Fantastic Friday is here, and of course it is a holiday for all of us in India. Correct? No. Nada. You wish. I am working this Friday, and obviously, that sucks. But I don’t really have a choice. So I decided to better my ‘Torturous Thursday’ mood by shelling out some pearls of wisdom, that I have gained over my 3 odd months at the gym.
Every evening, as I work out, I need something to distract me from the monotony of the Elliptical trainer, or the Treadmill. More often than not, the music does the job, and I try to match the speed of strides to the beats of ‘Anjaana Anjaani’. But there are times when they play ‘ Tere mast mast do nain’, or ‘Tum jo aaye’, or even ‘Tujhme rab dikhta hai – slow version’ (seriously!), and then your mind needs something else to keep it off the timer which seems to be ticking in slow motion. So I decided to observe people. And categorise them. This can benefit all of you too, and the next time you think you cannot take anymore cycling, distract yourself by bucketing your gym-mates under these categories. Good fun, I tell ya.
The Big Guys – These are the guys who you walk up to, and say ‘I am done with my Cardio, what next’ and they smile sweetly, and say ‘Er, I am not the instructor, but I can help’. Yes, these are Gym instructor look-alikes, who you can also confuse, going by the amount of time they spend in the gym. These guys are harmless, almost. See, they are veterans, and their days of using the Treadmill, the Elliptical trainer, or any of the calorie burning devices are long gone.Those are for the I-am-trying-real-hard-to-burn-that-extra-slice-of-pizza-off-my-waist minions like me. And the 2 Kg purple dumb-bells that certain people struggle to do ‘3 sets of 15’ bicep curls, are well, probably pretty toys for them. They will come for a couple of hours, pick the weights our kind don’t even look at, use the bar-bells which we use for hanging our towels while working out, do a lot of grunting along with the lifting, walk around huffing and puffing, and then leave.Harmless, like I said. Except for perhaps the ego.
The Dainty Damsels – The purpose of this category to join the gym, could be;
1. I have too much time on hand
2. Gymming is so cool, so let me try it
3. Everyone’s seen me in formals, let me show how I rock tracks and tees
This category is a minority, and has a high turnover ratio. You will always spot a couple of these in the gym, but if you try to spot them two weeks later, and they wouldn’t be the same individuals. They wear 3/4ths (shorts not allowed in our gym) showing off their delicate ankles, have their hair high up in a pretty pony tail, wear loops in their ears, and in all, look like they have walked off the gym sets from a movie, or some workout video. Perfect. Only, they will walk for 10 minutes on the Treadmill at Speed 5, then have some water, then try the Elliptical trainer for 5 minutes, drink some more water, and then leave. They return they next day, and do the exact same things, albeit in a new and fancier outfit. A couple of days later, they disappear, probably because they run out of clothes to wear, that no one has seen.
The Yakkity-Yak kind – This is a slightly, ok make it very, obnoxious category. While they can be sub-categorised into the ones that actually workout, and the ones who don’t, the main defining element is their love to talk, and talk loud. So much so, that you can actually hear them over the ‘Dabangg’ title song. They will walk to all and sundry and 1) Comment about what they are doing wrong 2) Ask them why they have been irregular 3) Talk about how they have been really busy at work or 4) sing. I know singing isn’t talking, but these kinds, in the absence of a pair of ears to listen to them, can go to the extent of generally talking to the air, or like I mentioned singing, very loudly, along with the Music system.
The I’m-too-sexy-for-my-shirt kind – The gym for them can be defined as the place which has mirrors all around. That solely describes their purpose for the visits. They will walk around, and observe their anatomy from every angle that the mirrors provide. They flex their (non)existent biceps, groom their hair, raise their eyebrows at themselves, smile, frown, and in general analyse their looks. This constitutes 80% of their schedule at the gym. The remaining 20% of the times, they lift weights, and then check out their biceps in the mirrors. Yep, pretty much that.
The Torture bearers – ‘Bas, aur nahi hota!’. Ok, we’ve all been there, done that. At least I have. But I usually try and keep these declarations of ‘I’ve had enough’ to myself. But not everyone. Not these guys. They will push themselves for the crunches, do more lifts than they find themselves capable of, and with every additional number, you will see a change in their expression. They scrunch their eyes, they grit their teeth, and they resemble to a great extent our very own Bollywood hero who has been tied to a pole and is being battered with a baseball bat for not not revealing the secret to that invention which can destroy the world. And after every few counts, they let out a very audible groan. So much so, that after a while, you start smirking, thinking about really strong you yourself are.
The ‘Run-Forrest-run’ category – Their aim – weight loss. And that’s it. Their schedule., enter gym, target 1 – Weighing machine, target 2 – Elliptical trainer/Tread mill. 45 minutes later, you see a sweaty individual, with a drenched Tee, and a pool of sweat under the machine used. This category has selective vision, and they refuse to acknowledge anyone standing behind them for however long, waiting to use the said machine, until their timer strikes the stipulated 45 minutes – 1 hour. This category is one of the few who actually take the dietitian seriously. And usually you will find others timing their visits to gym to suit ( or more clearly, avoid) schedules of these individuals.
Visitors – This category in all probability enrolled when the gym was inaugurated. Mainly because, it existed. Once a month, they have a sudden guilt trip of how they do nothing for physical fitness, and they visit the sacred gym. A couple of days later, more important ‘work’ comes up, and they disappear again. But they ensure that their enrollment is justified by making these scheduled, if not frequent trips. These guys will actually know and talk to the big guys, more so because they have known each other for a long time. If you see these people, and happen to ask if they just joined, they will respond with a ‘ No-no! I joined a year ago! Yeah, been a little irregular’ with a very annoyed expression on their face. If you are regular enough, the next you see them would be the next month, around the same time.
Me – Of course, I saved the best for the last. Well I still do not know what category I belong to. I cannot be called regular, 4 days a week is the maximum I seem to be able to do. In the gym, I am anything but dainty, my hair is never in place, I sweat like I have the whole Arabian sea inside me and needs to get out, and I seem to have picked my rattiest (albeit super comfortable) tees for gym. I do not talk while working out, because, honestly, I cannot. I am too busy being breathless to be able to get words out of me. I dislike the mirror in the gym, because I think it makes me look fat, and I believe the gym mirrors are so to motivate people (yeah, someone told me, so?). I already mentioned that I keep my face devoid of any expression, and the only sound I am capable of generating is that of wheezing. I hate Cardio, I love weight training, but I have to do some bit of running, because well, I am not ‘a big guy’. And I am assuming that my 4 days a week status does not categorise me as a visitor either. So, whoever does not fall in any of the other categories, falls under the ‘me’ category.
So that’s that, and I am done. I hope that was useful. I still have some time to go at work, which means some more of torturous Thursday remains. But then there is Friday, which is not cool this time, but then, we have the Weekend. And you all know, I live for those. So I will continue counting down to the weekend that seems so far, while you guys have an awesome long weekend, and a beautiful Diwali!