Thankfully, crowd at gym will thin out

Published 5:55 am Monday, January 26, 2004

By Staff
Each season has its own rites of passage, and winter is no different from spring, summer or fall in that regard.
With spring, we have the blooming of flowers and warmer weather. With summer, we have vacations, cook-outs and baseball.
Fall brings us football and Halloween. And the winter -- well, the winter, specifically the wintertime right after the first of the year, brings its own special rite of passage -- hordes of new people joining health clubs and gyms.
I'm seeing it happen right here in Macon. I'm a member of the Wellness Center, and I walked in there early this past week, ready for yet another workout. I knew something was amiss when I first pulled up and noticed that there was not an empty parking space in the whole Wellness Center lot. I drove around and found nothing, until I lucked out and saw a true blue haired lady get into her car and drive off.
I whipped on into her parking space faster than Britney got married, and then went on into the main building.
Once inside, I sauntered over to an elliptical track machine that I've faithfully worked out on for the past year. Occupying it was a young woman clad in bright pink leotards who was sipping on a bottle of Gatorade. That's nothing out of the ordinary, but it just so happened that she wasn't working out at all, but instead was jaw-jacking with two of her friends who were standing right next to the machine.
Seeing that I might qualify for Medicare before their conversation ended, I decided to go over to another elliptical track machine in order to begin my work out.
The second machine was thankfully empty, so I got on it and started chugging out my minutes. Since I usually work out on it for an hour, I had lots of time to scope out the room.
There were people all over the place -- in one corner I witnessed a couple of middle-aged guys trying to chat up a young woman that was young enough to be their daughter, and in another four women blocked off a bathroom door while pointing at various people working out on the machines.
I was getting a tad teed off, as it makes me mad to be up there working like a yard mule and then watch people who do nothing but gab. In a few seconds I went from being teed off to being amazed as I watched yet another person, this one a guy on an exercise bicycle -- he was huge.
I swung my eyes around elsewhere, and then finished up my workout on the bike.
Next, I usually do arm stuff, which normally doesn't take much time. And it shouldn't have this time, except for the fact that the whole place was littered with "sitters." "Sitters" are people who dress up for the gym, and then spend their entire time sitting on the various machines.
They don't do anything from an exercise standpoint, they just sit around for pretty lengthy periods of time.
To be honest, it boils my soul like a peanut to need to get on a machine and find that it is occupied by a "sitter."
On this particular day, I worked up the nerve to go up to this guy who'd had his heiny married to my machine for a good 20 minutes.
He was clad in a brand new fluorescent orange jogging suit, so I walked up and politely asked, "Lookin' or liftin'?" Then, before he could answer, I told him that I was writing an article on people who come to gyms not to work out, but to ogle pretty women.
Amazingly, he got on up off my machine and left. Go figure.
In the end, the one good thing about seasonal rites of passage is that they have their time and place, and then they go away. Such is the case with these new exercise buffs, as most of them will soon decide that relaxing on their sofas is decidedly preferable to slogging it out on a treadmill.
As a result, the gym will slowly thin out and return to normal. When that happens, I can return to my normal work-out routine, which consists of quietly cussing out people who are exercising harder than I am, and also appreciating the fact that there are no more canary yellow sweat suits with Tweety Bird logos on them in the building.