Monday, August 15, 2011


I've been going regularly to the gym for the past 5 months. My overall fitness is better and I feel stronger and exercising is not so much a chore anymore, it's something I almost enjoy.

One very unexpected benefit of the gym that has been very interesting and entertaining is the opportunity I've had to observe other people. In many ways, the gym is like a society, with different groups being represented. Here are some examples:

Pushy, slightly aggressive go-getters
In real life, they are the ones who don't know how to stand in line or wait their turn. They usually come across as being pushy and they have a weird sense of entitlement. In Gymland, (and in life) they can be summed up as the East Asian ladies.

The Clueless people
In real life, they tend not fully grasp the concept of being appropriate. Sometimes it's about table-side manners and sometimes it's about conversation topics. In Gymland, they are represented by the people who exercise in jeans and by those who use weight machines for completely different muscles groups than the machine is build for.

People who just want to fit in
In real life, these would be the people who just want to blend in, be average. In Gymland, these would be the people who just want to be a little stronger and a little fitter. They would typically have been described as scrawny or chubby. They don't aim at being Mr/Ms Fitness, they just want cloths to fit a bit better.

The superficial guy/ The vain girl
In real life, they drive the right car, have the right job, wear the latest fashions and live in fabulous pent houses. It would all be great if they did it for their own benefit. But we all know a few who do and have all that just to impress other people. It's no different in Gymland. The guys with super muscular upper-bodies but with chicken legs. Not naturally slim legs, but no muscles at all legs. I guess it makes sense if you always wear jeans and tight t-shirts. Or the girls who wear full make-up with their hair undone who are more pre-occupied with the movement of their mane than with form and exercise.

The popular crowd
In real life, these are the people who have it all. They seem very content and happy. They are often popular, not because they have all the right things, but because they are nice people. They are the in-crowd that everyone wants to be around, both the superficial people and the people who just want to fit in. In Gymland, they have great bodies and they have worked hard at it. But they can still afford to smile at people and encourage others.

The business men
In real life, they are all about efficiency. Time is money, people! In Gymland, they are always on the phone, talking to their assistants, answering clients or on a conference call.

People going through hardship
In real life, people struggle through personal hardship. It can be the loss of a loved one, a sickness, custody battles etc. Many will conquer their personal issues and come out stronger on the other side. In Gymland, these are the people with physical challenges and they will literally be stronger, sometime through rehabilitation and sometimes through strengthening the physical abilities they are equipped with.

The perfectionist
In real life, they run their life by their calendars. Every aspect of their lives are prepared and executed to perfection. The same amount of effort is put into a business presentation and a dinner with friends. In Gymland, they have perfect bodies, not so they can show off, but because perfect is the only option. They are very focused and sometimes slightly intimidating.

Senior Citizens
In real life, they are recently retired. They suddenly have more time on their hands. They are also becoming aware of their age and that this is the time to do all the things you wanted to do but didn't have time. It's time to get a new hobby. In Gymland, their new hobby is going to the gym. Always with a friend or two.

Gossip Girls
In real life, these ladies (almost always ladies) don't care about time and place, it's all about the gossip. A never-ending chitter-chatter about life's "OMG-moments". In Gymland, they will talk (to another person or on the phone) throughout an hour of Zumba, they gossip on the treadmill and chatter while stretching. They will also limit their physical exertion to a minimum, to enable easier talking.

The Decadents
In real life, they are driven by instant pleasure. They love to eat and drink. If they feel like going shopping, they go shopping. If they feel like gaming, that's what they will do. In Gymland, they are lost. Something in them told them should hit the gym, as they usually carry extra kilos as a result of their decadent lifestyle. However, they don't like to be uncomfortable so they will talk the ears off their personal trainer or they will walk 5 min on the treadmill and be done. But since they have been to the gym, they can indulge ever more when they leave the building.

In Gymland I'm most likely been seen as a pushy Chinese woman, which I am at times, but only when I need to fend off other pushy Chinese women. But in reality, I'm paying the price after many years of decadency. And in the end of the day, I haven't come far from high-school. I'm just trying to fit in and I dream about one day being a part of the popular crowd.

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