Monday, February 7, 2011

My top gym peeves

In over four decades of training at Gold’s gym in Venice, I’ve found a few things that consistently bother me. These peeves are not limited to Gold’s gym. but can and do occur in gyms that I’ve trained in all over the world. What follows are these commonly encountered annoyances in no particular order:

1) People who yap on cell phones- They usually ensure that their voice is loud enough to be heard throughout the gym. These conversations are almost never important, and could easily be discussed before or after the workout. Unless you have a pending emergency or an important business call that just can’t wait, there is no rational reason to carry around a cell phone during a workout. I’ll go even further: if you talk on a cell phone in the gym, you aren’t serious about training, and should just stay home.

2) Crowded gym-When it comes to crowded gyms, I admit that I’m antisocial. That’s the main reason why I train late at night;I don’t like dealing with large crowds. Most of these people just get into the way. Others think I go to the gym just to answer their endless questions. That’s why I try to avoid them. Years ago, at the original Gold’s gym in Venice, I approached Frank Zane to ask him a question during his workout. He told me to “make an appointment to speak with him.” Since I was his next door neighbor at the time, I was quite offended by his perceived arrogance. In the intervening 40 years or so since the incident occurred,however,I realize that Frank was completely correct, although he might have handled it with a bit more tact. Then again, he was training and dieting for a major contest at the time. We didn’t speak to each other for a few years after that, since my reaction was to challenge Frank to step out into the alley behind the gym, which he declined to do, although the look he gave me could easily have been fatal. I’m happy to say that we have been friends for years, and if you’re reading this, Frank, I’m sorry to have disturbed your workout!

3) Space invasion-this really galls me. The gym is empty, yet some jerk insists on doing his or her exercise about a foot away from me. I’ve always wondered about such people’s motivations for doing so,but have concluded that most of the time, they just don’t think about it. Related to this is stealing a machine or piece of equipment that I was using. On one occasion, I placed a reading rack with a magazine on a treadmill, then walked away to fill a water bottle, only to see a woman throw my reading rack and magazine on the ground and proceed to use the treadmill that I set up. This, despite the fact that dozens of other treadmills were available for her use. When I pointed out that I had set up the magazine rack for a reason, her response was,” You don’t own this machine.” I won’t repeat what my response was to that statement.

4) Unwanted trainers-There is one guy who insists on showing me “the right way to train.” He apparently thinks he knows all the true solutions to training, and what I’m doing is not only unproductive, but injurious–or so he says. After over 40 years of training, I kind of think I know what works best for me, thank you

5) People who don’t know how to train- These are the people who do strange exercises that seem to be made up on the spot. They obviously have not bothered to consult either a book nor any bodybuilding magazine, since it’s obvious that they have no idea of what they’re doing. The problem arises when I am doing a superset involving the use of two pieces of exercise equipment without rest. One moron protested my use of two machines, asking me.”How can you do two exercises at once?” Read about it, moron.

6) Sick people and slobs- I’ve seen people hacking and sneezing all over the place in the gym. They seem oblivious to the fact that they are spreading germs and likely infecting others. Why they are attempting to train under such pathological conditions is not clear. Arnold once told me that attempting to train when ill was a complete waste of time. Another  type of disgusting behavior involves those who think the drinking fountains at the gym double as spittoons. They often clear their throats and send a deadly missile of saliva directly into the fountain, often hitting the drinking part of the fountain. They are seemingly oblivious to this uncivilized behavior, and most likely, don’t care. Others leave their empty water bottles all around the gym floor, despite the ready availability of garbage cans, often just inches away. I think they are sending the message: I was here! My response: I don’t care, go away!

7) Anti-flushers- You would be surprised how many people, mainly men, don’t flush after using the public restrooms at Gold’s. I would normally give them credit for being water conservationists, but my gut feeling is that they are just sloppy pigs, and nearsighted pigs at that, since they often miss the bowl and leave their “scent trail” on the floor. This is an example of the “Weider Flushing technique” taken too far!

8) Those who save water by not bathing- These are the true water conservationists: those who eschew bathing after training, or cleaning their putrid training clothes. I had the unfortunate experience of once using an elliptical machine next to one of these. It was one of the few times that I was inflicted with extreme nausea, to the point that I had to leave the gym. The guy smelled like a decomposed corpse that had been out in the sun for a week. Related to this are those who leave profuse amounts of their sweat on benches, despite the preponderance of paper towel dispensers throughout the gym.

9) No gas shortage here- Related to the above are those with extreme flatulence who like to “spread the wealth” around the immediate area where they train. I do have to admit,however, that such people rarely have trouble finding an available bench or machine to use, so perhaps there is some method to their madness after all.

10) Locker squatters- this is a particular problem with Gold’s gym. It involves selfish people who put their locks on public lockers, despite paying no fee to do so. After a while, there are no lockers available for legitimate use while training in the gym. When these locks are eventually removed,  the lockers  curiously often contain nothing. Those who place locks on them are merely “reserving” them. Idiots!

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