The Indignities of the Gym

Spin class has just finished, and you’re on the gym mats rolling out your calves, iliacus, and piriformis as your trustry trainer has insisted you do regularly. Your spin buddy is sitting next to you on the mats, and you’re chatting away happily. You lie down to do some leg lifts and one of the other trainers comes by and kindly suggests a correction. You bend your idle knee as per his instruction, and that’s when it happens. You don’t even know it’s coming – it takes you completely by surprise, and there’s no stopping it. It’s determined. And it’s explosive. And despite your desperate prayers to the contrary, there is no way in hell that the hard rock music was loud enough to cover the blast.

You farted.

It takes you a moment to realize what happened, and then there’s a split second that seems to last forever during which you try to decide what to do. Do you just say “Excuse me” and continue with your leg lifts? Do you make a joke? Do you pretend it didn’t happen?

The entire situation is completely humiliating.

What did I do when this happened to me? I pretended it didn’t happen. The trainer went away, but to this day I believe he thinks of me as “The Farter” and every time I see him, I wonder if this is true. My friend didn’t say anything, but she wouldn’t. She’s the most polite person I know.

The gym is a den of idignity. To kick it all off, workout clothes are not particularly flattering on many body types. I would never wear pants without back pockets in public; they show off every lump that graces my ass, and it’s impossible to disguise any droopiness. I wear t-shirts, but when I’m doing shoulder presses the bottom rises up so that my stomach is sometimes hanging out. When I do dumbell rows, the front gapes so that anybody could look down at my boobs. Which are bound tightly with a sports bra that makes my chest look like one big mono-boob.

The trainers, of course, look fantastic in their workout gear. But they have bodies that I drool over.

Last week I was bench pressing. I’m about to push my personal best. One rep. Two. Three. Julie helps me a little with the fourth. “Come on,” she encourages before the fifth. “Big push!” And so I use every iota of energy and strength in my body to push. And with that push comes the most obnoxious grunt I’ve ever heard. From me. I think everybody in the gym turned to look.

But I did succeed in a personal best. At least there’s that.

Every personal training session starts with rolling out muscles with a lacrosse ball or some other hard item. And this means rubbing my chest or hips against the wall, lifting my leg to roll my thighs against a barbell, or thrusting my arse against the floor. It’s obscene! Although it is amusing when I’m doing chest smashes against the wall, and somebody is humping their hips next to me, and we’re carrying on a polite conversation at the same time. Only at the gym, right?

And how about the exercises? Have you ever done calf/cow, where you get down on all fours and then arch your back, then sink it? What about adductor/abductors where you’re spreading your legs to show off your crotch in all its glory? Doing glute bridges, where you’re thrusting your hips up like an 80s breakdancer?


And finally, circling back to the farts. During my last session, Julie decided to have me do back extensions by hoisting myself face down on some kind of apparatus, holding onto a plate at the back (think, superman pose), and lifting my legs up and down from the hips. The first time I did it, I farted. How could I not? The apparatus was digging right into my intestines. This time I did excuse myself and make some sort of lame joke, but it’s not exactly classy to fart all the time.

So with the grunting, the wall humping, the farting, and the workout gear, the gym is the least dignified environment I’ve ever spent time in. But I think I can suffer through it, because if I do I’ll end up looking smokin’ hot in my gym clothes and I’ll feel so strong that little things like grunts and gas won’t bother me at all.

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