Is This A Gym … Or Glamour Shots?

I heard an interesting conversation on the radio as I was driving to work the other day, and after seeing my favorite real-life example of it again today, I was reminded that I wanted to address the topic of discussion on the ol’ blog.

Apparently, there was a study conducted that found that women who go to the gym “made up” are less likely to have a good workout than those who, frankly, don’t really give a crap what they look like. I’m not sure how they went about collecting their data, but I can tell you, as a girl who has a class or two full of people staring at my sweat-covered, make-up free face on the weekends – and only wears make-up to the gym during the week because it’s still on my face after spending all day in a professional work environment – this study was a waste of time. As is taking the time to look good at the gym.

Here’s the thing: I do care about the clothes that I work out in, but it’s not necessarily from a fashion standpoint as much as it is a function and comfort standpoint. I wear cute little knee-length spandex and fitted tanktops because they aren’t going to get caught in a machine or I’m not going to have to tug at them my entire workout, not because I want people looking at me. Quite honestly, I assume if anyone is looking at me, it’s for one of two reasons: either they think I’m disgusting, because I’m usually dripping in sweat, or they are impressed by my badassness (I’m pretty sure it’s #1, but I’d like to think it’s #2). And if I catch them … unless I know them, they probably get a “what are you looking at?” look.

But the reason I wanted to bring up this topic is not just because I thought the study was (not) interesting – it was actually because I saw my #1 offender tonight. I happened upon the woman I … uh … lovingly? refer to as “makeup lady” – occasionally “the hot mess” – this evening (side note: I ran into my friend R.J. a few weeks back, and he pointed her out, saying that she looked like the skeleton from “Nightmare Before Christmas.” Sadly, this was a frighteningly accurate description). I’ve actually seen this woman caking on MORE make-up before she goes to hit the gym floor. The thing I fail to understand is what she’s trying to hide. She has a nice body. She isn’t a young woman, but she’s probably in her 40s – young enough to not have too much that needs covered up (heck, my mom is in her mid-50s and I think she still looks pretty good with little make-up. I can only pray that I look as young as she does when I’m her age). And I almost feel bad for her knowing that if she is, in fact, attracting attention, it’s certainly not the kind I’m sure she hopes to receive.

Don’t get me wrong … I want to look cute as much as the next girl. But the gym is not necessarily the place to make such an effort. After spending all these years in a gym, more often than not going straight from work to workout, I still laugh every time I run into a friend on my way into the gym, still sporting my work clothes. The reaction is always the same: “Wow, you look really nice today.” As is my response, “Well, you know, I don’t think they’d look too kindly upon my showing up to work in sweatpants…” I guess I just feel like, as with anything else in life, there is a time and a place for everything. And “gym” and “cute” are not typically synonymous. At least not if you are working hard to make your workout bring real results.

Columbus Day Gym Observations

Today is Columbus Day, which meant a day off of work (YAY!) – and a rare weekday morning workout (double YAY!). I got to the gym around 8:30 this morning, which was great, because the gym was still pretty empty (meaning I could easily do everything I needed to do without having to hunt for weights or wait around for a bench to open up). Although I’m sure many of the regular evening folks such as myself were there this morning, I was reminded of something else as well: it’s a different ballgame in the morning vs. evening.

I came across a couple of observations of note this morning:

  • Short, tight shorts are never appropriate on men. As I was getting ready to start loading up the leg press, I happened to catch a glance of something that left me somewhat horrified. A man in VERY small, VERY tight, little blue and yellow shorts. With a yellow tank tucked into them. No, he was not 90 – or even close to it. I was both confused and nauseous at once. Gentlemen, if I wouldn’t wear shorts that small and tight, neither should you. Please take note of this and dress accordingly.
  • The stepmill is still a beast. It has been a while since I’ve set foot on the stepmill. Why, I’m not quite sure – I know that it’s a calorie smoker, and guaranteed good cardio with bonus lower-body work (two words: double stairs). Though I’m pretty sure the real reason for my stepmill hiatus has something to do with the fact that people are aware of its effectiveness – and the fact that they only have six or seven of them – one thing is for sure … it’s going to have to be put back into my regular rotation.
  • Trainers do find time for their own workouts! I chatted with a couple of the trainers I usually talk to when I work out in the evening this morning – while they were working out themselves vs. working out their clients. I know they have to fit in their workouts when they can on their own time (obviously, a great body doesn’t build itself), but it’s always interesting to see what types of routines they have on their own, compared to the paces they put their clients through.
  • The gym playlist starts to replay after a certain period of time. I kind of picked up on this over the weekend (after I heard, of all songs, “Come On Over” – yes, Christina Aguilera circa 1999 – shortly after I arrived, and again not too long before I headed out for the day). Also, whoever comes up with the playlists on what I’m assuming is a satellite subscription type thing has some random taste. Interspersed with the recent releases (and Christina) was also “A.M. to P.M.” Which totally makes me think of my junior year of college (back when Christina Milian was a singer, rather than a social media correspondent or whatever she is supposed to be on The Voice).

But perhaps my greatest find of they day was a great workout! I just felt good today. I think it probably has something to do with the extra day free of responsibilities, which I absolutely needed today (yes, I did come home and, after a shower, change into yoga pants and a long sleeved t-shirt, I am wearing no makeup, and the most strenuous thing I’ve done since I got home from the gym is vacuum my apartment). Back to the usual tomorrow!