A New Year. A New Start.
January 1st inevitably re-awakens that part of ourselves which yearns for a fresh start. If you overindulged during the holidays or just ate too many cocktail weenies, your New Years resolution may be the same as mine - to lose a few pounds and get fit.
So, we head to the gym along with a slew of others, gym rats and newcomers alike, all newly resolved and freshly motivated. While we fat Americans should be commended for this and make a regular habit out of it, it makes for a crowded gym. Suddenly, there’s a line for the cardio machines, the free weights are all mismatched and standard gym etiquette is broken on a regular and frequent basis. It’s a sweaty, spandex-covered disaster. While you probably can’t wait for these newcomers to fizzle out, usually about mid-March, you have to admit, it is slightly amusing. So sit back and relax - but not before giving me 20 good reps. It’s Gym Etiquette for Ding-A-Lings*.
The Excessive Sweater
Last seen: On the elliptical wearing knee socks and a white headband.
Known: For not wearing deodorant. Spraying a smattering of sweat bullets with a turn of his completely soaked head.
Mantras: “You need to sweat out the toxins. “What?! You don’t read Natural Awakenings?!”
Etiquette Offense: Failing to clean off the cardio equipment, which is now a Level 4 biohazard, after a sweat-laden workout. (By far, the most serious violation of Gym Etiquette.)
You should: Bathe it in Clorox (have you watched the movie Contagion?). We wouldn't want Iran to get their hands on this possible biological weapon. Make sure to scowl and mutter under your breath as the Excessive Sweater saunters off completely oblivious to all but his own sweat.
Last seen: Bending over the water fountain.
Known to: Lay on the floor, spread eagle, in bizarre yoga poses. Also stops to talk to people with a leg lifted, executed casually yet strategically placed, on a nearby machine.
Mantras: “Don’t forget to stretch!” [Facebook status:] “Awesome spinning class just kicked my butt!”
Etiquette Offense: Engaging in certain yoga poses (i.e., crab, wheel, upright seated angle) that affords the entire gym graphic, full frontal views. (Rated M for Mature. Viewer discretion is advised.)
You should: Think solar eclipse. Save your retinas and wear sunglasses (Corey Hart wears ‘em at night) or bury your face in a book or magazine.
Last seen: Crushing PBR cans against his forehead at last weekend’s rager.
Known to: Slam his weights down onto the floor. Automatically flexes in front of any mirror.
Mantras: “What is your major malfunction, Private Joker?” “Dude, you’ve gotta check out this awesome Mass Gainer.”
Etiquette Offense: Grunting like an angry farm animal as he tries to squat a row of 45’s on the Smith Machine, red-faced, legs shaking and veins ready to pop out of his neck. (Just what you came here to the gym to see and hear.)
You should: Watch for signs of foaming at the mouth – this guy is as rabid as a pit bill injected with a mixture of creatine and No-Xplode. (Program the number for Animal Control into your phone just in case.)
The Über Runner
Last seen: Crossing the finish line of an IronMan Qualifier.
Known to: Bike 25 miles to work, run 40 minutes at lunch and after biking home relaxes with P90X.
Mantras: “I really need to up my training. 2:51:07 for New York? Pathetic.” “The Pineapple Upside Down Cake energy gel is highly overrated. Chocolate Overload is much better.”
Etiquette Offense: Besides making the rest of us look fat and lazy by comparison, Über Runners tend to wear those high cut running shorts that show a lot of leg. This is all well and good if they are young but, alas, most are middle-aged and pale.
You should: Discreetly send a shopping carriage toward a collision course with their Prius. You know, the one with the 26.2 sticker and the plate LIV 2 RUN.**
* Although male examples are given, gym ding-a-lings are equal opportunity offenders – many are women.
** I am sorry to anyone who might have that license plate (which I made up). Equally, I feel sorry for anyone who paid to get that license plate.