Posted by: GeekHiker | August 26, 2009


I don’t think that there’s anything I do, on a regular basis at least, that is so dichotomous (yes, I’m going there again for humor’s sake) for me as going to the gym.

I started going to the gym (very painfully) about the time that I started this here blog.  I wrote about it regularly for a while, then stopped writing about it as it became just another part of my daily/weekly routine.  Currently I head to the gym 3-4 times a week, doing a mix of cardio and weights, usually for about an hour or so.

And it makes me feel good.  And crappy.  Usually at the same time.

Fun, no?

Why, you ask?  Oh, I’m so very glad you did.

See, on the one hand, going to the gym feels good.  Great, even.  Sometimes.  Maybe even most of the time.  Sorta like 57% of the time.

I mean, you know, yeah, since I started I’ve gained a bit of muscle mass, notably in my upper body, which is a good thing.  My upper body, you see, has always been much scrawnier than my torso.  Being a fan of doing things like hiking and biking tends to do that.

(And as a side note, can I just say?  My legs look DAMN good.  I mean, well, as good as a hairy pair of guy’s legs can I suppose.  But, no, really.  Their not like body builders legs or nothing, but all those years of hiking have left them looking f-i-n-e fine. 😉 )

So, okay, yeah, I don’t have a six pack.  Not huge gut sitting on top, but just a little one there, the kind that shows up when I sit down.  Which I suppose most everyone has to some degree.  Okay, maybe I’m the only one who notices it.  Maybe I’m just so narcissistic that I notice it, okay?  I mean, it’s there, okay?  Back off man!


I dunno, perhaps the amount of exercise I do is juuust enough to keep it from growing to beer-gut level, even if it’s not enough to get rid of it altogether.  Probably wouldn’t hurt if I cut down my daily calorie count to, I dunno, wren-size or something.

But, dammit, I like the occasional BBQ.

Okay, but nevermind all that.  Point is: the gym?  Generally a good experience.

Thing is, it’s just not so much while I’m there.

Why?  Because there are other people there.

And not just your average other people.  Oh, no, my friends.  Not even your normal, maybe-slightly-overweight other people.  And certainly not your average-American overweight folks.  No, those folks stay comfortably and safely over on the cardio side of the gym.  Never do they cross over to the weights side.

Yeah, they come in, settle down on an exercise bike for an hour or so, and read the ‘friggin newspaper.  Then they take their sweat-stained bodies and head for the locker room to shower.

Of course, because the Universe is never lacking in a sense of humor (or humour, for my Canadian readers), they are naturally the exact same group that has no issues whatsoever with walking round the locker room buck naked.  In their minds, I think the equation is this: “I’ve worked at the gym, and despite the fact that I’m about to leave here to get the Six-Dollar-Burger combo meal, because I’ve worked out at the gym, I must be buff.”

Ergo, in their minds, they are a sight to behold.  Ergo, they must display themselves, like proud peacocks, for all their glory for the world to see.

Ergo, they must walk around naked.  Pasty flesh, hairy backs, it’s all on display like mannequins in the front window of the “Oh, The Horror” Department Store.

The best part (or worst part, depending on how you humorously (humourously) want to define these things) is when they bend over to pick up things off the floor, displaying for all the world to see the awe-inspiring sight that is the American six-acre hairy ass.

Well, maybe not all the world, but just me, as they often they do this right in front of my face as I’m lacing up my shoes.  I have few talents, but randomly picking the locker that just happens to be next to the one selected by the pasty naked guy who will walk in five minutes later?  Yeah, that’s one of them.

God Bless America and our wide open, hairy, pasty spaces.

Other than the locker room or when I’m on the cardio equipment, though, I don’t see them much.  Why it has to be at the most inopportune times is anyone’s guess…but I digress.

Instead, I’m over the on the weights side (where one lifts weight instead of reading the paper), surrounded by guys like Handsome McStudly.

Who is Handsome McStudly?

He’s the guy who’s been pumping iron since he was oh, I dunno, five.  He’s the guy with body fat numbers in the single digits.  With broad shoulders, bulging biceps, and abs on which you could grate cheese your tacos.

And perfect hair.  Seriously, if there’s one thing guys like Beefy McSixPack have, it’s perfectly coiffed hair.  They work out for an hour, barely crack a sweat, and have perfect fucking hair, with nary a strand out of place.

(I’ll pause here for a moment to allow my female readers to swoon over the image that just popped into their heads.  Okay, good now?  Let’s move on.)

Yes, Chuck GiantPecs does a set, stands up, flexes a bicep in the mirror, admires it for a moment, then heads back to do another set.  That’s just the kind of guy he is.

Annoyingly, I don’t think he’s posing.  I think he actually IS checking his form in the mirror.  After all, when you’re that good looking, who really needs to pose?  These are real work-out guys who take their real work out really seriously.  They’re in it to improve themselves, not just to be silly posers.

Sadly, I can’t even criticize them for being just gym rats, because they aren’t.  How do I know?  Because my gym is located in an area which happens to be frequented by accountants and lawyers and business-types.  I know because I’ve heard them talking, and seen them when they come into the locker room still wearing their suits and ties and perfectly-creased pants.  They’re definitely so-called “professionals.”  Who just happen to also be very in shape, very good looking, and have perfectly manicured hair.

In short, they’re placed here on this earth to make average-Joes like me feel like average-Joe’s-crap.

And us average-Joes are reminded of this by working out in a room with more mirrors than a carnival fun house.  Oh, yeah, sure, these mirrors are supposedly “non-distorting,” but I don’t really believe it.

As far as I can tell, these mirrors are there for two purposes: so that the Adonises in the room can admire the results of their efforts (and keep in mind, I don’t deny that they put in effort (though I do think they have a special “food-to-muscle” gene the rest of us are lacking)), and so the rest of us normal folk can feel like we just aren’t working hard enough.  Ever.

In fact, I can stand in front of the mirror at home and not feel too bad.  Nah, I’m not sculpted or anything, but I’m not huge.  Not even those so-called “love handle” things, unless one pokes, prods and pulls a little.

On the flip side, though, working out on the lat pull-down machine at the gym I look in the mirror, with a sculpted Adonis working out behind me (and there’s always a sculpted Adonis working out behind me), and I see more flubber than a bad Robin Williams remake.

In the spirit of total honesty, I’ll even admit to this: there’s been a couple of days, days where the gym has been really busy, days where the gym is just crawling in Adonis’ admiring their sweatless sculpted muscles in the mirrors that… I’ve actually bailed.  Yep, that’s right, gone home early because I couldn’t take feeling like I was the fat guy on the floor.  Even though I’m not.  Even though I know I’m not.

It’s enough to want to pay someone who’s really overweight (you know, one of the headless, faceless people walking around that they show on the nightly news when they have a story about how overweight Americans are) to come work out on the weight floor with me, just to make me look gooooood.

Oh, well, at least I have one saving grace.

Most of the weight guys concentrate on their upper body, leaving legs that don’t quite balance their broad muscle-bound shoulders.

But I’ve got these hiker legs.

Go me.



  1. I hate going to the gym. I do it because I have myself convinced that nothing will prevent me from wearing below a size 10 in my wedding gown. We’ll see.

    I was told one time (and this is relevant because he’s in my area) that I had Michael Phelps’ back. Now, given the nature of where I was at the time (the gym) and being well…female….I didn’t quite know if I should take that as a compliment or as an insult. Locker rooms are beyond gross to me. I go to the gym in the evening because I can’t bring myself to even walk near the showers. Nasty.

    Women are always told that their bodies are a lot more beautiful than men, but believe you me, at least at my gym (and this is of no offense to the women I know that read my stuff) as much as I know all of us are trying for Gwen Stefani’s abs, I’m part of the mix that will never happen.

    Your vice is BBQ, mine is soda. I’m down to the Coke Zero, so hopefully I can move to non caffeinated, and then straight to a water based drink.

    Wait I’m in grad school….I must be dreaming.

    I hear ya on the Adonis’s too…we’ve got them, and they’re all med students. It’s kind of funny. My fiancee has stacked legs too. I think it’s great. Ultimate frisbee man, does wonders and he hasn’t been to a gym in years.


  2. You found your super power – pasty hairy ass attractor.

    I must only be half a hiker. My calves are magnificent (well, the Wife likes them) but my thighs are scrawny.

  3. This is one of the funniest post I have read today (okay, this is the first post I have read so far today but it doesn’t mean that it’s any less funny!). You should do some freelance writing work for Men’s Health or something 😉

    BTW, why on earth do you need to go to the gym when you live in the Envy-of-America-Perpetually-Sunny-And-Dry City of Angels of the Golden State?!!!

  4. Hilarious!

    FWIW, I’d choose a funny yet scrawny or chubby dude over a beefcake any day.

    Now that I’m the heaviest I’ve been in years, it is time to take drastic measure to curb my portliness. I’m thinking of investing in some kettlebells.

  5. When I see some guy admiring his flexing muscles in the gym, I cringe. I rather like the guy who looks like the rest of us and isn’t so wrapped up in his body. (There is a difference between someone who’s checking their form and someone who’s into self-worship, you can tell when you see it.)

    I have rolls too when I sit down. When I find out a guy has them too, I love it. Because then it means they will be less critical of me and we can take our rolls to a nice bbq and enjoy it. 🙂

    Oh, and hiker legs? They are *aweseome*…

  6. I was laughing so hard reading this. Believe me the woman’s locker room is no better. Ive seen things in there that I wished I had never seen.

    I agree with spleeness, that I have rolls when I sit down too and It makes me less critical of myself when I find out a guy has them too.

    lol and hiker legs, I must not be hiking enough…

  7. Food to muscle gene huh? I’ve been told it’s not uncommon for those adonises to take “muscle enhancing drugs”… Besides, that won’t hold after a certain amount of time.

    I avoid the gym just because I don’t want to be a part or this horror scene you mentioned. I don’t like the promiscuity involved in this whole scene. Experiencing military life was a deal breaker…

  8. CripKitty – I think no one enjoys going to the gym unless they happen to be like Beefy McStud. I do think it was a compliment (a sexy back is a sexy thing) But I have to ask: the girls in your gym have hairy asses too?

    Homer-Dog – Great. Try backpacking, that’ll help those thighs.

    K – Thanks. Um, yeah, it’s sunny, but it’s not like there’s free weight-lifting equipment left out on the beaches! (Well, maybe Muscle Beach, but you’ll never see me THERE! LOL)

    S’Dizzle – Why aren’t there more girls with tastes like yours in the world?

    Spleeness – In my experience, women are far more critical of their “rolls” than their men EVER are.

    Jean9 – Well, you know I’ll always recommend hiking more…

    Gany – If only the women at my gym were more promiscuous, maybe I’d be happier about it all! 😉

  9. 1) I KNEW you had pretty legs!! I DID. I’m so proud of my picturing-people capability right now.

    2) This was awesomely written if WordPress had a way to save good posts (HEAR THAT WORDPRESS?!) this would go to archives.

    3) The guys that look at themselves in the gym; my best friends and I, we think they are the funniest.

    4) “because I couldn’t take feeling like I was the fat guy on the floor. Even though I’m not. Even though I know I’m not.”
    I think that’s what most girls feel every day when they compare themselves to the women all the media advertises… maybe men too… it’s horrible pressure for normal people.

    5) you made me laugh so much. Thanks 🙂

  10. Mmmmmmmm……..hiker legs……goooooood……

  11. omg, you have totally brought some cheer to my day. I love your description of the gym folk.

    As a woman, your description of Adonis sounds unappealing. I cannot be attracted to a man who has pecs that are bigger than my boobs. Cannot happen ever. Plus, men need a bit of body hair. Smooth men creep me out. Unless they’re bald. Bald is not creepy.

    As for the naked blokes, that is incredible. I wish I had the confidence to strut about stark naked in a room full of strangers. Especially if I could do it in a non-pervy way. I’m sure you understand the difference. 🙂

  12. where’s the photo of these legs, dude? gonna start thinking you made them up 🙂

  13. Umm, remind me again how many Canadian readers you have? Okay, well I never actually went away but now I’m “officially” back and I think you should give us a glimpse of your vastly improved torso and naturally awesome hiker legs.

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