Gyms are basically rage incubators. They're sweatboxes full of smelly, moist people running side-by-side to nowhere, and patrolling trainers who say "core" every other word, and weightlifters who make sure you know just how heavy those weights are by grunting with every rep louder than the Ke$ha song (the third one in an hour) that's blasting through the gym's sound-system like a thousand steel ball-bearings dropping on a field of garbage can lids. Gyms are the worst. Everyone who goes to the gym knows this because we subject ourselves to this hell voluntarily—which is why the only thing worse than going to the gym is complaining about going to the gym.
But now, thanks to the New York Times, there's a new gym-related worst. Now the only thing worse than complaining about going to the gym is reading an article about how people hate being at the gym.
“I hate working out more than just about anything,” said Ms. Podlodowski, who goes to the gym three or four times a week. “I’ll use anything I can to distract me — a book, a magazine, a friend to talk to. Without my distractions I’d never exercise at all.”
At the opposite extreme is Jonathan F. Katz, a psychologist in Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., who runs ultramarathons — 50 miles or more — without even a music player.
“To really challenge yourself athletically or train for a big event, you need to focus on your form, your pacing, and that’s impossible if you’re watching a movie or chatting,” Dr. Katz said. “I’m always thinking about my next mile, my speed, my cadence.”
Obviously, ultramarathon-runner Dr. Katz is ultra-annoying. ("I'm training for an ultramarathon." "You mean a marathon?" "No, an ultramarathon, it's like a marathon, but so much longer. After that, I'm going to train for an uber-ultramarathon, which is just running and running and running until the sweet release of death." "Cool.")
So apparently some people like to distract themselves from the fact that they're running to nowhere while other people like to focus deeply on the fact that they're running to nowhere. Keenly observed, New York Times.
But "Musings On The Gym" isn't the main point of this article:
Doctors and trainers say that the most common distractions, like listening to music or talking to a companion, can be valuable at just about any level, from beginners trying to persuade themselves to go to the gym, to committed athletes preparing for a race...
Some types of exercise require more focus on form. Weight lifting, even with small free weights, demands correct posture and good habits or the athlete won’t see desired results and could even be injured. Trainers recommend stowing the Zune or iPod until those habits are established.At some point, though, people tend to throw advice out the window and figure out what works for them.
To sum up: Doctors and trainers say it doesn't really matter what you do while you're working out, and even if doctors and trainers were to give advice, people would do whatever they want anyway because all anyone wants to do when they're at the gym is make their time in the gym go faster so they can leave the gym. That's some great reportage in the thoroughly unexplored area of common knowledge.
Next week: People Enjoy Ice Cream.