Monday, May 10, 2010

Embarrassing Gym Behavior

They say that joining a gym is a good way to meet new people. Unfortunately, it's hard to make friends at the gym if a lot of those people think you're weird.

I have a knack for embarrassing myself in public. At my old gym, I went to an aerobics class and I accidentally broke the light switch. At the end of the class, everyone tossed their mats in a pile by the door. When I tossed my mat it accidentally hit the light switch nearby, causing all the lights in the room to go off and pieces of the light switch to fall to the floor. I picked up the pieces and handed them to the instructor in the now-dim room, saying, "Um...sorry, I think I broke the light or something." (He was nice about it, though.) Hmm, I guess I shouldn't have let myself get distracted by the cute guys in the class as I was putting my mat away.

One thing I'm never sure about is the whole thing about wiping the exercise machine clean with a towel after you're done using it. My new gym has a container of those sanitizer wipes, but are you just supposed to use them on your hands or can you use them on the machines? I saw other people using them to clean the machines, so I tried that too; then the machine ended up being all wet so I had to get a clean towel to wipe it off.

The problem is, when I come back to my machine to clean it off with a sanitizing wipe or a clean towel, sometimes I can't remember which machine I was using. There are so many ellipticals in a row and they all look exactly the same, of course, and I suddenly can't remember where I was working out. Then I often end up cleaning the wrong one. How do I know I cleaned the wrong one? Because the person who was exercising near me will give me a weird look as if he or she is wondering why I'm cleaning a machine that I didn't even use, as if I'm the female version of Adrian Monk or something. And I'll say, "Oops! Wrong machine, hehe..." Then I'll move over to the other side, suddenly remembering where I was before. And the person staring at me will raise his or her eyebrows and quickly look away.

Also, there are a few women at my gym who may or may not have thought that I was trying to break into their lockers at some point or another. I swear I wasn't. I broke my glasses two years ago, so I rely on my contacts; this can create problems for me, however. When I take off my contacts, I can hardly see anything, and then when I go back to my locker all the numbers and the padlocks look the same. I sometimes find myself trying to open a locker that's not mine. And then of course the person who actually is using that locker will show up at that moment and look at me like I'm trying to steal her clothes or run off with her Blackberry or something, and I'll say, "Sorry! I took off my contacts and I can't see." And she'll raise her eyebrows and look away, or maybe she's discreetly calling the police; it's hard to tell without my contacts on.

My gym wardrobe leaves a lot to be desired as well. There are women who wear designer tank tops and tight pants; they're the ones that make the guys lifting weights look up and almost drop whatever it is they're showing off with at that moment. I am not one of those women. I did finally buy a gym outfit that actually fits, but the top is hot pink and now when I wear it I look like a highlighter with legs.

I could try just jogging around the neighborhood, like I've seen other people do. But I have a hard enough time not bumping into people and knocking them over when I'm just walking around (it has actually happened a few times, but I do help them get back up), so I guess I'll have to stick with the gym. And you know, working out at the gym can actually be relaxing.



  1. You're funny. It sounds like you might just be too self conscious, but I have the same problems sometimes - it's why I don't get out much.

  2. i go to a very small gym. it has all the equipment i need, but none of the traffic of people like at equinox or l.a. fitness.

    another reason i like my gym is because all the cardio machines face the window looking out onto the street. that way, when i'm walking around the gym i'm not forced to look at anyone's 'sex face'.

    you know what i'm talking about: the scrunched up brow, open mouth, heavy breathing and bright red complexion.
    it's not everyone who does this, but i've seen enough in my gym going experience.

  3. Hi Matthew,
    I'm totally too self-conscious; it's one of the reasons I'm so neurotic. But I think a lot of people are that way. Take the characters on Seinfeld, for example. Every episode is about how overly self-conscious they are, and I think it's great.

    Hi mi,
    I know what you mean about the weird faces people make when they're exercising. At my gym, though, a lot of people look really serious. It's as if they're concentrating really hard on the number of calories they're burning and for some reason it's important to look serious while they're doing that.

  4. I laughed all the way through this post. Because I suspect I'd be similar, I avoid gyms. Once in a while I take yoga classes and I used to take martial arts classes with occasional embarrassment. I think having lower visual prescription helps me have fewer mishaps.

    When I was younger, every time I was invited to someone's house for dinner, I'd spill my drink on their lovely table cloth. Every time.

  5. Oh wow. The few times I've gone to a big gym I changed machines like very 5 minutes. I couldn't decide what I wanted to do! I'm sure everyone thought I was stupid and just couldn't figure out the equipment. Oh well.

    Now I just go with Sam to a small Anytime Fitness and I can either run on the treadmill or go on the elliptical. So I do both!

    At least, you're exercising and that's always good.

  6. Hi Theresa,
    Oh, spilling drinks is always embarrassing. That's why I don't bring bottled water to my aerobics classes; I'm afraid that I might accidentally spill the water, which would result in a big puddle on the floor, which would result in several people slipping and falling, which would result in my getting sued and then being in debt for the rest of my life. I just drink from the water fountain. It's safer.

    Hi Palindrome,
    Sometimes I can't decide which machine to use either. I try to use the one that has the best view of the cute guys lifting weights.

  7. lol, we would be an interesting pair at the gym. :) I suggest going in the other direction - a little crazier. Go ahead and wear the tiger stripped leggings with the hot pink pants. Bring an ipod and sing at the top of your lungs! My mom always said, "If you can't beat 'em or join 'em...start your own game." :)

  8. Working out at the gym makes me so nervous! I am always afraid I will get into trouble or look stupid.

    I guess it's a good thing I don't have a membership anymore then.

  9. Hi Shannon,
    I like your mom's saying about starting your own game; I think that's a good perspective.
    I'd sing at the top of my lungs but then I'd be drowning out Britney, and you know, her music's actually fun to work out to.

    Hi Rebecca,
    I'm afraid of getting into trouble at the gym too, but I'm holding onto the membership, at least for now. I'm thinking as long as I don't break anything at this new gym it should be okay. (I was too embarrassed to go back to that other aerobics class where I broke the light switch.)