13 Gym Tips for 2013

If you belong to a gym, you know the New Years crowd will soon descend upon the facility. Machines will be busy, the parking lot will be full and for a good two months the place will swell with momentary motivation, testosterone and a lingering scent of body odor.


Those who stick around will soon become initiated with certain people and unspoken rules of the gym. And while I’ve talked about this before, it bears repeating as the new crowd looms large.

So if you’re new to the gym scene, here’s a stereotypical primer.

  1. Some women will primp before the gym and then walk around without actually lifting a weight. Remind them that telling everyone about their fitness plan won’t make them healthier unless they’re doing it door to door — they love that.
  2. With men, you may see Hammer pants and fanny packs paired stylishly with weight belts and wrestling shoes. Do not be alarmed! This is apparently a conscious decision on the part of the “bodybuilder” and any attempts to suggest otherwise will be frowned upon.
  3. Outbursts and primal grunting are perfectly accepted and often encouraged with statements like, “You got this!” and “Lift that shit!” Interject your own encouragement like “Hugs not drugs!”— they love that.
  4. Chit chat may occur, but only when the other person is resting in between sets. If you are in the middle of an exercise, plan on someone asking you a question completely unrelated and irrelevant.
  5. If you’re anything like me, Sundays at the gym will consist of 50 percent of people talking about how hungover they are, 49 percent of people pretending to listen and you.
  6. People will be wearing iPods and the like, oblivious to the fact that if they sing, we can hear them. Join in — it’s fun for all!
  7. People will write things down. They will do one set of pull-downs and after flexing in the mirror to admire the results of those eight reps of awesomeness, they will record it in their little notebook. Ask them if they’re writing a haiku — the look on their face will be priceless.
  8. Men will voluntarily shave things women hate to shave.
  9. Most gyms have the hard core guys that know days of the week not by Monday or Tuesday but by Leg Day and Shoulder Blow-Out Bonanza sessions. Most gyms also have a group of older women that meet in the morning and get most of their exercise from running their mouths and fueling the rumor mills. Do not mess with their coffee.
  10. Do not stare directly at someone using the inner/outer thigh machine who is wearing shorts. It’s like staring at the sun—you will not love this.
  11. There will be stalkers. People will hover around and wait for your piece of equipment or cardio machine despite the fact that there are a plethora of other options they could be using. Make loud noises or begin singing to buy yourself a few extra sets.
  12. People in the parking lot will also stalk you for a closer parking spot, even though that defeats the purpose of going to the gym. Chances are it’s not a cardio day, and therefore not something written down in the notebook.
  13. And finally, the sweatier and grosser you get at the gym, the more people you will run into when you stop to the store immediately after. However, ducking in and out of the aisles with your cart and sprinting to the register can also count as cardio. 

It’s really a win all around.

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31 responses to “13 Gym Tips for 2013

  1. That was priceless! Thanks for the chuckles!

  2. I haven’t been to a gym in years, unless you count my kids’ cafegymatorium as a proper gym and you count fighting for the last folding chair at a choir concert as cardio, but this post brought it all back – spot on! I used to entertain myself by watching the machine stalkers and trying to guess if the person they were rushing would retaliate by not wiping their sweat off the equipment.

  3. Yea not a big fan of the gym in January. It always happens in university, it’ll be overcrowded the first 2 weeks and then dead right after. I’m so happy that I have a private gym at my condominium hopefully the same thing doesn’t happen there.

  4. It’s been years since I went to the gym – if I remember right it was the influx of New Year’s Resolutioners that put me off the whole thing. It’s just more relaxing to go for a walk instead.

  5. This sounds complicated. And the stalkers would drive me NUTS. I’ll be doing leg lifts in my living room, thank you very much.

  6. Running from Hell with El

    Brilliant hun!! Giggling over here–and oh my God, any gym in January is a horror show!

  7. Whatever you’ve snorted, smoked, or gulped down — I want some. You are one funny, funny broad. I’m avoiding the gym this year and just naming my horse “Pilates.” Happy New Year, Abby!

  8. great post and so spot on. though 2months is longer than the “new year” crowd tends to last than the places i have been. and let us not forget those that “hang out” for a while on the buoys dividing the lap lanes in the pool having a conversation or just watching time float by.

  9. uh-huh, going to the gym in a few hours……it’s another world.

  10. You may not be surprised to know that I don’t use a gym. This post made me laugh, but also reinforced that decision

  11. Like you, I’m at the gym regularly. The other day a woman actually had a 20 minute conversation on her cell phone next to me while riding the stationary bike. Even though I had my music on, I could hear her. I was so annoyed. Who does that? Either talk on the phone or exercise, you’re not the President for God’s sake!

  12. This is one of the things that keeps me happy about my obnoxiously early gym routine. All the resolutioners don’t start to trickle in until 5:30 or so… and those tend to give up on the crazy early morning resolution quicker than the rest…

  13. Ah, yes, I now remember why I don’t like gyms. If you take classes, there’s always a handful of people who expect the same “spot” every time and make things unpleasant for everyone if they don’t get it. I don’t miss that.

  14. All of these made me laugh. I work out at home now but I remember the weird muscly guys in the hammer pants. They remind me of chef pants and I always wanted to yell out, “What are you making for all of us later??”

  15. Haha I love this! My gym was crazy busy today. There were a few situations that I couldn’t look away from, like a train wreck waiting to happen!

  16. This is too funny, Abby! Luckily, I am not one of those New Years Resolution people who decided to join a gym. My exercise mostly consists of getting out of bed and showering once a day.

  17. I’m one of those women who goes to the gym in full hair and makeup. In part because I am a shallow whore, but also because I hope that people will be so distracted by my artfully glossed lips and softly curling ponytail that they won’t laugh at me gasping like an asthmatic whore on the treadmill.

    • Are you a shallow whore or an asthmatic whore? This is important, as there’s usually only room at the gym for one of each. We all need clearly defined roles.

  18. I loved this! LOL I love driving pass the gym (hell no, I don’t stop) and seeing how packed it is during January and then come February it’s a ghost town.

  19. I am a rare gym user, but when I do go, I am generally the one on the treadmill, trying desperately to not fall off.

  20. I don’t go to the gym often, but when I do, I’m the one on the treadmill, desperately trying to not fall off.

  21. And now I remember why I hate January at the gym

  22. Love this! This is why I don’t do gyms.

  23. We ended up changing gyms because the parking lot was so insane in January and February that the actual regulars couldn’t go to the classes or the gym. Stupid New Year’s Resolutioners!

    • What? That’s insane. But it does stink for the “regulars,” doesn’t it? While I like everyone focusing on health, hello? Revolve your health around me!

  24. Hilarious!! And so true! I think this is my fave: “Interject your own encouragement like “Hugs not drugs!”— they love that.” TOTALLY doing that on Monday, yes I am.

  25. Loved it! Gym etiquette baffles me, so its rare I actually attend these days. That and I can’t afford it as the day pass has gone up by a fiver and the 45 minute walk to the gym has me sweating, only to realise that I need to get back the same way.

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