I understand the “No-Judgement Zone” at my gym, really I do. It’s one of the reasons Daryl and I joined in the first place two months ago. We evaluated three gyms initially. We wanted something cheap, close to home, 24-hours, and no frills. After checking out a few in our area (by checking out, I mean me requesting to evaluate the locker rooms for cleanliness and to see if any hot guys were in the showers. HUGE setback for gay men in sports. Some say pervert… I say shallow. Potato, potahto), we settled on Planet Fitness.
So last night I went solo. Daryl was struggling with allergies. He gets them really bad this time of year and he let me know in no uncertain terms that he was not going to be cleaning post nasal drip from the handles of the elliptical. I told him that if there was no diarrhea or blood oozing from an orifice, that he was just rationalizing. I told him I’d be back in an hour unless I got checked out by a hot guy in the free weight section. Daryl answered, “just make sure to take plenty of pictures. Of HIM.” I mumbled “ass” to myself and to Daryl as I shut the door.
I don’t get complicated at the gym.
I choose a treadmill that is in front of an HGTV channel, and I get my heart rate up to about 150-160, and I go with my deep house music on my iphone, and I’m good for one hour. I’ll burn about 700 calories and I figure that’s more than enough to cover my glass of wine while cooking a healthy dinner later. There must be over 50 treadmills in the warehouse-like building, and I have never had to be next to another person while on them. Even at the busiest time of day, I usually get a workout in without someone running next to me.
About halfway into my routine, a young, sprite, color coordinated, blonde pony-tailed athlete hops onto the treadmill to my left. Now mind you, there are 11 empty treadmills to my right, but she leaps onto this one next to me. No problem, right? She does several leg stretches on the treadmill into positions that I’m sure make her popular with the men (and 10% of the women) at work. She pops her outfit-matching earbuds into her head, as she begins to warm up slow. (How’s that no-judgement thing working out for you, Ed?)
I continue on my jaunt a little more aggressively, as if trying to show this youngster I mean business on my quest to shed this middle-age gut while turning up the volume on Henrik Schwarz’s “From the Inside.” I’m totally in my zone when suddenly my treadmill begins to vibrate violently. My balance askew, I watched in horror as my draped gym towel tumbles to the black floor almost tripping me and it feels as though there is an earthquake in the gym.
Slightly unbalanced, I glanced next to me as Miss Exercise 2014 has suddenly sprinted into a gazelle position. Seriously, the girl is literally hopping into the air on the treadmill like a freaking gazelle in flight on the plains of Africa! Her hands have even assumed the primitive position like she’s carrying a purse of poo.
I didn’t know what to do.
I honestly didn’t know how to approach this. She was looking straight ahead while thrusting into the air with some Justin Bieber soundtrack I’m sure, with no regard to the crumbling of my fat burning program next to her. I thought of tapping her and shooting her a “can you be more considerate” look, but I didn’t want to get accused of molestation, so I continued, figuring she would tire of this leaping madness soon.
No such luck.
After a few more struggling minutes of me holding onto my treadmill in an unsuccessful attempt at trying to maintain some sense of balance, I shot her a look of disappointment (which I think came off more like a creepy leer), I pounded the “stop” button on my machine figuring that might make her hang her head in shame. She continued on as if a lion was nipping at her heels.
I stormed off my treadmill taking my towel and bottled water with me. I decided that I would switch to the treadmill in front of her to finish my routine, thinking she would get the hint that she was being inconsiderate and childish in her moment of fitness mania. I smiled smugly knowing that she was behind me now… out of sight, feeling shame at the fact that a fellow gym person had to move because of her “style” of running.
I was wrong.
As I began to finish my own hour of sweat-inducing fun, I pondered that perhaps I would approach her before I left. I would practice my communication skills with a polite conversation about possibly thinking of selecting a treadmill away from others if “you’re going to leap into the air like that.” I thought I could even approach her with some tips on how to be more considerate with others around. You know, some mature advice on the ins and outs of gym etiquette.
Unfortunately, when I turned around, she was gone. Looks like I’ll have to save my gym judgements for the next time.