So I went to LA Fitness yesterday and used my last training session. Although difficult to secure a squat rack, I got one. My observation at this particular gym is that some guys spend quite a bit of time doing annoying things:
1) They hog the stations (no surprise there)
2) Stare at themselves in the mirror (not at other people). Just themselves.
3) Then they talk to other dudes …. while managing to not lift much weight.
I think they were flirting. I was the LA Fitness at 20th St. I was sitting on a bike waiting impatiently for a squat rack to open up for an hour. No biking. Just waiting. It was the strangest mating ritual I’ve ever seen. Like going to a pickup bar. Except with harsh fluorescent lighting, tank tops and sneakers.
My conclusion is based on observations. Let me explain one dude’s paths.
Plates placed on the barbell. Then the dude walked over to grab water from the water fountain. (Why wouldn’t you bring a water bottle to the gym?) Then he stood there and chatted with another guy at the water fountain. I timed him. He was there ten minutes. (Mind you, I was getting nervous, my session was rapidly approaching. Plenty of guys had been romancing each other in the hour I’d been sitting there.)
I’m thinking dude is ready to lift. Nope. Dude meets the guy at the smith rack/machine whatever it’s called. Time to talk to him. 8 minutes. Another guy joins in. (He’s wearing his baseball hat ala frat style, backwards. I want to suggest a headband.) Lots of laughter.
Finally they break.
Guy returns to the squat rack. He performs some shrug action. I have no idea what this lift technique is called. He does 5 reps. I count them out. Takes a rest. Walks in a different direction to do some arm curls. This is awesome. I’m excited for him. Chats it up with some other friends for 7 minutes. Everyone seems super tan. I hope they’ve been visiting a dermatologist regularly to screen moles. (Or that this is some serious spray tan action and not a tanning bed.) Interestingly enough the arm curls do NOT involve grunting.
Guy returns to the squat rack. Changes plates. Moves to dead lifts. Ok, I’m with you friend. Big plates on there. Does six of these.
Time for some water!
And some new friends.
I am about to die.
Strolls back to the rack. Removes the plates and miraculously walks away. (Hey! He put the plates back! That’s unusual! Plus I knew he was done! Thanks dude!) I sprint like there is a fire from my bike. I have five minutes before my trainer and I are to meet for the first time. I put my pink water bottle down. I briefly consider removing one of my Aqua style Brooks sneakers off to leave as a marker. “This rack is taken!” But I don’t.
Instead I pace the twenty feet from where the trainers meet and the racks. My heart pounds as I worry I will lose the rack. The length of my nervous pacing shortens as I DO NOT want to lose my rack. Thankfully I eventually hear, “Are you Irene?” And so I meet Erin. A pretty neat trainer that spotted me yesterday. I hit an old personal record and was quite pleased with myself.