Workout or Getout

I go to the gym to workout.

And when I'm at the gym, I'm often armed with my MP3 player (which currently happens to be my phone as well) packed with good aggressive-sounding tunes -- sometimes it's hardcore gangsta rap or an R&B single with a great beat, sometimes it's energizing house or dance music, but it's always something I'm happy to tune into. It gets me in the mood to workout, but more importantly, tunes me out of the gym environment and what's going on around me; there have been several instances of people I know saying hi to me, waving at me, and I don't even notice for a while!

And that's something I hate: bumping into people I know at the gym. For some reason, the gym is like an oversized, noisy, crowded watercooler for people who don't work together. They just want to chat you up and talk about this and that. Let's please take note here that this and that usually means "nothing of any value or significance". For me, the gym is not the country club-like place that these Taiwanese businesses are trying to push; it is a place to workout, vent out, and then get out (of).

I mean, would you not rather get a good workout, sweat what you need to sweat, and then maybe grab a coffee or something afterwards with that person (if you really want to talk)? Why choose a place like a gym to have a conversation when such dialogue is better held in a more enjoyable locale?

Fine, it's alright if you happen to be working out together; one of you is doing a set while the other is resting/spotting. Then you can carry a conversation over the course of several sets / exercises without slowing down your workout if any. You don't let your heartrate lower, and you don't stand there taking up space that someone else could be using for their exercise. But to be the both of you standing around chatting for precious workout minutes?? Nuh-uh.

Worse yet, sometimes you bump into someone at the gym as you're heading to the workout area; they kind of catch you and detour you from your workout (which you may have been looking forward to all day). And then you haven't even gotten a warmup, and you're already stuck chatting away about this and that.

I've recently turned to being shorter with my responses (though still polite) and giving several conversation enders in my talking while stuffing one earphone back in my ear, or walking a few steps away to grab dumbbells. Sometimes, I even continue talking to them, but not facing them, instead turning my attention to changing weights or stretching out.

So if you're someone I bump into at the gym, sorry if I seem rude, but I have a goal in mind and I want to leave as soon afterwards as possible. You wanna chat? Let's grab a protein shake or something together after. But during my workout, please just stick to yours.


Rich and Angel said...

What if she's a super-hottie who wants to "swap" with you?

Ben said...

Swap what? As in, work in with me (alternate her set, my set, her set, my set)? Working in is fine, sure. I have to rest anyway, so the timing works. (This is also the principle behind me having a workout partner.)

But if she just wants to take over the machine/weights I'm using, she can damned well wait her turn. After all, it says something about her if she wants to just take whatever she pleases whenever she pleases. And it also goes against gym etiquette, so she can't just take my machine. Her time is not worth more than mine.

Speaking of which, that's something I've noticed even 24 Hour Fitness and California Fitness personal trainers -- they seem to think they can come and commandeer any machine they want for their clients, just because. I think I might be one of the few people who refuse them because I'm not done yet.

In short, there's no difference to me if it's some guy at the gym or if it's some "super-hottie" -- etiquette is etiquette.

head dump said...

girls like to work out in Taiwan? Whenever I go back my relatives all politely say "my, your arms are very 'firm'" pause "don't lift heavy weights, you might hurt yourself"