I have a strange relationship with gyms. I’m grateful they exist, but leery of some of the people they attract. For example: as a birthday gag a few years ago my wife bought me a headband, a tight muscle-tee, and a pair of tiny pink running shorts that barely came down past my junk. Not one to shy from a dare, I donned the outfit (going turtle) and threw in a pair of knee-high tube socks to complete the 70’s look. Then I headed for the gym at our community center. I kept to machines that required my legs to be elevated, thus offering other gym rats the chance to glimpse my huevos. And until the chlorine dissolved them, my little pink shorts were quite effective in navigating the always crowded hot tub – I rarely failed to get a seat.
See what I mean? Gyms are a total magnet for weirdos.
The other day I was at the gym, conservatively dressed and using a leg-lift machine. Halfway through my set I heard a loud grunting noise. I glanced over and saw a ripped guy wearing those bulge-producing shorts favored by high-school gym coaches. He was trying to lift an entire stack of weights using just one foot. I stopped and stared in the same way you gawk at a dog that’s in heat and humping someone’s leg. At rep #7 the guy yelled, dropped the stack with a crash, and limped away cursing.
The only place in a gym where it’s cool to grunt and curse is in a bathroom stall. Everyone understands your plight.
So it was with great interest that I read about Planet Fitness. Their corporate motto is “No Gymtimidation.” They’ve implemented something they call a “Lunk Alarm” – if some agro dude starts grunting and slamming weights, a manager hits a button and an alarm goes off inside the weight room. The grunter is then called out, publicly. If the grunting and slamming don’t stop, the violator forfeits his membership.
I feel for agro-grunters. Their aggression is likely the result of some poison humans have put into the environment (i.e. researchers now believe that leaded gasoline poisoned kids and caused a spike in violent crime in the ‘70’s and 80’s). Perhaps we should use a less punitive approach to grunting, like requiring grunters to wear a motorcycle helmet with a face shield to muffle the noise while they work out. Regardless, the grunting and weight-slamming need to be stopped, and Planet Fitness is leading the way.
And thank god someone didn’t invent the Lunk Alarm a few years ago and use it to target nut-flashing John McEnroe impersonators. I really liked that hot tub. Losing access to it would have sucked. It was the only reason I was able to make myself go to the gym.