I wonder how many gym memberships have gone dormant after a New Year’s resolution rush. I remember all too clearly when my trainer showed me how many folks had signed up for trainers + memberships and had NEVER used them – not once.
She opened a huge three-ring binder and flipped through the pages. Then she opened another binder and did the same thing. And this gym was located in Mililani Hawaii, a modest mid-sized town, and not the only gym in town mind you. This was about 10 years ago.
I, on the other hand, am very much aware of when I skip those gym days, but self-discipline is not really my problem. The other people are. Ha ha ha! Just kidding. Sort of. Let me explain.
Going to the gym in another country is like international travel, but with nudity, enclosed spaces and blinking. Lots of blinking.
Our pool and gym membership is located at a fancy-schmancy hotel so we get a good mix of expats and holiday goers with moolah. Now, the pool is quite generous, even by US standards, but the gym, well, is not. It does the job, yes. However, Crunch fitness it is not. The gym is the size of Justin Bieber’s closet or a small pet shop.
And in our little shop of sweaty horrors, the A/C is blasting cool air, so cold in fact, I wonder if it is beneficial. Unfortunately, it cannot mask the overpowering stench from the weight-lifting grunts and groans that I sometimes walk right back out the door.
But after much thought on the matter as to why folks smell so ripe, I have decided that people don’t shower before they come to the gym. Why not, you might say! They’re just going to work out anyway, right? Ah, ha! But it’s so nasty! There’s a reason why SE Asians take multiple showers in one day. It’s HOT and HUMID.
In addition, the men-folk sometimes go sleeveless, not allowing for a cotton sleeve to absorb some of that stank. What did deodorant do to you anyway, kind sir? My favorite was when we peeked in the gym and saw a guy working out shirtless. Ewwww! Are you touching all of the gym equipment with your oily body? Why not lie down on the abdominal bench? How thoughtful of you to mark your scent everywhere.
Of course, some stake out their claim by leaving their belongings on the benches so no one else can use them – or by controlling the a/c. (We actually had an unpleasant encounter with a guy over this.) I think people forget that this gym is not exclusively for their personal use, but rather a shared environment. Play nicely, kids!
I can’t complain because it is a people-watching paradise. Most are too absorbed in their music, TV shows and muscles to notice me side-glancing at them. They’re all surprisingly serious (especially Mr. Jazz Hands). I feel like the only one who’s doing it for fun (not working out). Whereas back in the States, I felt like the opposite, I wanted to get a good workout in while the rest of the gym-goers were practicing poor forms, pick-up lines or walking leisurely on the treadmill with a full-face of makeup on.
In the locker room, I’ve learned Asians from other countries are very comfortable with their bodies and walk around naked. (Looking for their misplaced towel?) They’ll even stand in front of the mirror while getting ready in the nude. (Cause it’s so breezy!) Did I mention the mirrors face the lockers? Apparently though, I missed the Chinese guy standing in the men’s locker room doorway as free and alive as can be, shouting at his wife who was in the women’s locker room.
Look, it’s not like I’m a prude (simply American), it’s just forced intimacy with strangers. I’m not used to seeing so many naked people! I don’t even want to see close encounters of the fleshy kind. I just want to work out and be healthy. You’re right, I should be less squeamish, but still try not to bump into anybody.
I used to change at the lockers with only the white curtain dividing the room and the rest of the world, but when a coworker (a few of my colleagues used to work out here, too) walked in on me naked I decided it was time to start changing in the toilet stall. I mean, there has to be boundaries between work and working out, right?
Generally though, I prefer the swimming pool. No skunk smell, no men spritzing their territories, no constipation noises, just the occasional gaggle of tourists giggling or bald Russians/Germans doing laps with severe focus. What I’ve decided though is all nationalities are obnoxious in large quantities. So, I roll my eyes, sigh, mutter something about how much Australians or Chinese annoy me and find a small patch of pool to dog-paddle in.
- Band-Aids (plaster) don’t stay on. Stop wearing them in the pool, it’s gross when other people (me) find them.
- You shouldn’t throw a ball around because you might hit my b/f in the face. #funnynotfunny
- Almost everyone in the pool, but you and your friends are annoying.
- Beer in the pool. Kindle in the pool. Phone in the pool. Oh, why are we multi-tasking?
- Couples getting cozy look like they’re having tantric sex – with other people nearby. Okay, fine. I’ll watch.
- Old guys smiling at me is even creeper with swimming goggles on. You’re breathing heavy because of the laps you just did, right?
- Why do old men with distended beer bellies wear budgie smugglers? They never look like Ryan Gosling, ever.
- There’s nothing wrong with your body. If you don’t believe me, just visit the pool or gym.
Do you work out regularly? Do you prefer the gym or pool? What did I miss? 😉