1. Friendships Develop With Nameless Strangers
As your commitment to the gym increases, your routine will begin to overlap with the same recognisable faces. After a short while the casual conversations start, initially about your workout or the bikes in spin class, and then before you know it you’ve got a collection of gym-buddies. The funny thing is that whilst you get know the finer details of their life outside the gym, you’ve never actually introduced yourselves. The beauty of the relative anonymity of these connections is that it allows you to harmlessly open up about your problems before asking someone else, “emmm what’s her name again?!” We’ve all been there.
2. The Commit Occurs Outside Of The Gym Too
As you give a gym your bank details for the first time, you feel the expectations are realistic – a few session per week to achieve some feasible and obvious results. The truth is that if you haven’t given up within a month then you’ll be seduced in by the healthier lifestyle and workout culture. You’ve become slowly and accidentally devoted to your results. You never predicted you’d be calculating calories, feeling guilty when you don’t order the ‘healthy’ menu option, and declining that one final drink because you’ve got circuit class the following day. It just sort of happens.
3. The Dress Code Is That There’s No Dress Code.
You wanted to blend in with the gym crowd so you laced up the Nikes and put on a dark subtly-branded t-shirt. It’s not until you have a look around that you discover gyms are actually a mishmash of fashions that range from the sophisticated to the bizarre. There are the Big Boys in their sleeveless vests and the colourful brigade of ladies in matching fluorescents. There’s those with all the latest kit, and then there’s others who are wearing pretty much no kit at all. As long as all the necessary body parts are covered it’s pretty much a free-for-all catwalk of colours and fabrics. It’s inevitable that one style will draw you in and then….
4. ….You Buy More And More Gym Kit But It Always Seems To Be In The Wash
As you take healthy living more seriously you begin to purchase more t-shirts, shorts, and accessories to use in the gym. Your birthday and Christmas presents follow the same theme; an arm strap, ankles socks, a water bottle. You’ll quickly realise however that it is impossible to ever own enough clean workout gear, and soon begin to don the same well-worn clothes regularly.
5. Only Oddballs Smile At The Gym
Whether your someone who works out just to counter the layer of chub that’s expanded your waistline, or you’re somebody who genuinely loves to exercise, nobody seems to smile much in the gym. A wide grin in someone’s direction is is treated the same as walking up to somebody on the street and using your nose to touch theirs – pretty inappropriate and evidence that you don’t understand how society works.
6. Group Classes Become Part Of Your Routine
Despite your fixed workout programme, you may have been sucked in to organising your workout around a class timetable. Smart gym marketing tries to persuade you that classes are the best option and you catch yourself contemplating ‘Buts ‘N’ Guts’ and ‘Glute Camp.’ Perhaps you started out only wanting to do the occasional spin class but now you’re veteran of BodyPump, had a few Insanity sessions, and have even given Zumba a whirl. Admit it, you’re tempted.
7. For An Active Environment, There Is A Whole Lot Of Nothing Going On
For a facility that’s supposed to get everyone active, you never quite expect the amount of laziness you witness whilst you’re there. Mats are used as a means to lie on and gossip, groups of guys stand the weights area and never break sweat, and the mirrors are used more for smartphone selfies than checking technique. Going to the gym seems to be becoming less of a place of work and more of a social gathering.
8. Changing Room Etiquette: Hygiene Optional
If you’re the type to towel up your private bits and keeps a safe distance from other naked bodies, then don’t presume others do the same. Every changing room contains that one member who loves nothing more than chatting away whilst standing there in their birthday suit with everything pointed in your direction. Others choose to ignore all personal space, and even in an empty changing room, position themselves as close to you as possible. After a while you become used to the nose hair trimmers, the chest and armpit shavers, and even the spot poppers.
9. Sauna etiquette: Expect the unexpected
You presume the customs of your gym’s private facilities are going to be the same as a hotel spa but you inevitably got a bit of a shock. I’m not just referring to the array of wobbly bits that seemingly catch your eye wherever you look, but also the trend of turning the sauna in to part of the workout. I’ve personally seen dumbbells being used in the steam room, emails being sent from laptops in the jacuzzi, and fully clothed members in the sauna ‘getting their sweat on’ pre-workout. You now expect the unexpected.
10. Rest Days Are The Best Days
You discover the real definition of ‘bittersweet.’ The sweet – waking up realising blissfully that after yesterday’s exertions in the gym you’ve earned a recovery day. The bitter – you get out of bed (eventually) and have to sit straight back down as your muscles ache like crazy. Nevertheless, knowing that you won’t have to deal with anything gym related for at least 24 hours can feel like an absolute dream. No naked strangers, no washing, no sweating, no walking around like a gym kit cart horse, and certainly no feeling like you’re going to throw up your heart. Heaven.