I've recently been making an effort to get back to the gym. After all, I've been paying for the membership. Since I've been back, I've decided to try a new approach. I mean...I've never really been a fan of running on the treadmill. It always kind of makes me feel like I'm a little rabbit chasing after a dangling carrot that I'll never catch. Not to mention watching the little timer clock tick away one second at a time...all the while, hoping you don't lose your balance and go flying off the back of the treadmill, prompting a member of the gym staff to rush to your side while other gym-goers gather around your machine snap pictures with their cell phones....then you have to spend the next half hour filling out an "incident report" in the gym office. No, I've decided I'm more of a "weight machine" girl. (Please note that the above scenario is strictly hypothetical and to the best of my knowledge has never happened to me).
So last week I was back at the gym, ready to conquer my new weight routine, when I realized that I had no clue how to use the machines that look very much like little torture contraptions. I mean sure, there are instructions with little illustrations of stick figures that are meant to be helpful, but honestly, I was still in the dark. You really don't want to be standing at a gym machine squinting to read to itsy bitsy directions while other gym-goers are impatiently waiting their turn. No, you want to "blend in"...get on the machine, do your "reps" (see....I've got the lingo down")....and get off. The key here is to look like you know exactly what your doing, as if to say..."ya, I got this..." otherwise, well we all know what will happen....some creepy, weirdo lurker just WAITING for just such an opportunity will pop out of nowhere to show you how to use the machine. You know the type - he's typically hanging around the weight machines never actually using one. He's always there ready with a helpful tip. Don't make eye contact or else he will assume you want to have children with him.
Using the machines at the gym is sort of like ordering beverages at Starbucks for the first time. At first it's intimidating...like everyone else knows what's going on but you. People at the gym are hopping on and off the machines without incident. People are Starbucks are ordering things like Venti Soy Caramel Macchiatos and Grande Skinny Vanilla Lattes...and you feel like there's no learning curve. Like everyone else got the memo and you didn't. How do they know how to use the rowing machine and what a Venti Macchiato is?? Have you ever tried going to Starbucks and ordering a medium coffee 2 and 2? You can almost hear the collective sighs of the barista and other customers. Their sighs communicating to one another..."we have a code 547 here - newbie at register 2 - no clue.." After a few eyerolls, they give you your ordinary coffee and you scamper off and head back to Dunkin' Donuts where there's a better feeling of acceptance & community. Where a small coffee is a small coffee. Don't get me wrong, I've come to understand & love Starbucks. In fact I'm currently having a love affair with their new Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher...and it's been fabulous. A summer to remember....my Trenta Very Berry Hibiscus and I skipping hand in hand through flowery fields. Yep - it's costing me a small fortune, but that's what second mortgages are for, right?
So ya, new gym routine, here I come. And I've found the best way to figure out the machines is to pick one you want to use, then watch a few people use it. It's by far the easiest and best way. That way I at least know the basics of where my head goes and where my feet go. What I do is get on a treadmill closest to the weight machine area - so I don't look like a stalker freak just staring at people on the machines - and observe. Typically, I tend to always get next to "The Overacheiver" on the treadmill next to me. You know the type -a quick glance at her display panel will show that she's running 8 miles per hour and she's already on mile 6. You get on the machine next to her for 30 minutes and when you get off shaky legged and sweating profusely, she's still on her treadmill - on mile 12 - and has barely broken a sweat. Oh....why can't there just be a gym IN Starbucks??? Me & my Trenta Very Berry could figure it all out together :)