After, what seems like, daily grumblings about a local gym, a cousin suggested switching gyms and going to a new one in town. Have passed the place before and noticed a lot of cars always crowding the parking lot. She mentioned there were a lot of enrollments – especially folks new to the gym.
Upon hearing that, beyond the expectation of a crowded gym, knew it would be a problem.
Have had problems with the physical aspects gyms in the area, particularly, an issue with treadmills that do not run smoothly; many times fluctuating speeds intermittently, the likely cause of now having weak ankles. Have brought it to the attention of the gym owner, which they claim is an issue with the electricity – currently experiencing the same issue at a different branch of the same gym.
However, beyond that, the only other issue that seems to come with visiting the gym is the people.
Previously penned a column about the universality of gym culture and all the attitudes that come with, but, after a recent visit to New York City and enrolling at a local gym there for a month, the previous column had it all wrong. Sure there are similarities (as what was pointed out in the previous column) but after this particular instance, and experiencing a local gym all over again since coming back, there are major differences in the way people act abroad and in the region.
The gym has signs posted all over the place that provide instructions in order to keep some sense of order. One, in particular, says to not drop weight plates or dumbbells.
The other day, working out directly in front the sign, with the dumbbell rack directly to the right, witnessed one gym goers selecting the dumbbells of his choice and simply dropping them on the floor; the subsequent quake should have called the attention of the gym staff, but not a peep from any of them.
On a difference occasion, another person, upon finishing his reps, literally threw them the dumbbells on the ground, one to each side – beyond ignoring the posted signs, it was clearly an effort to gain attention of those around him.
One would imagine, if there are posted signs, gym staff would be on hand to ensure the rules are followed, especially when the entire gym can feel when dumbbells are being thrown to the ground. However, this can also be attributed to local political culture, where multitudes of rules are implemented but are seldom enforced. Naturally, the idea that rules are meaningless will translate into other sectors of culture.
There is also another sign that asks patrons to return weight plates and dumbbells when they are done using them – something that is only followed some of the time. By ignoring the instruction, other gym goers who need the equipment are left without anything to use because they are spread out across the gym floor; dumbbells are left in the middle of the floor, which, personally, would likely trip over; all of it caused by one selfish individual who does not feel the need to return things when they are done.
There seems to be confusion with these individuals. The gym is a common area where everything is shared, if they want to keep all the equipment for themselves, or hoard it for their personal use, they need to invest in a home gym.
There is also the aspect of many who desire being the center of attention. While there is nothing one can do about another person’s insecurities or desperation for attention, when it is done in the name of defying the rules, it goes beyond mere arrogance and becomes conceited narcissism, a willingness to go to all lengths because of one’s ego.
The loud clanging of dropped weight plates can even be heard while walking towards the gym, yet not even a second look from those inside the gym. When walking into the gym in New York City, never once witnessed anybody throwing gym equipment around or heard repeated loud clanging.
Exception is, of course, afforded to bodybuilders who are engaged in their extreme deadlifts, perhaps training for an upcoming competition – by no means are the people making similar noises at gyms in town bodybuilders.
When one is at home and a mess is made, maybe a drink is spilled, what is the immediate reaction? Most people would say to clean it up immediately. However, in the gym, when clientele leave a mess, as in sweat where their hands and body have made contact with the equipment, many do not bother cleaning up after themselves.
Can only deduce they believe cleaning up is “below them” and should be left to somebody they think is inferior to them or they are just filthy people who would not clean up after themselves at home.
One of the oddities related to cleaning up (for those aware of the necessity to do so) among locals is the way people use the cleaning products.
When working out in the US, there were two spray bottles and a paper towel dispenser the entire gym floor used. It is a similar case in the Philippines, however, most of the time, when going to retrieve the bottles, they are gone. A lot of clientele seem to think the bottle is for their personal use and they carry it around with them from machine to machine – once saw a couple, each keeping one bottle.
Where does that attitude stem from?
In New York City, at no time were the spray bottles away from where they were supposed to be. Clientele there used them the way civilized individuals would use them, take enough for the job at hand and put it back when finished.
Perhaps the parents of some of the local clientele never taught them the basic idea of putting things back where they got them from. In all honesty, if they are so compelled to carry around the gym cleaner with them wherever they go, it would be best to invest in their own cleaning products; at least, others will be given the opportunity to also clean their machines.
Until then, am forced to continue to ask gym staff to hunt down the spray bottles since some clientele are too selfish to think of their fellow gym patrons.
Machines doubling as chairs
Last week, while amid a fairly crowded gym, saw one free lat pulldown machine. Took a seat and set it up, it was the lesser ideal of the two the gym has, one comes with weights that one just places a pin to select how
much they plan to lift, while the other requires one to manually add weight plates. While working out, noticed the other machine was being shared by two female gym goers; but, upon further review, they were sharing the cable row machine next to it and using the other lat pulldown machine as a chair/selfie machine (the seat faces directly in front of a mirror and one of them snapped a selfie after every single session – literally).
On several occasions, another gym goer uses machines to place his water bottle or mobile phone on – a veritable side table. Once others approach the machine with the said personal items, many times, the would-be clientele walks away, thinking it is occupied, or they stand there without a second glance from the culprit.
There was one occasion where the water bottle was left on a machine all by itself – literally, nobody else was in the gym – moved it to another part of the gym and, 40 minutes later, the owner came back and went on a search for his precious water bottle that, apparently, cannot touch the ground.
Never once encountered the same situation elsewhere; a machine with another person’s items on it unless it was being used by that person. It is truly a local idea that anything in the gym can be used as a table or chair. Can only imagine, their ego is so enormous that it keeps any idea that others may be inconvenienced out of their consciousness.
While the suggestion to switch gyms will always be there, no matter where it is, as long as the same attitudes still linger, it will still be an annoying daily existence. Perhaps the treadmill might run more consistently, but there will still be filthy machines from those seemingly waiting for a maid to clean up after them; attention-seeking individuals who make noise, either verbally or with their equipment, to distract those around them; the numerous selfies people take after two to three minutes on a machine; and those who would use machines as a side table or bench instead of letting others work out on them./WDJ