More Gym Thoughts, by Kris Howard:

  • I think sometimes guys go overboard in their quest to look “hardcore”. This one guy caught my eye tonight as I was doing my quad exercises. He was doing chin-ups in the corner, but apparently lifting his own body weight was too easy for this He-Man. So he was clenching, like, a fifty pound free weight between his thighs. I’m serious; it almost looked like he was holding it in his ass. It was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.
  • The rowing machine is incredibly deceptive. The first minute was easy, and my little virtual boat was soon ahead by three boat lengths. Deluded but inspired, I continued to row for seventeen more minutes. I can barely type right now. By morning, I won’t be able to lift my arms. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
  • I finally got chatted up by a chick. I was on the inner thigh adductor machine (of course) and this middle-aged goth lady asked if she could workout with me. She even gave me the “I haven’t seen you before. Are you new here?” line. Fortunately I was done with my lifting, which gave me a polite excuse to head for the treadmill. Snookums was much amused.
  • I am a self-loathing big girl. Let me explain. Tonight on my way out, the girl at the counter struck up a conversation with me. She was way heavier than me, but she said she’d lost two stone (28 pounds) in the past four months. I asked how she did it, and she said it was all cardio. I explained that my trainer has me doing weight lifting too. She pooh-poohed that idea, and then said, “That just adds bulk, and we big girls are strong enough anyway, don’t you think?” I mumbled an agreement and hit the door before she could continue. Why does it bother me that she put us in the same group? I am big. I’m tall and I’ve got boobs and a bum, but I wouldn’t say I was obese. Yet somehow the “big girl” label bothers me. Whenever someone sympathizes that I’ll “never be a size eight”, it upsets me. Part of that, I think, has to do with the messages we females get from the media and advertising. Jenny Craig says that anybody can lose forty pounds. Weight Watchers doesn’t say, “Oh, but you’ll never be a size eight; you’re just a big girl.” They say, “Give us your money and it’ll happen.” And that’s seductive. I feel like accepting the big girl label is a cop-out. But maybe I’m deluding myself. I dunno. I guess the reason I rejected being grouped with the counter chick tonight was that in some psycho part of my brain, I want to believe I can be a size eight. And by grouping myself in with her, I’d be admitting that that’s never going to be true.

Ugh. Who knew that the rowing machine would make me so damn introspective?

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  1. Wow, that last one was really interesting. And you’re right, it IS seductive. I got the “big girl” line once, and although I don’t feel like that’s all the way true for me either, I know that I shouldn’t take offense to it. Now did I? Yes. Here’s why: I think that the attempt to commiserate with someone you don’t know usually isn’t appropriate, unless welcomed. But the main reason? Should ANYONE really be labeled a BIG GIRL? Isn’t that saying something about how we look at ourselves? What is the standard? Who is the standard?

    Another thing: I think there is weight (har-de-har-HAR) to the “never be a size eight” issue. Some people, genetically, never will be. There are some, a very SMALL percentage, that can NOT be that. However, there are also more that will never BE a size eight – maybe they are not exercise motivated, or athletic, or lazy, or like to eat some, or simply don’t obsess over their weight. Why does that upset people? The majority are bigger than that. Now, if it is a matter of health, that’s one thing. If it’s about having no airbrusher on staff to follow you around in life, I think we need to examine that. Who can say?

  2. On a lighter note (why does everything sound like a weight pun?) that guy lifting anecdote is HILAR! I can’t STAND guys like that, and I have yet to meet a woman that is like- “Wow, that’s hot.” I think guys may be more drawn to it (guys pumping up huge)…?

    Oh, you know my pet peeve? People thatdrop weights in the gym. Hey, if you couldn’t put it down, you shouldn’t have picked it up, ass.

  3. I think God is gettin even with me for all those “chunker” comments, HEY I RESEMBLE THAT REMARK!!

  4. I enjoy these gym rants, too. Very funny (if mildly disturbing) image of the pull up guy. And congrats on sticking with the rowing machine as long as you did.

    The big girl issue is an interesting one. I mean, some girls are bigger than others (name that 80’s music reference), and that doesn’t mean that they’re overweight or unfeminine or unattractive. It’s just not healthy or desirable for everyone to be a size 4 or 6 or 8. This doesn’t mean that the comment doesn’t hurt. It still stings to me, 5 years later, to remember that woman in a Thai shop shaking her head at me muttering “too big, too big” as I looked at a shirt. And it hurt a friend of mine so much to be called a “big girl” that she starved herself into a size 6, which at 6′ tall was not at all healthy, physically or psychologically.

    I think that the girl in the gym saw you and wanted to feel like she could be in the same category as you: healthy, confident, tall, boobs, bum, and all?

    SOrry if I rambled; just had to weigh in (collective groan) on the topic.

  5. I heard that we tend to always see ourselves as we were when growing up. If we were thin and trim we either deny it when we add weight later, seeing only our thin younger self or we perpetually see ourselves as only a quick diet away from that thinner person. Alternately, if we were overweight growing up, it becomes harder to visualize ourself as thin. It’s like throwing off all the stereotypes we accepted in highschool.

  6. Cindy – Ohmygod. That’s totally true. That’s part of the reason I deny the “big girl” label. Because I was skinny all through my childhood. In high school I was all arms and legs and no boobs. So in my mind, that’s who I really am and who I can be again. Wow. Other people do that too, huh?

    And TD, I agree with you on the “rude commiseration” point. Good call.

    I knew you guys would help put this in perspective.

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