Tales From The Glitter Gym
January 21, 2011 9:39 AM   Subscribe

Michael Allen Smith defined the difference between a Glitter Gym and a Rust Gym in 2006: "Glitter gyms are workout facilities with bright lights, mirrors, treadmills and TVs ... Rust gyms cater primarily to men and are almost all free weights ... Rust gyms are about function, glitter gyms are primarily about fashion." In the Tales From The Glitter Gym you can learn about male locker room behavior, unique gym smells, pickups, crowd control, unfit personal trainers, the commando, creative, inconsiderate sit-ups, annoying people, and so much more.
posted by artlung (120 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Yeah, posting your friends' stuff is a pretty big no-go. -- cortex



 
This seems really mean-spirited to me. Maybe he should try harder to find a convenient "rust gym."
posted by grouse at 9:51 AM on January 21, 2011


Well, this guy seems really unpleasant.
posted by Rory Marinich at 9:52 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just want a gym where people won't try to talk to me. That's also what I want in a coffee shop, a clothing store, on an airplane, on the subway, in line at the bank, and while grocery shopping
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:52 AM on January 21, 2011 [17 favorites]


I hate when "fitness people" perpetuate the myth that the gym is a place where we're all there to judge one another. I like going to the gym with other people because it inspires me. Young, old, tall, short, if you're working out and breaking a sweat, I'm impressed by you and you might see me coping one of your moves after you move on to the next thing.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:54 AM on January 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


Huh. So are there any non-glitter-gyms that women frequent, or does he just assume that all female gym-goers are about fashion?
posted by craichead at 9:55 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Another peevish list of stereotypes? Awesome!
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 9:55 AM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Only real men want to really want to work out, and it had better be grimy and grrr. Everything except massive pieces of metal is sissy and girly.

yeah.. you know what? Fuck that noise. I don't even go to a gym and I say fuck it.

Let me write a different piece of fiction that says: There is only two kinds of exercise, those that use special machines and pieces of equipment and those that pit you against natural forces. Only posers who only care about how they look will go to a special building and pay dues to exercise. Real people work, and use the great outdoors, and they are morally superior as well.

(see I don't really believe that, but isn't life so much easier when you belittle people and glamorize some random lifestyle?)
posted by edgeways at 9:56 AM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Yeah, it's dudes like this that make me want to stay AWAY from the gym, not go more often.
posted by ReeMonster at 9:56 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I go to the gym because it has workout equipment that I don't have at home. I don't really care if its rusty or glittery or who else is there, I'm just there to workout.
posted by octothorpe at 9:58 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Judgmental shitheads like this are the reason why a lot of shy people are too intimidated to even go to the gym in the first place. He can fuck himself.
posted by windbox at 9:58 AM on January 21, 2011 [16 favorites]


Like Marlo said, I wanted this to be one way, but it was the other.
posted by rusty at 9:59 AM on January 21, 2011


I go to gyms because I am lonely
posted by Postroad at 9:59 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah don't think I will be joining a gym.

Well maybe if I can get a trainer that will make me chase chickens and yell at me that I aint go no heart.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:59 AM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


2bucksplus: "I just want a gym where people won't try to talk to me. That's also what I want in a coffee shop, a clothing store, on an airplane, on the subway, in line at the bank, and while grocery shopping"

I feel your pain. I have a charmingly shabby gym, $400/year, that I have been avoiding for the last couple of weeks. My favorite part? No one talks to me!!
posted by theredpen at 9:59 AM on January 21, 2011


Yeah, it's dudes like this that make me want to stay AWAY from the gym, not go more often.

Not everything on the internet is written with you in mind. People are awfully inconsiderate and occasionally stupid in the gym, and sometimes you've got to vent.
posted by downing street memo at 9:59 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, this is why I've just been shovelgloving in my living room.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:00 AM on January 21, 2011


RAR RAR INTERNET HATE RAR
posted by hjo3 at 10:01 AM on January 21, 2011


I just want a gym where people won't try to talk to me. That's also what I want in a coffee shop, a clothing store, on an airplane, on the subway, in line at the bank, and while grocery shopping.

God forbid someone talks to you!!!!! Heavens to fucking Betsy!
posted by gagglezoomer at 10:01 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Suggesting that "rust" gyms are all about function is absolute horseshit. Rust gyms are just as glittery to gay men.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:01 AM on January 21, 2011


Huh. So the people at the gym really ARE as judgmental and snotty as I always assumed they were.

The phrase "I'm too fat to go to the gym" ought to be a joke but sadly, it isn't. Thanks in large part to jackholes like this guy.
posted by ErikaB at 10:01 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would love gyms which were not filled with mirrors, which did not have giant TVs hanging from the ceiling, and had actual changing vestibules next to private showers. Oh, yeah, and where you had to sign a contract that if anyone spotted you with a cell phone, they were completely free to come over and drop a large weight onto it.

I'm late for some curls in the squat rack.
posted by adipocere at 10:01 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like going to the gym with other people because it inspires me. Young, old, tall, short, if you're working out and breaking a sweat, I'm impressed by you and you might see me coping one of your moves after you move on to the next thing.

This is one of the reasons I love using the YMCAs.
posted by Theta States at 10:02 AM on January 21, 2011


This guy sounds like he enjoys lifting things up and putting them down.
posted by Mayor West at 10:03 AM on January 21, 2011 [10 favorites]


Jackhole? Asshole? Whoa. Mostly what the tales are about is about using the equipment and resources of the gym with consideration for other people. It's the inconsiderate that are the butt of the jokes in Tales From The Glitter Gym, not the unfit. MAS only goes to a gym because he no longer has the space to work out in his garage, thus the tales.
posted by artlung at 10:04 AM on January 21, 2011


Also, he can't write for toffee.
posted by Jody Tresidder at 10:05 AM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


> Yeah, it's dudes like this that make me want to stay AWAY from the gym, not go more often.

I think that's the reaction he was hoping for.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:05 AM on January 21, 2011


My favorite part is when he pulls out the old standard: "No, I'm flattered to be hit on by a homosexual."

He's not flattered. He's really not.
posted by muddgirl at 10:05 AM on January 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Christ, what an asshole.
posted by leotrotsky at 10:05 AM on January 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't love the tone or the judgment, but I can relate. I always dread when my bare bones, 'rusty' university gym closes for break and I have to go to planet fitness, where deadlifting and making exertion noises are forbidden.
posted by el chupa nibre at 10:06 AM on January 21, 2011


Jackhole? Asshole? Whoa.

Metafilter + Gyms, Lifting Weights, Athletics = GRAR
posted by downing street memo at 10:06 AM on January 21, 2011


I'd like some credit for not posting any of the various comments I tried on the subject of annoying people and which were not sufficiently funny to make up for the fact that they were just fancy ways of saying "takes one to know one, apparently".
posted by Wolfdog at 10:08 AM on January 21, 2011


I'm late for some curls in the squat rack.

This is the only thing that people can do in the gym that actually bothers me, and it wouldn't be an issue if most affordable gyms didn't just have one or two squat racks.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 10:08 AM on January 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


I do think this sort of "vets get to cattily bitch about noobs doing it wrong" attitude has to go, across all activities. This and last January I saw so many stupid facebook status updates from people who regularly go to the gym about how all of the new years resolutes are soooo annoying, and they're crowding up their precious gym space, or using machines instead of free weights, or hogging the benchpress, or doing it wrong, or LOL so many fat people at the gym, etc.

It's all just chest thumping macho look-at-me-I'm-such-a-fucking-pro bullshit.
posted by windbox at 10:11 AM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is one of the reasons I love using the YMCAs.
And it's why I love my university gym. It actually looks pretty glittery, but the clientele is really diverse.
posted by craichead at 10:12 AM on January 21, 2011


I like the bit where he is horrified that there are naked men in the men's locker room. Dude has some hang-ups.
posted by Authorized User at 10:13 AM on January 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Can we have a flag for Outragefilter? Nobody likes this.
posted by schmod at 10:13 AM on January 21, 2011


Yeah, el chupa nibre said what I came to say. You shouldn't be giving any "gym" (read: Planet Fitness) money to tell you not to exert yourself.

I just want a gym where people won't try to talk to me.

Exactly. What kind of troll sees a guy with many plates in the squat rack and a burst blood vessel in one eye and decides to sidle on up and discuss the virtues of a day devoted only to "arms, bro"?
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 10:14 AM on January 21, 2011


Glitter gyms are workout facilities with ... treadmills

Walking and running for exercise are just fads, and everyone knows it.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 10:15 AM on January 21, 2011


Man, I thought bike riders were judgmental assholes. You'll have to excuse me, I have to go make fun of people with tri-bars now.
posted by fixedgear at 10:18 AM on January 21, 2011


Dude sounds like he should go join a CrossFit gym and shut up.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:18 AM on January 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


If it's a rust gym he's after, there's one in a community centre up the road from where I live that makes prison gyms look like Bally Total Fitness. I stopped going because I was worried the equipment would break and injure me (also, I am lazy).
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:19 AM on January 21, 2011


God help us if this fool ever goes to a CrossFit gym and drinks the Kool-Aid.
posted by benzenedream at 10:21 AM on January 21, 2011


Then he could blog about paleo dieting and how much good it is to be in pain!
posted by Burhanistan at 10:22 AM on January 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Rust gyms are just as glittery to gay men.

Hum. Is this one of those things where all gay men are supposed to see the world through glittery, fabulous eyes?

Huh. So the people at the gym really ARE as judgmental and snotty as I always assumed they were.

Not "the people." Just this one. Not to deny that they exist, but fortunately they're really just as easy to ignore as all the other people who are already ignoring you and minding their business.
posted by mykescipark at 10:29 AM on January 21, 2011


When you're this into petty drama, complete with mocking stick-figure drawings of other patrons, chances are extremely high that you are the fucking annoying guy at the gym.

Why doesn't he just go to a different gym?
posted by vorfeed at 10:30 AM on January 21, 2011


downing street memo: Metafilter + Gyms, Lifting Weights, Athletics = GRAR

NOW you tell me. sheesh.

MAS does blog about paleo, but also says:
This blog chronicles my experiments in nutrition and fitness. If it helps or inspires you that is wonderful. If it doesn’t, that is OK too. What works for me may not work for you. And what doesn’t work for me, may work for you. We are all unique and at different points in our fitness journey.
posted by artlung at 10:32 AM on January 21, 2011


Oh my god... the crowd control post. Shouting NONSENSE and angrily lifting weights is a surefire way to make people laugh at you, not scare them.
posted by joeyjoejoejr at 10:34 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


benzenedream: he has not drunk the CrossFit kool-aid
posted by artlung at 10:34 AM on January 21, 2011


He might come off as an ass but I laughed anyway. It's funny 'cause it's true!
Of course, I just got back from my gym where I saw a lady on the elliptical, bouncing so vigorously I thought she'd give herself black eyes. Then I went into the locker room to pee, only to see the large naked woman who always seems to be naked when I go in there. What the hell, if she doesn't care, I don't. And in the free weight room there was (there always is) a dude doing bicep curls in the squat rack.
That's the price I pay for getting out of the house for a workout, I guess.
you guys seem awfully grumpy today.
posted by phogirl at 10:45 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Didn't the movie "Dodgeball" clearly underline these distinctions?
posted by inturnaround at 10:46 AM on January 21, 2011


Ugh. Lots of lameness going on both in this guy's posts (this one in particular shows how bad he sucks: why not trying to ask them politely to move buddy?) as well as this thread.

First of all, in some ways he is right. Yeah, unfortunate, but true. These so-called "rust gyms" do cater more to men (or at least men's ideas of fitness culture), and "glitter gyms" are more...not about fashion, I would say, but about providing a sort of pre-determined set of features that correspond to people's (men's and women's) ideas of what fitness is. And I don't think it's at all a good thing that some women are intimidated to go into these so-called "rust gyms," but there it is. And of course there are a lot of points along the spectrum. I remember going to this gym in Park Slope years ago that had a really nice vibe, it was filled with both serious lifting guys but plenty of women and average people who wanted to get a work-out in with no bullshit. They had a good selection of free weights and cardio machines, not a ton of uber-specific Nautilus machines and crap like that...

Anyways, I'd like to see the opposite going on: more women lifting is great, and women could really benefit from it. It is good for everyone to lift weights. Like, really good for you. Arguably better than running, although my fundamental philosophy is that if you are getting in any gym and doing exercise on a consistent basis, and you are doing it with good enough form that you won't hurt yourself and will keep doing it, then great. Any safe exercise, consistently, is better than none, which is the standard for most people unfortunately.

Which is one nice thing about Crossfit (say what you will about the choice of pics on WoD posts...or anything, let's please not get into it right now): they tend to feature women more, highlight women athletes, hold women and men to the same standards, don't make a big deal out of women lifting, etc. etc. And they view fitness as not necessarily a way to look good (again, I'm generalizing here) but to be...fit. There are of course other fitness practices than Crossfit that do this too, but one thing is true about a lot of mainstream commercial gyms that this guy is (unfortunately) right about: the trainers suck to the degree that listening to them can be dangerous, the facilities often have really poor choices of gear based on some what some salesman sold the manager or what sort of corporation has a partnership with the mega-gym, and often people are there just to make face time in the gym without feeling like they need to think about why they are in the gym and really engage. Like el chupa nibre I've also gotten shit about making noise and doing real lifts like deadlifts.

But on the other hand, this guy needs to chill about stuff like gym smells (really? You're surprised?) and when people use the gym not to his exacting standards. Whatever, this guy is just trying to get people to read his shitty blog...it's working huh?

This guy sounds like he enjoys lifting things up and putting them down.

So do I. I like lifting weights. It is good for me, makes me stronger and I like hitting new personal records. I don't really understand this comment and I don't understand why people favorited it, frankly. There is definitely an undercurrent of reactive snark here often on lifting-related posts, which I've yet to really understand. If I'm offbase, sorry. If not, I'd love an explanation.

benzenedream: he has not drunk the CrossFit kool-aid

PLEASE let's not start arguing about Crossfit. It has great things about it and things that aren't so great. Let's acknowledge that and move on, okay? Please?
posted by dubitable at 10:46 AM on January 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


He is so passive aggressive, but I hope he's just playing it up for the blog. Why doesn't he ask to use a bench that someone has left a clipboard on and then move the clipboard? Or why doesn't he ask the people with the bands to move to another area since they are blocking access to the benches? fuming and glaring and harrumphing aren't productive.

Also, wtf about the fat guy and the situps. I'm overweight and I am not doing situps or core exercises to have abs, I am doing them to have stronger muscles because I threw out my back a few times and I read that strong core muscles would help to protect my back. wtf. fat people don't get to have muscles underneath the fat? Even if I had no plans to lose weight I'd still want a stronger body. :/ I guess I've been trolled.
posted by bleary at 10:48 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Everyone's in a race to shit on this guy but I liked his post Three People I Respect where he has some nice things to say about a couple of ladies and a very overweight guy whom he respected for heading straight to the weights. He's opinionated but entertaining.
posted by Space Coyote at 10:49 AM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


The dude does have a point, though-- some people are just ridiculously inconsiderate at gyms. Like this one time, I was on the elliptical minding my own business, when I heard somebody shout "NONSENSE!!!" at the top of his lungs. Almost gave me a heart attack. I looked over, and I saw this guy dragging weight benches around, slamming them onto the floor, and just generally throwing a tantrum and knocking stuff over. Some people are crazy.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:53 AM on January 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


windbox's comment "Judgmental shitheads like this are the reason why a lot of shy people are too intimidated to even go to the gym in the first place. He can fuck himself." really seems to resonate with folks on this thread. There's any number of retail, food service, customer service blogs where employees vent about the customers and I don't remember those blogs getting near the amount of grar this is getting.
posted by artlung at 10:55 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't put much value in the health advice of a person who hugs a tiger. If you want to live long it is probably a good idea not to cuddle with an animal that can vivisect you faster than you can say "ball sweat".
posted by I love you more when I eat paint chips at 10:55 AM on January 21, 2011


Two things I hated about my old gym (it was Bally's Total Fitness, if anyone cares). One, they constantly had the music turned up ridiculously loud, which is a horrible idea since nearly everyone there had MP3 players, and you had to crank up the volume on your headphones to way past the safe limit to even hear your own stuff. Two, they once kicked me out for wearing jeans.
posted by infinitywaltz at 10:58 AM on January 21, 2011


When Ballys started to put in the red neon highlighting, I declared it a "red spandex pimpmobile" and stopped going...

...Then I got over myself, went back and lost 70 pounds. It's all about focus, peeps.
posted by djrock3k at 10:58 AM on January 21, 2011


Two, they once kicked me out for wearing jeans.

Well, I strongly disagree with the choice to kick you out for wearing jeans...but I have to ask why were you wearing jeans to work out (or were you working out at the time)? Just seems so uncomfortable.
posted by dubitable at 10:59 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you enjoyed this series of blog posts may I also recommend the lengthy "Strange Denizens of the Pool" thread over at the triathlete forum

slowtwitch.com

Much more ado about twigs, berries and the drying thereof over there.
posted by de void at 11:06 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I dislike the general assumption revealed by some of the blog posts that fat people only use a treadmill or exercise bike to lose weight. He basically has no respect for cardiovascular fitness at all.
posted by muddgirl at 11:09 AM on January 21, 2011


I do think this sort of "vets get to cattily bitch about noobs doing it wrong" attitude has to go, across all activities.

Total aside/derail, but I'm trying (at a rather advanced age) to learn more about the basics of computer programming. I've been looking at various forums and internet communities, checking out some questions other folks have had, looking for advice, and God! Programmers who know their stuff are SUCH DICKS to newbies who don't!

Uh, carry on.
posted by chaff at 11:10 AM on January 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


There are women-focused gyms, some of which don't let men in, some of which strategically position mirrors so you don't have to stare at yourself in a bank of them the whole time. They tend not to have a lot of freeweights.

My gym complaint is the dude who grunts EXCESSIVELY LOUDLY every time he crunches or lifts or whatever. Look, dude, we're all working out, we all know you gotta grunt it out sometimes, and we can all tell when you're showing off. Oh, look, those weights you're lifting are soooooooo heavy! Look, sir, I'm slightly concerned you might get a hernia and perhaps you should stop.

Also dudes who work out to get very buff-looking, but they're only for-show muscles, not functional muscles. As in, they won't help you lift something, especially if it "not an arms day." Seriously??? The ladies are not going to be impressed at how buff you are when you won't lift heavy things.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:15 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've read this guy's blog before. Unfortunately I don't think his writing is particularly good or his observations especially interesting, but anybody who goes to a gym to train rather than lollygag, fart around, and generally self-delude will understand what he's complaining about. People do all kinds of obnoxious and inconsiderate things in gyms, to say nothing of the goofy, ineffective ways they find to "work out," often under the direction of trainers only marginally less clueless than themselves. If you've never had to kick a curler out of the squat rack, you may have a hard time relating to the sentiment.

A lot of this stuff is a predictable result of the sad state of physical education among the general public. As long as there are clueless people who feel pressure to "get in shape," there will be lots of money to be made from selling them BS. Planet Fitness is the embodiment of the glitter gym. They attract people by playing to their ignorance and insecurity. They have "lunk alarms," because God forbid someone actually want to exert themselves or lift something heavy. I have very little sympathy for anyone who claims to be "too intimidated" to go to a gym because of all the scary people lifting heavy things. If you can't be bothered to educate yourself about how to achieve your fitness goals and motivate yourself to follow through, the problem is yours. It's not the fault of the guy next to you deadlifting 500.

All of the serious training facilities I've been to -- what he calls a "rust gym," but which I'd refer to as a "black iron gym" -- have been very welcoming places with collegiate atmospheres. I train semi-regularly at a place like this. Men and women train there. Everyone knows everyone else, and is always quick to lend a hand or give somebody feedback. Not everyone is chasing the same goals, but everyone is there to train, not to fuck around, read a magazine, or pay someone to chat with them for 30 minutes so they can tell themselves they "got a good workout." If you've never been to a place like this, you won't understand what you're missing.

Unfortunately these places are relatively rare. Many people who would like to train at a place like this have to train at a glitter gym out of necessity. I do most of my training at a near my home place that bills itself as a serious gym, and is even equipped somewhat like one, complete with bumper plates, chalk, and olympic platforms. However, it's still a glitter gym at heart, and has only superficial commonalities with a real training facility.

Anyway, I'll end this comment by linking to this video, which is a cheeky and spot-on response to Planet Fitness's incredibly obnoxious TV commercials.
posted by Anatoly Pisarenko at 11:15 AM on January 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


This guy sounds like he enjoys lifting things up and putting them down.

Context.
posted by josher71 at 11:17 AM on January 21, 2011


This guy is almost certainly a douche but that doesnt invalidate a lot of his points.

If I have an hour in the gym I dont want to deal with people: not wiping their flopsweat off the machines, using the bench to hold their training paperwork while they arent using it, sitting on equipment messing with their iPod/phone when all the similar machines are occupied, dicking around talking about sports while other people need those weights/machine, etc.

Believe it or not, there are some of us in there spending time and money to achieve real goals.
And it sucks to have to deal with a crowd of half-assers gumming up the works.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 11:24 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


This guy sounds like he enjoys lifting things up and putting them down.

Context.


Holy shit that ad sucks so hard on so many levels.
posted by dubitable at 11:24 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Planet Fitness actually sells itself with what they call Judgement Free Zone®, yet they totally seem to be hating on people who lift with that "lifts things up and puts them down" commercial. Crazy.
posted by artlung at 11:32 AM on January 21, 2011


It's a judgment free zone because everyone in there is equal -- equally incapable of becoming stronger using PF's inadequate equipment, that is.
posted by vorfeed at 11:45 AM on January 21, 2011


But when I go to the gym and people are being rude, I don't passively-aggressively write blog posts about them - I either ignore them or I ask them to pick up after themselves/wipe their sweat/move off the machine, and I hope others would extend me the same courtesy.

The difference between bitching about other people and bitching about customers is the fact that, like, McDonald's employees are basically wage slaves. They can't tell people off, so their only outlet is passive-aggressiveness. Not so for Mr. MAC.
posted by muddgirl at 11:49 AM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd go to a "rust gym," but I'm afraid that the patrons there would make fun of me for not knowing how to use the equipment properly, and then blog about doing so on the internet, without actually taking the time to show me how to do things properly without drawing their ire.

Also, I happen to like glitter.
posted by schmod at 11:54 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't put much value in the health advice of a person who hugs a tiger. If you want to live long it is probably a good idea not to cuddle with an animal that can vivisect you faster than you can say "ball sweat".

Yeah, but it's clearly a baby tiger.

Anyway, I don't get all the hating. I found this mildly entertaining and I don't even go to the gym. It's just a little venting...nothing to take personally. Gym rats need an outlet, too.
posted by Jess the Mess at 11:57 AM on January 21, 2011


If the dude really hates the gym so much, as opposed to it being a curmudgeonly pose of some sort, why doesn't he exercise somewhere else? Life is too short to drink bad beer.

(I wouldn't be intimidated by him if I went to his gym, but as someone with some health problems that limit my options, I'd probably be a prime target for his mockery. It makes me wonder why some of the people he's mocking are doing the things that annoy him and whether we'd see the story differently if we knew the other side.)
posted by immlass at 11:57 AM on January 21, 2011


Here's an analogy - I'm in a bowling league that attracts newcomers. I was a newcomer once. There's a sort-of-unintuitive politeness thing where you're not supposed to bowl at the same time as someone in a lane on either side of you. There's two ways to handle this:

(1) After the first offense, go over to the newbie, welcome them to the league, and point out that we are supposed to wait for the neighboring lanes to clear before we start our approach.
(2) Sigh, grumble, piss and moan every time the newbie encroaches on your bowling, just quietly enough that the newbie can't actually hear you. Generally make the experience really unpleasant for yourself and everyone else on your team without actually fixing the problem.
posted by muddgirl at 11:58 AM on January 21, 2011


> Also, he can't write for toffee.

I agree. The guy should read a few entries in hyperboleandahalf.

Not that I think he has the wit to get to that level, but at least he'd discover there were more rungs on the ladder.

Anybody can complain. People who can complain entertainingly are awesome.
posted by mmrtnt at 11:59 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not all the tigers were small. ;-)

Also, muddgirl: He basically has no respect for cardiovascular fitness at all., not really, he does have opinions though.
posted by artlung at 12:02 PM on January 21, 2011


I'd go to a "rust gym," but I'm afraid that the patrons there would make fun of me for not knowing how to use the equipment properly, and then blog about doing so on the internet, without actually taking the time to show me how to do things properly without drawing their ire.

The blogger is writing about "tales from the glitter gym." He's explicitly not talking about rust gyms, which as I said tend to be more like semi-private clubs where people know each other and help each other out. But since you've never been to one I guess you wouldn't know that. In any case, why do you feel the other patrons of the gym owe it to you to teach you how to train properly? If I stopped what I was doing to help everybody in the gym that seemed clueless, I'd have no time to train and I'd also piss off a lot of people who aren't interested in my advice. So I keep it to myself unless someone asks me for help, which they occasionally do, in which case I'm more than happy to lend a hand.

why doesn't he exercise somewhere else?

Because very often there's nowhere else to go.
posted by Anatoly Pisarenko at 12:05 PM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't see what all the vitriol is aside from some deep-seated "I may or may not have actually been picked on by 'jocks' in school, but they didn't hang out with me either, so fuck them". There are meatheads who subscribe to some quasi-religious Crossfit/bulk / cut cycling / 'Squats n Milk' ethos, sure; every subculture has it's hipsters. Just because you aren't an audiophile buying gold-plated speaker plugs doesn't mean you're an insufferable prick for being particular about MP3 bitrates.

I lift weights, and squats are central to my workout plan. The average commerical ("glitter") gym will have roughly 100 treadmills, 100 exercise bikes, multiple circuits of weight machines, one or several workout studios where Zuma classes are being held, any number of mats and bozu balls and whatever else....

and one squat rack.

And someone is using it for curls, or to stretch, or to hang laundry, or flirt with their trainer.

When this sort of thing happens every day, it gets annoying. Sometimes when one is annoyed, one vents, and isn't exactly tactful. I can't blame the guy.

I guess despite being an IT consultant I'm a "jock douchebag", given that I lift weights and understand most of his frustration.

The only way I can think to relate it, is say you enjoy coffee, but can't own a coffee maker (for whatever reason) and the only place to get your daily cup is the local Starbucks, and every day you go there, it's full of people trying to buy groceries or order pizza.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 12:07 PM on January 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


And another thing: how come the sign on the front door says 20 minute max on the cardio machines, but the poster in front of the machines says you need to do 30 minutes minimum in order to get a cardio workout?
posted by Hoopo at 12:14 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I haven't click the links yet, but does he get his grunt on?
posted by Theta States at 12:18 PM on January 21, 2011


not really, he does have opinions though.

Oh how he does. Given that he is into "paleo" diets and looking at our somewhat-bogus "caveman roots", MAS should be all over endurance training. It should essentially be his number one focus. He talks about "functional lifting" - there's nothing more functional than endurance training.

We are endurance machines. Persistence hunting is one of our earliest hunting methods - basically we are Terminators compared to other mammals.
posted by muddgirl at 12:22 PM on January 21, 2011


I've been a member of a few gyms in my day and never had these "glitter gym" complaints that I, as a guy who uses free weights for weight-training, am suppose to have. But maybe in the northeast, people seem mind their own business and stay out of each other's way at the gym a lot more than in other places.

Even though HE doesn't like cardio, MOST people who frequent the gym combine cardio and weight-training. If he doesn't like to see a lot of treadmills, then he shouldn't join a gym.
posted by deanc at 12:37 PM on January 21, 2011


it is probably a good idea not to cuddle with an animal that can vivisect you faster than you can say "ball sweat".

Speak for yourself. I've been training hard for months and I can now say "ball sweat" like really fast.
posted by Hoopo at 12:44 PM on January 21, 2011


I do think this sort of "vets get to cattily bitch about noobs doing it wrong" attitude has to go, across all activities.

Man, do you want to kill every guitar and bicycle shop in the US?
posted by COBRA! at 12:44 PM on January 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


why doesn't he exercise somewhere else?

Because very often there's nowhere else to go.


This guy lives "downtown" in Seattle, a town with umpteen buses which go to and from downtown. I can believe that going to a rust gym is somewhat inconvenient for him, but I can't believe it's more inconvenient than running an entire blog about how horrid the glitter gym is.
posted by vorfeed at 12:49 PM on January 21, 2011


The guy should read a few entries in hyperboleandahalf.
Not that I think he has the wit to get to that level, but at least he'd discover there were more rungs on the ladder.


Brilliant stuff at that link, mmrtnt.
(I see she's already very well known - just new to me. Wow...)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 1:04 PM on January 21, 2011


I don't know anything about Seattle, but I live in Philadelphia, and I drive 30 minutes outside of the city to get to a gym with tires and sleds instead of TVs and treadmills. Maybe there's something closer to me, but I don't know about it.

I wish it were different, but the reality is these places are rare because it's hard to make them financially viable, and when they do exist they're often hard to find because they're not chains with big advertising budgets. The place I go to is in a garage behind a firehouse.

It's just not easy for people who want to train seriously or get coaching in powerlifting, weightlifting, strongman, and the like. They can either invest in their own equipment, provided they have the space and the money, hope they're lucky enough to find an appropriate facility nearby and potentially go far out of their way to train there, or they can suck it up, join the nearest globo-gym, and occasionally bitch about it on the internet.
posted by Anatoly Pisarenko at 1:11 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow, I'm just the kind of person that could have written this. Almost everyone I run into at the gym is a giant insufferable inconsiderate smelly annoying douche. There is something so intimate about the space you share at the gym, it's like having a hundred bad room mates at once. I tend to shower at the gym and stuff too, so I guess that makes a difference. It was so much worse when I went to the Glitter Gym (interestingly, it was the same 24 Hour Fitness here in downtown Seattle that this guy's going to). Now, I have the perfect Rust Gym that I've been using for the last 6 years (and I still haven't lost any weight yet!) and every January I have to endure the influx of so many new members working on their New Year's resolution, that it's just not worth going. By next month, they'll be gone, they always are, and I'll be back there working out, silently judging people and feeding on my misanthropy to push those extra weight lifting reps.

Come on people, lighten up, there's a lot of funny stories about human interaction at the gym, and some truly annoying personal habits (I'm guilty of many of them) that come colliding together.

Also, when I lived in Capitol Hill, there really wasn't any where else to go within walking distance besides 24 hour fitness. Yecch.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 1:22 PM on January 21, 2011


here's a lot of funny stories about human interaction at the gym, and some truly annoying personal habits (I'm guilty of many of them) that come colliding together.

Not to mention homophobia, fatphobia, and gender essentialism to boot! Truly entertaining!
posted by muddgirl at 1:25 PM on January 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


There's a gym at the community college on Capitol Hill that's available to the public. Although I guess I'm too late with this info at this point.
posted by josher71 at 1:38 PM on January 21, 2011


Not all the tigers were small. ;-)

Right you are.
posted by Jess the Mess at 1:41 PM on January 21, 2011


I work out at a glitter gym because it's the closest to my office so I'm more likely to actually use it rather than pay for the privilege of having a gym membership without actually using a gym membership which is kind-of the whole point. They have a weights area that hardly anybody ever uses, which is great.

It's so easy to get hypocritical when you're discussing "The Gym," though. For instance, I hate egregiously loud grunts, but when I'm lifting, if I need to grunt I'm gonna fucking grunt. I hate all the mirrors but I like to make sure my form is correct lest I hurt myself. I hate the fuckers that don't rack their weights, but I'll leave weights on if I think I'm going to do another set. I hate all the old, wrinkled ball-sack septuagenarians walking around the locker room with towels thrown over their shoulder (come on, man!) but I'm also glad to see older folks with that kind of self-confidence who are going out and doing shit rather than complaining about their failing health.

So I understand where he's coming from. On the other hand, most of the hate in this thread is just ignorant and betrays a lack of any real first-hand experience. For instance, 99.99% of the time, if you don't know how to use a piece of equipment or do a particular exercise, you can ask anybody for help and they'll have no problem. Even the huge dudes with the veins popping out of their forehead. Which makes sense, if you think about it even from a machismo standpoint: asking for help puts you in an inferior position and gives the person you're asking an automatic sense of pride that you would ask them for help, because obviously they know what they're doing. It's a compliment. Provided you're not asking for help right in the middle of somebody's set, or asking all the time, nobody has a problem helping out. People who go to the gym regularly don't seem to have nearly the number of issues and prejudices of the people that don't.

Hum. Is this one of those things where all gay men are supposed to see the world through glittery, fabulous eyes?

Yes, because you're all exactly the same and have the exact same personality and interests and desires and should really all be called the same name because it would make things so much easier for the rest of us non-gays. How does Buck sound? Too macho? How about Lance? Yeah, Lance.

In conclusion, thanks for your two cents, Lance.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 1:42 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


People do all kinds of obnoxious and inconsiderate things in gyms, to say nothing of the goofy, ineffective ways they find to "work out," often under the direction of trainers only marginally less clueless than themselves. If you've never had to kick a curler out of the squat rack, you may have a hard time relating to the sentiment.

Anatoly Pisarenko,

No, I've never "had to kick a curler out of the squat rack" but it totally sounds like the thin end of the wedge:)
posted by Jody Tresidder at 2:05 PM on January 21, 2011


FYI if you don't like gyms (glitter, rust, or otherwise) "Convict Conditioning" is a breath of fresh air. Without buying a lot of useless equipment you can get pretty darned firm by following the progressive calisthenics outlined therein. A bench, mat, and a chin-up bar is about all you need.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:09 PM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've read this guy's blog before. Unfortunately I don't think his writing is particularly good or his observations especially interesting, but anybody who goes to a gym to train rather than lollygag, fart around, and generally self-delude will understand what he's complaining about.
Ok, here's the thing. I don't go to the gym to train. I go to the gym because I'm a small woman with a history of anorexia and prescription steroid use, and I don't want my bones to crumble before I hit my fiftieth birthday. To me, going to the gym is like brushing my teeth. It's not a hobby. It's not a huge part of my identity. It's just something that I do to try to keep my body in decent working order, because my doctor has read me the riot act about osteoporosis and I'm doing what I can to stave it off.

And I truly don't give a flying fuck if my existence is somehow an affront to the burly, grunting guys who think they own the gym because they're there to "train." I pay the same membership fee as them, and I've got exactly the same right to be there. You don't like the women who use treadmills and weight machines? Well, sorry. I'm sure I don't like you very much, either, but you don't see me writing a whole blog about it.
posted by craichead at 2:16 PM on January 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


craichead, your own characterization of what you do at the gym would not possibly be interpreted by anybody as "lollygagging or farting around"- again, most of what I read in the Tales are about inconsiderate use of the facilities. And I defy you to find a line in that blog where he "(doesn't) like the women who use treadmills and weight machines" -- that's simply not what the blog is about.
posted by artlung at 2:23 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


And I defy you to find a line in that blog where he "(doesn't) like the women who use treadmills and weight machines" -- that's simply not what the blog is about.

We already talked about this.
My pal asked me about doing cardio and I responded with cardio is for girls... I really don’t believe cardio is for girls. Girls should avoid cardio too.
...
Why do people perform steady state aerobic exercise?

1. Endurance training.
2. Fat loss.
He's making a very simplistic assumption as to why any particular person is on a treadmill, plain and simple.
posted by muddgirl at 2:29 PM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, and I missed this part, even though it's in bold
If everyone wasting their time on treadmills and stationary bikes spent that same time in the kitchen preparing healthy meals, they would be FAR LEANER.
Wow, that's quite a presumptuous statement, Mr. Mind Reader!
posted by muddgirl at 2:31 PM on January 21, 2011


Well, I strongly disagree with the choice to kick you out for wearing jeans...but I have to ask why were you wearing jeans to work out?

I just really like wearing jeans.
posted by infinitywaltz at 2:35 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not thinking your workout is effective and blogging about it is not the same as not liking women who work on the treadmill. MAS is doing the former, not the latter. craichead, if people are making you feel like crap ("You don't like the women who use treadmills and weight machines? Well, sorry. I'm sure I don't like you very much, either, but you don't see me writing a whole blog about it.") for doing your thing it's not MAS doing it, it's other idiots. MAS is at the least, a different idiot, and in my opinion you would not be the target of a TotGG. If I'm wrong I'll be happy to be corrected.
posted by artlung at 2:40 PM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


What artlung said. I can't speak for the blogger, but I don't think I own the gym or have more of a right to be there than anybody else. But I would prefer to have the luxury of attending a gym that is equipped to meet my needs, just as I'm sure you appreciate going to one that has treadmills and machines if that's what your workout is based on. Being able to receive quality coaching and be amongst like-minded folk would be a nice bonus, too. However, just about every gym around offers treadmills and machines and trainers who can show you how to use treadmills and machines, while very very few have Olympic platforms, bumper plates, prowlers, strongman implements, etc., to say nothing of trainers who can teach you to snatch.

Seriously, take a minute and imagine what it would be like if you couldn't find any gyms in your area that had any treadmills, because every one near you was a powerlifting gym -- it'd be annoying, right? But that's not the world we live in.

And like the blogger, I see people doing things in gyms all the time that I think are probably a waste of their time and effort. I think in most cases they don't know better, or got some bad advice from somebody. But I don't interrupt them and try to set them straight, and I don't see the blogger saying he does, either. I just do my thing and give advice if asked. This guy decided to write a blog with his opinions on exercise -- now, if you disagree with him about the importance of steady-state cardio, ok, but I don't think that particular stance is any reason to villify him.
posted by Anatoly Pisarenko at 2:42 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


No, I've never "had to kick a curler out of the squat rack" but it totally sounds like the thin end of the wedge:)

I had to look up the "thin end of the wedge" as I didn't know that expression! Ha...

To give a sense of what exactly it means to "kick curlers out of the squat rack," for those folks who think that sounds douche-y, consider the fact that a squat is an exercise that you do typically with a pretty heavy amount of weight (whatever that may be, related to your bodyweight most likely—but a lot of people are shooting for twice their body weight as a standard solid squat goal so consider that), and consider that you have to get in position for a back squat by moving under the bar so as to get it resting on your back. Whereas curling is an exercise that you typically do with a relatively light amount of weight—you do not need to start with the bar above you. That is, you don't need to use a rack, period, for curling.

If (for some bizarre reason...</snark>, please allow me this small amount...) you are doing barbell curls there is no reason you can't start from the floor with that and deadlift it (although if you need to deadlift the amount of weight you are curling...well, this is getting into a world of speculation that makes no sense to me) up to your waist, but you cannot usually safely, if at all, get the amount of weight up to your shoulders, above your head, and back down to your back that you need to do a proper back squat, at the amount of weight most people serious about squatting are doing squats at.

That is, if you are hanging out in the squat rack and doing anything that isn't squatting (or maybe presses), more or less, you are possibly wasting someone else's gym time and being damn rude from most lifters' point of view. And added to the fact that most gyms are woefully under-equipped with squat racks, it's actually pretty damn frustrating.

That said, the first thing to do is to politely ask the person to leave the squat rack, and explain to them what I've explained above politely if need be, not to freak out and yell "NONSENSE" or some nonsense like that...
posted by dubitable at 2:44 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Metafilter + Gyms, Lifting Weights, Athletics = GRAR

Whuh?

Mathowie and Jessamyn might have something to say about that.

MetaFilter + Gross Generalizations = GRAR
posted by Sys Rq at 2:54 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


No of course. MAS just despises men who use treadmills.
posted by muddgirl at 3:07 PM on January 21, 2011


I do think this sort of "vets get to cattily bitch about noobs doing it wrong" attitude has to go, across all activities.
Man, do you want to kill every guitar and bicycle shop in the US?


Also, MetaFilter. Are people here, of all places, really so bent out of shape because somebody on the Internet is snarking?
posted by The Tensor at 3:09 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


No love for cortex? GRAR
posted by fixedgear at 3:10 PM on January 21, 2011


why doesn't he exercise somewhere else?

Because very often there's nowhere else to go.

So he makes his own (and quite possibly other people's) experience at the gym shitty? It's clearly the rest of the universe that needs an attitude adjustment in that case.

He can find a gym that makes him happy, he can decide to make the best of the gym he has, or he can whine on the internet. Two of these choices are conducive to increasing the net happiness in the world, and one is conducive to possibly increasing his happiness (maybe it makes him happy to bitch, but then he's going to the gym looking for something to bitch about) but probably decreasing the happiness of the rest of the world (gym mates who have to put up with him yelling NONSENSE! at them or otherwise expressing not necessarily useful displeasure, not even particularly the folks who might run across his mockery of them on the blog). The fact that he chose the option least likely to increase the amount of happiness in the world, and certainly the one mostly likely to make others at the gym unhappy, is what people are reacting to. It's not their knee-jerk hate of jocks; it's their knee-jerk distaste for assholish behavior.
posted by immlass at 3:15 PM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure I understand his point about cardio--isn't the point cardiovascular fitness rather than fat loss?
posted by Hoopo at 3:16 PM on January 21, 2011


No love for cortex? GRAR

I guess I just wasn't sure if playing the banjo could be technically considered "athletic."
posted by Sys Rq at 3:20 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


To give a sense of what exactly it means to "kick curlers out of the squat rack," for those folks who think that sounds douche-y...whereas curling is an exercise that you typically do with a relatively light amount of weight—you do not need to start with the bar above you. That is, you don't need to use a rack, period, for curling.

dubitable
Thanks for that explanation. You also sound very well mannered.

Now, please take a deep calming breath - when Anatoly Pisarenko wrote his comment about the problem earlier, his wording was "to kick a curler out of the squat rack".

I thought he was pissed off about daffy women leaving a stray hair curler behind in the gym equipment! Which he'd then have to boot to one side with his foot.

I didn't realize he was talking about people who curl!
posted by Jody Tresidder at 3:23 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I thought he was pissed off about daffy women leaving a stray hair curler behind in the gym equipment! Which he'd then have to boot to one side with his foot.

Ha! That's funny. Compete tangent here, but that reminds me of a similar misunderstanding that I like to retell -- I was talking to a friend on gchat once and she said she wanted to invent nose hats. I replied, "elaborate," as in, "tell me more." She replied, "No, practical," because she thought I was asking about the complexity of the nose hats.

Anyhow, no, squat-rack-curlers are almost exclusively bros, in my experience.
posted by Anatoly Pisarenko at 3:28 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


This was not my intent when I posted this: Tales From the Glitter Gym – The End. It really speaks to the kind of guy MAS is (yes, he's a friend), he's a thoughtful person, I suppose the snark didn't let that aspect come through, the balance and the willingness to consider other points of view that I know in his work. MAS was helpful to me as I lost about 100 pounds between 2008 and 2010. He was also helpful to me in finding good materials on diet and cancer when my mom was changing her diet to battle kidney cancer. I figured this guy I admire and his snarky writing would get taken in the same spirit as I take it. Some funny stuff I think is unique on the internet.
posted by artlung at 3:29 PM on January 21, 2011


From the first one:
There was this very fit, stunning redhead on some aerobic exercise machine. Unfortunately, she had this huge tattoo that covered her entire back. It looked like some Asian thing, which may have been a dragon. Call me old-fashioned, but in my opinion the only people that look better with tattoos are old war-seasoned Navy guys. And then just a small anchor on the arm. Dragon Lady was busy working out, trying to sculpt a perfect body, but no matter how close to perfection she gets, she will always look like white trash with that tattoo. Why would you put a bumper sticker on a Bentley?
Yes, it is truly terrible gym etiquette for this woman not to have given you a boner!
posted by en forme de poire at 3:29 PM on January 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


It really speaks to the kind of guy MAS is (yes, he's a friend)

Him shutting his blog down aside, isn't this kinda bad form on MetaFilter? Like the sort of thing that the mods ban you for? I guess this is another reason you shouldn't do that: you may be hurt yourself by the consequences.

By the way, it's too bad and all that he's going to shut his blog down because a bunch of random people on another site said mean things—but he really does come off as a jerk in many of his posts, no matter how much a nice guy he may be in real life. Sorry, but I find this to be true—and I even agreed with some of his points.

Thanks for that explanation. You also sound very well mannered.

Thank you, some of the time, I think I am...ha.
posted by dubitable at 3:44 PM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


This was not my intent when I posted this: Tales From the Glitter Gym – The End. It really speaks to the kind of guy MAS is (yes, he's a friend), he's a thoughtful person, I suppose the snark didn't let that aspect come through, the balance and the willingness to consider other points of view that I know in his work.

Posting stuff your friends or acquaintances worked on is strongly frowned upon here, partly for this reason.
posted by vorfeed at 3:46 PM on January 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


had to kick a curler out of the squat rack

Well I just found a new euphemism for bowel movement.
posted by indubitable at 3:49 PM on January 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Wow. The Blue killed his blog.

...where do we carve the notches, again?
posted by Halloween Jack at 3:52 PM on January 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I like the comments on the "I'm shutting down the blog" post. It's a flashback to junior high school. Dude, how much can you bench? If you don't squat twice your body weight you're not entitled to an opinion.
posted by fixedgear at 3:56 PM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


> FYI if you don't like gyms (glitter, rust, or otherwise) "Convict Conditioning" is a breath of fresh air.

There's also the Fit Deck.

You don't need anything except maybe a mat and a chair.
posted by mmrtnt at 3:56 PM on January 21, 2011


Well, lessons learned on many fronts. And to be clear, he's not killing the whole blog, he's a prolific writer on books, travel, fitness, tech, coffee, like a lot of people who've been blogging a long time, that's not going away. If anything he's learned he's not as good at snark as he thought he was.

As far as whether I broke guidelines, I can see the argument, but I reread the posting guidelines and felt like this matched up. It entertains me, anyway, and some others. That it offends I did not see so clearly. I haven't posted anything to the blue in 7 years so maybe I'm rusty. I'll do better next time.
posted by artlung at 3:57 PM on January 21, 2011


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