The Worst Thing About Going to the Gym.

You know what’s the worst thing about going to the gym?

It’s when you get to the gym and you realise, “Ah. This is why I don’t go to the gym.”

But you’re already there.

You have with you your workout clothes that make your body look somewhat following human convention, your earphones to block out all forms of conversation, and most importantly, you have also brought your dignity along, who had said earlier to your friends - “Hey, we’re going to the gym today.”

That’s the worst thing about going to the gym. When you can’t let down good ol’ Dignity, who just wouldn’t shut his mouth.

So you commit.

You walk into the locker room, and then you realise what’s the worst thing about going to the gym: you’re surrounded by men with incredible self-esteem, as they openly walk around with their crowns jewels that, very often, are not proportionate to the size of their self-esteem.

Also, they resemble neither crowns nor jewels, but it doesn’t hurt to put a precious towel over them. The only thing that hurts? Your eyes.

So. That’s definitely the worst thing about going to the gym.

Now, you change into your workout clothes. You look in the mirror right before you go out and you think, “Wow. I’m at the gym.”

And then you enter the gym and survey the lands before you, before finally realising what’s the worst thing about going to the gym.

The choices. You have:

  • The weights section
  • The cardio machines
  • The section with more machines that have to do with weights
  • The area with ropes and kettle bells that resemble neither kettles nor bells, and
  • Finally, the water coolers.

You make your choice: you head to the water coolers.

That’s the best thing about going to the gym.

But once you’re hydrated (more than you necessarily need to be), you look up and face reality again. You decide you can’t prolong this suffering so you just pick a section: the free weights.

It is currently the section with the least people. Perfect.

You pick a bench and you drop your towel on it: territory has been claimed. You go choose your weights and decide on a set that make you go, “These amount of kilograms look proportionately heavy enough to the sizes of my body, and my pride.”

Satisfied with your choice you turn around, and see that the free weights section is now the section with the most people.

You sigh and half-heartedly agree to share your benches with an already-sweaty and overly enthusiastic stranger. Also, because he smiled politely and has biceps the size of your thighs - you’ve heard before that it is advisable to not crush the feelings of a nice person who can actually crush you.

You go through the motions, exerting all physical strength left in you after a long day of your mental strength slowly leaving you. The drain before the strain, and you think to yourself, “You know what? This is the worst thing about going to the gym.”

Once you’re done, you rack your weights and smile again at your bench-partner - you have exchanged sweat without knowing each other and done so without speaking more than necessary. It is a disgusting but silent bond, an agreement that the situation will not be verbally discussed.

As you walk away, you shake your head to yourself and think, “I don’t even know that guy, and I think he just did silent banter with me? Ugh.”

You have decided. That was officially the worst thing about going to the gym.

You head to the treadmills, and find yourself surrounded by women sprinting at top speeds. You sigh as you contemplate the very real possibility that they’re running at this speed as practice on how to escape cat-callers and perverts in today’s world - turns out, that sobering epiphany is the worst thing about going to the gym.

As you get on the machine and think of what your speed should be, you peek over to the screen of the runner next to you. You are stunned, as the tiny lady next to you is running at double your usual sprinting speed. Yet she is a bouncing, jogging body of calm, no panting at all. You tell yourself you have long legs and half your speed is her top speed.

... then you realise how stupid that is, as Dignity swings by and raises an eyebrow.

You curse under your breath as you key in the same speed as her, and pray you don’t have a heart attack. Knowing that you could potentially face cardiac arrest is easily the worst thing about going to the gym.

As you start running (and wheezing), you wonder:

Why do people run on treadmills? What’s wrong with running outside? What is the appeal of running indoors, in stagnant air and in stationary place, where there is no exciting change of scenery or atmosphere? Isn’t that the worst thing about going to the gym?

You glance at the TVs playing, and see there’s a snowstorm onscreen. Right, so that’s why treadmills were invented.

You’re finally done with your run, and as you step off, you momentarily lose all sense of gravity and your legs turn into jelly. You quickly recover and pretend nothing happened. (Dignity is taking his time to recover, though.)

And... that’s it. You’re done at the gym. Finished.

Relieved, you go for a shower, change, and then proudly walk out fresher than before. You smile at the ladies at the treadmill and wave, then exchange another knowing look with the guy-still-at-the-weights-machine-stop-it-already, and finally walk past the ironically fat gym clerk. Right at the exit, you turn back for one last look and think, “Wow I was at the gym.”

In the end, somehow that last hour and a half had all worked out. Once more tomorrow?

... You know what? That kind of thinking is the worst thing about going to the gym.

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