i’m a morning gym rat. and since there are so few of us, we all recognize one another as we shuffle in at 6am. some students, a lot of faculty; a handful there for the 630 spin class, most of us there to do our own thing.
after a few months, you begin to not just recognize people, but to learn their workout personalities. there’s the faculty member who jogs TO the elliptical, and then proceeds to spend 20 minutes or so there, another 20ish on a stationary bike, and then hits the showers. there’s the lady who gets on the arc trainer – the same one – for a half hour and then goes and lifts with a buddy. there’s the graduate student who could kick any guy’s ass on the weight floor – i totally want to be her friend.
there are the cardio queens – named that because they are, by overwhelming majority, females – who go from one piece of cardio equipment to the next. spin class to elliptical to arc trainer. bringing magazines and note cards and novels. although i would die of boredom, they seem to be content, plugging away on the hamster wheels of cardiovascular promise. maybe i’ll see them in an hour at the mats, stretching or, more than likely, doing crunches.
i will probably never see them on weight machines, and never ever on the weight floor.
those areas are for the other end of the spectrum – the lifting machines. overwhelmingly male, these are the guys who walk through the door with the protein drink already in the blender ball bottle, and make a beeline for the powerlifting equipment. they bench, do squats, deadlifts, cleans. they do a lot of crap that i don’t recognize and whose purpose i can’t quite figure out. and once the lifting machines are done, they suck down some more protein drink and head out. sometimes i wonder if they know there’s an entire second floor to the gym, chock full of treadmills and bikes and a whole lot of fun stuff.
we all have our priorities. we all have our workout personalities. i’m not judging; just collecting observations, over years and years, hours upon hours at various fitness facilities.
when i was really in the midst of my eating disorder, i was the queen of cardio queens. i would make it a point to lift, for maybe thirty minutes, and i wasn’t strong enough to lift a lot and wasn’t committed enough to try to lift more. so the bulk of my time at the gym was spent on cardio equipment, trying to forget the world and how i was just here 24 hours ago, trying to ignore the fact that my muscles were eating away at themselves, trying to get into ‘the zone’ until i had burned my requisite number of calories.
nowadays, even with my gimpy knee, i could kick that girl’s ass in the gym. i could, in fact, squat her, and then some. i found my way from the cardio kingdom into some sort of balance – speed and strength, endurance and power.
i don’t know what the point of this was, except that i was at the doctor instead of the gym the past two mornings and i missed my friends whose names i don’t know but whose workout routines are as second nature to me as my own. i wonder what they think about one another, about me. and i hope they’re all – cardio queens and lifting machines alike – happy.