I love to visit other gyms when I am traveling. I am not one to miss workouts, in fact, I can't remember the last time that I did, although I remember all the players that missed a workout when I coached all those years. Hell, I remember when they missed reps. But that's another story.
So I always look for gyms that I can go to before I am going on a trip. And it depends how long I am staying at a particular place or what body part I am working while I am away. If it's just arms or shoulders, sometimes a hotel gym will suffice. They sometimes have dumbells that go up to 50-70 pounds, and I can get a great workout supersetting and moving fast. I'll be there dripping sweat everywhere and some guy will come in to do burpees or some shit and I'll be going around wiping the sweat off the floor, and the problem is when I lean down to wipe the sweat off of the floor, I drip sweat off of the tip of my baseball cap onto the floor. After awhile, I say screw it, and move on.
I've seen some stuff in hotel gyms, people doing exercises that I have never even seen before. But I don't say anything, I let them do their thing. Sometimes, parents will bring in their little kids and they will start fooling around and I give them the most evil look that I can give them until they stop fooling around. And I'm not above telling the kids to stop fooling around. Hell, if the parents can't control them, I will. The cardio equipment is usually a bike, a treadmill and an elliptical or two. I like the recumbent bike, because it doesn't make my testicles go numb like the sit up regular bikes. If they don't have a recumbent, I will walk on the treadmill or go outside to walk. I can't use the elliptical because I would lose my man card immediately if I did.
Sometimes, like when I visit the same place more often, I get to know the gyms and sometimes the members remember me. There is a gym in Shelby, NC that I go to when I am visiting there, and it is a very good gym and the people are super cool. I think that I paid like 10 bucks for three or four days of training. The prices of all the gyms vary for training for a day or week. Most of the time its 15-20 dollars to work out for the day. I will only pay that if I am totally desperate. And some of those places don't give you a weekly rate, it's just fifteen bucks a day, period. Hell, I pay 24 dollars a month at my home gym! The best gym that I go to on vacation is Rise Fitness in Rehoboth, Delaware. All the weights that you need and an area for chalk and powerlifters too. And its 35 dollars for the week. It's a great price for a great gym. And nobody bothers me, which I like.
There are some amusing things that happen in the gyms where I train when travelling. I have seen it all! One guy was using a crunch machine and he was literally crunching like 2 inches as fast as he could. My 13 year old son looked at me and asked, Dad what the hell is that? Which made me laugh out loud.Oh, you see people do all kinds of stuff in gyms. But I just figure, hell,at least they are working to improve themselves.
In most every gym that I have been to, there are the same “types” of people. Let me explain what I mean.
You have the hungry kid- this is the teenager who is really into lifting, the type of kid who reads a pro bodybuilder’s workout on the Internet and prints it out and follows it to the letter and has on the latest bodybuilding tank top with a saying on the front, like SAVAGE, NO PAIN, stuff like that. He’s got his preworkout kicking in, his intra workout is good to go, and his post workout shake is in his gym bag. He's into it and I respect that, but he goes too heavy for his own good and his form is a little off and he will just have to learn that all that work takes a bunch of calories and somebody might want to tell him that all the hormones that the pro is taking helps him recover a little better and he may need to reduce the sets a little. But that's fine, I like the enthusiasm.
Then you have the Mayor. He is usually over 50 or acts like he is. The “old school” guy. Shuffles around from “old high school knee injury”. This is the guy who is a little loud, has a comment for everyone. Not mean-spirited, in fact, usually super friendly. He's the welcome guy, calls me “big boy” and tells me what he used to lift when he was younger. He likes talking to my kids and asking them if they are as strong as dad, and tells them to listen to their dad.
You have the shy overweight lady or man. Gets on the cardio right away and then does a little machine circuit, maybe some dumbbells. I respect the hell out of people like them. It must be so intimidating to come into a gym when you are so out of shape, to just take that step to join and to actually go and be consistent.
There's the construction dude. Wears jeans and construction boots. Wears a shirt with either paint on it or a shirt with the name of the company he works for on it. Benches and curls and some push ups. Maybe half squats. Good guy, usually has a friend from work who he is mentoring and telling him how to do things. He's usually wrong with his teachings, but he's so adamant that he is right that there would be no telling him that he isn’t.
Also the senior citizen. Usually male, wears pants and sometimes a collared button up shirt. Does some machines, a little cardio. Usually alone. Quiet and gets his work done. I always figured that their doctor has told them how good weight training is for their health and bone density and they have joined the gym on doctors orders.
Oh man, how about The TALKER. Lawd, they kill me. I was wanting to use a machine the other day and there was a water bottle on it. I asked the two ladies who were in deep, deep conversation if the water bottle was one of theirs. Oh yes, the one said, we are going from one exercise to another. They weren't, they were talking. We only have one more set, said the one. I just looked at them. My mind is like, OK, tell them that they are just bullshitting around, and the other part of my brain says, let it go, let it go. I let it go. Then there is the guy who spends ten minutes at the front desk talking to the workers, then his phone rings and so he talks on the phone for awhile and then he sits at the lat machine and texts for awhile, and then he sees a lady he knows and talks to her, then talks to his friend at the bench press. He looks at me and I pull my hat real low and look away. You see, I don't want to be a dick, so I avoid the situation. Because if he tries to talk to me , I will just nod and smile. But if keeps going, I may ask him why he is even in the gym if all he is gonna do is talk, and that's why he looks the same all of the time, and how can he concentrate when he is running his mouth so much?
Next, there is the calisthenics man/woman. I respect the effort, but all the switching in the air lunges and burpees and squats with a kettle bell going halfway down and then doing something where you look like you are punching with a cable in your hands and doing all of that over and over again for an hour can be replaced by just a few sets of squats , deadlifts and presses. Yes, I know that they don't want to do those lifts, and their goal is to get “toned” and “functional”, but they are going about it assbackwards. I think that the deal is that those people who perform those types of workouts like the sweaty, exhausted sorta feeling when they train. But that's not an indicator of any progress at all. In fact, the people that I see doing those workouts haven't gotten any stronger and they all look the same. I also suspect that performing squats and deadlifts and presses are uncomfortable for them and that plays a factor, also. Why not just sweat a lot and spin their wheels? That's what they are doing.
There is also the class taker- this is the person who signs up for every class, the spinning, aerobics with a light barbell, the circuit. Loves the camaraderie and sweating. Comes with a friend. Carries a towel and yoga mat.
How about the guy who does weird stuff- this is a guy who makes up exercises as he goes. He does presses on the standing calf, presses the leg press with his arms, does some jumping squats, and does “combo” exercises, like a curl into a lateral raises and into a press. Unique. In their own world.
And you can not forget the overdressed/ under dressed- Lady whose clothes are super skimpy, , turns her head in mirror and purses lips between sets. Spends a lot of time getting ready for the gym. Right on with fashion. Not gonna sweat no matter what. Wears brand name clothes . Wears risque outfit and wonders why everyone is staring.
There is always the half squat guy- he loads on the plates, puts the pad on the squat bar, has a partner filming him and yelling at him to draw attention to themselves, takes the bar off, the whole gym is watching with anticipation, and he starts his set and goes halfway down and then finishes and everyone sorta looks at each other and his partner slaps him on the back and says, “good job”.
And one or two of the tatted up guy- covered in tattoos from head to toe, works hard , doesn't talk much, tough guy persona. Either a cop or outlaw biker.
I can’t take the grunting guy- calls attention to himself while using light weights. Yells, sings out loud with his headphones on.Makes 225 on the squat bar seem like 900 with the grunting and groaning.
The “Hey, I’m using that” guy- never heard of the concept of “working in” on an exercise. Monopolizes machines and dumbells while supersetting and trisetting. Looks at abdominals in the mirror a lot, giving the impression that he is done training, but is secretly waiting to tell someone, “Hey, I’m using that!”
Uh oh, I almost forgot the gallon of water guy- This one kills me. Who ever told these people that you had to carry a gallon of water around? Or that everyone should drink a gallon of water each day? You mean to tell me that they drink a whole gallon of water each day? Can I just drink out of the water fountain at the gym when I’m thirsty? And it's just so cliche also, the wide billed cap on sideways (Why is that cool? Do you need help putting your cap on straight?), and sometimes backwards and sideways, the designer shirt and pants from an online bodybuilding clothing company, the gym bag filled to the brim with who knows what, and the ever present water jug.
I was trying to figure out where I would fit in all of the above descriptions. I sorta figured it out. How about the sweaty, non friendly guy? I do sweat a lot, and it's not that I'm not a nice guy, but I have always felt that talking and bullshitting would make me lose my focus, and it would. So I sorta look down and pull my hat down real low and sometimes add headphones, too. Then I can close myself off to the world and have my little time to myself. And I really don’t talk at all except to say excuse me or to say hello to the front desk guy. So I guess that's not friendly, but it's not a bar or social hour. Its training. Its serious and important, at least to me.
I reckon that it takes all types to make up a public gym and it does make it interesting. Some of the types are inspiring and some others serve a very useful purpose for me; they irritate me so much that it fires me up for training.