Don't touch my fan, princess

I've begun to suspect that there's a new craze sweeping my gym, and quite frankly, I'd like to find out who started the craze so that I may kill them.I think of them as the Anti-Fan Nazis. They're the people who come into the gym, turn off all the fans, and proceed to do a workout so light and easy I hesitate to even use the prefix work- in conjunction with it. Meanwhile, those of us who are working out, truly working out, are dying on the elliptical vine, drowning in our own sweat.

I was nice about this … for about a week. After that, I realized that a) I was working harder than virtually every other person in that gym, and b) that most people actually did prefer the fans to be turned on while they did their daily workouts. Once I figured that out, I made a point of announcing Very Loudly to the people coming in:

"Don't like the fan? Move to the other side, because it's not getting turned off."

Secretly, I keep hoping someone will challenge me on it, because I know my OK Corral answer already: be at Dublin Park at eleven a.m. tomorrow. We'll do a forty-five minute swim, and then at four-thirty, your ass had better be at the gym, because it's time to do a forty-five minute run at level seven. Oh, and don't mooch off my water bottle, you wanker. Bring your own and shut your whining mouth.

I wont' be quite that ugly about it, even though I'd like to be.

I had one person try to explain to me why it was bad to have a fan on while exercising. As I recall, the answer was this: if the fan is off, she would sweat more, and then she'd lose more weight.

Yeah, and you know what, gym princess? Guess what's coming back the next time you drink a glass of water? Shut up. I don't like you. Do an actual workout for a change.

* * * * *

Gym princesses. Such loathing they inspire in me. Why do people (admittedly, they are overwhelmingly female) buy gym memberships, then come in and waste their time looking cute in expensive clothes while doing nothing of note in them?

I watched one this afternoon, and I admit it - I really wanted to go over to her and talk to her, to ask her what it was, exactly, she thought it was she was accomplishing. She pulled up in a jet-black, buffed-to-the-nines Envoy at the same time I did. She was wearing a close-fitting, long-sleeved, velour top with pants to match.

I was sure that she was going to head to the bathroom to change, but no, she hopped right onto a treadmill and proceeded to do a glacially slow walk for thirty minutes.

Had she ever managed to work up a sweat, it would have shown through the velour, because honey, it didn't leave much to the imagination. Instead, when she got off the treadmill, it was the exact same color as it was when she got in. She had, essentially, wasted thirty minutes of her life, but her hair hadn't moved an inch, so I guess it was all for the best.

* * * * *

On the flip side, though, I've begun developing serious amounts of respect for some of the people I see in the gym every day. There's Lisa, who is about my height but Jessica-slender, who is the only woman I've encountered in this gym who works harder than I do. I later found out she's on the tail end of the process that I'm only halfway through; she's lost just over forty pounds, feels that she is done, and has moved from weight loss to weight maintenance.

She gets grumpy when the fans get turned off, too.

There's the woman whose name I don't know, who comes in several days a week, pushes her hair out of her eyes with an elastic sweatband, and runs for forty-five minutes. No walking. She gets on the treadmill, jogs for a minute or two to warm up, and then she exorcises every demon in a three-mile radius by running.

I look at her and I think, in a year, I'm gonna be you.

There's the guy who looks like Dick Cheney, who doesn't move terribly fast but puts in a slow, steady, and hard workout every time he's there. He never says anything to anyone, just puts on his headphones and watches Fox News while he works out.

There's the thirtyish fellow with close-cut brown hair who runs with the most effortless stride I've ever seen. I don't have a name for him, but mentally I refer to him as "the guy who shames me every time I come in." I say it with a laugh, but it's become my mental tag for him. I'd love to know how long he runs, but I know that it's over forty-five minutes, because he's one of the few people who will be on a machine when I get in, and who will still be on it when I haul my dripping self home.

The serious ones don't talk much. I've gotten the impression that most of us use our gym time to burn off the frustration of our day, or as quiet time alone with our thoughts. I've done both. There's something inherently clean and simple about sublimating thought and worry through physical exertion; I just hate that it took me this many years of my life to figure it out.


They really need to position those fans a bit better... especially the one that is to the right as you're on an eliptical. I say that because if you're on one of the two elipticals all the way over to the right, you end up with a massive fan directly in your face from just a few feet away. It's a bit much. But I do like to have them on and running... just not when the only open elipticals are right in front of the fan.

You ask: "Why do people buy gym memberships, then come in and waste their time looking cute in expensive clothes while doing nothing of note in them?" The simple answer is that looking cute in expensive clothes is never a waste of time for some people. In fact many, many people dedicate their entire lives to that end. Gyms are twice as good a place to look cute in expensive clothes because in addition to showing off your colorful plumage, you can look at the colorful plumage of others. It's somewhat similar to the reason mallrats exist. They're not there to shop, you know. They are there to see and be seen.

Ack! You have a point, but my mind just automatically started giggling at the word "plumage." Norwegian Blue!

I'm pretty sure I know, and am good friends with, the thirtyish fellow with a close-cut mop of brown hair. He runs for about an hour, used to play serious soccer (now he just plays in rec leagues), and regularly kicks my ass at racquetball. He's nice and quiet and deadly athletic, despite having had a lot of operations on his knees.

Stephen, that's gotta be him. There aren't that many people who run for that long at Beez, and soccer/racquetball just sounds right for his build. I've always wanted to say hi to him, but I always worry about things like that being interpreted the wrong way.