Sunday, March 09, 2008

Day Nine: OCD Things I Do at the Gym

The place I can be found most often (besides my house) is the gym. Which makes me sound like some kind of fitness buff, which is just wrong, wrong, wrong. But I'm there a lot--three or four times a week, and occasionally more. I always find it amusing that my gym is housed in a mall called "Hazard Center." Apparently, there's a guy named Hazard who funded a lot of San Diego, but to me it's just descriptive. There are a lot of hazards at the gym, and I have lots of controlling little ways to avoid them.

1. I get my ID out as I approach the door. Not because it saves me time, but in order to avoid smiling, making eye contact, or otherwise engaging in any way with the teenager behind the desk. One quick glance to assess whether they are offering any promotional freebies (located in a basket just above the card reader) and I can swoop straight into the locker room.

2. I choose a locker in the back corner, near the lone chair that's always there. That way, I am less likely to have to jostle anyone passing through to the bathroom. And later, I have a perch to put on my socks. I check my hair, grimace, plaster down some unruly bits with a bit of water, and then head out. I approach the door slowly because I've been bonked before by people coming in.

3. I take a drink of water, but let the fountain run for a bit before putting my mouth down there, in some kind of misguided attempt at hygiene. Then I grab an orange workout towel, always eyeballing the entire stack before choosing one that has a particularly puffy-looking loop.

4. I survey the machines, assessing which elliptical trainer has the least: fan blasts, proximity to fluorescent lights, glare from the window, nearness to sweaty people. After settling in, I...

5. ...turn on the TV control to test for wonky headphone connection. If it's below standards, I move. If it passes, I set up my i-Pod (for musical interludes during ads) and...

6. ...adjust the incline to 10 and the resistance to 2. In the first three minutes, I will raise the resistance one level each minute. After three minutes, I pedal backwards for one minute. And so on. This highly elaborate regimen sometimes interferes with my admiration of a kick pleat or two on Project Runway.

7. For the next 30 minutes, I do a combo of elliptical and treadmill, but I usually do the elliptical first. On days when I feel really wild, I start with the treadmill. It's a real buzz to mix it up like that.

8. I do about six weight machines, during which I make a combined effort to watch my form, glower at people who are taking too long on the machine I want, and bug my eyes at people I have decided are standing too close to me for no reason at all except they happen to be talking right there.

9. During my stretch, I lay down on the mat with the same two consecutive thoughts each time: 1) This mat is probably a festival of germs, and 2) When did I become so fastidious? A few germs won't kill me.

10. My apres-workout shower is an elaborate and precise dance. First I wedge my gym bag onto the narrow bench next to the shower (it generally falls a few times), yank the curtain just so to conceal my feminine wiles, arrange my hair products, and finally--after the wet part--drop the aforementioned orange towel onto the floor in a practiced gesture (like throwing a pizza) so that it becomes an anti-fungal bath mat on which I conduct all my ablutions and emerge from behind the curtain fully dressed, lotioned, powdered, deoderized and combed.

11. While retrieving my remaining belongings from my locker, I cringe in anticipation of the woman who will attempt to open the locker right next to mine while commenting, "It's just Murphy's Law, isn't it?" And it always comes. Different woman. Same comment. Every time.

Clearly, I'm not the only one with "gym OCD." Readers? Care to share?


Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I happen to think the real Hazard Center in San Diego is just down the road, at the dreaded IKEA/Lowes/Costco complex. Getting in and out is certainly a hazard to your mental health!

Anonymous said...

Bonked! Surely not! Does this mean the same thing in the US as in AUS?

Cheri said...

I was just going to post that I had a too-young boyfriend (when I was single and young enough to have one) that used the word bonk instead of sex. So "I've been bonked before by people coming in" makes it sound like you're having more fun at the gym than I.

Sam said...

Hee hee. No, it doesn't mean the same thing here. :) But I read it over and it does sound kind of bad. ;)

Robyn said...

Hi Sam!

I think my only OCD gym thing is the ritual cleansing of the elliptical I must complete before beginning my workout. They offer Simple Green in squirty bottles and I partake. Liberally. In general I don't consider myself a germophobe but the idea of just jumping on the elliptical without disinfecting it myself first grosses me out. I know members are supposed to clean the equipment after they use it but I routinely see people do a quick wipe down of the equipment with the same washcloth they've been using to mop sweat from their brows. Yuck. Just spread the sweat around, why doncha?!?!

In gym related news - I get to come to your Nia class on Friday the 4th! I've already worked it out with my mom and she's going to stay with the boys while I get my sweaty groove on in Hazard Center. I even have time for a post-workout drink or dinner! Score! See you soon!



P.S. While I've never been bonked at the gym there are some yummy bonk-worthy trainers to look at. Looking is allowed, right?! RIGHT?!?