What People Really Think about When They're at the Gym

Ever wonder what goes through everyone else's minds when they work out? Staying on one machine for thirty minutes can get pretty boring; there must be more than music running through your mind.

There are the people who notice the behaviors and appearances of everyone else working out:

If that guy weighs himself one more time . . . does he really think he added any muscle weight in the past ten minutes?

How does that girl get her hair to look so good after working out for an hour?

I wish that guy would stop grunting! If the weights are that heavy, use lighter ones!

That girl is still on the Stairmaster? She was on that when I came in!

Why is that girl wearing a bikini? This is a gym, not the beach. There is no way she is swimming for a workout in that thing.

When reading gym etiquette, one is urged to pay attention to one's own needs, goals, and improvement. The gym, however, often brings out one's competitive nature:

All right! I've burned off 300 calories. Not bad. Hey! She got on the machine after I did! How has she burned off 500 calories already?

Ha, that guy's got nothing. I can lift so much more than he can.

One of the side effects of these streaks of competitiveness is staying on a machine for much longer than originally intended, which may lead to extreme exhaustion, injury, or feelings of inferiority.

Some people get through their workout by thinking of improvements that could be made to the facilities:

Maybe this place wouldn't be so intimidating if there weren't bars across the windows.

I wonder if they're ever going to get those elliptical machines fixed. That caution tape has been wrapped around them for months.

Then there are the little things one notices that could use improvement:

I really hope that old lady isn't walking around the locker room naked again.

Why doesn't the men's swim team practice in this pool? That would make exercising so much better. In any case, I'd much rather look at them in Speedos than the old guys in their Speedos.

Of course, using a member of the opposite sex as motivation to go to the gym can sometimes backfire:

Oh no, there's the hot guy from my math class! I hope he doesn't see me. I look disgusting! Of course, the one time that I don't wear makeup to the gym he shows up. I normally look so cute for class. Maybe he won't recognize me . . .

Some other motivations:

Spring break is in less than a month! Maybe I should go to that boot camp cardio class after I get off the treadmill.

I just want to look like Gisele Bundchen . . . is that so much to ask for?

These motivations tend to be troublesome. Having unrealistic expectations for oneself can contribute to feelings of failure. Using vacation as motivation seems like a good idea at first, but once that has passed, what will be the motivating force to go to the gym in the pouring rain or the blizzard of the century? A word of advice: Regular gym-goers may harbor some negative emotions towards people using vacation as motivation when they are forced to wait in line for a machine for half an hour or when their usual cardio class is full up an hour before it even starts. Maintain one's distance around the regulars in the months before spring break.

There are also the people who keep their thoughts to themselves while working out:

Five minutes! How have I been running for only five minutes?

I wish I could have found a parking spot closer to the gym. I really don't want to walk that far.

I never realized how hard it is to read a magazine and run at the same time.

The narcissistic gym goers:

I wish that guy would move over a little. I can't see myself in the window with him standing there.

I hope my mascara isn't running. I knew I should have used waterproof!

They really should have full-length mirrors in front of the treadmills; that way I can see if I look cute while I'm running.

And of course, there are the people who think about ways to erase all the effort they put in to working out:

I hope there's something good for dinner tonight.

If I cut this workout short, I'll have just enough time to make that cheesecake for our girl's night dessert potluck.

I've worked off any weight I might have gained from last night's trip to the bar. Now I'm ready for pizza, beer, and the big game!

Exiting thoughts from the optimists:

All this working out must have paid off. I think it's time for a trip to the mall.

I just want to go home, shower, and collapse in front of the TV with a bag of popcorn . . . fat free, of course.

Exiting thoughts from those who weren't won over by the gym:

Oh, I'm going to be in pain tomorrow.

Never again.

Walking to class counts as exercise, right?