Lunch gym people, inactivity judgement and other gym-related musings

I went to the gym this afternoon at around 1:30.

I have never been to the gym at that hour.  I generally either go first thing in the morning or in the evening after work.  But today, 1:30 was pretty close to first thing in my morning because I was in the ED working a night shift last night, so I went to bed at 5am.

I was shocked to see the sheer volume of people there.  I had to weave my way through a sea of naked women (ick… So not a fan of naked strangers) to hunt for a free locker, but by the time I did that I did manage to snag an empty elliptical machine.

My first thought was, “Do these people work?!?”

Then I realized as the gym rapidly seemed to clear by 2ish that indeed they do.

These are a new-to-me species.  The lunch-hour gym people.

They blow my mind.

First of all, taking my lunch time to workout is basically an impossibility.  Because, well, what lunch?  Most of the time, I inhale food at a desk or run to the cafeteria and challenge myself to a speedy eating competition.  My Family Med rotation did offer the perk of an hour long lunch, but by the time I finished writing notes from the morning and prepping for the afternoon clinic, it worked out to about a half hour.  Still better than I normally expect!

The fact that people actually have enough time to go to the gym, shower and get back to work is insane to me.  Even at my best jobs, this would have been a stretch and would have led to starvation.

On that whole starvation thing… I see lunch time as eating time.  So, I can’t imagine taking my fueling time to burn more calories.  Maybe this is part of the reason I will never be a size 0, but I am okay with that.

It occurs to me that in order to basically lose your lunch hour to going to the gym, you must actually love going to the gym.  Maybe not.  I guess I am so used to being down a lunch, that if I did have enough time it would be worth it.  But still, there is a lot of clothes changing.

I don’t hate going to the gym.  I quite like it.  Once I get there.  I love the feeling you get after a good workout.  I love knowing that I am doing good things for my body.  I love realizing that I am able to workout longer and harder without wanting to die.

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Plus, I have this new app called Fitocracy that gives you points for work outs and then you get to do challenges or up levels.  It makes it a game.  And a challenge.  I am pretty competitive, so this is a big win for me.

Nonetheless, there are many other things I would rather do with my time.  I am definitely a person who goes sometimes just to make sure I get my moneys worth.  And sometimes because I know I should.  And then the other few times because I like it.

I don’t like changing clothes (I know, I am such a typical girl), and the gym requires changing.  I often don’t like the TV they show at the gym and it is too hard to run and read simultaneously (plus the books always flip closed and frustrate me).  I don’t hate sweating.  But, I sweat like a man.  Even my ears sweat (I know, TMI) and then my headphones fall out and that makes me a crazy person.

Because of all this, it amazes me when people LOVE the gym.  And by that, I mean love it enough to go every single day or take in their work day to do it.  I just can’t imagine.  Maybe that will change someday.  But really, I have never been a sports person.

I think my other beef is that I am not a good land beast.  I am that person who stumbles off the elliptical.  Who refuses to run on a treadmill because I envision myself shooting off (I have a friend who did this and I will never forget the moment) and the person who pinches their finger on a weight machine.  When I was a kid, I swam.  I love swimming.  But, joining a pool is significantly more expensive and less portable than my gym membership.  Plus, pools are even more high maintenance with regards to changing and hair removal and such. And they have a notoriously higher rate of naked and scantily clad individuals that I like to avoid.

So, I will stick to the gym.

The good bit is that when I get to go in the morning, the gym is empty, which means I don’t hear other people grunt or see naked people in the locker room and all that good stuff. Plus, I get my pick of machines.  In the evening, not quite so much.

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The better bit is that it is good for me.  Even when I don’t want to think that.

But the gym isn’t the only way to get activity.  This time of year rocks because we can go for walks or outside swims and all that good stuff.

And this brings me to my last bit of rant.  I do judge you if you say you don’t have time to do physical activity.  I admit it.

In medicine, we suggest that people get out and get active.  And then people tell me how busy they are with work or kids or what have you.  And I get it.  You are busy.  And I can’t walk in your shoes to see what it is like. So, maybe I should accept it, but I don’t want to.  Maybe because if I have to, you should too.

There are plenty of ways to be active without braving the gym or spending the money for classes.  Go outside for a walk.  Play with your kids.  Take the stairs.  Some jobs are already super active.  You can be active without a formal program.  People in nursing homes even do some sitting exercises.  Anything is a start.

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Trust me, I hate playing organized sports, I work a million hours per week and I don’t love the gym, but I still at least fit in a walk or some stairs or something.  And so can you.  It is kind of like the take a lemon and squeeze it into other people’s eyes kind of thing.

Maybe that is unfair of me because I know everyone is different. And I am not a crazy person who thinks everyone has to work-out every day  I sure don’t.  I am more referring to the couch potatoes out there who drive in circles for hours to get the closest parking spot when they have no disability preventing them from walking.

There is harm to doing too much activity.  But more people have the opposite problem.

And yet despite all this, the lunch break gym people still blow my mind.

For some humor, check out this Jimmy Fallon clip entitled #myweirdgymstory.

8 thoughts on “Lunch gym people, inactivity judgement and other gym-related musings

  1. I love when you include Jimmy Fallon videos. That tweet about the people faceplanting on their treadmills was hilarious!

    We actually have a work-out area at my work, and the thought of eating, changing to gym clothes, working out, showering, and somehow looking work appropriate again within an hour, even without leaving the building, seems impossible.I don’t see how people can do that. But I also don’t go to the gym ever, so maybe I’m not the right person to try to figure this out…

    • I am glad you love the Jimmy Fallon videos. They get me by, that is for sure.

      The in-work workout area is interesting. I don’t think I could do that. I had a friend who while rotating at a hospital as a med student was asked by her supervisor to go to Zumba class with her… In the hospital atrium during lunch. She went because, well, she wanted to make a good impression and discovered that people going by could watch and that her supervisor is a ridiculous athlete who hardly broke as sweat, while she, red faced and wheezing had to go on for the rest of the day. That is what I think of when I think of bad things that can happen with exercise during lunch.

  2. I have 3 machines in my basement but even getting down there is hard. Gotta kick the kids out, get changed, find my music, my sweatband, my water blah blah. When I get home at 7 and have an entire day of stuff to do (including blogging!), it gets stuffed more often then not. I cant imagine adding a drive and parking and waiting to it.

    • I totally understand… The work-out often gets skipped based on the other stuff (including blogging). I am trying to be better about it at least a few days a week. The machines in the basement cut out the drive, though. That is a big win!

  3. I suffer from the “don’t these people work?” syndrome if I’m for some weird out in public during the months of August-May. Then, since I’m a teacher, June- July I become one of the people that people are silently telling to get a job. I seriously could never fathom working out during lunch. I get 35 minutes- by the time I walked to my car and drove to the gym it would be time to go back.

    • It is funny how the “don’t these people work?” syndrome happens whenever you should be working. I am working shift work right now, so I catch myself saying it all the time, then remembering that I currently am not working either.
      35 minutes would only offer exercise in the form of running to the car, into the gym and reverse, this is true. And thus, my amazement that people can pull off lunch time gym time.

  4. Haha, I’m one of those crazy people who actually did used to work out during lunch. We technically got 35 minutes, and had a gym next to the office; however, my boss and I kind of worked on the trust system, so that if I was gone an hour during lunch break, I just stayed an extra 30 minutes later. Since she and I were both the kind of people more likely to be chastised for working too much than for slacking off, it was never a problem. That way I was less tempted to slack off than if I tried to work out after work when I was already tired. Oh, and I ate my lunch at my desk while working like I usually did on non-gym days anyway.

    The best possible lunch-time exercise was when the Rideau Canal was open right next to our building, so on pleasant days I could go skating in the fresh air instead. A slice of heaven!

    • Thanks for the lunch-gym explanation. What you say all makes sense and is a pretty good system!
      Wow, I can’t imagine being that close to the Rideau canal. I went there once on a trip and it was quite lovely.
      There is a skating oval near one of the hospitals I work at and some people (who are allowed outside the hospital at lunch) went there to skate. It seemed like a great idea.

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