First off, Happy New Year’s! I hope 2013 brings hope, happiness, success, and everything in between.
I started my year off with a gym session with my boyfriend (who had the day off) yesterday. With our schedules, we only work out together on Sundays – and by work out together I mean literally go to the gym together but we have different routines. I have only been at my gym for a measly year, having just moved to this apartment last February, and as I go fairly consistently at 3-4x a week, I like to think I’ve become a regular. Yesterday we went at a leisurely 11am, which is a time I sometimes go now too, and have never found to be super crowded. It must have been due to New Year’s resolutions, but the gym was packed.
Our gym is fine for what it is (and quite expensive since it’s in the middle of DC), but it’s not fancy and I feel there’s a lack of certain pieces of equipment, especially in the free weights area. When that area is crowded I often have to change up my workout on the spot because people will hog certain pieces of equipment (the lone squat rack for example) for what seems like forever. I’m fine with seeing new faces at the gym because I love working out and seeing other people pick up the habit overall is not a bad thing.
I do have a few things I’d love to see change though at my gym this year, though it probably is highly unlikely.
1) More girls in the weights room!
Honestly I can count on one hand the number of girls I ever see in the free weights area (not the machines). There’s the two girls I’ve seen with their boyfriends, sitting on a box next to the squat rack on their phones as their boyfriends squat. There’s the woman in the baseball cap who wears tight tank tops and has a great upper body, but baggy pants as if to hide her legs. I saw her in shorts once – her legs are fine, but all she ever does is a variation of bench press and assisted pull-ups; I want to tell her to work out her legs if she’s insecure about them. There’s the other Asian girl with short hair (holla) who I’ve seen a handful of times who actually lifts and uses more than one piece of equipment at a time – but I haven’t seen her in months. Then there are the girls who rush into the weights area, grab 5lb dumbbells and proceed to do their entire workout using those in the stretching area. I was so excited to see a girl grab a bench yesterday, only to see her use 2.5lb dumbbells to bench and deadlift. Mind-boggling.
I mean, I know it’s a fairly new thing where women are proclaiming that “weights do not make them bulky!” and thus have started to incorporate weight training. It irks me because it always has to be prefaced with the fact that they did not turn into a she-hulk or bodybuilder because of it. What about all the other advantages of weight training? Better bone density, better posture, being stronger? It pisses me off when women lament about wanting to be “toned” but then do hundreds of reps with 5lb weights and complain about seeing no difference. I have yet to see a woman do with correct form deadlifts or squats – I have yet to see a woman rock out pull-ups either (I mean I can do 2-3 but that doesn’t count), and it makes me sad. I train because I want to be stronger – I’m happy if one of the side effects is more “tone” (a word I hate being used).
It gives permission for men to treat me poorly in the weights area – too bad I’m feisty and I don’t give in. Men who would not dare be assholes to other men and interrupt them mid-set to ask if they were done yet; guys who set up obnoxiously close to you to the point where they are in danger of hurting you even when the gym is empty; older men who literally say to me that I don’t belong there. This would not happen if more women showed up at the weights ready to kick some ass. I digress.
2) Fewer people with horrible form
Another one of my pet peeves is people who show up, load up three plates on each side of the bar and proceed to bend their knees an inch and call that a squat. You don’t need a personal trainer to show you how to do lifts correctly – there are hundreds of both videos and written guides on the internet. Don’t be an asshole and hurt yourself because you can’t look something up. I’ll stare at guys who have horrible form or do lifts incorrectly and wish that I could say something to them, but as mentioned before, they treat girls like shit so why the hell would I help them (if they’d even listen).
3) Fewer trainers being assholes
There’s one trainer who makes me cringe whenever I see him. He has bad gym etiquette to begin with – never reracking his weights – but he also doesn’t know what he is doing with his clients. I often see him with women and incorporating weights into their PT session, which is great, but he never corrects their form, often times loads up more weight than the women can handle (instead of letting them start with an empty bar for example), and misuses some pieces of equipment. Not every trainer is like him, but he has enough clients that I think he is doing more harm than good.
I know I know, none of this actually effects me at the gym so it shouldn’t bother me.