefully) shrink mine in time for swimsuit season. Or an upcoming trip to Miami. Or just, you know, to fit into pants in case I ever need to leave my apartment and dress in socially acceptable attire.

The gym makes for some great people watching. In my case, working from home can be pretty uninspiring, so when I’m surrounded by dozens of bodies it is a true sensory overload.

I notice the uber anorexic girl who’s always, literally, always on the elliptical in the back of the cardio room. She’s 5’8 and probably 90 lbs and looks like she’s about point oh four seconds away from crumbling into a pile of dust on the machine.

I notice the hairy, sweaty, weight lifter guy with the hugely built upper body and tiny chicken legs. I just want to smack him with my People magazine and show him the male celebrities that don’t devote an hour a day to their pecs and lats and tris. It’s like, please, for the love of god, do some mother effing lunges.

I notice the pregnant lady who’s running on the treadmill next to me, huffing and puffing, with some strange belt-looking contraption supporting her belly. It’s like a sports bra for fetuses. Odd.

The gym is full of bizarre, exotic creatures. I never felt that way until I stopped being around people all the time, but now, when I go, I feel like a scientific researcher who gets sadly overexcited at the sight of new bacteria in her petri dish.

So, I guess, next time you’re at the gym, take a look around. What do you see?

6 thoughts on “Adventures at The Gym

  1. Oh, gym people watching can be so much fun. I love when you see them often enough that you actually start thinking, ” I wonder what X will be [wearing, doing, etc.] today!” Or give them nicknames (there’s sweaty stairmill girl, crazy make-up lady…) It keeps things interesting at least.

    1. I definitely do that! There’s one guy who always wears strange, high socks. I always wonder which pair he’ll be in. Sometimes I kind of get hypnotized by the paisley designs when he runs on the treadmill in front of mine.

  2. A few questions my friends have disagreed on the answer to: 1) are you allowed to talk to girls in a gym? 2) these girls in the gym who don’t want to be talked to, they still want to be glanced at, right? 3) is it okay to give a girlstranger a high-five after she bangs out an overhead press set?

    1. Hmmm… ok Ladies, feel free to agree or disagree as you see fit. My opinion:

      1) Yes you are allowed to talk to girls at the gym but don’t be a social moron about it. If she’s finishing up her last sprint interval on the treadmill and you try to flirt, she’s just going to be pissed off. Wait for the right opportunity (like during stretches at the end of the workout when she’s winding down) and then try and strike up a (short) conversation.

      2) Girls who send off the “please don’t talk to me” vibe probably don’t want to be ogled either. Buuuut if you’re subtle about it, there’s no harm in sneaking a peak. As a girl, I know I’m checking out the guys around me as much as they’re checking out the ladies. As long as your behavior is not sleazy or disrespectful, I’d say when it comes to glancing at the opposite sex, no harm, no foul.

      3) This one is kind of a mystery to me. Personally, I think a verbal compliment is preferable to a high-five simply because I hate sweaty hands and that’s pretty much the situation at the gym. It’s great that you notice her, and want to celebrate her strength, but the high-five is probably unnecessary.

      Just my two cents!

  3. Stupac totally knows how to do lunges–he should totally show that guy whats up. Best legs LTHS class of ’05 what what!!

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