Gym Cheetah

The guys at the gym are jealous of my bench press.

….because they want to use the bench I’m using.

When home workouts turned into me sobbing with frustration to Eric to “PLEASE WATCH SEBASTIAN FOR LIKE ONE SECOND SO I CAN JUST DO MY DAMN SQUATS”, we decided to join a gym with childcare. Also, because Eric wanted to look like Captain America, and my little 15lb dumbbells were not going to cut it. His words, not mine.

There are 3 reasons I love going to the gym.

  1. Childcare: Bless you, childcare. You necessary reprieve from the endless needs of my 1-year-old. If I had to choose between a dozen roses and chocolate or one hour when I don’t have to remind my child that licking the toilet bowl is bad for his health, I would choose the childcare.
  2. Burning off a bad mood: Seriously though, endorphins. If only I could call to negotiate bills at the gym instead of at home, there would be so much less yelling and “if you can’t help, you leave me no choice but to go to (insert competitor)!”
  3. The people: what would a gym be without its random assortment of newcomers like me, regulars, and oddballs? Boring, that’s what.

I go to the gym at odd times, and there are usually just a few of my favorite people there.

First, we have the college girls who make eye contact with no one and strut around in their sports bras. I’ve never seen one actually work out, so I’m not entirely sure what they are there for, but I’m keeping a close eye in case I spot a sit up or two.

There are always a couple of old men who are extremely fit for their age, so their body is a confusing assortment of muscles and wrinkles and it’s slightly terrifying. They always seem to be standing around talking and joking about topics I can only guess at. Probably tuna sandwiches and The War (which one doesn’t matter). The nurse in me wants to approach the group and gently help them sit down, asking if I can take their blood pressure and do they need some Asprin.

In contrast, at 4pm on a weekday, oh boy the gym is busyyyyy. I don’t know who is getting out of work in time to hit the gym by 4pm, but then again none of these people I would want to employ, so maybe that’s the answer.

It’s one thing to try and share workout equipment on a busy day with like-minded folks crushing, or slightly denting, their workouts like me. It’s another thing entirely when the machines are occupied by a couple of swoll 20-something bros who sit on their phones and do 3 reps every five minutes.

I have a good laugh at those house-sized gym rats, but  I do wonder if the fact that I come to the gym for free childcare 5-6 days a week makes me one too. Also, why does it have to be “gym rat”? Why pick the worst animal of all. All I picture is a life-size Templeton from Charlotte’s Web in a sweatband, eating popcorn by the water fountain. I think it should be “Gym Cheetah”. Much classier.

Being new to the gym scene and always one to be upfront, I usually try and look around a machine to see if anyone has ownership eyes boring into me. Sometimes I’ll go over to the person closest to me and ask if they are using the free machine. No matter what, it seems like people end up mad.

If they are using it, mad I asked.

If they aren’t using it, mad I bothered them and that I exist and that I’m a woman and that I’m white and in my 20’s and not in the best shape of my life and that I also go to this gym.

Geez, next time I’ll just walk up and use the assisted pull-up machine without asking, you scary tattooed man with a bandana in spandex.

My favorite part of the gym is the bench press. Not only does it make me feel like a gym cheetah, but also, I really enjoy the contrast. Me: forehead veins popping out, struggling to lift just the bar, sans extra weights, next to the Incredible Hulk who benches weights the size of my tires.

Yesterday I added a 5lb weight to each side of the bar. And let me tell you, with my little Lifesaver gummies on there, I know I am going to see some GAINS this week.


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