Soapbox - The 10th circle of hell: The gym

Illustration: Emma O'Regan Reidy

Everyone loves the idea of fitness, but the thought of actually going to the gym is horrifying. Why would we tone up when we could stay at home and eat chocolate instead? Meanwhile, those few daring soldiers among us who manage to drag ourselves to the gym find that our bravery is rewarded by broken machines, crowded workout areas and dodging anyone we know who could see us red-faced. Here’s a few examples of those irritating instances in the gym that make us even less inclined to go than we already are (and that’s saying a lot).

First up we have the show-offs: they’re already shredded to pieces and they know it, yet they take up every machine for 20 minutes while a queue forms waiting for them to finish. Why do you need to spend approximately half my life span on the lat pulldown when your arms are already as thick as my neck? It’s just unnecessary.

Next, there’s those who take weights, and then go on their phone for 10 minutes. It takes so much effort for you to actually go to the gym during your tight college schedule, so the last thing you want is to wait around for someone to get off Facebook and finally use those 4kg weights you need to finish your workout (you couldn’t possibly just use the 5kg ones, you’ve already punished yourself enough by coming to the gym without making it harder than necessary).

Finally, we have something specific to the UCD gym: being on the cross-trainer and making awkward eye-contact with the person opposite you. This is more uncomfortable than it sounds – if you haven’t been to this gym before, for some reason they decided to position the cross-trainers directly opposite the bikes, so when you’re DYING on the eleventh minute of your aerobics workout (or let’s be real, the first), you get the added pleasure of looking directly into the eyes of a person who’s similarly sweating on the bike. So embarrassing. Yes, obviously people can see you workout in the gym, but to get through it you need to be able to believe that you’re invisible, and this makes that impossible.

Well, there you go, these are the worst parts about going to the gym. Was writing this soapbox just an excuse for me not to go to the gym? Or did I do it to subtly brag that I must’ve gone to the gym many times to notice these things? We’ll never know. But either way, the point still stands: can someone PLEASE move the cross-trainers to face the other way?! My thanks in advance.