Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Passive aggressiveness and not sucking at life

I've been a member of a particular gym for many years, but the passive aggressive environment has gradually intensified in direct proportion to my paranoia about being told off for putting a dumbbell down in a manner that the owner disapproves of.

The 'gym rules' are plastered on just about every wall and they're your typical bullshit about not doing stuff that no semi-intelligent person with common sense would do anyway - like grunting loudly and not using a towel. "Do not spit in the water bubbler" was intriguing - a bit like "do not shit in the showers", which is probably equally as important, but a rule they seem to have neglected.

Of course there are the mandatory occupational health and safety (OHS) nonsense rules  - brought about because every business owner is petrified of being sued by their incompetent customers. The rule about wearing covered shoes is a particular non-favourite of mine. The material that covers your toes in a pair of runners/sneakers is approximately 2mm thick and made of polyester or fake leather. The suggestion that it will protect you from injury in the event of a 20kg steel plate falling on it is, quite frankly, totally fucking stupid. I see this is a just a tiny example of the slow extinction of common sense in modern society.

My point, laboured though it is, is that I'm too old and grumpy to put up with crap like that, so I joined a new gym. 

It's a bit light-on in terms of equipment, but has everything I need and rules that I can easily abide by. Namely:
  1. Feel free to drop the weights as hard and as often as you like - they are made of steel and the only thing that will break is the floor or your foot.
  2. If you drop something on your foot, it's your own damn fault.
  3. Sing along to the music.
  4. Have fun but work hard.
  5. If you are sharing the gym with someone else, make eye contact and speak to them so they do not feel like they're invisible.
  6. Don't be a dick.
  7. Rules 1-5 are suggestions only.
No need for mirrors, I know what I look like
Some people like to run for fun. Some people like to sit and watch TV all day. I find both of those uninteresting but everybody has their hobbies and it’s not for me to say whether that hobby is idiotic or not. Even if it obviously is.

Wherever your interests lay, I believe that as a human gets older, the aim should be to get a little more efficient and productive in most things over time. If you’re not, then I figure you’re probably sucking at those things, and potentially sucking at life in general. I like to think I don’t suck as much as I used to, particularly when it comes to my hobby of putting stress on my muscular system. Good stress – not the bad stress that running 42km in 3-4 hours generates*.

2 barbells, 3 sets of dumbells, a squat rack and the bar that runs along the roof are all that I have in my new gym. Which suits me fine because there are 5 exercises that I consider the bare minimum to keeping our bodies used to the idea that all muscles will be utilised on a regular basis and need to be up to the task.
  1. Squats
  2. Deadlifts
  3. Pull-ups
  4. Push-ups/bench press
  5. Dips
Of course you can throw in as many bicep curls or calf raises as you want, but if we're talking about functional strength, i.e. the strength to do our regular tasks with no pain or struggle, then that list of five will do nicely. Obviously you could do them all without weights and just use your body weight, but that's not as much fun.
No treadmills, no elaborate machines that work some obscure muscle while measuring your heart rate. No nonsense.
spot the monkey boy
The mozzies can be a bitch at night, but other than that, this is the most relaxed and comfortable gym I've ever had the pleasure of frequenting. Entry is also free, which is a nice bonus. 

*Marathon runners – that was my imitation of an ignorant prat. I hope you liked it.


  1. I think an exercise have to lift one's spirit. For that reason I decided to start learning strip-dancing after turning 52 years old. Girls in the studio are fun to be around. Even though I doubt I would ever be a promising stripper, but at least now, at 53 years old, I can climb a pole and I find it mood-uplifting.

    1. Practice makes perfect, Galina - I wouldn't discount your potential as a stripper just yet. :)

      It would be excellent exercise, I imagine your strength has increased significantly. Such a pity so many people trudge along on treadmills, bored out of their minds, and wonder why they don't get anything out of it - mentally or physically.


  2. That is an awesome looking gym. And I love your tropical garden too. QLD? NT? It doesn't look like St Kilda!

    1. Thanks Lisa. I'd take credit for the garden but that would be my wife's talent. NT.

  3. i love your rules! :-)

  4. Exercise is good, I like walking.

    Your gym and garden looks great.

    All the best Jan