6 of the most annoying things about gyms...but why I still go
- Credit: Archant � 2008
Andrew Papworth reveals the things that get on his nerves in gyms - but why he still couldn’t live without his monthly membership.
They are not for everyone - but for as long as I can remember, I have always been an avid gym-goer.
As someone often works long hours, I find a regular bout of furious exercise not only helps to keep me fitter and healthier than I would otherwise be, but helps work off the stresses and strains of constant newsroom deadlines.
In a weird way, being able to push yourself on a long run or cycle ride is oddly relaxing. I've also always found gyms essential to keeping up a regular routine when the weather is poorer (believe me, running and cycling in the snow and ice is not practical - I have scars and bruises to prove it).
But that doesn't meant to say that gyms don't, at times, irritate the hell out of me.
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It's certainly not the case at all gyms and it's also probably not fair to say that they irk me all of the time. Indeed, many of the gyms I've used have probably found it more annoying to have me as a member than the other way around.
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? Loud music - I don't mind a bit of music when working out, but sometimes it is so loud it can even drown out music in your headphones. It should be loud enough to hear, but not so much to dominate.
? Slamming the weights down - we can all understand someone accidentally dropping something, but do people need to do it every time? If they're having to let go of a weight that early, it's probably a sign it's too heavy for them...
? Grunting and groans - again, if you need to make a weird noise when weightlifting then you're probably over-pushing yourself - and it's off-putting to others around you.
? Talking on the phone - when you're concentrating on pushing yourself hard, someone having a conversation about what they did last night or what's for dinner can be really irritating.
? Barely exercising - okay these people aren't really harming anyone, but I can't understand why people go to a gym to use a treadmill at a snail's pace. What's the point?
? Sales pitches - this hasn't happened very often, but occasionally an eager personal trainer accosts you mid-run to ask whether you need help keeping fit. One perhaps implied he thought I was a little skinny when he asked, in a leading way: "Would you like to build muscle?" If I want a personal trainer, I'll come to the front desk to ask.
I've heard some people say gyms are great places for couples to meet. If that's the case, my would-be wife was probably talking on the phone or slamming weights down at the time - and believe me, I wouldn't have seemed greatly attractive after a workout (or even before, you might say). Besides, I think people should be able to go about their workout without unwanted advances.
To many, gyms can also be quite intimidating places. More often than not the treadmills and weights are dominated by some seriously fit people who, if you're not at that level, can seem almost impossible to match. Some gyms' wall art doesn't help by showing models at the peak of physical fitness.
I suspect just a few of those people are not doing quite as much of a workout one might think at a first glance (these are the so-called "posers"). I personally don't worry too much about how big someone else's muscles are, as I know that I'm doing is just fine for me - although I can understand why it makes others a little anxious.
That said though, many people find exercising alongside others quite motivating - which probably brings us on to one of the main reasons gyms are so popular. They are essentially a community of like-minded people who can encourage each other, rather than you having to pound the streets alone.
Admittedly I'm not the most sociable person in the gym but it works for me too, as it's a place I can go and do my own thing to get a couple of hours away from the rest of the world. Just put away your mobile phone and we'll get along fine...