Friday, June 3, 2011

Marlee vs The Gym Hottie

Ahh the gym.

As a former college athlete (with a degree in Health and Kinesiology), I really shouldn't feel uncomfortable in a place of fitness. I find the assortment of machines neither intimidating nor confusing; the various lifting techniques, the correct amount of weight to use as well as the proper form are all familiar friends of mine. Not to brag or anything, but I seriously know my way around a gym.

So to be honest, it's not the equipment at the gym that causes me discomfort; it's the people.

See, to me, a fitness center is the adult version of a junior high gym class; except with a much more brutal sense of reality and considerably less supervision. You've got all your basic cliques, usually stereotyped by their clothing choice: the meatheads (wearing a tank top, usually in some shade of flourescent green or yellow), the gym rats (in their sleek and techy exercise gear), the nerds (in jean shorts, glasses and "Real Men Read" t-shirts), the self-concious wallflower (in the baggiest t-shirt they could possibly find) and last but not least, the gym hottie (in, well, pretty much nothing).

What group am I in? I'm probably a cross between the gym rat and the self-consious wallflower. I workout with a purpose, but I'm by no means a marathon runner. I also lack the breathable, moisture-wicking clothing, high tech accessories, and unwavering bravado that typically personifies a gym rat. In short, I'm there to complete my workout as efficiently and quickly as possible and I feel no obligation to look nice while doing it, which typically makes my encounter with anyone from one of these previously mentioned cliques potentially traumatizing. Especially the gym hottie...which is exactly what happened this morning.

You all know who I'm talking about. The girl with the perfect figure, flawless hair and gorgeous tan who just sort of strolls through the gym, lightly drinking from a water bottle (and accidently spilling some down the front of her low-cut v-neck shirt). She glides from one piece of machinery to another, casually flirting with any man possibly using it:

Hot Girl: Wow, what's this? I've never seen one of these before!
Guy: Um...that's a bench.
Hot Girl: Oh my god, you're so funny! You think you could you show me how to use it?
Guy: Ohhh yeeeaah....(mentally high-five's himself).

So besides the unoriginal pickup line (read it in Cosmo), the serious lack of clothing (sports bra top) and the obvious ulterior motives, this girl was doing one more thing that was annoying the bejeezus out of me: standing next to me.

Now I'm just like any other female out there. When I see my own reflection in a mirror I am going to compare it with whatever else is caught in the same reflection. If I'm lucky, it's a woman in her mid-80's, or maybe some sort of plant, in which case my self confidence doesn't take too much of a hit. But when it's Gym Hottie standing right next to me, my heart sinks.

Here I am, in my two sizes too big, "Cat's of America" cutoff t-shirt, my 4 year old worn-to-the-nub tennis shoes, my hair sweaty and frizzy and my face a slight shade of purple, busting my butt to try and make some sort of progress toward my fitness goal. And there she is standing next to me, twirling her luminous hair, batting her heavily mascara-laden eyelashes, and adjusting her weight from one mile-long leg to the other. Talk about an ego blow.

But, as I continued my routine, I noticed something else. She wasn't just standing next to me, she was staring at me.

"I bet she's wondering where I got my 'Cat's of America' t-shirt, " I jokingly thought to myself, although deep down I was actually wondering if she was mentally comparing me to the "before" picture of any recent diet pill ad. I saw her pick up a 5 lb weight, stare at it for a second, look in my direction, put the weight back down, and slowly saunter over to guy standing near the leg press.

Then it hit me.

She may be the gym hottie, but she had not idea what she was doing. She was staring at me because she felt clueless. She was the odd one out.

I was the one who belonged.

Suddenly my perception of the sweaty girl in the mirror changed. I began to look at myself differently. I've got firm legs and toned arms, and the sweat dripping from my face is a sign of how hard I'm willing to work for what I want, not something to be ashamed of. While I may not be the gym hottie or have the most up to date clothing and accessories, I realized I have other characteristics worth noticing. I'm disciplined and focused, capable and strong. I'm here, investing in myself and striving to reach my goals, day after day, regardless of any perceived setbacks or obstacles. Therefore, I believe I belong to an entirely different category of gym goer altogether, and one that hands down trumps the gym hottie:

I, ladies and gentlemen, am an athlete.

Marlee: 1
Gym Hottie: 0

What obstacles do you guys face at the gym?

And don't forget to vote in the poll to your right! (Read this post for explanation.) 


  1. Hahaha I love your description of the gym hottie! Hilarious. I work at a gym and I honestly wish there were more gym hotties around - male and female. They'd definitely provide a lot of entertainment value, that's for sure! Unfortunately for me, I only ever seem to see heaps of old people at my gym when I'm working... xx

  2. You've got me cracking up and wanting to go to the gym!

  3. I'm kind of in the same boat as you-I don't care what I'm wearing as long as it's comfortable and I don't mind getting it all sweaty and smelly before the next laundry cycle. I also don't care how silly I am looking as long as I know I'm doing it right! My face turns beat red at the slightest hint of exertion (thank my Irish ancestors!) and my hair never lays down so I feel you on the purple-faced/frizzy-hair saga.

    Good story!

  4. I guess this post well depicts me as a gym goer! Like Seriously!! hahahahaha. I had a good laugh at the way you described the hottie.. And I do see funny stuffs when I workout or during my yoga sessions. Its really interesting and funny to observe others.. I mean like, everyone's there to be a better/healthier person.. And they're bound to feel self-conscious. Its just that everyone emits their self-consciousness in a different way HAHAHA.

    Keep up the good stuff!

  5. Love it! I have always felt the same way about the gym. Good for you to reach the other side and realize that she had no idea what she was doing! I'm here from the hop and love your blog so far!
    Yankee Texan Mom

  6. Kudos to you for keeping a fit lifestyle. I don't consider myself a gym rat (ha ha since I quit the gym and go for runs) but when I did, I dressed in high tech gear to be more comfortable and to reward myself for showing up.

    And you're right, knowing your way around the gym gives you the confidence to get in and out and complete your workout minus the social drama.

  7. I don't go to a gym mostly because I am jobless and broke, so I work out to dvd's here at the house or whatever's on my netflix instant queue. But the one time I did get a chance to use some gym equipment at a swanky hotel I happened to stay at a couple months back, I felt all those same pressures! I was in my baggy clothes and looking around at all the other types of people in there wondering what brought them here and comparing myself to them. I suppose its only natural. But its definitely scary when you feel like the odd man out. I just put in my earbuds and tried to tune everyone else out.

  8. GREAT post! I know exactly how you feel. I am lucky I belong to a small gym with 'normal' people. My only obstacles are the ones I make for myself (my excuses for not pushing a bit more or for working out 5 minutes less...)

    Thanks for visiting and following my post. After I leave this comment I will be your newest follower! I look forward to more visits.

  9. I loved this! It's so true; she didn't belong at all, so it's not worth letting her make you feel bent out of shape!

    I just stumbled upon your blog and am loving it. Heading off to follow. :D

  10. " If I'm lucky, it's a woman in her mid-80's, or maybe some sort of plant, in which case my self confidence doesn't take too much of a hit. "

    Sooooo funny! Glad you found your true self at the gym!
    Found you from the SRWH :) Great blog, I'm now following :)

  11. Wow! You are such a great writer...and funny, too!! I always feel pretty self-conscious at the gym. I'm definitely NOT the gym hottie and I have no clue about most of the I'm always the awkward one. Haha. New to your blog and I'm loving it!

  12. Thanks for participating in the Alexa hop at I followed you on GFC, Twitter & Facebook while I was here. Have a great week!

  13. Fantastic post! Thanks for following at Everything Beautiful in Its Time. Following back!

  14. I have dealt with the gym hotties before. Frustrating much...

    I gave up on the gym in the end - it was badly managed, full of kids and lots of people who didn't know what they were doing. I resolved to start running instead. That seems to be working out better.

  15. People who dress up and wear full on makeup for a trip to exercise at the gym bug me! :)

    Thanks for finding me on the weekend blog hop - I dropped by to follow you back. Hope to see you around again soon! Have a great weekend,
    Nicole from Mom Always Finds Out

  16. Love this post!!! Thanks for visiting I am a new follower!!

  17. Love your blog!! I am definitely going to be your new follower :) I would love it if you followed me to @ that would be great :) I am just starting out, but I am excited to share new recipes, crafts, and makeup.. And Giving away giveaways on mineral make-up!!

  18. thanks for the follow i am now following you back!

  19. Stopping by from the hop! Already a follower but I also wanted to invite you to our Super Stalker Sunday hop going on now! Hope to see you link up! Have a great day!

    April @ Mama on a Green Mission

  20. I love this post! I go to a smaller gym near me and it doesn't have quite the same number of Gym Hotties, but they're still there. Now I just need the find your confidence and I'll be all set!

    Thanks for stopping by!

  21. Gym Hottie - 0.... Love it!

    Thanks for jumping on the Saturday Suggestions Blog Hop.

    I'm your newest follower.

    ~ Mona : )

  22. Thanks for stopping by my blog ~Mommy's Moments~

    Hope you will take the time to stop back by and enter some of my giveaways!!

    Karen ;.)

  23. A well-written, funny post and a pleasant surprise! I am writing from Lala Musings: TEN ANNOYING BEHAVIORS - HUMOR and found you through the FNF blog hop. I'm glad I did! I love discovering clever, interesting and funny bloggers and these are the kinds of blogs I come back to time and time again. I am a new follower.

    Thanks for the laugh! :-)


  24. LOVE this story! I've never been a gym person myself and I definitely do find myself bewildered by all of the equipment. I tend to like cardio/group stuff like zumba. Thank you so much for the follow, I am following you right back! I really love your writing style and I'm looking forward to following your blog. xoxo!

  25. I really NEED to go to a gym, but I'm way too self-conscious. Plus, I'm totally uncoordinated, and treadmills are dangerous to me, lol! I'm a new follower from Welcome to the Weekend!

    Pretty Opinionated

  26. I am really glad to have met you . I loved this post, I really wish I could go to the gym without the people judging how you look, especially the women. Sometimes the men are just there to see who they could pick up...The whole scene I just wish to avoid, that's why I have set up my own at home gym and I love walking and running outdoors. I look forward to coming by again soon.

    Lisa @ Lesapea (your newest follower).

  27. Awesome descriptions! Though I think I'm somewhere between the gym rat and an actual athlete (the unofficial uniform at my martial arts studio is dark blue or black UA gear)... though you'll most likely find me out running the trails in a bike shirt, compression shorts under looser shorts that hide the massive wedgie I'm sure the compression shorts create, and "trendy" white Tifosi sunglasses with purple lenses (though they're actually pretty functional since they're transition type lenses that enhances the green of the surrounding area).

    Though there are times when I wish the gym hotties would keep their negativity to themselves. One of my really good friends (who is like me, but would probably fall under the Gym Hottie category) was at the gym giving this overweight girl mental high fives because this chica was on a mission and killing her work out. Then enters some Gym Hotties who begin to make cracks at this girl's weight, which causes her to deflate. I was mad at my friend for not telling these girls to shove off, but she's not as confrontational as me, and even madder still for not going over to this girl and TELLING her that she thought she was killing her work out.

    I love seeing people work out with a purpose.

  28. Just discovered your blog, and love love love this post. So hilarious.

    Would love if you popped by my blog sometime.

    Andrea x

  29. Hey there, new follower here. I hope that when you get a chance, you will stop by and follow me back.

    Thanks. Have a great day.


  30. Hi this is Nicole from Colie’s Kitchen I just discovered your blog and wanted to drop by and say hi. I am now a new follower. I would love to have you stop by Colie’s Kitchen if you get a chance.

  31. Haha! I love it. Now I'm realizing why I left the gym last fall. I was so tired of running my fat sweaty self all around the track with all the "gym hotties" doing nothing but chatting and walking around the track. It's not fair I work so hard why can I be half that skinny?!?!?

  32. Hi, Stopping by from Follow Me Back Tuesday... happily following you and would love for you to consider following me back. Thanks, Malia

  33. LOL. Love this post. You totally nailed the gym description and comparisons. I chuckled all the way through. Love your writing. Keep it up!

    Read through two posts and you have me hooked. I'm your newest follower.


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