A few years ago, when I first started really dedicating myself to putting in time at the gym and outside running, one of my close friends, a group fitness instructor, told me not to turn into a “gym rat.” I thought, well, is that a bad thing? I mean, if spending a few hours working out means I might be a gym rat, then so be it.
Recently, though, I found this posting on gym rats. I realized that when people who are not all that into working out use this word, it is definitely an insult, plagued by misconceptions. Well, almost. I found this one posting from sociallyabrasive.com on so-called “gym rats;” the description is insulting, though, to some degree truthful (for some people). Of course, the guy’s descriptive writing makes it sound like he hasn’t hit a gym since the ‘80s.
“You can spot these morons the very second you walk into a gym. How many there are varies depending on what gym you’re at, but if you visit a place like Bally’s, they occupy about 50% of the place. Here’s what to look for. Firstly, you’ll see a tank top that shows way too much back hair and is possibly torn in such a way that you can see 1 nipple. Then of course you’ve got the Spandex shorts. They’re also either wearing or carrying a lifting belt, but they are clearly unsure what it’s for, because it looks as new as the day they bought it. Their hair is always freshly combed and has a fresh coat of hairspray. There’s also a 50/50 shot that they’re going to have shaved legs. If you pay close attention to a gym rat’s daily workout, it usually lasts about three hours and consists of the following: Stretching requires around 9 minutes, and is done intermittently throughout the session. Actual weight lifting takes 4 minutes total; that’s 3 sets of 10 on the bench. While they’re lifting you’ll be able to hear it from the other side of the building because of the exaggerated exhaling that they think comes with the territory when you’re a very serious weightlifter. Then you have to set aside about 20 minutes for walking to and from the water fountain to see who is in the gym today. When they see someone they know, they have to point at them. The pointing is usually accompanied by a clicking noise out of the side of their mouth. The remaining 2 hrs and 27 minutes are spent talking to other gym rats or gym employees.”
Oh, and he goes on. And on.
Do most people who might spend 3 hours a day seriously working out or training consider themselves “gym rats?” Really, I wouldn’t think it is a bad thing, but then again, people who are not into fitness probably actually think that spending a few hours a day working out is really nothing but an excuse to act like a douchebag.
I guess it is just one of those words or phrases that is okay if you take ownership of it, but is not okay for people who don’t own it to use.