Our gym used to have this machine right in front, facing a huge wall of windows that looked directly onto the basketball court. I so wish I could have been there for the moment when someone said “Yeah, that’s a good idea. Put that thigh-master thingy right there.”
Weird gym conversations are probably the number 1 reason I work out. Or at least work out in a gym. People will say all kinds of nutty things that are normally only reserved for long stints on public transportation or drunken bathroom confessionals. (True story: in college, because I didn’t drink or have sex my friends basically figured I was a priest and it turns out a bathroom stall is eerily similar to a confessional booth. I heard everything from “I told you earlier that I thought your dress was cute but I really don’t” to “I got married in Vegas and I’m not sure if I ever got it annulled.” After awhile I stopped trying to say anything useful and just handed them more toilet paper in lieu of absolution.)
I was reminded of this awesome gym phenomena the other day when a friend couldn’t figure out how to get properly positioned in that weird back extension machine that looks like a giant pasta roller or a newspaper press or maybe one of those old-fashioned hand-cranked laundry machines that please just say you know which machine I’m talking about so I can stop coming up with bizarre analogies. Thank you. Anyhow, as she tried to wriggle into it backwards another friend yelled from across the gym “No, no! Face down, a** up!” in a voice that would have made any rapper proud. It took a moment of awkward silence before we all dissolved into giggles. “That is just something you should never say at the gym,” I gasped. “And also, maybe in life.”
So, in honor of my foul-mouthed friend (you know I love you), all the group fit instructors who tell us “Don’t forget to breathe!” and the trainer whom I overheard telling her client that her favorite healthy dinner was cooking Ramen noodles with a bag of frozen vegetables in it, I present to you:
Ten Things You Should Never Say At The Gym
1. No, I didn’t spill my water bottle. I don’t know what that puddle is. Yes, I realize it’s slightly yellow tinged. Let’s all just hope it’s that awful Lightening Gatorade and find a new place to stretch.
2. Can I work in between your sets? I’d like to show you up by doing the exact same thing you’re doing but way better. Okay, so she didn’t say the second part out loud but it was implied when she banged out 20 pull-ups and finished with a double-back dismount.
3. Want a post-workout snack? I made a double batch of triple-chocolate fudge bars last night and I brought a box for everyone! I will not identify the Gym Buddy who does this. She knows who she is! Stinker. Especially when she adds, “What? I couldn’t leave them at home or I’d eat them all!”
4. Wow, that’s a lot of weight! Aren’t you worried your legs are going to get even bigger? Heck yes it’s a lot of weight and what, exactly, are you saying about my legs? Did I mention that my kickboxing teacher told me I have one of the most powerful roundhouses he’s seen?
5. Hey! They’re playing our song! This one might have been cute if it hadn’t been said by a guy I’ve talked to less than three times. And also, if it wasn’t Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name Of.”
6. Excuse me, but when you were doing deadlifts I couldn’t help but notice that… Unless this one is followed by “You dropped your iPod” or “You have a hole in your pants” I probably don’t want to hear it.
7. Oooh, can I touch your belly? This one’s weird enough when I’m pregnant but when I’m not then it’s most definitely a no.
8. Want to see my rash/black toenail/giant back zit? Okay, so I’ll probably say yes because I’m weirdly fascinated by gross skin conditions but still, you shouldn’t encourage me.
9. Could you massage my butt? I have a really tight knot that I can’t reach. Yes. Someone seriously asked me this. And no, I didn’t do it.
10. Smell my finger. This one was me. I said it. I’m still ashamed.
What phrase do you think should be banned from being said in gyms? Has anyone ever confessed something weirdly personal to you in a public place?