I really love my fellow gym mates. I have
to admit, a little Latin flavor with some good muscle tone is pretty much heaven - and this club has plenty. Most of the time I find it inspiring and only on rare occasions does it become a distraction. I am only human after all.
I like going to this club as an undercover trainer, turning off my iPod so I can listen in on parts of sessions. It makes me heartsick for a few of my regular clients and it makes me daydream about how they are doing now. I worry they are sitting too much, eating too much, and carving roast beef instead of time out of their schedule for a work out.
A few days ago I was in between sets of shoulder presses when I noticed a couple (one of the hetero kinds) who were both huddled around a book. It was a familiar book, a bright day-glo orange Abs Diet book. I have a copy and generally speaking I would give it an A+ for readability and motivation as well as a solid B+ for its realist vs idealist aims (not everybo
dy is going to have a 6 pack my friends). It's written by the Men's Health editor, David Zinczenko and if you're able to follow directions you'd do very well with the book.
I thought it was a little strange that they had the book on the floor, but then again how exactly is a book like that supposed to be used? It didn't seem like these two had a well thought out plan. They had a pattern: the guy would read it, hand it to the girl, followed by confused looks, pointing around the gym and then deciding to turn to a different page. Soon they settled on a series of oblique exercises. The girl grabbed two weights, the guy held the book open in front of her, and she proceeded to swing from side to side. I need you to stop and imagine this for a moment. He was holding the book, open, in front of her - as though she needed to see exactly how to twist her body.
The whole thing was quite disturbing. They clearly felt horrible being in the gym. They looked lost and eventually annoyed. I had to wonder about the optimism surrounding the purchase of the book. Subtitled, "the six-week plan to flatten your stomach and keep you lean for life," the book promotes such an exuberance of optimism. And here they were, feeling frustrated and foreign.
After a few poorly executed floor crunches in the middle of a main thoroughfare of the gym (during which time more than 10 people pretty much stepped over top of the guy as he flailed on the floor), the couple closed the book, disappeared into the locker rooms, and left.
Hmm. Now I really wonder what happened next. I sort of feel like they will just never discuss what transpired on this evening. I picture the book sitting on a shelf made out of a step on their in-home, but never used, stairclimber.
Sure I have seen plenty of guys bring in torn pages from magazines, but I've never seen one try to read while they lifted. It's the sort of thing you tuck into your waistband, refer to quickly and move on. I used to be religious about recording every single set, weight, and rep along with anecdotal notes about the workout. That's good practice. However, the do-it-yourself model really takes a lot of planning ahead. Building your body, your dream body, is never going to be as easy as just grabbing a book off a shelf and heading to the gym.
This couple was a huge missed opportunity for an eager trainer. It's almost as if it was a set up to see if anybody in the gym would intervene. What seemed to be a sociological study really proved to me that other people really don't care what you do at the gym. So get over it, and get off your butt . . . just leave your workout for dummies book at home and invest a few bucks in a trained professional. Your body will love you for it.