Public Humiliation: Otherwise Known as a Gym Membership




New Year’s day has come and gone, and that means it’s time for the Post-Christmas Good-Heavens-Why-Did-I-Eat-So-Much-Fudge??? diet and exercise regime. In order to ensure that I actually follow through with my goals this year, I the cheapy-cheap-cheapskate of the world decided to invest some money in a gym membership. Half an hour later, after signing over a chunk of cash that still hurts my heart a little bit to think about, as well as the soul of my firstborn child, I have officially entered that elite circle of People Who Work Out in a Gym.

Gyms, as we all know, are a modern invention created with the purpose of gathering a bunch of people into one room and forcing them to smell each others’ sweat. This is a fact proven by both history and science. Although everyone is there under the pretense of ‘working out’ and ‘getting fit’, what we are actually there to do is half-heartedly cycle while chewing on a power bar and surreptitiously eying the hottie lifting weights across the room. Occasionally in order to look more impressive to the person on the next treadmill, you might up your speed until you get unnaturally red in the face, and– depending on the attractiveness of your treadmill neighbor– might over-extend yourself so much that you throw up. On a very good day, you might get to see someone else throw up or possibly fall off a machine, the resulting laughter causing a calorie burn that will more than make up for the candy bar in your gym bag. (Laughter, as we all know, is the best exercise, after all… or something like that…) As a reward for all this physical exertion, you will then feel legitimized in stopping for fast food on the way home (because it’s already been burned off! sort of…) and spending the rest of the night on the couch in front of the TV, secretly lording over all the other fat tubbies who did not go to the gym that day.

Believe it or not (which given my history of lying for funsies is a bigger gamble than that phrase might usually suggest), I actually worked at a gym for four summers. In the daycare, but still. Gyms, in theory, do not scare me. I know how the machinery works. I know that although there might be some intimidatingly buff people, male and female, who look like they could very easily kick your trash, they are usually the nicest people you’re going to meet. And I also know that along with these ridiculously sculpted persons are the regular schlubs like you and me, who like to get exercise but maybe over-indulge in the chocolate-chip cookie dough every now and then.

The gym I have signed up for seems to be appallingly unaware of this notion. Today was my seventh day there and so far I have seen an alarming lack of regular people. Have I signed up for the supermodel gym by mistake? I of course have no problem being surrounded by ridiculously attractive men in various states of dress but cannot help but loathe the Barbies who for some reason feel the need to jump onto the treadmill next to mine even though there are 20 others open. As if the comparison was not clear-cut enough, I have to see myself side-by-side with all the size zeroes in a gazillion different mirrors.

Which begs the question– why have so many mirrors everywhere? I know in theory it’s so you can make sure you’re doing the exercises right, mark your results, bla bla bla, but I don’t buy that for a second. Gyms want to shame you into being thin. How else to explain the unflattering flourescent lights and the scales at every turn? Even the cardio equiptment now requires you to put in your weight and then blinks it across the screen at random intervals for the entire world to see. I bet they even pay the Barbies to come stand by you so you feel awful about yourself and want to spend more and more money in the hopes of someday looking like them. Well, joke’s on you, gym. When I feel awful about myself, I don’t get motivated to work out, I get motivated to eat! So, ha!… oh… wait…

Curse you, gym!!

…see you tomorrow.

About lissag7

Elizabeth Gilliland is an aspiring writer/dreamer/pirate who loves a good story more than just about anything else... except maybe chocolate. This is her place to create and dream and share just a little nugget of what's going on in her little corner of the 'verse.

2 responses »

  1. I know exactly what you mean about gyms, which is why I go to REC CENTERS. Rec centers = the gym for the common man, or common grandma as is apparently usually the case. Zumba classes were the best– not that hard to be the best hip-shaker when you’re one of the only ones in there with two real hips. However, as sad as getting your self-esteem boost by out-dancing 70-year-olds is, what’s even sadder is getting lapped by 70-year-olds on the track. So sure, you feel outdone by all the Barbies and bodybuilders, but really shouldn’t you?

    • I would still be the worst at Zumba, but it’s fun enough that I go anyway. But I stand in the back. Behind the pillar. Away from all the mirrors. It’s better for everyone that way.

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