I so very much and so very deeply hate “gym season.” I hate it as a construct and I hate it for making everything at the gym so awkward. But don’t worry, I’m not mad at all the people who join the gym in January to atone for holiday behavior. Look, I get it. You spent the last week of December eating deep-fried peppermint bark, drinking sparkling absinthe, and snorting baby formula to stay awake for the ball drop. We’ve all been there. Now, understandably, you have rebounded to the other extreme, making the maple-vinegar-tea enema cleanse your new year’s resolution, and it’s fine. I would like to say that I sympathize, cause no one enjoys the kind of hangover you’re experiencing, but I can’t sympathize with you because I’m not thinking about you. At least not at the gym. I vaguely sense that you are there, but really I just came to work out cause I like to feel good and not exercising makes me feel otherwise.
No, really, welcome to the gym. Sure, most of you are going to practice your short-lived overexertion with all the faith and all the sanctimony of a neophyte Scientologist, but that is vital to the gym’s business model. Thank you, really, for allowing the doors to stay open, so that people have somewhere to move their bodies when it is -22ºF and the schools are closed to prevent children from freezing to death in the time it takes them to get from their doors to the school bus (not an exaggeration).
The gym regulars, on the other hand, are driving me up the wall, and not in a good, rock wall kind of way. They are scanning the cardio room, taking inventory, making knowing eye contact with other regulars. They are mentally separating the wheat from the chaff that has come to hog the equipment with its chaffy chaff-hands.
I do not look like a gym regular. Who knows if I even count as one; I am more of a gym irregular depending on the vagaries of my personal and professional schedule, and many of my planned gym days end in my living room with Billy Blanks, Jr. I clearly lack a budgetary line item for workout clothes. As a rule I’m fine with that, but now I feel like sticking my phone in the strap of my sports bra cause I forgot to wear the sweatpants with pockets makes me…conspicuous.
Suddenly I am performing. I am this close to laying my elbows on the floor, because that is obviously not something a new year’s newbie could do. On the other hand I will avoid attempting plank because I am rubbish at plank and planking for twelve seconds before collapsing on my face with a bellow is exactly the kind of thing chaff would do.
All I’m saying is gym season hurts gym-goers. It turns half of us into pathetic, projecting, self-censoring children, and the other half into judgmental buttwipes. This is a matter of no importance to medicine, public health, policy, or social justice, but it happens to be true, the end.