Building a House for My Pet Peeves

Yes, I’m having a rant today. There are just some things about people exercising at the gym and other places that rubs me the wrong way. I mean, I want to be friendly and all, but sometimes, to borrow a line from “Family Guy,” certain things really “grind my gears.”

I need my space

grind gearsOne of my pet peeves at the gym is when people stand too close to me when I’m lifting. Here’s what happened. I was on the decline bench performing dumbbell presses. This was the last chest exercise for the morning and I was getting tired. I really needed to concentrate on what I was doing so I could get the dumbbells up and use good form.

There’s a young guy who is a trainer at the gym and he has a regular morning class of four or five people he puts through their paces. Sometimes they come into the free weight part of the gym, and one of the reasons I like getting there right when the place opens is I can establish my spot before they come in and take over.

Anyway, as I was lifting, these people started standing near me while the trainer was giving them their instructions. I mean, it’s not like I’m invisible or inaudible. C’mon. One guy was like a foot away from my left arm as I was struggling to do one more rep. It was incredibly distracting.

Like I said, I want to be friendly, but this was really getting under my skin.

I managed to keep my reaction to a bit of grumbling and finished my three sets. As I said, since it was the last chest exercise of my workout, when I was done, I dropped the dumbbells (the gym got brand new dumbbells over the weekend and they’re a thing of beauty), got off the bench, racked my weights (of course), and hit the elliptical machine, leaving the training class behind.

I’m better now and cardio’s a great way to work off feelings of being annoyed.

The moral of the story is don’t stand too close to someone when they’re working out so as to distract them or, even accidentally, get in the way. Oh, don’t talk to me while I’m lifting either. I know that sounds snobby, but it really is a safety issue.

Making faces

Photo credit: Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images
Photo credit: Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

This next one isn’t a pet peeve but it is something that I’m sure people must notice about me. While I try not to be a particularly dramatic at the gym, when I’m lifting and lifting heavy (for me), I make some noise. No, I don’t scream like I’m giving birth to farm machinery, but a few grunts and groans do manage to escape my mouth.

Also, I make faces. I’m pretty unconscious of this most of the time, and I didn’t know I even made faces at all until my son pointed it out to me (this was a number of months ago). I sometimes manage to catch my reflection in the mirror and notice that I pull back my lips and grit my teeth when I’m lifting. I guess this is the “war face” I make when I’m putting all my effort into getting the weight up in the air.

I’m mentioning this because I feel self-conscious about my “expressions”. The moral of the story is just let people do what they need to do to lift their weights. Yeah, I’ve complained in the past about “drama queens” in the gym, but a little grimacing and groaning are pretty standard with putting out a lot of effort, at least to me. Just don’t let it get out of hand.

Lighting up

night jogging
Photo credit: syntaxfree

After I was done at the gym I drove home. It’s garbage day, so I rolled the garbage container out to the sidewalk, I noticed a guy jogging across the street. Actually I noticed the sound of his footfalls before I saw him. This time of year at 6 a.m., it’s still dark outside and all I could see was his silhouette. No reflectors, no lights, nada.

Personally, I think jogging in the dark is dumb and dangerous anyway, but if you’ve got reflectors on and especially if you’re wearing a blinky light, at least you’re doing all you can to stay alive. If you’re jogging in the dark and you aren’t doing your best to be seen so some car doesn’t nail you flat, then you are taking your life in your own hands.

The moral of the story is if you have to jog in the dark, wear reflectors and a light. Better yet, if you can schedule it this way, jog in daylight. No one wants to hit you with their car.

Rant over.

Never confuse movement with action.

Ernest Hemingway


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