The Awkward Guide

In every situation in life, there's always a way to make a tit of yourself

The Awkward Guide To The Gym

Quite aside from the issues of trying not to fall spectacularly off a treadmill, drop a piece of expensive equipment, or be intimidated by the man in the corner who seems to be bench-pressing the equivalent of a small articulated lorry, gyms are a bountiful source of opportunities to make an arse of yourself.

Here, in no particular order, apart from the fact that it’s a numbered list, are three of the most awkward things about going to the gym.

1. Aside from water fountains, squishy mats, and middle-aged men in alarmingly tight shorts, gyms are full of three things that most of us could do without when exercising – glass walls, bright lights, and mirrors. Now, we all know that sweating and becoming slightly flushed with colour are fully expected and fully acceptable aspects of doing physical activity.

That doesn’t necessarily mean that we relish the prospect of constantly seeing our own face from 360 unique angles while we dissolve into a puddle of sweat and work through the Dulux colour chart, from Vermilion Pink to Cardiac Arrest Red. It also doesn’t mean that we enjoy the fact that people walking past outside, people who are still a lovely normal colour, can see our brightly lit, perspiring bodies in all their glory.

2. Excercise Classes. These essentially amount to an unecessarily mirrored, brightly lit room full of people wearing flourescent lycra and trying desperately to muster some semblance of coordination and rhythm. Usually also trying desperately not to cry, fall over, or fart as they attempt to move their limbs in ways human limbs just aren’t meant to move.

And at the front, leading the show, is an unfathomably energetic person with a microphone taped to their face and a maniacal glint in their eyes. This person seems to be what you’d get if you mixed Rambo with a ’90s popstar, gave them speed, and sent them to an all-night rave.

Your own floundering attempts to move various parts of your body in time to music take on an added sense of urgency when there is a heavily muscled person in a tight vest shouting at you to “find it” “pick it up” “make it burn” – leading you to conclude only that you’re not entirely sure what “it” is (possibly your will to live), but it’s probably safe to say that you don’t have it, and even if you did, burning it would not be at the top of your to-do list.

3. Changing Rooms. Because it is a truth universally acknowledged that you will only encounter someone you know in a changing room when you are in a state of mild-to-severe nudity. Making polite small talk and convivial chit-chat becomes exponentially more challenging when you are wriggling around under a towel, trying to put your pants on without accidentally flashing a room full of mild-to-severely naked people.

Of course, there is always at least one person who thinks “hang it” and stands there in the complete bufty, casually towelling their hair. That person has my undying respect for their sheer unabashedness and self-confidence. They do, however, cause some consternation because carrying out a friendly discussion of recent weather conditions with an acquaintance is not made easier by the presence of a really very naked body in close proximity.



The Awkward Guide accepts no responsibility for adverse reactions to the implementation of advice supplied herein. Side-effects can include: smug laughter, mild disdain, and temporary irritation.


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