Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Continued Strangeness at the Gym

I don't know what is going on, but the strangeness that is my gym prevailed magnificently this morning. I worked on my thesis this morning; 1.5 spacing, checking footnotes, rewriting a little. As a result, I got to the gym a little later than usual: 10:00. Usually if I can't get there before 9 I don't go until the afternoon. I think it's an eating thing, but the decision is mostly unconscious.

So, here I am, entering the gym, and there is no desk staff. I wait for what seemed like minutes, but I'm sure was like 30 seconds. I took inventory of their protein supplements, bars and shakes (all double mark-up), purused the towels and lifting gloves, even noticed that they sold tanning-bed-goggles. In any event the attendant finally came by to zap my card, and she spoke to me! "Hur (är du) legit?" By reflex I blurted out one of the most perfect and upbeat, "Bra, tack!" I think I've ever done. C would have been uber impressed. Luckily the attendant told me to have a good time so I didn't have to ask her how she was (all I could think of was "tjena" which is like a cool 'hello').

I chunked my stuff in a locker. Most of the guys who are usually there lifting with me were just leaving, so we all did the prefunctory nods since it's become apparent I don't språk the swedish. I ran through my mind about what exercises I really wanted to do today, it was a shoulders' day. This was pretty normal I guess.

The strangeness occured as I descended upon the weight room. On the floor above are circuit machines, where you usually find women workin on abs and stuff after runs. The weight room is just that, free weights, with some leg machines. Usually there are guys everywhere, with an occasional woman -- this weekend being an extreme exception when the swedish women's soccer team took us over. Or so I thought. Today, could mark the beginning of a trend. CSI:"Once is a fluke, twice is a coincidence, three times is evidence." There were women everywhere -- not that that is wrong in any way, gender aside, it's just that I'm used to an empty weight room. I'm wondering if the gym isn't promoting group deals or something, because all these ladies were in groups of 3+, and they were circuit training IN THE FREE WEIGHT ROOM. UBER STRANGE.

I guess that just struck me as odd because free weights are traditionally used for rep (number of times you move a weight) and set (how many times you repeat reps) training and is not really conducive to circuit training. This is mostly due to the time it takes to set up free weights (which usually helps you rest between sets). Circuit traning requires quick reps of one exercise and movement to another (why machines work so well for this since they are set-up). These women moved between exercises with a carelessness akin to a apathy for life and limb (and not necessarily just their own).

I was a little apprehensive since you can really hurt yourself with free weights if you aren't careful. The nice thing about machines is they put you in a some-what-good-position for the exercise (I won't say perfect because they reduce the use of natural stablizers like abs, shoulders and lower back). There were a few times I cringed when the new-gym-goers picked up weights and did some exercises. This is true regardless of gender, women are actually more likely to LISTEN to what is proper, whereas men just want to work with as much weight as possible. It only takes once though, and you can have a month (or more) strain. I wonder if I should say something to them next time ... I really think the gym should have a mandatory gym awareness class when you sign up.

I complain about the gym WAY too much, but it's just such a great social outlet :)


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