Group Rant: Pet Peeves at the Gym

Insect Queens have taken over the gym!

Q.: What happens when three normally well mannered and pleasant people get together on a Friday night? A.: ‘Group Rant,’ a new type of recurring blog post which features Feminist Figure Girl (FFG), Fitbabe Deanna Harder of ‘Ask a Trainer’ (FB), and RenMan of ‘Ask RenMan.’ It’s kind of like The View except with two white girls and one token guy sitting around in a pub, bitching and moaning. Our ranks are not filled out by Hollywood people of colour, witty gays, dancing lesbians, or befuddled Republicans. ‘So what have you narrowly-defined, privileged Canadian shitheads got to complain about anyway?’ you might be wondering. Plenty my friends. Plenty. For one thing …  

FFG: I fucking hate that long-limbed woman who works out in the free weight area. You know the one? She does lunges, taking up, like, six feet of space both in front of and behind her. She looks like a praying mantis, with awkward spiky forelegs, except that she clutches a five-pound dumbbell instead of a terrified moth. I swear that I am going to give her a beat down. ‘Move your skinny ass to the large open spaces that exist for such exercises in this gym. Or you could do something even more useful and capture all of those mosquitoes flying around upstairs for your dinner.’  

RenMan: While I don’t have the same kind of hate on for her that you do, FFG, I do have a problem with the assholes who use spaces and equipment inappropriately. If you are on one of the squat racks, you had better be lifting heavy or at least be quick about it. I’m not hanging about while you do squat lunges with the bar as your resistance. You don’t need the safety of the cage and I don’t need to get irritated watching you waste (my) time.

FFG: Oh that’s kind of bad news because I always tell Insect Queen to head on over to the squat rack. Wa ha ha. 

Fitbabe: Hi, ok, so it’s bad trainers who raise my ire. How about the guy who smokes cigarettes outside the gym while wearing his ‘put gym’s name here’ uniform? WTF is that all about? Now as a professional fitness and lifestyle consultant, I stay in shape, and I hope I Iook like I train as well. 

FFG: Oh you sure do, hot stuff. Smoking is the easiest way to decrease your manometer score with me. It’s only slightly better than holding a sign that reads: ‘I have tertiary syphilis.’

Oh crap, I accidentally made eye contact with ‘that guy.’

Fitbabe: I have to chime in here about the dude who loads up the leg press with 10 plates per side, then wraps his knees for 15 minutes, only to move the machine 1/4 of the way down! Finally, he looks around to see if anyone is noticing how much weight he is ‘lifting.’ Ugh. I want to scream at him: ‘look you dummy, forget about all the weight and wrapping your knees and just freaking move the platform its full range of motion.’ Ok. Breathe.

RenMan: He reminds me of kung-fu-man, the older dick who used to throw punches and kicks willy-nilly between sets while staring at himself in the mirror. I wouldn’t have had a problem with the guy except that he refused to let others work in, and took forever with shit. It takes a lot to truly piss me off, but that guy achieved it. 

How many sets you got left, clown?

FFG: You know how much I loathe laziness. This might sound obvious, but I go to the gym to work out. I will grunt and sweat and become delirious. When I pull my gym clothes out of my bag at the end of the night, they are soaking wet. I have to hang them on Ikea hooks installed above the laundry baskets, expressly designed for this purpose by some Norwegian genius who used to play soccer. So when I see someone pedaling away slowly on the recumbent bike, week after week, while reading Rilke, I want to go over and grab that book, seething: ‘There is a time and a place for sad Prague poetry, but it is not at the fucking gym while sitting beside TRX ropes. Get your ass up and moving. Save Rilke for the number 14 metro line in Paris.’ 

RenMan: Don’t blame the Rilke. They’re just trying to attract other ‘deep’ people who don’t really work out. 

FFG: Am I not living proof that it is possible to be fit and pompous at the same time?

Fitbabe: How about the people who read the entire Edmonton Journal while on the bike, with arms spread out trying to hold the paper up; it’s flapping everywhere and the stupid flyers are falling out! OH HUGE RANT…DO NOT HOLD ONTO THE RAILS ON THE TREADMILL ON A 15% INCLINE. You may as well be walking flat and pushing a baby carriage!

RenMan: One of the things that make me irrationally insane is the guys who come in with absolutely devastating ass-funk and think it’s okay to make it impossible for others to breathe. I train hard when I’m there and I’m sucking in a lot of O2 – and if some fucker walks by in the gym clothes he’s been wearing for the last month and causes me to literally gag while in the middle of a push press or heavy bent over row, my first thought is how I can drown the guy in a tub of soap, water, and drain cleaner. This is doubly magnified for the guys who think that deodorant is optional and that a daily shower is a sign of weakness – I’d drag you out of there myself if I wasn’t afraid that your stink would wind up rubbing off on me like in George Costanza’s car.  

Fitbabe: RenMan, you said it! My eyes were watering because of the stench ‘Stank Ass’ left lingering. He would always pick the machine right in front of me to do his cardio. Ugh!

Hey silver-haired creeper, shouldn’t you be joining the next Chair Dancing class instead of staring intently at PDDs’ crotch?

Fitbabe: One more thing. Message to the idiot who has a massive gut and wife beater on: NO YOU CANNOT GIVE ME A TIP ABOUT DOING MY SHOULDER PRESSES. Look at you, look at me. So who needs a freaking tip? I just stared into his eyes and replied: ‘No you can’t.’ And to the dude who asked me if I do a lot of yoga: Are you kidding me? Do you really think I could get this muscular from doing yoga?

FFG: Balls to yoga!

RenMan: And I just loooove the guys who come in and ask me what’s my secret – how did I get so big and strong, what I’ve been taking for supplements (and assuming some of those are vitamin S), and what they can do to grow really quickly. This isn’t a quick process. I’ve been doing this shit for 22 years, completely drug free, and I’ve got to say that if you think that it’s impossible to put on any significant muscle without pharmaceuticals you should probably get out of my face. 

FFG: Balls to guys!

RenMan: But wait, there’s more: To all the ladies who assume that because I’ve got arms the size of your legs that my brain must be comparable to a walnut in shape and mental activity – fuck you. Because I’m not going to. You might be hot in your own circle, but unless you can show me that you care about more than my body, and what I can do with it, you aren’t going to earn much more than my scorn.

FFG: I hear that Ren. It’s really tough being a hot brainiac. But your arms are to women what cleavage is to men.

Fitbabe: Ouch. Sorry RenMan, I shouldn’t judge based on looks. LOL!

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About feministfiguregirl

I am a 46-year-old professor named Lianne McTavish who receives as much satisfaction from working out at the gym as from publishing my academic research. I decided to combine my two primary identities (scholar/gym rat) to create "Feminist Figure Girl," a fictional character who both analyzes and participates in bodybuilding. I competed in my first figure show in June of 2011, and then wrote a book inspired by the process, to be published by SUNY Press in February 2015. In this blog I will write about and consider my ongoing research on the body, while regularly making fun of myself. I recommend that you start reading my first post from August 2010 (available on the home page), instead of backwards from the most recent one, in order to get the full FFG effect.

12 thoughts on “Group Rant: Pet Peeves at the Gym

  1. GREAT post! Wow – I could rant all day on this subject! How about the guys that bathe themselves in cheap cologne before working out – guess what? Now you smell like a stale whorehouse. Awesome. I once swam laps and could smell the cologne off the guy in the next lane. Over the chlorine. Dial down the douche buddy. Or the guy in the gym that professes to be a qualified trainer, goes around giving advice, but maybe gets in three reps of bicep curls and strolls out of the gym (backwards hat, and rolled up single pant leg). Why?? Or the gal that wears the bra top and short shorts, proceeds to climb on the treadmill and takes her hair OUT of the ponytail. Yeah, are you to work out or just work it? Or anyone that doesn’t put their weights away when they’re done with them. If it’s too heavy for you to put back, then you need to be lifting lighter weights. Since I work at the gym, this is a huge pet peeve of mine, I’m not your mother – clean your shit up.

  2. People who talk on their cell phones. There’s a reason it’s against the gym rules and that’s because it’s annoying as fuck to everyone around you. Shut up and train.

    When I can’t get an incline bench, can’t find the dumbbell weight I need and there’s no towels ALL ON THE SAME DAY. I can handle one or even two, but if all three happen at once, this is when I go bitch at whatever poor soul is behind the desk at reception. I pay for this shit and some if not all of it should be there.

    And here’s a pet peeve about gym pet peeve threads: Someone or ones always bitches about women who work out with makeup on and their hair done. And I admit, I totally don’t get women who want to work out with their hair loose. I had a rubber band break on me mid-workout once and it was the worst workout ever. But you know what? Other women’s loose hair doesn’t affect my workout, nor her lipstick, nor her Gucci sport bra. Stop fussing about everyone else and train.

    • Thanks Violette. I often wear make-up at the gym, mostly because I am coming straight from work or a meeting and could not be bothered to remove it. I also wear my hair down during back and chest training, as the knot at the back of my head interferes with form when I am lying down doing chest presses etc. Plus I have a lot of hair, so heavy pony tails give me a headache and I try to keep them in only a short time, during cardio training. Basically I agree with you: who cares what people look like as long as they train with a degree of respect for others. I will admit that I did not appreciate one guy’s workout outfit: a tight speedo which delineated his squished junk.

      • I know they look ridiculous on a 37-year-old woman, but I usually wear pigtail braids. Gets my hair out of my face while allowing me to work supine. In fact, that time the rubber band broke on me was when I wearing a ponytail but had to adjust the height because it was bothering me while I did chest presses.

  3. Question: I just joined a new gym and have noticed that I am making a huge judgment and wanted to check in with Fitbabe. They offer personal training session and I have noticed that all the female personal trainers are what I call \”lululemon girls\”. They are very slender, young and have no notable musculature. I am not in the market for a personal trainer as we have them in our team but am I being judgmental by thinking that the lulu gal has nothing she could teach me as she looks like she could barely hold up a phone book? The men are fit, strong and seem to know what they are doing but the gals, not so much.

    • I am guilty of judging based on looks as well…however there are a few trainers who are well educated but do not practice what they “preach”…I am NOT one of them. I think if I am NOT doing what I am demanding my clients to do in order to reach the pinnacle of health and fitness then I am a hippocrate. I must say though that I was trained to coach powerlifters ect in school, but since I do not train like a powerlifter, I would rather refer them to a coach that does…get what I am saying? YOu need to hire someone that motivates you to be your best…and if they do not have the ideal physique you want then..ON TO THE NEXT! P.S I love my Lululemon gear as it makes my ass look even more fabulous! lol

  4. Well, as a so-called ‘Lulu girl’, that sort of dismissive judgement is one of my pet peeves at the gym. I am small, some would say too skinny, and other folks in the gym make a whole host of assumptions about what I can and can’t do, erring inevitably on the ‘fragile’ side. Have figured out though that the only opinions that matter are those of the trainers in the gym, all of whom are hulking guys. They look at me and see strength — not skinny. That’s probably cause I’m lunging with 75% of my body weight.

    • Glad to hear your side. I don’t like to be judgmental as I am plump and get harshly judged as being out of shape, slobby, blah blah blah. I am at a gym working out to get rid of the plump, I am aware of my shape! I am learning through this site to accept who I am, work out with intent and not watch what other folks are doing in the gym. We are all on our own journey and who am I to say another person is doing it right or wrong…expect the asshat who leaves his/her sweat all over a machine/bench/mat!

      • Hi Coldturkeygurl, I can pretty much guarantee that if you are working out hard, and working out regularly, the other gym rats are not judging you harshly at all. Working hard=respect.

  5. Respect.

    I really don’t care what people wear when they train, but trust me when I say that people who train with intent are noticeable to those who train in a likewise manner. That’s what really matters, I think.

    • That’s kind of the anti-rant, isn’t it? People you see in the gym who train hard and well enough that they inspire you. I wish there were more of them.

      Just for the record, I first got turned on to weight training by a hunky MIT grad student on whom I had a little crush back in the day. So much for the “muscular guys are meatheads” myth.

  6. Pingback: Primal Journal - Owly - Page 13 | Mark's Daily Apple Health and Fitness Forum page 13

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