Sunday, 2 February 2014

Observations at the gym

Every Friday I try to go the gym and today (Sunday) I finally managed to get my butt out of bed early (in my case 10:30 a.m.) to go again. On Fridays, I am quite early in the afternoon, so it is not very crowded, but today a whole new world opened up to me.
First of all, I was surprised to see how many people actually manage to go to the gym on a Sunday – a day I have always considered as the official day of laziness. Secondly, I got to observe many different types of people.

Whenever I go I like to start off my workout with 25 minutes on the elliptical machine. Wait, who said „like?“ Actually cardio training is a real chore to me, but it has to be done. So I do it at the very beginning, just to get it out of the way and get my metabolism going.
During these 25 minutes of boredom I like to observe the other people around me – not to compare myself to them, but to figure out what their life might be like. Why do they come here? What expression do they have on their faces during excercise? Are they alone or as a couple?

As a matter of fact there are many different kinds of people who to the gym. Personally, I am the kind of person who stays for exactly an hour each time. I never go crazy, so I never end up being all sweaty and I never challenge myself too much, but I try to get stronger in small steps. That is probably why I am not as fit, as I could be. I am definitely not as determined as other people I see there.

So, what kinds of people do I observe regularly?

1. The obsessed-one

I most cases this type is represented by a young man – very muscular and with a rather serious look on his face. No matter which machine he uses, he looks as if this was the most important task of his whole life. He likes to concentrate on his arms and abs, maybe because it is what most girls look after? Also, he might take his workout very seriously, but he does not always perform his excercises correctly.
Whenever I see one of those guys, I can already imagine him coming home and preparing a protein-shake and a nice salad.

2. The „show-off“

I do not know why, but when I go to the gym, most of the people are either male or older ladys. So again, most of the „show-offs“ I see, are male, and again they are often very young. The more mature guys go to the gym to stay fit and keep in shape, but the „show offs“, goes not for the sake of health, but to impress. To impress during the workout and afterwards, which might be why they often wear these shirts with the low cut outs at the sleeves – so everyone can see their arm and back muscles. And strangely enough, a lot of them wear a baseball cap – which to me is rather unnecessary, because you normally sweat I lot. Personally I would not really appreciate the feeling of sweat collecting underneath the cap, but well. Who am I to judge them?

Today I saw an especially interesting individual of this species. He had his girlfriend with him, who was there for the first time I suppose. He explained her how to use the treadmill and do various other excerises and occasionally left to do his own workout and well, what should I say? This guy worked out, like there was no tomorrow! All of the excercises where performed so hurriedly and unprecise – as if he was on escape! Apart from the fact that he wanted to impress his girlfriend, I think it is his way of working out. A way which is not very focused on a proper workout, but on the effect it might have afterwards.

3. The housewife

Another type I see quite often due to the time of day when I go to the gym. These women try to fill their days, while their husband is away and I do not judge them. In fact, I think it is admiring, that they want to invest time and energy into their health and looks, while other women their age prefer to stay at home. Who needs to impress his husband anyway? Once the ring is on, he has no chance to leave!
However these women seem to think differently. They always to to perform their workouts correctly. There is nothing drastic or overly challenging about their training, because they do not seem to try to change dramatically. In most cases, I think they just want to stay at a certain level or improve slowly. They are ready, when they are ready.

4. The retired one

The same goes for this kind of people. I also see a lot of retired or just older people who work out. Nothing crazy, just a little bit to keep them healthy. They do not force themselves like these overly-obsessed guys with that tense look on their faces. It is another kind of people I admire a lot, because my own grandparents do not care too much about their health. Once you become older it is not necessary to power through one and a half hours of intense training and they know that. They know their limits and they know what is appropriate for them and it is a kind of view something a lot of younger people could profit from.

5. The laid-back one

If I had to categorize myself considering my workout-habits, this is how I would classify myself. Determined and willing to do something without trying to force myself. Most of the people, I have seen, who would maybe fit into this category also represent this image when it comes to their workout gear: A loose print-shirt and a pair of shoes, might be a bit to old, but as long as the soles do not fall off, they are still okay. No fancy equipment, no fuss and this is what their workout is like, too.
They do, what they think is necessary to reach their goal, but there is no rush. There is also time for a small chat once in a while – not about how time they have already spent on the treadmill, or how many reps they managed with their weights – just a normal, down to earth conversation.
I imagine this kind of person eating pizza on the weekend and spending their freetime on festivals and having fun with their friends without caring about the consequences concerning their „healthy lifestyle“.

Of course it is always a bit tricky, whenever you try to categorize people. I do not even know, if it is right to do that. However this is what I do to pass the time. Most people do not even fit into any kind of image and some are also a bit exaggerated, but you should get the basic idea. Everyone has his own background and his own reasons for working out, but sometimes there is a certain pattern, which connects different people.
It is one of the reasons, why I actually like going to the gym. It is always a hassle to get there, but once I get started I am happy and I enjoy what I do: taking care of myself and watching other people. Well, how creepy is that?

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