Sometimes I think there should be a sitcom called “Gym Rats” because of all the characters that find their way there. And I think this morning would qualify as an episode.

So I arrive at the gym around 7:15 a.m., and as I step into the free weight area I see a couple working out together. The girl is doing walking lunges with a 30 lb barbell.

Enter character #1–A very loud, large Bulgarian trainer with a penchant for cursing. I’m not exaggerating when I say that he bellows out things like, “What the fuck are you doing sitting on your ass? Get the fuck up!” in a Schwarzenegger-esque accent. Last week I heard him talking about his sex life to his clients, saying that one time he got so drunk he passed out and when he woke up some girl was on top of him, if you know what I mean.

So anyway, this Bulgarian trainer walks up to the couple and says to the guy, “What are you trying to do to this girl? She shouldn’t be lifting anything that weighs more than 10 lbs. Women get muscles in their legs like that *snaps*. She should do body weight or very light weight and 30 to 50 reps. If not, she’s going to put on a lot of muscle and not lose the fat and look bigger.”

Now, I generally try to not be judgmental, but I could not keep my cool in this situation. In fact, I was fuming. I couldn’t believe that a trainer of all people was saying this. And the sad thing was that the couple ate it up. For those of you who are not familiar with muscle building protocol, THIS IS FALSE. Women do not bulk up just like that. Doing lunges with a 30 lb barbell is not enough to make your legs huge. And if anything, having more muscle helps you burn fat.

As he was talking to that couple, I wondered what he would think of my workout and my HUGE, BULKING muscles. (At the time I was doing cable lat pulldowns with 85 lbs for 3 sets of 10.) I did feel a strong urge to speak up, but I didn’t. As much as it bothered me, I didn’t want to get involved.

This trainer has also come up to me and told me not to deadlift because I was going to mess up my back. I asked him if my form was bad and he said that it was fine, it’s just the exercise that’s bad. This is something I strongly disagree with. I think it’s easy to hurt yourself if you don’t know what you’re doing, but I am very confident that I was executing it correctly. Ever since then I haven’t put much stock into his opinions about fitness.

Moving along…just as I had finally managed to get over being upset/annoyed about that incident, character #2 came up to me. He’s probably in his late forties or early fifties. I’ve talked to him before, so I didn’t think much about him approaching me. He asked me how my writing was going, and what I was writing lately. I thought he was just being friendly, so I told him where I work. I usually do not volunteer this information to people unless they press me, and he was asking a lot of questions but seemed harmless enough.

This is my saving grace when I need to block people out at the gym. Why didn't I use it today?

He got way too excited about it. He kept telling me how cool it was, and that could “give [me] some ideas, because [he’s] a total freak.” Umm. No thanks. I keep working out. He’s babbling about how he likes to write and how awesome my job is. I shrug and tell him I’m over it. Finally, I’m done with my workout and say bye to him. The following conversation ensues:

Self-proclaimed freak: So do you want to get coffee sometime?
Me: Um…I don’t know…
Self-proclaimed freak: Well, how about I get your number?
Me: I have a boyfriend.
Self-proclaimed freak: Oh. Well, why don’t we get coffee anyway?
Me: No.

Give me a break, dude. You don’t want to just get coffee. It really bothers me when guys pull the whole “Oh, you have a boyfriend? We can still be friends” thing. I don’t think that’s ever their intention, but whatever.

So yeah, that was my morning at the gym. That’s a lot more excitement than I’m used to before 8:30 a.m. If you’re curious about my workout, it was a back/biceps day. Here’s what I did:

Bent-Over Barbell Row: 3 sets of 10 at 85 lbs
Machine Lat Pulldown: 3 sets of 10 at 135 lbs (I had a plate on each arm lever thingie)
Wide Grip Cable Pulldown: 3 sets of 10 at 85 lbs
Seated Cable Row: 3 sets of 10 at 85 lbs
Back Extension: 3 sets of 10 at bodyweight
Barbel Curl: 3 sets of 10 at 30 lbs
Incline Dumbbell Curl: 3 sets of 10 at 12 lbs
Alternating Hammer Curl: 3 sets of 10 at 15 lbs

And in more non-weirdo news, I heard this song on the radio on the way to the gym and dug it.

4 comments on “Adventures in gymland”

  1. I want to hulksmash that trainer so bad, you have no idea. Actually, come to think of it, I bet you DO have an idea. What is it with trainers giving such bad advice? It reminds me of doctors who tell women they shouldn’t run because their bodies “aren’t built for it.” WTF?

  2. Yes, I know the rage all too well. I don’t know what his deal is. I just try to tune him out when I go to the gym or else I’d get pissed every time I went.

  3. “THIS IS FALSE. Women do not bulk up just like that”

    Women in Bulgaria do, unfortunately

    Sorry for this bad specimen from my tribe

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