Monday, January 16, 2006

Variation - The spice of life

Who says strength training is boring? If you are someone who dreads the bore of the weight room, visit a public gym. Where else can you see such spitting images of every stereotype under the sun?

You have the classic iron pumping, vein popping, man. You find him in front of the biggest mirror there is and he makes an art out of looking at his big muscles. Even when he is resting between sets, he cannot help himself. He has to sneak just one more peek.

Then, you have the teenager wearing those half-long shorts that extend below the kneecap, a sleeveless shirt and to top it all off, the mandatory black hat. He is very focused and determined. He is so focused, as a matter of fact, that the only exercise he can possible commit to, is the bench-press. Anything else is a waste of time.

One of the most interesting types you find, are the ones that subscribe to the "harder, faster and heavier" philosophy. Again, their behavior makes them easy to spot - heavy, heavy weights, fast jerky movements and a dangerously wrong body-position. You can almost hear the muscles, joints and tendons snap, crack and break. Keep your distance. Of course, no self-respecting public gym would be without the "New Year's Resolution" individual. You can easily pick this person out, since he or she usually are the ones closest to the brink of exhaustion. You see, for them, there only exists 2 levels of intensity - full stop of full steam ahead. Anything in between would seem pointless. Unfortunately, the further we get away from New Year's, the rarer any sightings within this category will be. In most cases, by February 1st, you will not be able to spot this elusive, and very seasonal, species. At least not until next year.

But the most admirable, and sweet, creature in the public gym, is of course the first-timer. They are a shy group of individuals and should be approached with care. Say the wrong thing and you'll drive them away, possible forever. They are very self conscious and feel a bit out of place among all the other fanatics. They might not know exactly how to use each machine, but gladly welcome a helping hand from a friendly person. Take care of them, for they are the future of the public gym.

So, next time you are slaving over a leg press session - take a look around. It's pretty entertaining.

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