Tuesday, Sept. 7, 2010
By Joe Collins
How are you doing on those New Year's resolutions? I always like asking people this question around Labor Day. You know, it kind of catches them off guard. It has been 250 days since the last ball drop (not counting those by Chicago Bears receivers of course) and another 115 until we'll see the next one. Did any of you plan on joining a health club or gym? Or did any of you try to lose weight? If you were successful, you are among the 10 percent of those who have had a successful New Year's resolution. And you, more than likely, earn extra credit because you endured a particularly tiresome posse of our society: the gym.
I presented the "10 Most Annoying People on the Bike Trail" about a month ago.They're hilarious, but certain characters in the gym crowd make the bike trail gang look modest. Heck, given that you're reading this on a sports website, I'm sure that you have tried to sculpt yourself into looking like the next Joe Q. Superjock at one time or another. And a fist-bump to you if you kept humble while doing so. Some haven't gotten the hint, though. Is all the strutting, grunting, preening and obnoxiousness really necessary? People often lament the hidden costs of joining of a gym. I bring you ten of them:
The Mr. Invincible Weight Lifting Guy: Let's start off with an obvious one. You know how they have those silver statue guys on Michigan Avenue? You can't help but stare at their bizarre features and all of the sudden they spring into motion and draw a crowd. That's the street equivalent of how the gym's Mr. IWLG operates. The first time you see each of these people, you can't help but be a part of the audience. However, the show gets old real fast. You have a sneaky suspicion that these people are only there for the attention and the onlookers are blocking the sidewalk (or in this case, to the water fountain or the one Stairmaster that opened after a 30-minute wait).
The Mr. Invincible Weight Lifting Guy (Shouting Version): Basically a carbon copy of Mr. IWLG, only he shouts after each 300-pound repetition like he's at a Pantera concert. His wardrobe is complete once the barbed wire tattoo makes an appearance. Each weightlifting grunt says, "Look at me! I might need your help to tie my own shoes later!" Come on, guy. This isn't Super Mario Brothers. Stop hitting those imaginary question-marks over your head in hopes for an 'invincible' star. Newsflash: you're not invincible. Your 0-79 lifetime record with the ladies is proof of that.
The Born-Again Basketball Player: New 200 shoes? Check. New wardrobe from the mall? Check. Headband? Check. An overrated has-been whose vocabulary is based on the phrase, "A Little Help" when the ball bounces wildly away from his missed 20-foot jumper? Better believe that's a check. If you accidentally get into a conversation with this fountain-of-youth hoops schmuck, don't ever...EVER ask him about his days as the backup point guard at Southeast North Dakota A&M-Fargo State. He'll end up challenging youtaunting you into a game of one-on-one.
Mr. & Mrs. Sweat: It's nice that you just greased your way into and out of that leg press. The mesh shorts and soiled B.U.M Equipment t-shirt adds a nice touch as well. But do you mind cleaning the pepperoni pizza-like stain off the bench after you're done with it? Here's a towel. And a squeegie. And the complimentary disinfectant you just walked by on the way to the locker room. Go to work. Oh, hey-- the Calumet River called. It wants its stink and slime back.
That Guy Or Girl Who Has A Personal Trainer: How's that 500,000-a-year salary treatin' ya? Good enough to pay for a condescending gym class hero to tell you how to jump rope the right way? Must be nice. I just don't understand how people feel the need to spend money on motivation. Isn't that what a mirror is supposed to do? I mean, didn't we all learn a thing or two from Jim Jupiter, The Healthiest Man In Chicago?
Johnny Hot-Shot Ladies Man: This one is for the girls out there. Have you ever had this experience: You're working out and going about your business. You catch a guy staring at you from across the room. He then moves near your machine. All of a sudden, he's on the machine right next to you. Then, out comes Cassanova: "So...how many miles are you doing?" Or... "Hey can you help me out with this machine?" Next thing you know, he's walking you to your car and asking you out for dinner. If it's a match made in heaven, great. But that's a rare occurrence. More often than not, the guy smells like taco mix and used dental floss. You seriously think about getting the mace ready. Johnny Hot-Shot Ladies Man is the type that will try to impress a girl by benching 255 pounds...failing...and having to call an instructorparadmedic over for help.
The Paris Hilton: This gym type presents, by far and away, the biggest challenge to any guy at a gym. The Paris Hilton is there to look great and not sweat a drop. She's there to pick up a mate. For most guys, this is great! A hot girl at a gym! Only trouble is that 100 other guys are thinking the same thing. For the men, it's a race to come up with the best line andor overdoing it on the lat pulls to look impressive. And this one goes out to the guys that just want to go to a gym and work out: have you ever had your concentration tested once the Paris Hilton walks in...and you end up wasting an hour or so thinking about her? It's a no-win situation, really.
That Guy In The Tae-Bo Class --or-- That Guy In The Aerobics Class: Odds are this guy also has some of those Richard Simmons "Deal A Meal" cards at home. Or that he'll strike up a conversation with you about his cat named Wilson Phillips. And he...uhm...you know, let's just move on to the next one...
Mr. & Mrs. "You're Doing It Wrong": These people need to be pushed off a water tower and into a very large blender in puree mode. It might be the only thing that can stop them from coming over to your machine to tell you, "Hey! You're arching your back too much! Oh I don't know about that, you're going to hurt yourself! Tsk Tsk Tsk!" There is a fine line between constructive criticism and risking a haymaker to the left cheek. Meddling isn't attractive, folks. These are the same people that yell at you for not splitting nines at the blackjack table when the dealer shows a seven. Makes you want to clothesline them with a curling bar, you know?
The Naked Guy: Nothing says fun than going about your gym routine, turning a corner, and running into...you know, that guy. Whatever happened to common sense and decency? I have never understood this. There's always one of them, you know? These people, you know? They're one of those "free spirit" types, usually unkempt, who looks like a big pimento loaf that got dropped onto a barber shop floor. Wait, why am I getting into specifics about this?
The Muscle Chick, The Guy Who Hogs The Machine, The Drifter (one who "camps out" at the gym for more than four hours), The Cast of "The View" (people who are there just to socialize)
Just makes you want to blow your hard earned money every month, right? Or make another resolution.
Or something like that.