As of yesterday, I am officially 12 weeks out. All the bikini girls on Instagram get all aflutter about this number for some reason. I find myself firmly planted on the ground, not fluttery in the least. Am I doing it wrong, or something? I don’t know. I’ll work on it.
What I do know is this: I just realized that my competition prep directly coincides with the busiest time of the year in the gym: resolution time. The time of the year that regular gym-goers joke about, when all the people looking to lose their holiday weight come in and do sometimes hilarious, and sometimes dangerous, sometimes inspiring, things all over the gym. We all know that the tide ebbs, and then again flows, and by March, we will all find ample parking spaces, matching sets of dumbbells, and empty flat benches once again. That’s just how it happens, and the internet is just full of memes and comics on the topic.
I’m not immune to the giggles. I’ll admit, I am a chuckle addict, in fact. Hi, my name is Stephanie, and I am a laugh-aholic. These comics tickle me in their (sometimes) hyperbolic portrayal of the gym-infants. You show me a sketch of a man riding a unicycle on the treadmill and I’m bound to crack a smile- even if I’ve just spent 10 minutes circling the parking lot looking for a space. This does not mean I want the resolutioners to fail- oh certainly not! I would love for every single one of them to feel so energized and excited by the gym that every one of them could buy their own squat rack and lift at home, in fact! (Ha! It’s extra funny because I totally have my own squat rack and could lift at home… I do some days, but I need a cable setup.)
It turns out, though, that when a fit person chuckles at these comics, it is approximately the same as if they had gone straight up to a person in the gym who was doing some newly created ab exercise on the vertical leg press (true story, witnessed this this weekend) and laughed in their face. It’s as though we were born in the gym and have no idea what it’s like to start out. It’s as though we haven’t put in countless hours educating ourselves on nutrition, on body mechanics, or on building strength. It’s apparently the same as saying “I want all of these people to fail.”
Only it’s not. It’s not like that at all.
It’s like when kittens accidentally fall off the table because they miscalculated their jump.
You know the type of funny- where you laugh, but you also say “Ohhh…hohohohoooh!” at the same time, like an adorable pity laugh? You want the kitten to make the jump, oh man do you want him to succeed, but he didn’t take the time to calculate out his jump quite right, and so he didn’t make it.
That kitten is the all-too-common failed resolutioner. The one whose parking spot I will gladly fill when he stops coming to the gym because he chose not to put in the necessary work to make a real, lasting change. None of us want these new people to fail. But the reality is, a majority of them won’t stick around long enough to figure out that we both deadlift on Tuesdays after work. So in order to make the temporary inconvenience of a packed gym and unracked weights, we choose to make light of it with a little bit of ribbing. It makes it just a little bit less irritating to search out the sister to that 35 pound dumbbell you found behind the Smith machine.
I truly hope that our jests don’t scare away any newcomers, as I pride myself on being a good source of information to anyone who asks my advice in the gym- even if this week it ended in a woman looking me straight in the eyes and telling me I was stupid- and I know many, many of the regulars at the gym would be happy to assist if asked as well.