Hello all you lovely, splendid people! Just a quick update, it appears that “Life is a Circus Run
by a Platypus,” is on track to be released on May 20 on Amazon.com (followed closely by
several other venues)! As soon as I have an official link I will post it here faster than a
greased bunny can be slid across a linoleum floor!
In other news, I have an author Facebook page set up now. Feel free to look me up under
"Allison Hawn" and keep up to date on news about the book.
That aside, here is another scribbling from my “Ooooh Squirrel!” brain.
I am a bit of a gym rat, mostly by necessity. I have a genetic make-up that means that if I
even stare longingly at a piece of cheesecake for too long, I will suddenly pack on some
extra curves. For this reason, I spend, at the very least, an hour in the gym every day.
This means over a several year span I have gotten to witness some of the most bizarre/useless
behavior ever perpetrated around a set of weights. Frankly I'd be willing to leave most of these
things alone, but when you see them day after day, sometimes you just feel compelled to
smack certain individuals with a starfish.
Since I do not have easy access to a starfish and would probably be arrested for assault with
deadly brainless sea creature, I will instead just write some of the things I have noticed here.
These are my 10 Gym Commandments. If I could etch them in stone I would (but I learned I
really should not be given a chisel and a hammer a long time ago).
Note: I am not a doctor, personal trainer or coordinated tango instructor. I am currently a fitness
instructor, though, if that counts for anything? As always you should talk to your doctor,
significant other, best friend, Oprah and a therapist before starting any new exercise plan.
1. Thou shalt not believe that sitting on gym equipment will magically slim thee.
I realize that this is a disappointment to many (including myself). The gym has an aura of
fitness and health to it; however, to contribute and partake in the aura one actually does have to
This means that if someone sits on the cable row machine for 20 minutes and does only one
five-pound repetition, that person is not in fact working out. What that individual is doing
instead is blocking everyone else in the gym from using the thing that he or she has converted
into the gym version of a home recliner. The gym, sadly, is not magic.
2. Thou must not only move, thou must sweat, push and exert thyself.
Just because one is sitting and bouncing on a yoga ball does not mean one is working out.
Sadly, I see a lot of females do this. Doing crunches, dumbbell presses and weighted mermaids
on a yoga ball are all legitimate exercises. Having a conversation about your nails while doing
the same movement a 3 year old does in their bouncy chair is not getting you anywhere,
3. Thou shalt NEVER mock others in the gym based on their physical appearance.
Yes, some of us are twigs, some of us are bulky, some of us are, dare I say this word, fat. It
doesn't matter; everyone has a place in the gym. The fact is that no other person can ever know
what someone else is capable of, and so verbally disparaging them is just plain dumb.
I have seen tiny guys do sets of 30 weighted pull-ups, seen full-figured women run faster
than I could ever imagine going, and I have seen a 300 pound man sustain yoga poses that
make my limbs hurt just thinking about them. Don't judge, everyone has the right to
work out just as much as everyone else does.
4. Thou shalt not believe the weight area is only for males.
More times than I can count at this point, I have had some hot-shot guy swagger up to me
while I'm lifting and make some comment about how, "Women should not be in the weight
I have no problem then, in front of each one of his friends and girlfriends, lifting twice as
much as he does, turning and saying, "You're right, we should not be in the weight area,
we might make you look bad."
Women are tough, period.
5. Thou shalt not be self-defeating at the gym.
I bring up this example because, to my count, I have now seen it five times. I see a person
on a treadmill (good), going at the slowest possible pace the machine can go (not as good),
drinking a soda (*thunks head on desk* bad).
If one consumes more calories while working out than one actually burns, then what purpose
did going to the gym serve?
These are the same people who talk on their cellphones, at decibels that could be felt in
space, about how they are working out, but they never seem to lose any weight. Really,
Sherlock, weight loss is being elusive? Come on, let's examine the clues and maybe we can
solve this mystery.
6. Thou shalt be conscious of other gym patrons.
This means one should not pick up weights and then just stand in front of the weight rack
doing bicep curls. Believe it or not, other people would like to weight lift too, and standing
there like one of the giant stone pillars of Stonehenge, creates a bit of a deterrent.
This also means that one should not take eight sets of weights and claim that one is using them
all. The only one who can make that claim is an octopus. I realize that some people have things
like ladder drills or circuits that they want to do and that is fine. But one really does not need to
monopolize half the weight rack to accomplish one’s goal, I promise.
7. Thou shalt put it back where thou found it.
As much as I love scavenger hunts, spending 10 minutes hunting for the 40 pound dumbbells
only to discover that someone has kindly hidden them behind the foam rollers is somewhat less
charming than the childhood counterpart of that game. The gym staff are not mothers or
magical weight fairies; everyone needs to pick up after himself or herself.
8. Thou shalt wear clothing to the gym.
I cannot describe the endless parade of things that I see at the gym that make me wonder,
"Did your mommy forget to lay out your clothes for you this morning?"
Sweatpants with holes in the crotch (sometimes with underwear underneath, sometimes
without), shirts that have the sides cut out (so we can see the side of one's abs, as what is left
of the shirt precariously slips towards getting caught in the machine), shorts that one has to
stare at for a minute so one can verify they are not a belt and spandex that has been stretched
so tight that it now has all the coverage ability of tinted saran wrap should probably only be
worn in the privacy of one's own home.
9. Thou shalt not hit on other gym patrons with dogged persistence.
No, you can't buy me a drink. Why? Because this is a gym, not a bar, and I am working
out, and this is not a date.
It's fine to flirt, say hi or strike up a conversation with someone at the gym. However, I
once had a guy sit and stare at me for 20 minutes on the rowing machine before asking
if I, "Wanted to go out to see the back of his truck."
Nope! Everyone, guys and girls, can agree, we like our gyms creeper free.
10. Thou shalt not believe thou's sweat is magical.
This means that if one leaves a giant puddle of sweat on the machine one just used,
and then one decides not to use the handy-dandy free paper towels and sanitizer to wipe
it up, I will look at that individual like she or he just barbequed a puppy.
Do you want to sit in a puddle of a random stranger's sweat? No? Then why on the
earth would anyone want to wade through a puddle of yours? No one’s sweat is exempt
from the grossness factor, wipe it up!
All that being said, what are the most ridiculous things all of you have seen at the gym?