Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Why I Like Working Out but Hate Gyms

This past week has marked a change (once again) in my life.

As many of you readers know, I used to be a very big girl: I ate whatever I wanted and rarely worked out.  I entered my twenties and decided I needed to make change and I started running.  Over the course of a couple years I lost around 70-80 lbs, perhaps more. 

For the longest time I ran outside and then decided to join a gym because a co-worker was going.  I worked out at Good Life for a few years.  I remember one day running on the treadmill...a trainer came up to me and started talking to me even though I had my ear-buds in.  I politely took them off and he proceeded to pimp himself out to me, introducing himself, talking about training, asking about my goals, all while I'm running and panting on the treadmill.

I was forced to slow to a walk and listen to him.  Eventually he went away.  I ended my relationship with Good Life.

I was so incensed at being interrupted during my workout, but I was also shy and didn't want to complain.  I knew at the YMCA there weren't trainers working on commission so I decided to give them a try.

Unfortunately, leaving Good Life also coincided with getting a boyfriend and we all know what happens when we get into a serious relationship...

You SHOULD be like this:

REALITY: You end up eating unhealthy, sitting on the couch in front of the tv, relaxing after you've both suffered a long day at work.  You love each other SO much, you don't really care if you both gain a bit of weight.  It's all about personality.

BTW, actual study to support my claim that marriage/relationships makes people get a bit bigger.

(Incidentally, it's infuriating that my boyfriend gained ZERO weight since we started dating and prances around in front of me when we're running outside, while I lumber along like a baby elephant, sweating, panting and gasping for air.)

The Y didn't work out for a couple reasons (so boring, not going there) so upon the urging of my good friend, I decided to join back up with Good Life, a couple years after I had left.

She found a routine that we both thought would work well and I have faithfully been sticking to it.  It mainly involves using weights and I add a little cardio on to the end if I'm up for it.  I'm not a 'roid head.  I don't LOVE working out.  I go and do my routine and try to keep to it as much as I can.

So far I was happy with the gym and enjoying being back at it.  I don't expect results right away, but due to the fact that I have previously lost a lot of weight, I know what I'm doing.  I know that I'm supposed to stretch, that doing weights before cardio is advantageous, that dumbbells are more challenging than machines, etc. 

Today, however, took on a whole new meaning of the word "hell'.

It started with going alone later in the morning.  Usually I go at 8 a.m. while the gym is still quiet and you don't have to wait in line to use weights or a machine.

I could see right away when I pulled into the parking lot that it was busy.  I went to the back area (I call it the "men's" area because all the dudes hang out there) and started doing weight squats.  All good.  They're simplistic and easy to do.  I noticed two trainers are working with one guy--I've seen all three of them last week.

I go to do the second item on the list: dead lift with a barbell.  To be clear, I didn't exceed 20 lbs on the bar so it wasn't like I was endangering my existence.  I did a rep of twelve and put the bar down.

Immediately I noticed the two trainers (male and female) watching me with what I can only describe as condescension in their eyes.  I've seen it before.   JUDGING.

Okay, so my form isn't perfect.  I'm not a body builder.  I drink some water (everyone hydrate!) and the girl steps over to me and says something.  Did I mention I have ear-buds in?  She stands right beside me until I take out my ear-buds and then starts telling me how wrong my form is.  In front of the other trainer and the client.  

There is SO MUCH condescension in her voice and body language.  I can't remember exactly what she said but I replied with a polite smile and "thanks for the advice" and didn't say anything else.

She backed away but the other trainer came at me and got really in my face.  He told me "If I see someone doing something wrong, I'm going to tell them no matter who they are!" and "What exactly are you trying to target?"  Then he forced me to watch him demonstrate without the barbell and then with the barbell.  He reiterated "I'm not pushing my services on you" (why even mention it?) and then stood there until I did a lift in front of him.

Finished those up and decided to get away from those crazy trainers who stared and nodded at each other with that "knowing" trainer telepathic look.  I went over to do calf raises and leg curls.  The guy watched me the entire time.  I hated him.

Finally I left that room done with those machines and went over to use a back extension.  For those of you who don't know what a back extension machine looks like:

You drop yourself forward and lift yourself up to strengthen your back muscles.  Some BAMFs hold large weights in their arms to make it more challenging.  I get on the machine (used it last week, no problem) and there's a petite woman beside me wearing a sports bra and weighted belt using one with a 25 lb weight in her arms.  

She turns toward me and says "You shouldn't use that.  It's not in the right position." 

Well, yes it was, because I have a different length of torso than you do even though you're shorter than me.  I said politely to her, "Why not?  I have it lined up on my hip like you do.  I just have a really long torso so it looks weird."

Unbelievably, she went on to tell me that if I used the back extension I would "crush my organs" (impossible unless you're MASSIVE or wearing a corset, as my friend pointed out via text) and that I was "too heavy" to use it.

THEN she excused her rudeness by saying, "Sorry hun, the Holy Spirit told me to say that to you."

I said, "Well actually, I've been working out for years and I used this just last week with no problem, so I appreciate the advice but I do know what I'm doing", to which she replied, "Well I'm a body builder and I have competed in championships so I know what I'm talking about.  So many people around here aren't working out properly and I see them and shake my head".

"Are you a Good Life trainer?", I asked.

"No, I'm just this body builder and the Lord has put me here to evangelize to people and help them whenever I can.  I'm going to open my own gym and start taking customers.  

This went on for a while with her rambling on about the three churches she goes to, how she's a prophetic woman of God, how she is a strong woman of faith and she's put here to preach and so on.  

I could really do nothing except nod politely.  I didn't get to finish my work out because she kept talking on and on.  Eventually she grabbed my hand and hung on to it while she prayed out loud for my fitness goals.

You might be thinking that I was offended because she prayed for me.  No, although it was a bit awkward.  Was I offended because she was sharing a Christian message?  No, not at all.  What I was offended by was her lack of knowledge/ignorance that she is spreading around.  

Was I upset because she implied I was fat?  Whatever.  I am what I am.  My body is not perfect.  It is a work in progress.  I was upset that she felt she had complete knowledge about lifting to impart on people and I should be lucky to hear her words of advice. 

You never know where someone is on their physical journey.  What if they've already lost a lot of weight but have more to go? What if they are on a plateau and are struggling?  What if they were bulimic and now have a healthier body?  What if they look curvy but can run for kilometers without stopping?

This is why I hate gyms:  because of the ignorant people that go there.

On the way out I stopped to talked to the very nice girl who works in the reception area.  I had initially met her when I signed up so she knew me and she sat with me while I ranted about how I was treated.

I found out that the two trainers are dating which explains the weird looks between each other.  And which also makes it even more unprofessional.  

In the end, yes I will keep going to the gym because I know it is building up my body, but for the future, what will I do when people come up to me and stare at me until I pull my ear-buds out?...

If you have helpful advice, say it quickly and move on.  Don't stare and judge me.  Don't pretend like you're doing me a huge favour and are being such a big man in front of your girlfriend.  Instead of making me feel good about myself, you successful humiliated me (in front of another client), discouraged me and made me feel small.  Don't make me take my ear-buds out unless you're giving me a word of encouragement.  Don't be d-bags.

Carry on.  


tickleroftheivories said...

Can I just say...WTF!? I would be crying if I was you and would have run away after the first confrontation! I am amazed that you stuck it out and goshdarnit, I am so glad that I don't work out at Goodlife anymore...I knew next to nothing about how to work out so I always felt like a fraud! Keep on rocking, though! Those mother effers can go die!

Marcia said...

Haha, thanks for the comment, girly! I'm kinda scared to go back, especially since I complained about those trainers, but I will persevere! They can go screw themselves!!!

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