I currently have the gym pretty well integrated into my lifestyle. I guess it kind of needs to be that way in order to make any progress on Operation: nWo.
When I’m at home or out, I’m all fun and games. At work, I’m a whole lot of business, but I engage in the occasional conversation. When I’m at the gym, I’m all business. I say, “hello” and smile for the people working at the front counter, but I don’t associate with other clientele, especially the creepy people flaunting their genitalia in the locker room. I have 35 minutes to hit my high impact strength training routine and fit in 25 minutes of cardio (that’s the current state of the split). I don’t have time to deal with the other people.
It’s usually never a problem. People at the gym like to keep to themselves.
Lately, there’s been a guy who has been on a roll of annoying me. Last week, I was doing pre-exhaust supersets between straight-arm pulldowns and wide grip pulldowns. All pre-exhaust means is that you start with an exercise isolating the muscles you are working, opposed to a compound exercise which works multiple body parts; superset means you do one exercise followed by the next with no rest. So you can imagine it’s pretty intense. I do 4 supersets (of both exercises), with about 30-40 seconds of rest between each superset. This works out my lats. If you’re unfamiliar with these muscles, here’s a picture:
This dude ran over to me from across the gym and asked me if I minded if he took over the bench, in between my superset, which is like a 0.5 millisecond time period while I switch positions. I carried on with my exercise, finished my set, and said, “what?” We went back and forth a little, and he insisted that he insert himself in between my supersets. I even offered to go to one of three other benches. He insisted he’d be quick. He was, but it was annoying to have to readjust the seat. I moved on; I wasn’t not gonna start a legit fight with this guy; I like my gym.
This week, I was doing pre-exhaust supersets (dumbbell flies, dumbbell press) on my chest with an incline bench. There were five other adjustable incline benches just like this one within 10 feet of me. Lo and behold, he interrupted me again and insisted that I don’t need to go to a different bench. I even offered! I was working at about a 45 degree angle; he lowered the bench to about 30 degrees, which means I had to adjust it between every set.
What’s wrong with this guy?
In all fairness, these little stories weren’t my worst encounters with inconsiderate people at the gym. Back in 2005, when I was focusing on bodybuilding, I confined myself to the RPI dungeon and used to love doing dumbbell shrugs to work out my trapezius muscles (the muscles between your neck and your shoulders). I wanted to look like Big Daddy Cool, Batista.
There was always this crazy kid who wore heavy metal t-shirts who would literally run around the gym and do 1-2 reps of random exercises with insane amounts of weight. Here’s a true life action shot. (he was so fast, I couldn’t keep him in focus!)
Anyway, I had 85 lb dumbbells in each of my hands (yes, it is a lot of weight, thank you very much), and I was doing my shrugs. In the middle of my set, this scrawny kid comes over to me, takes the weights out of my hands, tries to get them over his shoulders to do standing dumbbell presses, and totally fails. I was pretty pissed he took the weights from me, but I guess he got his.