By Keaton Larson
During the beginning of the winter quarter, our gyms see a large influx as fresh faces try to stick to some ridiculous resolution. For every athlete and beefcake, there are two beginners looking to put on some pounds. Your fears of athletes are understandable but unwarranted. Many athletes use their own workout facilities, and furthermore, you will never be as good as them; they are taller, stronger, and more beautiful than the rest of us. The best we can do is focus on our strengths, like analyzing post-symbolist 20th-century feminist poetry or perfecting our ability to catch a die as it bounces off a table. These are the skills and traits that will make us successful in the future. However, if you dream of lustful looks, I have the knowledge you need to be a proper gym-goer, not some feeble pleb.
If you are starting out from scratch, I’d recommend going to B-fit. Here, no one will judge you when you bench without a spotter and lose control of the bar, sending plates scattering across the gym floor. B-fit is always busy, but this gym has one significant advantage. The beefcakes that inhabit John Wooden don’t come around here too often. B-fit is beneath them. Your insecurities about working out will not eat you alive here, allowing you to focus on your form, which is probably garbage.
The hardened meat-monsters that live in Wooden love the sweat and grime and feed off the dingy atmosphere. These thick pumpers can usually be found in packs around squat racks or benches, displaying their grit through copious amounts of screams and grunts. Also, be wary of those aggressively listening to music. When in the zone, they can’t see where they’re going, and they can’t hear you either. Rather, they are fixated on crushing their next set. The only reason these folks take a day off is to give the weights a break.
If you somehow manage to keep a routine, you should heed my next tip. Avoid the gym in the afternoon, Thursday through Saturday. Both gyms fill up with those looking to get in their pre-party pump – a process that proves pointless hours later when the Titos or drunchies ruin all their hard work. If you have no other time to work out, I’d recommend bodyweight exercises only. Reverse crunches, tricep dips, goblets squats, and step-ups are great routines that allow you to avoid machines that would otherwise prolong your workout. For those of you who forgo the pre-party pump, there is no need to worry. A frat boy or a woo-girl sees no difference in body definition after the devil’s drink reaches their bloodstream. By midnight, all our eyes work the same. Anything that moves is bound to grab our attention.
Lastly, here are a few more tips to get you started. Sit-ups are not a workout if all you do is lie there. When staring at a pull-up power tower, resist asking, with everything in you, what this machine does. This will save you from heaps of embarrassment. Furthermore, racking weights is not a workout. We’ve all made that move. You are staring at the dumbbells and trying to think, as conspicuously as possible, which weight is too heavy. You shoot your shot and go for the 40-pounder. Wrong move. You put them back, working your way down in increments of five until you land at the 15 pounders and think, yes, a full set is possible. After re-racking weights so many times though, your strength is half what it was before you started. You get in five good Arnold presses and call it a day.
I hope you conquer the gyms with this advice or you grow increasingly insecure and quit altogether. Either would work for me. The gyms are looking like a farmhouse filled with headless chickens, and I am sick of it.