Dear Shape Magazine,
Normally I read your pages with lukewarm interest and divided attention. I rarely get excited about an article – although it does happen sometimes – and am not the letter-to-the-editor type. That is, until I got your July issue in the mail a few days ago (never mind that it was May). There I was, flipping idly through pages of silly Special K ads , blatantly photoshopped hydroxycut ads and the same tired advice about sunscreen and vitamin C for creamy flawless skin, when I happened upon this:
I must admit, it caught my eye. And then I laughed so hard I fell out of my chair. Oh Shape. I understand that it must be really hard coming up with “new” strength moves every month. After all, there are only so many iterations of the basic lifts. But this? Do you really expect any self-respecting woman whose day job does not involve stirrups & a “scoot down” mantra to feel comfortable doing this move on the cable machine in the middle of the weight floor? And even then, those women are trained professionals and should at least get paid. Besides, I’m not even sure how I would get into position for this by myself and I really can’t imagine yelling, “Hey Gym Buddy Allison – come hold my legs open!” while maintaining any level of gym-cred.
PS> Your “trainer’s tip” is very wise. This move could definitely cause pain. On so many levels.
As if worrying about what you wear and say at the gym isn’t hard enough, you also have to take the actual moves into account. Something that sounds perfectly innocuous in a book or magazine takes on a whole new aspect once you have an audience. I think that I of all people have a very high tolerance for looking like a dork but even I can be pushed over the edge. Some of my favorite embarrassing gym moves (that I still do but, you know, feel really stupid afterward):
Kneeling Ab Curl on the Cable Machine: This ab exercise, a favorite of body builders, requires you to basically bow and kiss the floor in front of whomever happens to be standing in the general vicinity. I imagine they feel like royalty. You? Repressed peasant comes to mind.
My fix: chant “I’m not worthy” with every rep and make sure to clang the plates together loudly. That way people just assume I’m a monk. With really nice abs.
Happy Baby Pose in Yoga: This move is also known as “Breaking Wind Pose” and for good reason. ‘Nuff said.
My fix: make a lot of noise like rustling my mat, whispering to my neighbor and so forth just in case anything squeaks out. And I know that every yoga teacher will say, “it’s okay if some air passes, that’s natural and we’re all adults.” But I have been in yoga classes where the, um, air is passed and we all giggled like school girls.
The Thigh Abductor/Adductor Machines: (you want to click thru this one) These babies are bad enough on their own but at my gym they are carefully situated so you face the windows to the basketball courts. And I mean you are nose-to-the-window. I don’t know how the people on the basketball courts feel about it (Oh no! Old man alert! Quick – media time out!!) but I know it makes me hope that I remembered to not wear shorts that day.
My fix: I don’t use them. What – they don’t work anyways!
I know you guys have things to add to this list (and pics?) so shout ’em out loud and proud!