Not a feeble girl, really

I’ve been going to the gym lately like a good girl. I enjoy it – ooh, the endorphin rush is really rather nice – and for a good 80% of the time I don’t even feel self conscious. Walking from the locker room to the water cooler (through the free weights section, lots of judgment) I feel self conscious, walking from the water cooler to the cross trainer I feel self conscious (no glasses = petrified I’m going to walk into someone), and walking back from whatever machine I used last to the locker room I feel (you guessed it) self conscious. But the rest of the time I don’t feel self conscious. Something to do with the fact that with no glasses on and my headphones in I’m in my own little bubble.

I only feel self conscious when I’m using one machine – the stomach curl/crunch thingy. It’s in the middle of a lovely semi-circle of other machines, all invariably used by big beefy toned men (who I can’t appreciate anyway because I haven’t got my glasses on). Then I have to use the machine on the lowest weight and can only manage 10 curls at a maximum before I stagger off in pain. Today I had to move the pin from the highest weight setting to the lowest. I could feel the scorn and derision in the gaze of those looking on.

I need a big flashing neon sign that says “Bad back! Stomach muscles surgically cut in two and not working any more!” so they know I’m not just a wimpy girl. On all the other machines I exhibit normal strength and prowess. It’s just that one I can’t do. And it’s just that one that is surrounded by all the others.

All I want for my birthday is a big, flashing, neon sign saying “I’m allowed to be weak on this one machine. And I should get points for trying”. But Moose says that’s a silly idea, and anyway, my birthday isn’t till September so I should be able to do at least 15 by then. She does have a point I guess, I mean – a big, flashing, neon sign. It’s hardly practical, it it?

19 thoughts on “Not a feeble girl, really

  1. The one thing no matter what fitness I’ve been is lift myself up to do chin presses or monkey bars – I have odd double jointed arms that can (on the bottom from elbow) turn around to be rather ew (great party ew trick). Way I see it is become kick arse at another machine 😉 Gyms can be odd places for your brain to judge itself.

  2. Well, console yourself then that unless you have very low body fat (which you might, I have no idea). doing stomach crunches/curls is pretty much pointless. In fact, it can make you look worse, as toned stomach muscles will cause any fat around the belly to stick out more.

    (Needless to say, my excuse for having a manly beer belly is just that I have excellent stomach muscles that make it look worse than it is. Honest.)

  3. You see, you’re going about this with the wrong attitude. The people watching should be able to make the assumption that perhaps you’re not a weakling and that you have a bad back. If they have any ability to empathize at all. If they don’t meet those two criteria well sod em – you don’t need a sign.

  4. One thing I’ve realized, no matter what you think, people don’t really notice you in the gym. Unless you really grabbed someone’s attention (read: very attractive) people simply carry on.
    I don’t think people pass judgment either because of a prisoner’s dilemma-type feeling: if I don’t judge, they won’t judge, and if they don’t judge, I won’t judge.

    At least, that’s been my experience. 😉

  5. I used to work at a YMCA and one of my jobs was to keep an eye out in the weight room, aka make sure no one gets hurt, and I can say that most people are too involved in their own activities to really notice another person. That is, of course, until they see someone that catches their eyes like Devin said.

  6. It must be a boy/girl thing, because I don’t think you chaps are quite getting the point of the post. Thank you all for your nice supportive comments though 🙂

    Tammie – double joints freak me out. We’re talking full on wig-mode at the sight (and minor stomach twinges at the mere thought). *shudder* My brother’s got this clicky thumb thing that he does deliberately. *shudder, shudder*

    Tristan – if I was doing them to get a flat stomach, that might be an issue. As it is, I’m doing them so my back doesn’t implode again. I have constant back pain and, as several nice physios and doctors have told me, the only solution really is to strengthen what’s left of my stomach muscles. (Front and back work together, so when front can’t work properly, the back over compensate, then decide to give up when you’re in the middle of an archery competition and representing your university… Not fun).

    Moose – the hat isn’t too practical. I mean, it’s hard enough keeping my headphones in at the gym. A hat’s going that little bit too far.

    Neko – you make the t-shirt, I will wear it, just so long as money gets donated to charity.

    Devin – are you saying I’m not attractive enough to draw attention at the gym? 😛

  7. Surely you know better than to offer up a challenge like that…

    I’m currently trying to work out how we could figure the race for life into it….

    hmmm…. how ’bout I make t-shirt, you wear t-shirt and via blog show evidence of it being worn at the gym… and us readers (voluntarily) sponsor you say 10p (or more for those not poor students!) a time between now and the race, which we pay via paypal or some other online thingy so we can stay in cyberspace??

    Can you make that work?


  8. OK, so long as the t-shirt is baggy and it isn’t pink, I agree in theory.

    And the baggy and not-pink are non-negotiable. I’ll do a lot for charity, but skin-tight and pink is just that little bit too far.

  9. it’ll need a wide neck as well, Cas is very picky about her t-shirts, she doesn’t like a ‘tight’ neck 🙂

  10. Gym people are not mean, in my experience. I know, because there are a lot of things that I didn’t know how to do when I went to my gym, and everyone was willing to help. If I went in with the wrong attitude, though, they wouldn’t have helped me. Gym people are people who like to help each other and help themselves; you’d be hard pressed to find someone who is their just to intimidate weaklings.

  11. Yo go girl!
    It’s great that you are going to the gym.
    I just went back for the first time last Sat. I felt the same way too. I would like my sign to say, “Been rear-ended 5 times, back is not-so-good.” I take my glasses off sometimes too, it’s a pain when I sweat into them and I sometimes think they’ll slide off my fae and break. Other times, I like seeing what the heck I am doing and making sure that pin isn’t on the wrong weight.

  12. Thank you fray, and welcome to Bright Meadow.

    Yeah, I tried the whole ‘wearing glasses at the gym’ thing for a while. I decided occasionally walking into things was preferable to having to keep buying new pairs!

  13. I promise (if we ever meet) to not do freaky double jointy things with my arms 😉 You are not alone, when I have said ‘can you do twist your bottom part of your arm around fully so your palm is facing up without turning your elbow’ most say of course, then try to do it and fail and go ‘no’. I usually get a ew when I do it (hence I don’t reeally ask anyone anymore – that and I got fed up of it being my only party trick so gave up on party tricks). It was handy for martial arts if someone tried to back hold me or arm grab me – few managed as I could snake out of it (sadly not through some great ninja skill but just for being a freak).

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