At the gym every morning, I’m the equivalent of the annoying student who we’d call a chomu in school. For those not in the know, a chomu is that overeager beaver, always aiming to over-achieve and please everyone by doing everything right, all the time. I’m that person at the gym. Which is to say I’m always asking for more. More reps, higher weights, more rounds of the circuit, more kickboxing, more time. And I very rarely slack off (if I do, then my trainer knows its time to be worried), or whine and complain loudly, or try and get out of finishing something I’ve started. I’m always striving for perfection, it’s a serious disease and I’m a self confessed endorphin junkie. Three times over, in fact. I rarely miss a class, bunking without reason is unheard of, so you understand why I’m comparing myself to that special breed of enthu cutlet we all love to hate.
Predictably, everyone around me hates this. Because it means they have to suffer the elf-inflicted pain of keeping up. It’s either that, or they have to feel inadequate. Neither is a favourable state to be in, so they take the easy way out and mock me for being the enthu cutlet that I am. Silent sniggers behind my back to loud giggles in my face, to snide comments about how everyone is made to suffer because of me – I’ve seen it all. None of it affects me. I don’t feel bad, mostly because I am unapologetic about how I want to spend my time at the gym. However, when it goes so far as to take the focus off form what I am there to do, and it eats into my productive time, then I get a little peeved.
Tough luck, I just happen to be someone who is serious about the time I spend at the gym. Sure I may be a little extreme with my enthusiasm, but at least I only inflict that on myself. I have a single-minded focus on making that one hour count, completely for myself.
The truth is, I don’t fully understand why people would want it any other way. It’s just that one hour in the day. And it’s one hour that I’m inclined to believe they’ve chosen to spend at the gym. Out of their conscious volition. I can’t think of too many people who find themselves at a gym because someone forced them into it and dragged them out there at 8 am everyday. So I don’t understand why some of the folks I work out with feel the need to come to the gym day after day and then complain about having to 1) work out 2) challenge their bodies 3) sweat it out.
It’s like they weren’t expecting it. And I can’t understand it at all! As a result I don’t have any sympathy either. So there’s only so much I can react to or participate in the inane comments and conversation that invariably occurs. Coupled with my general lack of interest and deliberate attempts to stay aloof, I’m hyper aware that I come of looking like a complete snob. I may have got the act of physically zoning this stuff out down to an art, because there are days when I just plain refuse to react even when I’m being spoken to.
Part of me feels I’d rather be thought of as a snob, than try and be polite and compromise on the 60 minutes that I get at the gym. But mostly I just don’t know how to react to some of the things I hear. Sample this, it’s just a selection from today alone.
“Oh god, I’m sweating so much!”
“This is really hard haan? Especially on a Monday” (at which point my trainer helpfully offered, “It’s hard everyday”)
“You mean I have to lift this?”
“How many more rounds? Can I skip this one?”
“Put your butt out” *giggle giggle giggle*
When asked to stay with the time and not stop before – “I’m not good at staying” *giggle giggle giggle*
“Only my butt is getting bigger, I want other things to get bigger” (at this point my eyes rolled into the parallel universe and back)
“Why do we have to do this stretch?”
“Please have mercy, don’t you love us?”
I’m very curious why they even bother dragging themselves to the gym at all. The extra hour of sleep might actually do them more good than the half-assed attempt at working out can. What’s even funnier is the slightly backhanded appreciation I sometimes get. Semi-fake, mildly phoney admiration for the fact that I can lift more, stretch more, punch more.
I suppose the part where I work hard at it is lost on them. That might be an opportune time to suggest that the energy and effort expended in trying so hard to dodge their way out of every damned exercise could actually maybe, used to like, work out, you know? Lift those weights, sweat it out, get better at it, feel fitter. Maybe?
No? Okay, no. Maybe not.