Allow me to vent.
I woke up to the sound of rain and, looking out the window, saw soaked sidewalks and gray skies. Since I'd stayed up late the night before, I caught some extra Z's, skipping the morning dog walk.
Of course, by the time I was awake and ready to head for the gym, the rain had passed. Our doggie, Una, looked confused when I just let her out in the yard, but I no longer had time for a walk. She'd have to wait for the afternoon.
So I headed for the gym, which I try to do twice a week: once for lower body and once for upper body. I use the Nautilus machines to achieve muscle toning but no longer use the other fitness machines, finding them boring. I do my aerobic exercise at home, either through playing Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) or doing one of my kickboxing, yoga/Pilates or belly dancing tapes.
This time of year, the gym is flooded with well-meaning newbies I'll call Resolutionaries, striving to realize their New Year's resolutions. While some of them stick with it and become regulars, most of them bow out within two months. Still, this makes going to the gym in January and February a crowded pain in the you-know-what.
While there are a few quirky regulars, such as the woman who talks loudly and wears brightly colored spandex outfits, the Resolutionaries make me especially cranky. Here are some of the reasons why:
* When they don't know how to use a machine, instead of asking an attendant for help, they make their best guess, often engaging in potentially damaging behavior to both the machine and their bodies. For example, this morning I saw a guy using the machine bench press like a rowing machine. He had his feet on the foot bar that's used to counterbalance the weight until you get your hands in the proper position, and he was furiously pulling back on the hand grips. Considering that, on top of the fact that he was counterbalancing most of the weight with his feet, and he only had it set on about 45 pounds to begin with, I doubt he got anything out of it. He did, however, create an interesting pounding noise that made me swivel my head. Sadly, the attendant was nowhere to be seen, or I would have let them know so they could instruct him properly. Oh, and did I mention that, instead of regular gym attire, he was wearing a button-down shirt?
* They camp out on machines for excessive periods of time, having convinced themselves that doing 50-100 reps on a ridiculously low setting is better than challenging themselves at a higher weight and doing fewer reps. This one really bothers me when I can't get to the machines I want to use. I have no problem working around people who are doing multiple sets, but most of the regulars are more considerate. The general rule is, if you can easily do more than 12 reps at a given weight, you need to raise it. Plus, camping out on the ab crunch machine will not magically melt away all your fat and give you washboard abs. You've also got to do some aerobic exercise.
* They make loud grunting noises when they lift heavy weights. OK, it's not just the Resolutionaries who do this, but it is one of my pet peeves. Nothing throws off your concentration like somebody who is, judging by the sounds, getting intimate with the fitness equipment.
* They take all the good parking places. Don't they know that spot second from the left is my space?
Well, I feel better, having gotten that off my chest. And now, the sun is out and it's time to walk Una at last!
It's better to ask for help than to risk tearing a muscle.