I’d like to preface this post by saying, I’m not in shape. I certainly don’t resemble a beached humpback or angry rhino or hungry, hungry hippo by any means, but I get more winded than I should while climbing stairs. I’ve got the curse of curves, but I love them, so my fitness efforts genuinely are an attempt to live a healthier life.
I’m sure you’re thinking, “Riiiiiiiiiight. They don’t call you Meatloaf for no reason,” and part of that thought is correct. I’m not one to practice tons of willpower when it comes to delectable edibles. I try to balance my love of food with exercise and keeping a close eye on my weight. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will never be built like a runway model, or any of those skinny bitches you see competing for Tyra’s love and affection on America’s Next Top Model. Screw those chicks anyway, someone needs to feed them a cheeseburger or twelve. I love my shape, though I’m sure some would think I’m a little too thick for their taste. Screw them, too, right along with the wenches who wouldn’t eat a carb if you held a gun to their unproportionately large heads.
Now, back to the matter at hand. I’m sure many of you fine readers are familiar with the recent explosion of Planet Fitness’ popularity nationwide. This chain of franchised fitness clubs dares to be different. With its purple, yellow, and black color scheme, its dirt cheap membership fees, its bagel mornings and pizza evenings, and its lack of a meat-market-esque environment, the place is a fitness oasis for people like me (by people like me, I mean those of us who are not hardcore about fitness and who hate the atmosphere of Bally’s and LA Fitness). Both locations I’ve been to have always been clean, the staff has always been helpful, and from what I can tell, the place is pretty decent.
The thing about Planet Fitness that seems to draw such a huge following, is their branding. Their positioning, if you will. They have set themselves apart from other shinier gyms who offer classes and juice bars by making their locations the “everyman gym.” They call themselves “The Judgement Free Zone” and take this motto of theirs very seriously. There is a huge wartime-like siren attached to the front wall of the gym, which they have cutely named the “Lunk Alarm.” If you’ve ever heard one of these things go off, you may have been tempted to tuck-and-roll off your treadmill or elliptical and hide because you were afraid you were in the middle of an air raid. The Lunk Alarm is designed to embarrass the living shit out of any meathead who tries to get too much attention from others in the gym. For instance, if Bruno in his cutoff t-shirt, too tight shorts, and weight belt (their free weights only go up to like 60 lbs… is the belt really necessary?) starts grunting too loudly and dropping weights, the Lunk Alarm is sounded. Awesome.
You would think in an environment such as this, I could keep my cynical, horrible thoughts in check. I may, perhaps, embrace the culture of this place simply because with a strict dress code such as theirs (no do-rags, no jeans, no boots, no spaghetti strap tanks, etc), what is there left to judge? Oh, let me tell you…
Unless you are a high school or college wrestler trying to drop weight before a match, WHY THE HELL WOULD YOU WEAR ONE OF THESE? And in public, no less? Tonight during my 35 min of cardio, I counted no less than three people on treadmills wearing sauna suits. Okay, fine. They aren’t at the gym to look good, they are there to work out, and sauna suits suck extra sweat out of your body. Cool. Whatever. The sight of these things make me think maybe it’s laundry day, and the only thing left these poor souls had left to wear were garbage bags. Silver, shiny garbage bags. Intergalactic looking garbage bags.
Nevermind the fact that keeping one’s dignity while wearing one of these suits is a damn impossibility, did I mention they are LOUD? Surely, my dear readers, you’re all old enough to remember “swishy pants.” You know what I’m talking about – those pants that often came with a matching jacket, made of a material that would cause the wearer to make a “swish swish swish” sound as they moved. Sauna suits take me right back to ’92 and swishy pants, because of the goddamn sound they make. I really feel workout gear should neither be visually offensive nor audible; those fucking sauna suits rape my senses as I’m trying to get my cardio on, and it offends me.
For those of you who still have no clue what I’m talking about, I provide you with exhibit A:
Moving right along…
Sweatbands, Spandex, and Short-Shorts.
In case my fellow gym goers were not aware, it is 2010. It is not 1987, Jane Fonda is not still a fitness icon, and Sweatbands, Spandex, and Short-Shorts (think Richard Simmons, really) are NOT acceptable gym wear. As I mentioned above, I’m offended when my senses are raped while I’m trying simply to work out. People who rock any of the 3 S’s of workout gear don’t just rape my senses. They sodomize them with a hot poker, while making them beg for more. It’s twisted. Let’s break it down, shall we?
Sweatbands. These elastic, terry cloth pieces of fabric people wear around their heads and wrists ARE NOT COMFORTABLE. They chafe, they leave an ugly imprint, and they make you hotter than necessary. Not to mention, they look fucking stupid. Some might argue that those who rock sweatbands are trying to go for some trendy retro look. I argue they look like morons who are either A) oblivious to the fact they look like morons, B) don’t care they look like morons, or C) poor victims were dropped on their head, causing irreparable damage to the part of their brain that allows them to comprehend what is fashionably acceptable.
Spandex. Two words: Camel Toe. That’s right, ladies, I have absolutely no desire to see what you’ve got going on in that region, so let’s get some shorts that are a bit looser. Also, NO ONE, and I mean NO ONE, looks good in spandex. It’s the least flattering fabric ever created. The only way you should wear spandex is if you do so under a sauna suit, and if you plan on stepping in front of a bus on your way to the gym. A bit harsh? Maybe, but I’m just saying what most of you have thought at least once or twice.
Short-shorts. Good Christ, people. This look is horrendous. Listen, Mr. “I’m here just here to get fit”, I have no desire to see your pasty ass legs, especially above the knee. Sure, I get it. These things help you keep cool. Know what else helps keep cool? The air conditioner the gym has CRANKED. If your shorts are short and tight enough to see what you’re working with and which way its hanging, you fail. Seriously. I wasn’t kidding with the Richard Simmons remark earlier. Do you really want to look like this??
I’m not even going to comment on the combination of these three items worn together – I prefer not to dry heave while writing. And before you get all holier-than-thou on me, I think y’all should know I generally wear sweats and a t-shirt to the gym. Non-descript, not over the top, functional, and comfortable. Sometimes I’ll switch it up and wear a pair of mesh shorts, but either way, when I work out, all of my bits and pieces stay in place.
It’s one thing if you’re coming straight from work, ladies, and hit the gym before removing your makeup. I’ve done that myself. We’re in a completely different ballpark if you’re applying makeup to go to the gym, especially one like Planet Fitness. The dudes there are not on a hunt for their next side piece, girlfriend, or wife. They are there to work out. Contrary to whatever fantasy you may have conjured up, the likelihood of you locking eyes with Mr. Right from across the 30 minute weight circuit and finding love at first sight is just about the same as my likelihood of hitting on the Powerball drawing this weekend. Ain’t gonna happen. Go to the grocery store, maybe you’ll find him there.
Primping for the gym is like primping to give birth. You’re going to grunt, sweat, and look like shit by the end of it anyway, so why even bother?! You WILL look a hot mess when that makeup gets runny… that is, unless you are one of those chicks who primps for the gym but never works out while you’re there. If you’re one of those chicks, you should probably put on some spandex, a sauna suit, and a sweatband and find the nearest bus depot. Walking around the gym in your cute little outfit, looking all primped while not actually working out annoys most of us. If you’re looking for the next notch in your bed post, try the bar. Drunk guys might actually be stupid enough to take you home.
While I certainly have more pet peeves involving the gym, I’m going to hang on to them for later. Wouldn’t want you all to think I’m a complete asshole, would I?